Life At The Top...
... Of a mountain. When we reached the Czech Republic, we didn't know our accommodation was going to be this unique.
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Hollywood is the land of dreams and the hub of the entertainment industry in the world. Oh boy, it is one of the costliest city in the world to live in too. And definitely, if you are visiting this city its gonna cost you a lot of moolah! So how do you keep a check on that? How do you manage to visit, live, eat, commute while you are in Los Angeles on a tight budget? Brace yourself, as we are going to provide you with few hints and ideas as an insider on how you can live on a compact budget here. Whether you are a student, worker or a visitor planning to explore L.A, this tips might help you in the long run(shorter too).
First of all, Los Angeles is huge. And by huge I mean there are numerous neighborhoods spread in and around the city. Each neighborhood is distinct and has its own advantages and nuances. It is difficult to talk about each neighborhood in L.A but we will try to incorporate some basics of cost-cutting which might make your stay memorable regardless of the neighborhood you live in. If you are a nature lover say for example mountains, then North Hollywood, Burbank, and Pasadena is the place to be. In short, the entire San Fernando Valley is perfect for that! Into beaches and sunny vibes? Then Venice, Santa Monica, Long Beach is your area. Do you like living in urban areas? Then Downtown is where you should live.
If you have relatives or friends in L.A then just put your hand on their shoulder and make them your best friend. Kidding! Having a local whom you know in the city surely helps you. So the very first step is to try to check your social media and contact list and see if you can come up with someone who lives in L.A or its near vicinities. Why? Well, first of all, if that friend is living in L.A for quite a long time or even short time then he/she would know someone in his/her circle who is renting out his place or looking for a roommate or something on that note. The normal rent for one bed and bath apartment is roughly $2000/month or more. You can certainly not afford that if you are a newbie in the town. Instead, there are many owners who rent out their house to a group of people. Yes, if the house has, say 4 rooms and total 8 people are living in it. You get your own room (shared with one or two people) and the rent is divided amongst the number of tenants. Supposedly, the rent for the house is $3000/month and there are 8 tenants, then it's $375/person and that's a good deal. Albeit, the drawback is that you will have to live with a group of people and this option is feasible if you are planning to live in L.A for a longer time. If you are into Airbnb and don't mind living in someone's home, then there are tons of apartment which are offered at $20-$25/day and those will serve best if you wish to live for a shorter time. This might help you and save your time.
If you miss those hostel days of your school and wish to explore or live in that atmosphere then there are specific websites dedicated to that sort of accommodation. For example, hostel serves as a great option for backpackers looking for weekly or fortnight stays. For a unique experience, couch-surfing is also an option though it sounds and looks interesting for a day or two only. You may find more details here.
To cut costs on the commute, the cheapest option is to buy a used car (if it’s in your budget) and drive it yourself while you are in the city. Though you will need an International driving license to be able to drive in L.A if you are a visitor. If buying a car is not feasible then renting a car through turo is super easy and convenient. It is like Airbnb for cars. But trust me the super cheap option for commute is public transportation. Let's assume you are in Union Station and are looking to visit Universal Studios. You will book an Uber or Lyft, super easy, right? Of course you may but still if you want to reach early or on time and want to skip the busy freeways then just take the Red Line Metro to North Hollywood from Union Station. It is fast, chep and super convenient. Apart from the Metro train, the Metro bus is also connected to almost all of the major areas of L.A and the fare is super cheap ($1.75) too. Make sure to buy a metro card and refill it $20/$30 to travel smoothly throughout the city in Metro Train and Bus.
For shopping and food, there are tons of options too. At Walmart and 99 cents store you will surely get most of the daily requirement stuff at a cheaper option compared to other super markets in the city. You may opt for a local grocery or medical store to buy products at an affordable price. Buying clothes and accessories from major stores is gonna cost you a lot of money. Instead, visit the fashion district in L.A or any charity shop which provides clothes at a very low price compared to the market price.
For cost-cutting in food, the only major option is to eat at a local food truck in the neighborhood where you are living! Just kidding, well definitely food trucks are the best options though there are some restaurants which would have inexpensive food items on the menu. You will have to do a quick search on Yelp based on the neighborhood in which you are living.
Well, it surely is not easy to live in Los Angeles without much money but with smart planning and practical application of the same, you can definitely stay here on a smooth budget. So, look at all the options and plan/balance/weigh/measure everything well in advance!