From the Hollywood Hills to Venice Beach to Rodeo Drive, the City of Angels is known for many reasons. Unfortunately, a high cost of living is usually one of them. Fueling your car, grabbing lunch and paying rent will set you back a fair bit more than in most other parts of America, or anywhere else in the world for that matter.
Sure, expenses can vary depending on where you’ve decided to settle in this sprawling metropolis. But regardless of where that may be and how it’s affected your finances, every citizen of Los Angeles could do with a few useful money-saving tips. In this post, we’ll take a look at 19 of the most simple and effective.
Avoid the Parking Lot
The Metro Rail and Metro buses provide a comfortable, reliable and affordable alternative to driving your own car in Los Angeles. But if getting around in your own vehicle is the only option, one of the best things you can do to save both money and time is to avoid the gridlocked freeways.
Not-so-affectionately called “the parking lot,” the 405 freeway is notorious for its traffic issues. You can find ways around it by checking the “avoid freeways” box in Google Maps. When you do get to your destination, be sure to read the parking signs carefully, as LA is rampant with exuberant parking tickets.
Save Money on Your Car
While we’re on the topic, let’s take a look at a few other ways to save money on your car. After all, it’s likely one of your biggest expenses. Using these methods can save you thousands per year in maintenance, gasoline and insurance.
- Your oil and oil filter should be changed every 3,000 miles. Replace your air filter monthly to save an average of 10% on fuel.
- Check your tire pressure frequently and opt for steel-belted radial tires to increase your mileage. Balancing your tires once per year can save your suspension system from costly damage.
- Save up to $300 per year by checking fluid levels in your transmission, coolant, clutch and brakes.
- Self-serve when fueling up to save between 5% and 10% on gasoline costs.
- Develop efficient driving habits such as coasting towards slowing traffic instead of braking. Drive at 50mph instead of 70mph to use up to 30% less gas. Maintain a steady speed and change lanes instead of reaching a slower car and braking before speeding up again.
- Use your aircon only when driving on the highway with your windows closed to reduce drag and increase mileage. If possible, keep your aircon off and open your windows when driving in town.
- Use a dashcam to decrease your insurance premiums and have evidence on hand in the event of an accident. This can save you tens of thousands in insurance fraud cases.
- Not drinking, smoking or committing traffic violations can also reduce your premiums.
- If you have homeowner insurance, combining it with your car insurance policy could give you a discount.
LA receives only 35 days of rain and around 3,000 hours of sunshine per year. It would then make perfect sense to leverage the sunny weather and avoid the high price of utilities by installing solar power in your home. You’ll also save money through California’s solar tax credit Los Angeles incentive.
To make this happen, you’ll need to find the best solar company in Los Angeles. Semper Solaris is a popular local solar company in Los Angeles that offers a modern, affordable and comprehensive solar panel installation service. Head over to the following link to check them out: https://www.sempersolaris.com/locations/los-angeles/solar-panels/.
Further Save on Energy Costs
There are many ways that you can further reduce your electricity usage. For instance, be sure to update all the bulbs in your home to LEDs, which last longer and are between four and five times more efficient. Utilizing a timer system will further help you save energy by automatically turning off lights and appliances when they’re not in use.
If you’re planning on picking up some new appliances or office equipment, look out for those with an Energy Star rating. Make the heater less of a necessity in winter by air sealing your home to prevent drafts. What makes improvements like these even better, is that they also increase the value of your home, giving you more bang for your buck in the long run.
This may seem obvious to some, but eating out and ordering junk food can put a serious dent in your budget – especially in Los Angeles where food prices are often inflated for the tourism industry. Sticking to a clean, healthy diet of natural food from the grocery store can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars per year.
The same applies to what you drink. If you can’t start your morning without a fresh cup of coffee, stick to making your own coffee to save a few hundred dollars per month. Simply drinking water and making an occasional green tea can also save you money and otherwise costly medical bills in the future. Eating healthy is cool in LA anyway, so just do it.
Another fun and healthy way to save money on food is to start your own garden. Aside from the numerous physical and mental health benefits that come with gardening, it can also save you money on essentials such as vegetables and herbs. Starting a garden does require a small upfront cost, but here are some strategies for reducing it.
Ditch the Subscriptions
Glance over your monthly bank statements and identify any subscriptions that you’re no longer using. This can include movie and music streaming services, newspaper and magazine subscriptions and your cable bill. Take a look at your internet and telephone bills at the same time and consider finding more affordable alternatives.
Leave the Gym
Local country club and gym memberships usually don’t appear to make a serious dent in your monthly budget, but the yearly costs are worth considering an alternative for. Getting to the gym, whether its via public transport or your own car, also costs money.
