So, you’ve finally made the decision to move to Los Angeles?
Now, all you need is some cash to get you started.
But how much?
Everyone knows LA is expensive but exactly how much should one have in their bank account to feel confident? What is too little? What’s not enough?
Is there such thing as “too much?”
In the following, I will give you a breakdown of how much it cost me to get an apartment, furnish it and have something to eat at the end of the day. The prices vary but I will try to round it off to an average number.
First of all, you’ll need money. There is no way around it.
Do your parents have credit cards? Good, use ‘em.
Have a rich uncle or wealthy grandparents. Hit them up.
Have some investments and savings? Cash them out.
My point is: this new adventure will cost you cold hard cash and you have to be financially ready. Of course, lots of people venture out here with little to no cash and make it. But, for the average person, I hope this article will help orient your finances so that you can make it to LA.
My entire experience took seven days.
Here we go:
You’ll need a car to explore all of the cool neighborhoods in LA to apartment hunt. You can rent one or drive over. I drove over. My car broke down in Indio, California. That was a $600 fix before I arrived. Roughly about what it will cost you to rent a car for
I was lucky and slept on a friends floor during my hunt so that saved me some money, but otherwise plan to spend around $60-$80 a nights for a hotel.
LA is a monster of a city. I factored around $30 a day for food and had a $125 budget for gas. If you eat at fast food places, get cereal and milk for a snack and have a 4 cylinder car it should work out fine.
Food and Lodging
Next, there are application fees for the apartments. They are usually around 30 bucks and you may have to fill out several to sweeten your chances. I just filled out 2: $60.
These also require copies of your driver’s license and social security card. Around 50 cents per copy: $2.
Speaking of having your finances in order, make sure you (or your cosigner if you have one) have good credit when you apply or your rent and deposit may go up significantly.
I didn’t have a job when I applied for an apartment. If you are in that boat be prepared to fork over around three months of rent up front, plus the deposit.
You can maybe negotiate less but 3 months for no employment is standard. I found a nice place in Glendale for $1,200. The deposit was $600. Total: $4,200 up front.
Did you know some LA apartments don’t come with a fridge? $800.
I debated shipping all of my furniture from home but figured it would cost about the same to buy everything once I got here. To furnish my apartment with a computer desk, couch, TV stand, TV, bed frame and mattress, night stand, kitchen table, coffee table and have it delivered: $4,000.
Do you enjoy eating? Me, too 🙂
I went grocery shopping at Ralph’s and got the necessities such as chicken, salt, pasta, sauce, rice, bread, hamburger, frozen pizza, pepper, sugar, coffee, paper towels, etc: $95
There it is. My entire 7 day search cost me almost $10,000!
Well, $9,982 to be exact
Is moving to LA worth it? It depends on your goal.
For me it was a lifelong dream. Two months later I am still amazed to see the skyline and find something new every day.
It was worth it.