Los Angeles is an excellent place to live in for many reasons, including its gorgeous beaches, streets dotted with palm trees, mouth-watering food, not to mention its pleasantly perfect weather.
So, if you’re considering moving to the city, you need to know how much you need to spend to live comfortably. As ideal as the city is, it’s still one of the priciest in the United States and across the globe! Though the city’s living standards are high, residents do earn sizeable incomes that help them handle the recurring and non-recurring costs of living. So, if the city’s four million residents can manage their expenses well, anyone can. Therefore, to live within your means, you need to know the types of expenses you’ll incur in Los Angeles. Here’s some information on the costs you’ll need to bear:
Los Angeles. Source: Pixabay
- Housing expenses in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a rapidly developing city, so it’s pretty natural for the rental prices to be high. Nonetheless, LA’s still home to 64 percent renters versus 36 percent homeowners. In other words, most people in LA prefer to rent because that’s a far more affordable option than buying a house.
In terms of statistics, the rent of a one-bedroom apartment in LA reduced to $2648 in 2020, which amounts to a 16 percent reduction in the average. For this, we have the global pandemic to thank. Else, rental rates in LA are much higher than the national average.
Because LA is such an enormous city, you’ll be happy to know that LA has several neighborhoods, each with higher and lower rents than the average figure. For instance, the rents in LA’s most upscale neighborhoods, such as Playa Vista, Beverly Grove, and Fairfax District, fall anywhere between $3528 and $4118 for a one-bedroom apartment. In areas that are slightly less expensive, such as Silver Lake, Little Tokyo, and Koreatown, the rental prices fall between $2324 and $2592, close to the average rent in LA.
For those with a lower budget in mind, you’ll find communities, such as North Hills East and Crenshaw, where the rent for a one-bedroom apartment would fall well below the average. In North Hills, the rent is $1417, while in Crenshaw, it’s $1791.
In summary, be sure not to spend more than 30 percent of your gross income on rental rooms in LA. That way, you get to save some money for emergencies while spending a share on the things you want to.
- Utility expenses in Los Angeles
Landlords in LA don’t include utilities with the rent, for the most part. So, as a tenant, you need to pay separately for utilities. Thanks to LA’s amazingly balmy weather, utility bills are lower in winter because you hardly need to use the heater.
However, in summer, temperatures skyrocket to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit in a few areas in the city. So, residents can’t survive without keeping the air conditioner on at all times. So, the bills are higher too.
In a word, you might end up paying around $185.68 on energy expenses. At the same time, if you include gas, water, fuel, and electricity in utilities, expect to pay around $219.05.
- Food and grocery expenses in Los Angeles
For foodies, especially those who love eating out, LA is the ideal place to be because of the range of cuisines (local and global) and eateries, from food trucks to high-end restaurants available here.
But depending on the food you wish to have and the restaurant type you want to dine in, the expenses will vary. MIT living wage figures reveal that individuals will spend $3792 annually on food should they decide to make all their meals. If you’re not among those who like stepping into a kitchen except to eat, you may have to fork over a minimum of $20 for every meal at a reasonably-priced restaurant. And a ‘meal’ doesn’t include appetizers, main course, and dessert. So, if you decide to have at least three dishes at a medium-priced restaurant, that might total $77.50.
As far as groceries are concerned, we wouldn’t call them cheap by any standards. For instance, stepping into a grocery store in LA, a simple bag of potato chips will cost you $3.50, a dozen eggs will be priced at $2.88, and a pound of ground beef will total $4.58!
Although splitting between cooking your meals and eating out might not prove beneficial, it’s a wiser choice to whip up something at home using what you have rather than eating out. Because whether you intend to or not, you eventually end up spending more.
- Travel expenses in Los Angeles
While LA is a city you’d enjoy driving in, the immense traffic is a big bummer. Additionally, a gallon of gas is around $4.09 on average, according to GasBuddy’s May 2019 numbers. So, to save time and money, it’s logical to opt for the city’s public transportation. The transit system is also referred to as the Metro and includes a range of buses and trains that residents can use to travel in the city. The price of a one-way ticket for buses and trains is $1.75. If you wish to buy a one-day pass, you need to pay $7, a seven-day pass will cost you $25, and a 30-day pass will cost you $100.
While LA isn’t known for being walkable, you can undoubtedly bike your way around the city, courtesy of the LA Metro. They have launched numerous smart bikes that will cost you $1.75 for half an hour. Use it for touring the length and breadth of the city using the impressive bikeable lanes!
In the end, you may want to set a budget for your travel expenses. For singles, the transportation cost would be $4900 a year, and for a family of three, it’s over 8000 dollars!
- Healthcare expenses in Los Angeles
Medical expenses in the Golden State are among the highest in the United States. Since LA is one of the costliest cities in California, it’s not surprising that its healthcare expenses are also exorbitant. Despite the high costs, the importance of spending money on your mental and physical well-being can’t be stressed enough.
In numbers, healthcare expenses in LA are 10 percent higher than the national average. For a simple doctor’s visit, you have to dish out $125 (on average), and if you need to get your teeth fixed, be prepared to pay $110.78.
In the end, it makes sense to set aside some money for emergencies or physicals because you never know when you might need them. Statistically speaking, if you’re single, you spend around $2545 annually. And if you have a family, you might end up spending at least three times the amount!
- Entertainment expenses in Los Angeles
Residents in LA love to work out and stay fit. And after all the hours they spend at work, they also light to have a good time. If you’re a fitness freak and are always on the lookout for entertainment options, look no further!
Should you be an outdoor enthusiast but wish to spend as little as possible on fitness, you can always choose to hike, run, and cycle at the many parks and beaches in the city. Griffith Park and Venice Beach are some examples. Luckily, these activities won’t cost you a dime. But if you wish to be more organized and join a fitness club, get ready to pay $42 monthly. Then there are drop-in yoga sessions, which cost about $21.33 for every class.
As far as clubbing and pub hopping is concerned, they’re a little expensive. In fact, the entrance fees to an average club could be priced between $20 to $30! For most drinks, the price is $15, while shots are a little cheaper at $10.
Finally, if you’re a movie buff, you might be willing to pay any amount, although we must warn you that ticket prices here are higher than most other cities, at $15! Interestingly, this doesn’t include snacks and other items. Since we’re talking about buying stuff, let us also remind you that the minimum tax rate in LA, which has one of the highest sales tax rates in the USA, is 9.5 percent. So, consider this before you go on a splurging spree!
- Income requirements in Los Angeles
As stated initially, refrain from spending more than 30 percent of your gross income on rent. So, to live a pleasant life in LA, your income needs to be around $105,920 annually, assuming, of course, that you live in a one-bedroom apartment for which you’re going to have to spend $31,776 a year. What’s also worth noting is the type of job you do. A tech professional will earn a handsome salary of $93,000 per year. On the other hand, a cashier at a grocery store will only make $35,000.
That said, if you’re not single and have a family, you need to look for something with a lower rent. And if you wish to live more extravagantly, your income needs to be much higher.
In the end, it’s critical to research the job scene and the salaries in LA before taking the plunge. After all, prevention is better than cure, isn’t it?
We understand it’s natural to feel anxious about whether you’ll be able to make enough to live reasonably well, if not luxuriously. Given that LA is a massive city with a ton of perks, the cost of living is bound to be high. But not everyone who lives in the city works in the tech industry and earns $105,920 per year. So, we’re sure that with proper planning of your finances and spending wisely, you’ll be just as comfortable living in LA as any other resident!