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The Frugal Person’s Guide to Your First Place in LA


The Frugal Person’s Guide to Your First Place in LA

Picture Courtesy of Gabriel Millos

The Frugal Person’s Guide to Your First Place in LA

Living in Los Angeles is not easy but it’s possible. You definitely have to compromise and be smart but you don’t have to give up what you want.

Living in Los Angeles is not easy but it’s possible. You definitely have to compromise and be smart but you don’t have to give up what you want. Los Angeles is a land of endless possibilities regardless of what some “not so starry eyed” residents have told you.

Can times get hard? Yes! Is it expensive? It can be. Can you survive? Definitely. In a year and a half I went from having nothing to having everything I need and more. And this is on a job just above minimum wage. I didn’t need help from mommy and daddy either. I got my car, my apartment, my belongings by rolling with the punches, compromising and research. Now my life is very quaint and small but it’s all I need to build it into something. Recently I signed a lease to my very first apartment. So exciting! I was able to get everything I needed in about a week way under my budget and here’s how!

Before we get started and before getting a new apartment you need to save. Stop eating out so much, bring lunch to work, cancel that trip to the mall. Save save save! Not just enough to get by but factor in the worst case scenario. Moving in ain’t cheap. No one ever told me that some property managers wanted first month’s rent and last month’s rent AND a security deposit (most of the time equal to rent)! That’s a lot of money to be had and this doesn’t include everything you’ll need for your place. If you’re like me and just had clothes and nothing else…you have to save.



I am still marveled by the amazing deals I got off of Craigslist. Before moving in I realized I would need a fridge. I didn’t even have a bed or any type of furniture. Craigslist is your friend when you’re on a budget. In Los Angeles, everyone is always moving and sometimes without enough time to really sell anything. Sometimes people give things away for free, you wouldn’t even believe it.

A couple of weeks ago I was really going to bite the bullet and buy a $400+ mattress. That’s a lot considering all the other things I had to buy. But you know what, I kept the faith that I would save and found a man selling a mattress for $100 right next to the apartment I was getting. He steam cleaned and I checked it for bed bugs (very important) and now I have a wonderful queen sized mattress for way less than I thought it would be! I bought a mattress cover for it just in case and it’s wonderful. Also, I needed a fridge which is another big ticket item. I really thought I would have to pay $400+ for a new one. But found a perfectly functional one on Craigslist for $75! Ridiculous? I know. I’m telling you, save your money and buy used. It will save your wallet.



Spending a ton on furniture for your new place is a no go. Who knows if you’ll like that wood color in five years? Go to Ikea! It may not be known for its quality but their cheap and contemporary furniture is good for right now. It’s also good for your wallets. Instead of buying $40 end tables I decided to get the simple but potentially chic LACK side tables for $7.99 each. Ridiculous. They also have nice sofas for under $300, bookcases under $40 and even TV stands around $15! Their furniture is so simple that you could do almost anything with them. You can spray paint it, put glass on it, glue some pieces together…endless.

99 Cent Store


For your essentials, go to the 99 cents store! You can get everything you need from silverware, hand soap, cleaning supplies and more. You can pretty much get everything you need for under $100 after taxes! It cannot be beat. They have known brands too. Most of their items aren’t off brand. You’ll save so much there rather than going to other stores.



For my decorating needs, Target has been my best friend. I like to save but I still wanted things to look cute and homey. Their room essentials line has really did me justice. The line is self-explanatory with cheap yet quality essentials for your place. My comforter, shag rug, pillows, candles, lamp, hamper are all from Target. Nowadays Target is even beating Wal-mart when it comes to cute yet cheap and affordable decor.

Discount Stores


Los Angeles has tons of them from the nationwide Marshalls, TJMaxx to the local DD’s Discount and Fallas. These stores have affordable household items like pots/pans, towels, decor…you know it. They’re definitely worth checking out for the essentials and the decor extras. It’s best to save a buck anywhere you can.

There are my tips for you. You can definitely do it…cheaply but with quality. You can get what you need way under budget with research, time, speed and determination. Good luck!

Alexandriiah Fenwick

Alexandria “Alexandriiah” Fenwick, is a multi-talented novelist/blogger/songwriter from the DMV who moved to LA last year. You can follow her journey at The Worst Adviice.

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