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How To Save Money In the Big City

This week, I am visiting my brother and his family in Los Angeles, California. To be more specific, they live in Pasadena. People from Los Angeles don’t like when you say “They’re from L.A.”. You need to be more specific, because the city is so huge. It’s a fun city. The whether is amazing, but the traffic and the cost of living is enough to keep me away. I’ve been observing some of the interesting ways that they save money in this city. Los Angeles is a little different than big cities such as New York, Chicago, and Atlanta. It is a hybrid city. It has a downtown, but very few people live there. They live in the hundreds of towns that surround the core of Los Angeles. You can’t call these smaller cities suburbs of Los Angeles, because they still feel like the big city. Los Angeles doesn’t have a great public transportation system. It’s so spread out, that a transportation system to cover every area would cost a fortune. Here are a few ways that my brother and his family save money to live well in Pasadena.

  • They use a cloth diaper drop-off service. They use the cloth diapers, throw them in a big bag, and a delivery truck drops off fresh cloth diapers and picks up the dirty ones. The service is expensive, but it cuts down the trips they need to take to the grocery store to buy diapers. Plus, they don’t have to use as much water to wash the diapers themselves.
  • My brother works from home, and his wife works about ten minutes away from their house. Even though her commute is nothing, she still car pools with a friend from work. Their gas expenses are minimal, because they hardly use their cars during the week. They’ll also spend less on car maintenance.
  • They shop at Trader Joe’s, a cheaper grocery store than Whole Foods or Ralph’s Supermarket. Los Angeles is trendy, People get caught up shopping at supermarkets that are convenient rather than cheaper. Trader Joe’s has quality foods at a cheaper price, and they have a great selection of organic foods.
  • They buy memberships. They have a membership to their favorite museums, the zoo, and other places of interest that charge for admission. A one-year membership always has price advantages, so it’s silly not to take advantage of it if you know that you’ll visit often throughout the year.

These are just a few ways that they save money in a city that will tap your bank account dry if you’re not careful. If you live in the city, share your tips about saving money in the concrete jungle.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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