Making every dollar last in Westwood

by Sydney Dischinger

We UCLA students have the pleasure of living in the wonderful neighborhood of Westwood and the wonderful city of Los Angeles. However, our expenses here can start piling up if we don’t keep track of them, adding to our stress from classes and extracurricular activities. Here are some tips to manage your budget, as well as a list of places to go to have a fun — and more importantly, inexpensive — time!

Build your budget

The best way to make sure you’re staying on track with your budget is to plan out your expenditures beforehand! Whether it’s you or your parents financing your endeavors, it’s important to make a realistic estimate of how much you can afford to spend in a month.

I suggest creating a monthly cap on how much you’ll pay for clothing, transportation and entertainment — make sure to factor in food and school supplies, too. Never feel pressured to fully meet these limitations; what you don’t spend this month can easily be transferred into next month’s budget! It’s also essential to factor in an emergency fund into your budget that will be set aside in case unexpected circumstances arise.

Remember, only you know what a practical monthly budget is for your lifestyle, and nobody’s expenses are going to look exactly the same.

Free entertainment

Congrats, you’re living in Los Angeles! This means that there’s no reason to drop a fortune on entertainment when there are so many free or inexpensive options right within your reach. If you’re outdoorsy, take a hike at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, or grab a surfboard and check out Santa Monica Beach. Are you more of an artsy person? The Hammer Museum offers free art exhibitions! No matter what your interests are, you can get creative with how you and your friends have fun!

Food, food, food

Los Angeles cuisine is amazing, but unfortunately, it often comes with a hefty price tag. However, there are still plenty of low-price options. For an Italian meal under $10, head down to Lamonica’s NY Pizza for a hot slice of pie. In the mood for a taco? Tacos 1986 has got you covered for under $5. If it’s some great Korean BBQ that you’re seeking, Kalbi’s Grill offers both raving reviews and bowls coming in at around $10.

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