How Do People Afford To Live In California? The Tricks

California is among the beautiful American states. You can visit the mountains, beautiful beaches, and deserts. 

Despite all its beautifulness, there’s no way you can get around the fact that California is expensive to live in. 

The high living cost in California has been a severe topic of discussion for years. However, some Californians comfortably pay ridiculous prices. 

Through studies of different Californian families, there is information on how they survive in California. Here is the answer to the question.

How Do People Afford To Live In California?

Most people manage to live in California by avoiding the big cities such as San Diego etc.

When people hear about California, they think about the big cities and other beach communities. 

The mentioned locations have various advantages, but there is one issue they are costly. For example, the studio apartment rent in San Francisco is approximately between $2500 and $3000 monthly. 

On the other hand, the two-bedroom house rent is about $6000 and $8000 monthly. For both studio apartments and a two-bedroom house, the rent is relatively high for individuals or couples. 

Those with larger families will need bigger spaces, which means more money. In smaller cities such as Camarillo, California, prices are pretty fair. 

Here the rent for a three-bedroom house is about $3300 monthly, and a one-bedroom home is about $1700 monthly. The rent price in small cities is still high but better than in major cities. 

If you manage to reduce your housing cost in California, you will have reduced the general living cost. Therefore, you will live a more comfortable life and have money to spend on other things.

Other Ways That People Afford Living In California 

There are things that Californians do to live in California comfortably. Note that most of them are not exciting or fun. But if you do not earn $100,000 or more years, you should consider them. 

In California, the most considerable expense is housing, and you can’t avoid this. Every place in California is equally expensive when it comes to accommodation. 

However, there are ways you can reduce the expense, such as living in minor cities, etc. Here is more information on how people can afford to live in California.

Rent a Home Instead of Buying 

It sounds odd since one of the significant American dreams is to own a house. 

To survive in California, you have to put the dream aside. The average price of a home in California is about $771,000. For a square foot, you will need to pay about $551. 

Therefore to get only 1500 square feet, you’ll have to pay almost $825. 000, still this land is small if you have a family. 

Again home price infamous San Francisco city is about $1.5 million. It’s better to rent a house than buy one.

Find a Roommate

People older than 25 years will find it hard staying with a roommate. It’s something popular among college students. Having one or several roommates helps reduce housing costs. 

For example, if you pay $4000 monthly for a house, having a roommate will make you spend half the amount. Two or more roommates will even be better and will have you saving some dollars. 

However, when it comes to roommates, you need to find someone you have similarities with. For example, if you love loud music and other crazy stuff, then look for a roommate that is equally as crazy as you. 

If you get an introvert that loves sleep, both of you won’t enjoy the stay. 

Working From Home 

Today many people have embraced the working from home system. Millions of Americans are doing this, plus many companies now realize that it makes employees more productive and saves them money. 

Working from home means you won’t be driving across town, and thus you’ll save fuel, upkeep, and parking money. If it’s impossible to work from home, you can join or start a carpool. 

You are okay if you manage to handle the significant housing and transport expenses. Cutting costs on entertainment or grocery is also great but not so effective in the long run.

What Makes California Expensive?

Key factors that make California expensive are housing, gas, transport, utilities, and groceries. If you are considering a move to California, there’s a mix of living settings and properties. 

California offers a vast real estate variety. It includes remote towns near national parks, mountains, etc. Here are some of the things that raise California’s cost of living.


California is known for its many progressive rules to preserve the environment and reduce carbon emissions. The regulations affect several things, including house costs. 

Because of land regulations, there are fewer houses in big cities. Different laws do reduce residential development. Rules tell the number of homes people should develop. 

In addition, you should consider the fact that most California cities are developing outside their boundaries. It is known as urban sprawl, and this increases new homes values. 

Plus, most people love staying centrally or in a place that’s easy to commute from to work. Therefore as the city develops, the house prices increase. 

Building a home or an apartment in California is about $326,000. It’s another factor why the housing cost in California is high.

Car Insurance 

California state ranks as the 7th most expensive state regarding vehicle insurance. Averagely Californians spend around $1,962 annually on insurance. 

There are certain California parts with cheaper insurance plans. Overall, California is denser, and therefore chances of accidents happening are higher. All these make California’s car insurance more elevated than other states.


The expenses of Californians are a bit higher than for people in other American states. It’s one thing that makes California quite expensive. 

Again when it comes to expenses, the regulations also play a part.


Taxation is another thing you should consider when talking about the high living cost in California. Income tax in California is relatively high. 

Amazingly, low earners only pay 1% income tax. The sales rate tax base is the highest at 7.25% in California.

Best Places To Live In California 

California is undoubtedly among the most expensive state to live in America. However, if you consider particular factors such as cultural and natural diversity, climate, and amazing cities such as San Francisco, you’ll find it worth living in California

You can indeed find your dream place in California, but now you need to consider variables. Here are some of them. 

  • Living costs, including groceries, housing
  • Proximity to your workplace
  • The setting: natural or urban
  • School availability – for families with children

There are many unique places to live in California and are cheaper. According to Californians, here are some of the best places for anyone who wishes to stay in California.

1. San Jose 

The city is among the best places to live in California and United States. It’s known for its amazing sunny weather, stable housing, and the excellent job market.

2. Irvine, Orange County 

Irvine is one place with a great job market and thus a well-earning location. Its family-friendly environment is an excellent place to raise your kids, plus it’s so secure. 

It has a stable housing market and has all the essential amenities such as hospitals and schools. Overall it’s a very livable place.

3. San Diego

It is among the major cities in California, which means the cost of living here is relatively high. However, it’s still an excellent place for people who would love to move to the famous California State. 

The city is famous for its restaurant scene and exceptional climate. According to research, San Diego ranks as the 7th happiest place or region in the USA. 

It’s simply because of its beautiful scenery and beaches—some amazingly livable places in California to consider even though they are pretty expensive. 

As you select the different places, keep in mind that house prices are high, and rice prices depend on location. You can also choose other cities such as Santa Monica, Palo Alto and many more.

Salary Amount You’ll Need To Live In California Comfortably. 

To comfortably live in California, you’ll need a full wage of $32.68 hourly. It will enable you to afford a two-bedroom house in certain cities. 

According to the figure, California is the 2nd most expensive place to live after Hawaii, where you’ll need $36.13 hourly. 

However, the reports shouldn’t scare you from living in California. They are simply trying to create awareness of discrepancies between hourly wages and house costs.


California is among the most expensive states to live in America. However, there are certain things you can do to reduce the cost. If you consider certain factors like climate, location, and many more, you’ll love the place. 

Plus, you will indeed compromise to moving to California cost. The one thing that makes California so expensive is the tight regulations, and then there’s supply and demand, etc. 

With the proper research and decision, you can find affordable places to live in.

John Taylor
John Taylor
John Taylor is a seasoned writer with more than 10 years of experience as a professional. He has written professionally for many different organizations, such as The Atlantic and the Boston Globe. John can write on any topic you need him to cover, from business writing to creative nonfiction pieces. His portfolio speaks for his skills; he's not only an experienced writer but also an excellent editor and researcher!


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