Did you recently move to Los Angeles, or are you thinking about making the move? Are you worried about the cost of living on top of everything else, like entertainment, food, and gas?
It’s no secret that LA is one of the most expensive places to live. Maybe you already live in LA and you’re wondering if there’s a secret to making life affordable. The answer is yes – it can be affordable to live in LA if you know how to make it work.
If you want to save money and still live your life in this enchanting, yet busy city, here’s how to make that happen.
1. Decorate your home with affordable décor
Who says you need to have real gold picture frames, fancy one-of-a-kind art pieces, and antique furniture to feel good in your home? That might be the vibe across certain areas of LA, but it’s not the only way to decorate.
In fact, Los Angeles Property Management Group recommends starting small with plump cushions, fluffy rugs, soft throws, and flowy drapes. These small, affordable touches will create a huge impact on how you and your guests experience your home.
While you’ll find fancy décor in restaurants, cafes, theaters, and clubs all around Los Angeles, you don’t need to recreate that type of extravagance in your home. It’s easy to fall into the mindset that you must embody luxury when living in LA, but all you need is décor that you enjoy.
In LA, there are plenty of stores that sell home décor at affordable prices, including some department stores. Just remember to do some comparison shopping online before you drive out to save time and money on gas.
2. Phase out the habit of going to the movies
If you’ve ever seen a movie in LA, you know it’s expensive. While movie tickets can cost around $15, you’ll also pay $10 for popcorn at some theaters. By the time you’re done grabbing snacks and a drink, you can expect to pay between $30 to $50 per person just to see one movie.
The key to making entertainment affordable without sacrificing your enjoyment is to phase out movies as a habit and only go as a treat. Isn’t there something else you’d like to work on anyway? Maybe you want to start a business or look for some investments. Consider the extra time and money you’ll save as an opportunity to advance your career or your life.
3. Consider renting a room
Instead of looking for your own place to rent and paying thousands of dollars each month, consider renting a room in someone else’s home – at least for a while. The money you’ll save on rent will add up over time. Renting a room is also a great way to get acquainted with a neighborhood before you commit to a lease agreement.
For instance, if you like small neighborhoods, you might want to check out Franklin Village for a while to feel the vibe and visit all the shops. If you like it, then you can look for your own place in the area. There are tons of small, niche communities all over LA, each with a different vibe.
Long-time locals rent for good prices
You’ll find plenty of newcomers in LA, but you’ll also find plenty of old-timers. Many who have lived in LA for decades still enjoy the benefits of cheap rent/mortgages. These people tend to rent out rooms in their homes, and you can find a good deal this way.
Many people who rent out rooms live in Victorian homes, which are notorious for having multiple bedrooms. Generally speaking, when someone rents out multiple rooms, the room prices tend to be cheaper. They also tend to include utilities in the rent, which can be a great relief if you need more certainty around your monthly bills.
4. Share a car with someone in your household
If possible, share a car with someone who lives with you. Even if you both own a car, plan your trips to the grocery store and other places together. Many apartment buildings in LA don’t offer parking. Some buildings only have one space per unit and street parking is challenging. It’s not uncommon to park a full 5 blocks away from your house.
This inconvenience makes it worth coordinating a ride with, or sharing a car with someone else. When you do all of your necessary shopping together, you’ll both save a ton of money on gas.
Be intentional and selective with your spending
You can’t change your rent, but you can control how much money you spend on entertainment. Instead of thoughtlessly throwing money out for entertainment on a whim, plan your outings and create a budget.
This is truly the key to living in LA without emptying your wallet.