The cost of living has skyrocketed lately with inflation at its highest levels since the 1980s. Your rent might be in for a hike as well so you're probably looking for ways to stretch your money a little further. At the same time, you still deserve to have fun!
If you live in Los Angeles and you're feeling the pinch, this guide can give you a bunch of great ideas on how to save money in L.A.
1. Get Cheap Eats
Everybody's got to eat but why settle with boring basics when money is tight? LA offers a cornucopia of food options that allow you to try a variety of cuisines on the cheap.
Shop for Less at Farmers Markets
If you crave fresh produce and healthy snacks, try your local farmer's market. From Santa Monica to Hollywood, or Burbank to Pasadena, you can find a market near you. It’s a great opportunity to support hardworking growers while you're at it.
Try All the Food Trucks
Food trucks are an amazing way to travel the world without leaving your own city. Since there are dedicated websites to find food trucks near you, there’s no excuse not to try as many as possible!
If you love food from Mexico, Central, and South America, there's even an app to help you find the nearest Hispanic-owned food truck.
Head to Smorgasburg Los Angeles
When you show up at Smorgasburg Los Angeles, you'll be at the largest weekly open-air food market in the United States! It's the place to enjoy free music and cheap food that will satisfy even the fussiest eaters.
2. Shop for Less
If you love shopping but you're in a budget-conscious mode, forget Rodeo Drive and head to one of the many discount malls and outlet shops where you can find your favorite brands for less.
Visit Santee Alley
First on your list should be Santee Alley in the heart of the L.A. Fashion District. Find bargain prices on clothes, accessories, toys, fragrances, and gifts at over 150 stores.
Try the Outlets
L.A. has four major outlet malls featuring all your favorite brands at a fraction of the price. Choose from popular chains and elite designers while enjoying 25% to 75% off.
Attend a Swap Meet Event
The pop-up Swap Meet events give local businesses a chance to book a booth at the OC Fair and Event Center. This way, an interesting range of businesses can meet new clientele (like you!) who might not find their usual store.
You'll find a range of merchandise plus plenty of food options, yummy drinks (for both kids and adults!), and cool live music. Follow OGOC Swap Meet on Facebook for updates.
3. Enjoy the Great Outdoors
You have a lot of options when it comes to finding cheap things to do in L.A. outdoors. Whether you like swimming at the beach or hiking in the hills, there's something for everyone.
Attend Events at Grand Park
This 12-acre park in L.A.'s civic center offers community events, cultural experiences, festivals, and more. Follow Grand Park on Twitter or Facebook for updates on different things you can do with your family or solo.
Go Hiking in Runyon Canyon Park
One of the busiest trails in L.A., Runyon Canyon Park offers hikes with spectacular views of the city plus donation-based yoga sessions.
Pick a Beach
There's an LA beach for every occasion, whether you want to swim, stroll, shop, relax or people watch. Why not try a different beach every weekend and then circle back to your faves?
4. Take Advantage of Free Days at Local Museums
They say nothing is free but that's not entirely true. Many museums offer certain days free of charge so that everyone in L.A. can enjoy the activities and displays.
Explore venues ranging from the Museum of Latin American Art to Kidspace Children's Museum and the Skirball Cultural Center. Just be sure you go when it’s a free-of-charge day!
5. Save on Transport Costs
Everyone knows L.A. is a huge city with tons of traffic. Rising fuel costs and parking fees mean it's difficult to enjoy a truly free day out. But another way to save money in L.A. is to explore alternative transport options.
Carpool When Possible
Let's say you and your friends live just a few neighborhoods apart and the attraction you want to visit is all the way across town. Why not share a car to save on both gas and parking!
Use Public Transport
LA is famous for cars—not trains and buses. But they do exist! Use Metro to explore the city via bus, rail, subway, bike, and micro. And tap into Metrolink for trips further afield around Southern California.
Now, What to Do With All the Money You've Saved?
Now that you see ways to save money even while having fun in Los Angeles—you can start thinking about what you'll do with the extra cash piling up each month.
A savings account is the simplest way to start setting money aside for a rainy day, a college fund, a down payment on a car or house—or anything else you've got your sights set on.
Help your money go further with the right Savings Account.