Switch to bodyweight workouts, running and other types of exercise that don’t require equipment. There might be a local group or community that participates in a type of exercise you enjoy for free, such as hiking or yoga. After all, you can find just about anything in LA, so it’s worth checking out.
Use the 30-Day Rule
We live in a time of instant gratification, where we can get our hands on any dopamine-spiking product in no time at all. Avoid this costly financial pitfall by using the 30-day rule, which involves waiting a month before buying something. More often than not, you’ll find that your urge to buy it will have passed along with the month you waited.
Sell More, Collect Less
In the world of collectibles, trends come and go before you can even cash in on them. This was evident with things like the Beanie Babies and Longaberger baskets. People thought they could make a lucrative investment and before they knew it, they had a collection of stuff that wasn’t even worth a fraction of its original price.
Avoid collecting items of questionable value. At the same time, avoid the “lost cost fallacy,” which explains how we illogically refuse to sell an item because of what we invested in it, despite it often no longer being of any use in our lives. When times are tough, hit up your local classifieds to get rid of some of your stuff that’s just lying around.
Save on Your Children
Many parents make the mistake of believing that their kids want what’s in their wallet, when they simply want their time. Ditch the Disneyland idea, cancel those movie tickets and return the overpriced iPads. Instead, go for a walk in the park, take them to the beach, start a garden, play ball in the yard… the list goes on.
Avoid Fast-Fashion Clothing
Investing in a high-quality, timeless and versatile wardrobe of clothing staples will save you a lot of money in the long run. This is because the fast-fashion brands we’re used to buying are not made to last. Their lower prices also make it easier to keep buying more and more clothes.
Before you know it, you have a wardrobe filled with stuff you never wear. This ironically makes it difficult to choose something, so you end up going back to the store because you feel like you have nothing to wear. This is known as decision fatigue. Buy one good wardrobe of clothes that suit your style and keep it.
Pay the Credit Card
From cashback to free miles, those credit card benefits are nowhere to be found if you aren’t paying what you owe. Eliminating just $1000 of debt will save you up to $200 in interest each year. Some banks in LA have penalty rates reaching 30%, which only makes things worse. Save money, reduce stress and pay that credit card whenever you can.
Use Generic Pharmaceuticals
Healthcare is no cheaper in LA than it is anywhere else in the United States. Have a chat with your physician about whether generic prescriptions are a viable option for you. They usually don’t know about the cost, which is why you have to ask. This can save you hundreds of dollars per year compared to brand-name drugs.
Invest in Good Appliances
In the same way investing in high quality clothing can save you money, the same applies for your kitchen appliances. An energy-efficient washing machine that lasts 15 years will not only save you from having to buy a new machine every five or seven years, but it will also reduce your energy costs for a long time.
Find better appliances by doing the research before you buy. The Consumer Reports catalog is a great place to start. For expensive appliance investments, consider picking up a credit card that offers a generous signup bonus. This will help offset the cost of that $2,000 fridge and keep you going for a little longer.
In our busy modern lives, stress spending is an unfortunate reality. Whether it’s heading to McDonald’s for the biggest burger you can find or picking up a pack of cigarettes, it’s very easy to find unhealthy means of dealing with stress. Opt for healthy, affordable alternatives like meditation, reading, walking or even just taking a nap.
Remove Easy Spending Opportunities
If you have a ton of apps for online stores, restaurants and delivery services on your home screen, it’s much easier to occasionally check them out and end up closing the app with less money on your card and a package at your doorstep.
The same applies for your card information. Keeping it away from any online accounts makes it much more of a hassle to go rummage for your card, giving you more time to think about whether it’s a good purchase decision.
Cut Down on Skincare
For most people, a simple cleanser and moisturizer does the trick. Depending on your skin type, you might need an occasional exfoliator, but definitely not the thousands of other skincare products that are shoved into consumers’ faces every day. Take a moment to consider what your skin really needs. Chances are it’s not that $200 eye cream.
Invest in a Freezer
Not being able to buy food in bulk is usually what prevents people from saving money on groceries. Having a freezer eliminates this problem and also allows you to prepare and store large amounts of food at once. This can go a long way in saving you some important time and money.
Finally, take a moment to think about what you really want in life. Is it just material items and the pleasure they provide? In the end, it’s family, friends and experiences that’ll make you truly happy, not to mention that they all cost a whole lot less than the luxuries we often get so caught up in chasing after.
Pursue a genuine, fulfilling and simple life. You’ll quickly notice the difference it can make for your finances.