Los Angeles is one of the most popular cities in the US and one of its most populous. It boasts of Hollywood, great weather, and more. But living here could be stressful due to the high cost of living. So, how can you afford to live in Los Angeles?
There are ways to manage your income in Los Angeles. You can rent buildings with most of the amenities you need, get fully furnished apartments, split rents, cook most of your meals, go for cheap hobbies, and shop at ethnic supermarkets. With these, you can survive on the living or minimum wage.
Given that the housing costs here are 198.2% higher than the national average, finding a way to get a cheaper rent or house is the best way to save money in the city. Here, we discuss the cost of living and how you can afford to live in LA.
Cost of living in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a pretty expensive place to live for anyone. An estimate puts its cost of living at 73.3% above the national average. This means it’s also more expensive than the state average. Several things contribute to the high cost of living in this city. But the amount that residents spend on housing is the major issue.
The typical value of a home in the city is $988,288 on Zillow. Accommodation in the city is 198.2% above the national average. Even if you’re not buying a house, rents are expensive too. Numbeo puts the average monthly rent of a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center at $2,565.62 while the same costs $1,753.09 outside the center.
A single-family home with 3 bedrooms will cost $4,477.23 in the city center but a little cheaper outside the city center at $3,563.41. According to a Zillow report, most of those who live in the city are renters. More than 64% of the homes in the city are renter-occupied. This means it had the fourth-highest renters after Miami, New York, and Boston.
Transportation in the city is also very costly, and the city is mostly car-dependent, with long hours stuck in traffic. Despite not looking like the ideal city to live with its issues, Los Angeles is still the second most populated city after New York City, with a population of 3.97 million. It has seen a decline in recent years. Metro Los Angeles has a population of 12.46 million.
How Much Do You Need To Live Comfortably In The City?
Compared to the ultra-expensive cities in the Bay Area, Los Angeles is an affordable city for most people in California. The minimum wage in Los Angeles is currently $15 per hour for the city and county. It’s expected to reach $16.04 in the city by July 2022, while that of Los Angeles County will be $15.96.
According to MIT Living Wage Calculator, the living wage for a single person in the city is $21.89, while a family of 4 with both parents working will need to be earning $30.73. If only one parent works, then they’ll have to earn $47.44 per hour.
This means that a single person will need an annual living wage of $45,531.20 to survive in the city. Even with that, the quality of life will be pretty low. However, several people in the city still earn only the minimum wage. So, the struggle to live comfortably in the city is deep-seated.
Ways To Afford Living in Los Angeles
If you’re moving to Los Angeles and you’re not a superstar or earning over $100k, the cost of living in this city can be high. Knowing how to manage your income will make a big difference. Here are ways to do that:
1. Get an apartment with all the amenities you need
You can keep your cost of living down by getting an apartment that provides you with most of the facilities you need. An apartment with an in-unit laundry and fitness center could do you good. The rent might be a little higher than the regular apartment. But you need to consider the cost of using a laundromat and gym subscription.
2. Split Apartments
If you’re moving to the city alone, you might consider getting a roommate. The cost of renting in the city is very high and splitting it with someone can help. You may be able to split a room or an apartment. If you want your privacy, you can opt for an apartment instead. A 2-bedroom apartment will be costlier to get. But since you are splitting the bill, it could cost less overall.
3. Get Fully Furnished Apartments
The last thing you want to do when you get to Los Angeles is to spend money on furnishings. This can eat deep into your budget for the house making, and you’ll end up with plenty of items you’ll have to leave behind later on. Fortunately, there are several Fully furnished apartments in Los Angeles. They come with amenities such as a bed, chairs, table, dishwashers, and other appliances you need for comfortable living.
4. Shop at Ethnic supermarkets
Los Angeles is a multicultural and diverse city, so many options exist. Instead of using regular supermarkets like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Vons, etc., try cheaper ethnic supermarkets. This way, you can get some good deals on food. The produce might not be of the highest quality. But you can still count on it being good enough. Make sure you plan your meals and not buy too much so it doesn’t spoil.
5. Cook most of your meals
One of the ways to save money to afford to live in Los Angeles is by limiting the amount of time you eat out. You pay for the food, cleaning, and service when you eat out. However, all you have to do at home is cook the food. So, making eating out a treat is not a regular way of living.
6. Enjoy Cheap Hobbies
Most people moved to Los Angeles for economic opportunities and the chance to have fun. But having fun here can be costly. So, if you’re not careful, you’ll spend most of your income on entertainment. Fortunately, there are ways to have fun without spending money. Go to the beach, watch a movie at home, read, go for a run, etc.
Cutting costs and financial planning is essential if you want to live in Los Angeles with an average income. Without it, you might find yourself spending more than you make. So, plan all your spending and follow the budget religiously.