How Much Money Should I Save Before Moving to LA?

Moving to Los Angeles is expensive, so how much should you save? Our guide breaks down the start-up costs for moving to LA.
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Money Should I Save Before Moving to LA
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For general budgeting purposes, plan on saving about $5,000 at a minimum to start your new life in LA – and that’s without moving costs. Don’t let that amount dishearten you however. This is just the start of your new life with new experiences and challenges, and it will be worth it.

There are several things you have to calculate in order to come up with an amount to save that’s appropriate for you, so we’re going to break it down for you throughout this article. Savings will include money for somewhere to sleep when you get there, rent, a security deposit, and other start-up costs. You’ll also want to save additional money for costs of moving companies in Los Angeles or a DIY move if you aren’t using state-to-state movers.

How Much Does Living in LA Cost?

There’s a lot that comes with living on your own in a new city. Living expenses can pile up, including the costs for rent each month and how much you spend on food. Of course, every individual is different so there is a lot of wiggle room when it comes to how much you can expect to spend.

In essence, it all depends on you. We’ve put together some ballpark estimates, though, to help you get started on how you can begin budgeting your move to LA and determining your spending and living costs.

Moving to Los Angeles

Moving costs depend on how much you plan to move to LA, how far you’re moving, and other factors. If you’re flying to the city, flights can be as low as $100 or as high as $1,000 based on where you’re coming in from. For example, flying in from a different country costs more than flying in from New York City.

If you’re driving, you’ll need to calculate fuel costs as well as costs to ensure that your vehicle is safe to take the trip to Los Angeles. This can vary dramatically depending on the make, model, and current condition of your vehicle.

Along with fuel costs you’ll need to calculate hotel stays and food to eat on the way there when driving to LA. If you’d rather ship your vehicle and skip driving, shipping costs go from $650 to $1,200 on average.

The items you plan on taking with you will need to be considered as well. If you don’t have much to move, you may be able to forego national moving companies in Los Angeles. However, if you plan on taking a lot, you’re going to want LA movers helping you make sure that everything goes perfectly.

When You First Arrive

More often than not, you won’t be able to find a place in Los Angeles until you actually arrive in the city. This means that you may end up needing a place to stay while you get on your feet, which can take some time.

If you have a friend or family members in LA, it would be a good idea to plan some time crashing on their couch or in a spare bedroom. While this is a free place to sleep and eat, you may consider offering to pay a bit of your way while staying. For example, offering to pay partial rent or utilities is a nice gesture that is often appreciated.

Staying with a friend or someone in your family is often the cheapest option, but it’s not always available. If you don’t have a couch to crash on when you get to LA, you’re going to want to look into rentals or hotels. A hotel is often more expensive, so consider a rental or friend first and foremost.

Be prepared for it to take several weeks to find an apartment, but it could take up to a month or more. For 2 weeks at a rental, look at paying about $1,000. Hotel rates fluctuate throughout the year, so you could end up paying much more for several weeks at a hotel within the city.

Your First Apartment

The average cost of a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles is about $1,000 while a two-bedroom runs about $1,600 depending on the location. Some places are more expensive than others, such as Santa Monica, while others are less expensive, like Burbank.

In an ideal situation, you’ll be able to find someone to share an apartment with you so that rent can be split. This keeps startup costs low and makes it possible to save some money each month.

When getting an apartment, you will need to provide a security deposit as well as first and last month’s rent. If you’re renting an apartment that costs $1,000 a month, then you’re looking at spending a solid $3,000 on your first apartment.

The good news is that you likely won’t have much to move, so you won’t need to look for Los Angeles movers. That is, if you haven’t accumulated a bunch of items in the weeks prior to getting your apartment. Then, you’d probably want to at least rent a moving truck for your stuff.

Other Startup Costs

Once you’ve moved into your first apartment using cross-country movers and are living life in the city, you’ll need to consider other startup costs. Some of the things you’ll want may include wireless internet, furniture, dishware, and other small things. You’ll also need to consider your phone bill, utilities, insurance for vehicles (if applicable), and transportation costs.

One thing you should also begin to do is put money to side for an emergency. This way, if anything goes wrong you have some sort of financial cushion to help take care of things. Even saving 5% of each paycheck can help you stay on top of your new life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I move to LA with only $3,000?

While it is difficult, it is entirely possible to move to Los Angeles with only $3,000 in your pocket. In this scenario, you should definitely have a place to stay until you’ve saved enough to get your own place. It’s not recommended that you go any lower, though, as it could be extremely tough with less than this amount.

What if I don’t have any money saved?

If you don’t have any money saved, you can still move to LA. However, it’s going to be difficult and it takes an adventurous spirit and plenty of luck to get by. It’s good to be prepared, though, so try to save the recommended $5,000 before attempting to move to the city on your own. This gives you enough leeway to live comfortably for at least a month.

When is the best time to move to LA?

If you’re looking for great weather, move to Los Angeles during the spring and summer months. If you’re concerned about getting the best price on a new apartment, move to LA during the fall and winter months of October, November, and December. Prices are often lower during these months, so you’ll get the best price on a home.

Start Saving for Your Los Angeles Adventure

If moving to Los Angeles is your dream, there’s no need to let it go. Get some money saved up and get ready to start a new life in sunny and unique LA. All you need is at least $5,000 and the determination to settle in and become an official resident of Los Angeles – an Angeleno!

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