Living in Orange County isn’t cheap, but there is plenty to see and do there. Whether you already live there or are thinking of moving there, there are a few ways to live on a budget and make it more affordable. The trick is to plan to survive the additional financial burden.
Save on Loan Repayments
If you have debt, repayments likely take up a large chunk of your budget each month. While the only way to eliminate this expense in your budget is to pay the money back, you can still save by refinancing your debt. A student loan refinance is a great way to lower expenses because it involves taking out a new loan at potentially more favorable terms to pay back the old debt.
Check Your Grocery Spending
Going grocery shopping might seem simple in theory, but it is very easy to overpay for your items when you live in Orange County. It might be easy to go to the nearest store and grab some items for dinner, but it’s important to take the time to compare what you are getting. If you get salads, take some time to see what each store is offering on sale. Many stores also have electronic ads you can sign up for. A little savings each week can add up over time.
Avoid Getting Cable and Satellite
You might be used to spending your free time watching TV, but there is so much to do in Orange County and Los Angeles that you don’t need to spend your time inside. If you are moving to the area from a colder place, you won’t have to worry about cold weather keeping you at home during the winter. The weather is warm year-round, and there are many opportunities to find new hobbies that will keep you occupied. Avoiding cable or satellite can save you several hundred dollars each month, and if you really want to watch a few of your favorite shows, you can always get one or two streaming services at a time.
Save on Parking
Parking is in high demand in the Orange County area, and you can expect to pay a premium. You also must contend with variables like special hours, street sweepings, crowded with cars, and regulations in the area. It can be hard to know where you should and should not park, and when the laws apply. You can avoid these fees by using ride-sharing services or carpooling with your friends. This also saves you money on gas, which is another expensive commodity in this part of California.
Try to Shop Used
You might be used to going to retail stores when you need clothing or household goods but consider avoiding these stores in Orange County since they can be more expensive. When you move to a new space, consider furnishing your home with pieces from thrift stores or flea markets. You never know what you will find at a flea market or thrift store, and you can save plenty of money on household goods and articles of clothing.
Get Free Things When You Can
Shopping for used items can save you money, but so will finding items and activities for free as much as possible. One of the nice things about living in the city is that there are so many adventures and activities to find in your own backyard. Consider going to a Los Angeles County beach, which is free to visit. You can also join local social media groups where many give away their unwanted items. With so many living in one area, you are likely to find some great things. However, since there are so many, there is also likely to be plenty of competition, so check back often so you can be one of the first to score an item.
Take Advantage of Campuses
One of the nice things about the Orange County and Los Angeles area is that there many campuses around, and you may be able to take advantage of some of the thing’s students are offered. Of course, you can’t claim to be a student yourself, but you can certainly research what’s available. Some schools allow you to use their internet and libraries to check out books. There are also dental schools and cosmetic schools, where you may be able to receive discounted services or even free ones.
Find Local Rewards Programs
It might seem like rewards programs are frustrating because they constantly send out promotional messages, but they can still save you money. When you need to make sure you save as much money as possible, it can be worthwhile to sign up for a few in the area. Doing so can ensure your purchases save you money. Grocery stores and pharmacies often have programs where you can find cashback offers and receive money back on purchases you make in store. Others offer discounts on gasoline purchases. Some shopping centers have a rewards program where you can receive free parking in the garage associated with the building the store is in. You can set up a secondary email address to use for these promotional programs, so your main inbox does not get flooded.
Reduce Spending on Bills
You might be able to negotiate your phone or cable bill, but others such as water and electricity are usually not negotiable. Still, you could speak with your providers to see if they offer any discounts for individuals below a certain income. However, even if your income does not meet those thresholds, you can still find ways of reducing your bills. Because Southern California often has mild weather, you may not need to run the HVAC system as frequently as you would in other parts of the country. Consider having the windows open on nice days instead. You might want to start tracking the amount of electricity you use each month to see if you can cut back once you are getting close to the amount your monthly budget will allow.