Los Angeles is known for many things, from entertainment to its rich history of diverse culture! It’s also known for its relatively high cost of living, so if you’re planning a move to the City of Angels, it’s essential to do a little research before you start loading up the truck.
Here are a few things to consider when budgeting for your move to LA:
Overall Cost of Living
The overall cost of living in Los Angeles is 51% higher than the national average, and it may come as no surprise that the most significant culprit for that notable price gap is the housing cost. While your definition of “comfortable” may differ from your neighbor’s, reliable sources say that $76,710 qualifies as a comfortable living wage. Again, whether you agree or disagree will depend on several factors, including where you live and how you spend your paycheck.
Los Angeles has a competitive housing market, with high rents and property prices. The cost of housing varies depending on the neighborhood and local amenities, but, in general, it can be pretty expensive. Average home prices run around $1,115,368, and the average monthly rent for an apartment in LA will set you back about $2,742.
While utilities can vary based on your consumption and location, they are a non-negotiable cost. Combined basic utilities like electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for a 915-square-foot home cost somewhere in the ballpark of $183.92. Depending on the provider you choose and the area you live in, your phone bill will average about $83.26 per month, and internet plans will cost around $70.40.
Los Angeles is notorious for its traffic, and owning a car is expected. Gasoline prices can be higher than the national average, rolling in at $5.06 per gallon as of August 2023. Public transportation, like the LA Metro, is a highly affordable option with a regular fare of $1.75 for two hours of unlimited one-way transfers. Public transportation coverage may not be as extensive as in some other major cities, but many find that carrying their bikes onto the bus and cycling to their final destination is a solid solution.
Like everywhere else, the cost of groceries in LA can vary depending on where you shop and your dietary preferences. On average, a typical monthly grocery bill for one person might range from $400 to $600. You can expect to pay $1.23 for a qt of milk, $3.34 for a loaf of bread, and $5.82 for a dozen eggs.
Dining & Entertainment
There are so many fantastic places to eat and drink here, and the size of your bill will depend on the type of restaurant you choose. Make no mistake, eating out can be expensive in Los Angeles, but there are some affordable options besides the usual fast-food fare. The average meal price for one at a mid-range restaurant runs around $20-$25 per person. Upscale eateries can be significantly more expensive.
Some events are pricey in LA for sure, such as tickets to concerts or big-name sporting events. But there are plenty of more affordable options in the city, from free events and outdoor activities to festivals and farmers markets. For example, on the more expensive side, you’ve got tickets for attractions like Universal Studios Hollywood running for a minimum of $109. Alternatively, you can cash in on free days at cultural attractions like the LA County Museum of Art and the Autry Museum of the American West.
Surprisingly, the cost of healthcare in Los Angeles is 1.9% less than the national average as of 2023. It’s important to note that most people in Cali are required to have health insurance, so healthcare costs can vary depending on your insurance coverage.
As of 2023, Los Angeles has a combined sales tax rate of 9.5%. This figure combines the California sales tax of 6%, county sales tax of .25%, LA county local and district tax of 1%, and 2.25%, respectively.
Is Los Angeles Worth It?
In our humble opinion, yes! Of course, in the end, the cost of living in LA is undeniably high. But it’s important to recognize that the cost of living in Los Angeles is not solely defined by its price tags. The city’s unique blend of diversity, creativity, and innovation continues to attract people from all walks of life. For many, the opportunity to live in such an influential and dynamic metropolis is worth the careful budgeting and planning needed to make it work comfortably.