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Is it possible to live cheap in California?

Beautiful sunny days, wonderful weather conditions, and pristine beaches are making California one of the most attractive places for living. Many people desire to move there to experience astonishing nature and laid back lifestyle. At the same time, the fear of high living costs leaves doubt about affordability, in general. Being among the most expensive states nationwide doesn’t help either. Fortunately, just because some places have a reputation for being expensive, it doesn’t mean entire California is the same. There are still cheap places if you know where to look. So, if you are on a budget and wondering if it’s possible to live cheap in California, the short answer is yes. However, you will need to figure out how.

How to live cheap in California

Normally, settling down in your brand new neighborhood is the easy part. With proper help, you can go wherever you want. The harder part is to choose the right place to live in. Coupled with the general opinion that the monthly costs can be very high, it can put a lot of pressure on your budget. Having a good job will certainly help, but not everyone has a really good job. So, there must be some other means to make living in California more budget-friendly. To start with, there are a couple of advice to help you have a decent life if you plan to move to California:

  1. Consider an affordable place
  2. Lower your monthly expenses
  3. Find free entertainment
  4. Eating cheaper
  5. Groceries in general

Consider an affordable place to live cheap in California

While choosing the cheapest place would be an efficient way to save money, it doesn’t always mean it’s the best option. You shouldn’t measure the worth of location only by looking at prices. Before looking for an affordable company like to help you with your belongings, consider other elements that influence the living. Crime rates, commuting, environment, and people. While saving money pure mathematically can result in seemingly fine numbers, it can cost you more in a different way. So, you need to carefully consider all the options when looking for a place. Here are some of the most affordable and pleasant places to consider, in general.

A wonderful summit, with a small waterfall, surrounded by a forest in California.
The value of a place is not measured only with money, there are other beautiful things to take into account.

Suburbs with the low cost of living

While renting in LA can be expensive, there are cheaper options. La Habra Heights, for example, is a suburb of Los Angeles with a small population. Quite beautiful small suburban places like this can be a great option. If you don’t desire to live in a large highly urbanized city, suburbs can be the answer. Especially if you are looking for more spacious options for you and your kids. There are many restaurants and shopping options that will easily make you forget about big and crowded cities. Meanwhile, above-average public schools in La Habra Heights offer pretty solid education for future attendants.

Other suburbs you should consider:

  • Rodeo, Oakland
  • Granite Hills, San Diego
  • Rosemead, Los Angeles
  • West Covina, Los Angeles
  • Encinitas, San Diego
  • Laguna Hills, Irvine

Towns with affordable prices

Eureka, a small historical town, with a tight community, positioned just south from the Oregon border. Among others, you can find Victorian-style buildings and homes, surrounded by wonderful nature. Generally, for those coming from afar, this is a perfect affordable less known option if you are looking for a job in tourism, healthcare, or the timber industry.

Other towns to consider:

  • Desert Edge
  • Big River
  • Needles
  • Gerber
  • Lake Isabella
  • Happy Camp

Some of the affordable cities in California

Bakersfield, with a large population, is one of the still-growing cities that offer a plethora of jobs. For an affordable option, this can be one of the best choices in California. You can get a smaller place if you want to make additional savings, and then declutter small spaces by renting affordable storage. It usually pays off. Agriculture and manufacturing are the main industries, but they are not the only ones. Also, you have numerous options for outdoor activities while being in the near proximity of Los Angeles.

Among other affordable cities are:

  • Visalia
  • Fresno
  • Modesto
  • Stockton

Distinguished neighborhoods you should consider

Not all places require the same salary. While there are some cities and towns with extremely expensive neighborhoods, you can find their opposite as well. East Valley is an affordable neighborhood in San Bernardino offering a warm suburban feel and smaller prices. For those who are not yet ready to go to the suburbs, this can be a great alternative. Actually, great and cheap at the same time.

From other neighborhoods we can choose:

  • Stadium West, San Bernardino
  • Windsor Village North, Santa Ana
  • East Del Paso Heights, Sacramento
  • Woodbine, Sacramento

Compromising with housing options is one of the ways to achieve affordability in California. For families, smaller places and suburbs are probably the best option because of kids. For singles, they have more freedom since there is always an option to look for a roommate.

Lower your monthly expenses when planning to live cheap in California

In California, housing and gas cost more than in other states. Generally, you have the option to ditch your car if you live in a walkable place. Or, in a place with great public transportation. Which will, in the long run, save you a lot of money. You can, also, try to reduce the number of subscriptions, cancel some unnecessary services like ultra-high internet speed, or even cable TV. Eventually, since there is numerous recreational option, you might even cancel your gym. It’s up to you.

Find free entertainment

California offers the opportunity to enjoy plenty of free entertainment options. Camping – there is a lot of location you can explore with your family and make a wonderful adventure once a month. Fishing or just hiking – while you will need some gear, to begin with, there are many garage sales, or regular sales, where you can get cheap gear. That’s why, even with a license for fishing, this can be a perfect affordable activity you can enjoy in vibrant California landscapes. Public beaches – pack a bag of food and be ready to enjoy a whole day on the beach. It doesn’t have to cost you a dime.

A kid with a skate jumping on a ramp on the beach.
There is always some activity on the beaches.

Eating cheaper

First of all, you can learn to cook. Not only it will be better for your budget but the food tastes better. You can, however, still enjoy the benefits of cheap fast food when cooking bores you, but don’t make it a habit. Also, if you are with the family, you can find various offers in restaurants as a family package. Wherever you decide to move to, you should always explore eating options in the area.

Rolling pin, eggs, and flour around rolls on the table.
Who knows? You might even have a talent for cooking.

Groceries in general

There are many ways to live cheap in California and carefully handling your groceries is one of them. First, use coupons whenever you can. Most beneficial, use them to buy raw groceries you will use for cooking. Second, visit sales and buy only on sales. If you find a good sale, don’t be afraid to buy in bulk. Pay attention, though, to expiration dates. Third, visit local farmer’s markets to get fresh groceries for much better prices. The last, grow your own food if you have means. A small garden in the suburbs can mean a lot.

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