So, you want to relocate to Southern California. If so, you’ve probably got your heart set on one of two cities: Los Angeles or San Diego. When it comes to affordability, pick your poison; the cost of living in both metropolitan areas is some of the highest in the country.
With that said, millions of people manage to live in Southern California without going broke. If there’s a will, there’s a way. If you have your heart set on moving to San Diego in the near future, the following serves as a handy guide to saving money along the way:
The Roommate Route
Moving to San Diego without living with roommates is almost unheard of unless you’re already rich and well off. You’ll most likely be living with one or more people as a way to split the cost of the rent. When you are thinking about how to find a roommate in San Diego that you can stand to live with, it might not be as hard as you think. Approach the matter as if you were looking for a new job. Stop and consider all the factors before agreeing to sign the lease. After all, saving money on rent by living with one or more roommates won’t do much good if you’re compelled to move out within a few months due to insufficient compatibility.
Settle for the Outer Rim
Like most major cities, San Diego is divided into several sections based on proximity to certain locations. Apartments by the beach or those close to downtown will most definitely cost more than those situated farther inland and several miles away. With this in mind, expand your apartment hunting to include everything from Oceanside to the north down to Imperial Beach in the south. Doing so may lead you to housing that suits your budget better than more centrally-located options.
Take Advantage of Free Activities and Experiences
What do public beaches, state parks, and museums have in common? They’re free! With this in mind, skip the nightclubs, fancy restaurants, and other expensive activities and spend your time enjoying all the fun and free things San Diego has to offer. While it’s assumed you’ll throw a dollar or two into the donations jar when touring otherwise free museums, it still beats forking over $20 every time you enter a turnstile.
Shop at ALDI
Discount supermarket chain ALDI has three locations across the Greater San Diego Area. That’s not many, and you might be too far away to make it worth the trip, but the savings are astounding. You’ll pay 20-50% less than you would be buying the same groceries at Ralph’s. Wal-Mart is another option to consider. We can all agree we’d rather give our money to a less controversial corporation, but Wal-Mart will make your dollars stretch farther. And for those struggling to afford to live in San Diego, every dollar counts.
Take Advantage of Sales and Discounts
It might sound obvious, and maybe it is, but waiting for sales and discounts is an incredibly effective way to lower your cost of living in San Diego. Many iconic restaurants, stores, and venues offer significant sales opportunities throughout the year. Rather than pay retail prices, consider waiting for these price cuts to drop. Check websites and sign up for email newsletters in order to get a head’s up on upcoming sales and discounts. It could be your one chance to enjoy authentic fish tacos without feeling guilty the following week.
Owning a car in Southern California is an expensive proposition. Between the price of gasoline, parking fees, maintenance, taxes, and registration, you’re looking at shelling out thousands every year. The solution is to sell your car and get used to walking and biking to and from most places. That might sound absurd, considering the way in which California’s infrastructure favors the automobile, but the obsessive car culture is more of an LA phenomenon than San Diego. Besides, the population density of SoCal means most people are only a mile or so away from the nearest grocery store or pharmacy. Throw in the wonderful year-round weather, and getting rid of your car doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.
Do you dream of living in San Diego but dread the cost of living? If so, consider the many ways to save money.