Relax, Minneapolis is cheap!

By March 11, 2015AmeriCorps*VISTA

By Emily Karboski, Workforce Training and Continuing Education Communications Liaison – Dunwoody College of Technology

If you’re like me, you probably imagine your upcoming AmeriCorps year being spent alone at home with half a loaf of bread and a hunk of cheese while your friends waste away their hefty corporate salaries at some hoity-toity bar. Well, first of all, Minneapolis is baller, so don’t waste your time at hoity-toity bars anyway, but I am here to tell you about some simple ways to maximize your stipend so you can eat, pay rent and still explore the city.

Stretch your stipend using these 9 tips and get the most out of Minneapolis! Relocating for VISTA can be a bit daunting, but I did it and loved the results.

  1. Apply for SNAP. Food stamps are so worth it. Whether it’s $20 or $200 a month you’ve got yourself some free food, my friend. Check it out here. Most grocery stores and Co-ops take food stamps and farmers markets give you tokens just for showing up.
  2. Don’t pay for heating. Do yourself a favor and make sure your utilities don’t include heating. Minnesota can literally reach temperatures colder than Mars so you don’t want that blowing up your bills.
  3. Maintain your bod at the YWCA/YMCA. You are automatically eligible for 50% or 75% discounts. HEALTH YAY. Did you know they have log rolling classes?
  4. Happy Hours are glorious. It’s all about when and where, so get the app MPLS Drinker.
  5. Don’t pay – volunteer! This is my favorite piece of advice. Most places offer volunteer opportunities so make sure to ask. Give back, meet friends and network with people that share your interests. And in return you’ll be surprised what you can earn- seriously anything , including concert tickets, beer & food festival admittance, dance classes, yoga and on and on. You can even earn yourself a bike!
  6. Summertime means free outdoor shows.  Check out Music & Movies in the Park and keep your eyes out for free outdoor MN Orchestra concerts.
  7. Free art. Minneapolis has a killer art scene so take advantage of free admission at Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center is free on Thursday nights and the first Saturday of the month. Also cool: Mixed Blood Theater offers free tickets on a first-come, first-served basis starting two hours before every show.
  8. Bike. Minneapolis is basically made for bikers so take advantage. Don’t have a bike? Rent one from the many Nice Ride stations that are located all around the city.
  9. Local music, game nights and deals.  Deals are all around. Local music of all genres, 90’s dance parties, trivia nights, discount movies, drunk spelling bees, hipster bowling– you’ve just got to look!