Atlanta on the Cheap: Your Back to School Guide for Living it Up on a Budget


Okay, so I know what you are thinking. “Margaret, we live in Decatur.” I know, I know. But let’s face it, Decatur is not a budget friendly town. Although the cute boutiques in downtown Decatur are bursting with beautiful fall styles and the yummy smells from Iberian Pig and Revival are oh so enticing, $5 dollars can’t get you very far at The Square. So if you are looking for something fun to do this weekend in and around Atlanta, and you need to recover from an *exhausting* first week of school, I have the inside scoop for an amazing time on a dime!


Find a Free Event!


Atlanta is one of the busiest cities in the country. That means every weekend is jam packed with fun concerts, festivals, and food events. I like to first check out the events tab on Facebook to see what is close and cheap around me. With a quick search, I was able to find a FREE hour yoga session for Saturday, September 1st.***


Another great place to find free events around you is my favorite website Atlanta on the Cheap . This local website promotes free events, specials, and deals. For this weekend, the site is promoting free events in and around DragonCon (Atlanta’s version of Comic Con). Scotties can enjoy a parade of all sorts of Cosplayers and artists from around the world! FOR FREE!!!



***Pro tip: Don’t have a yoga mat? No problem! Bring an old towel! You will be flowing on grass anyway, so no need to bring anything too fancy.



Get a Fit!


We all know in the age of Instagram boring outfits are OUT! But who can afford Gucci slides and a Supreme t-shirt? Or honestly, who can afford Target anymore? (According to my bank account, not this girl). But fear not! You can post up at a free event around Atlanta and look fly doing it. How? *Queue Macklemore* “I bought some s***t from a thrift shop.”

At Goodwill, which has several locations in Atlanta, I was able to buy an Ann Taylor top and Talbots wool skirt for, get this, $1.98!  An outfit from these designers would cost me over $100! To make your dollars stretch even further, make sure you do your research before. Some thrift shops offer even more discounts on certain days, so be sure to see when you can get the best deal!

Get There!

Let’s be real, not everyone has a car at Agnes. Even for those that do, driving downtown can be a major headache. But how do you get to a rocking free yoga session or a fun parade with your pals?


Take MARTA. For those who are new to Atlanta, MARTA is the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. Basically it’s the train that takes you North, South, West, and East of the city. Roundtrip, you can get to many major destinations around Atlanta for under $5 dollars. Be wary though. Unlike transit systems in northern metropolitan areas, MARTA only expands in a “t” shape around the city. Meaning, you will not be able to catch a train the the north east part of the city. A MARTA pass will, however, get you on any MARTA bus around the city. For more info click here:



Take the Emory Shuttle. This is a hidden gem in Decatur. The Emory shuttle is a free shuttle service offered to the community. The CCTMA shuttle, which picks up at Decatur Station, can get you to several places in and around Decatur, and connects to other shuttles serving the downtown Atlanta area.


Uber Pool. If you are traveling outside of peak hours, you can make your way downtown for less than $5 with Uber pool. Although it takes a bit longer, you will likely reach your destination faster with Uber than MARTA or the bus.




Now, this is what you have been waiting for. You are rocking a fit, you’ve made it to you free event for less than $5, but now you are HUNGRY. So what to do? We can always head to Evans, because although not technically free, you do not have to purchase the food. But if you want to branch out on the weekend, check out these tips.


Check out free art galleries. Art openings are one of the most popular places for free food and drinks (for 21+). Make sure that the opening is free for the public before attending. Grab a couple of free appetizers and enjoy some local art.


Download an app! Many fast food joints now have their own apps. Chick fil a, McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Pizza Hut always have deals and promotions. If you download the Quiznos app, you can get a free sandwich just for signing up!