25 Things To Do In Los Angeles For $25 Or Less

25 under $25

Los Angeles is a huge city with over 10 million residents and host to around 250 million visitorsevery year. With the beautiful beaches, the abundant sunshine and the allure of Hollywood, Los Angeles has gained a reputation as a cool place to be.

Los Angeles also has a reputation for being expensive, which is probably because it is. I believe a lot of residents feel the pinch in their budgets from paying for housing and don’t have as much money to allocate to entertainment. I know I sure do.

Last year, I opted to save money with a staycation to enjoy some of the great things this city has to offer. Once I started researching cheap entertainment, I came away with a ton of great options.

Whether you live in Los Angeles or are just visiting, there are plenty of awesome things you can do to enjoy the city, all for $25 or less per person.

Check out my guest post at Budget and the Beach to find the full list filled with some awesome activities to enjoy in Los Angeles on the cheap! 

5 Times Our Emergency Fund Saved Our Budget

5 Times Our Emergency Fund Saved Our Budget

I am writing this post after picking up my laptop from the Apple Store this morning. I had another post ready to go, but after my mini heart attack this weekend, I felt compelled to write this instead.

I was working on a document for a legal freelancing project Saturday afternoon when the mouse pad on my laptop completely stopped working. I could move the cursor, but it wouldn’t click. I totally panicked. I had a ton of work saved on my laptop and I’m working under a strict deadline. After my husband was unsuccessful at troubleshooting the problem, we made a trek to the Apple Store.

At this point, my head was spinning and I was filled with anxiety. As a side note, it’s kind of sad that an electronic device can produce such a response, but it did. I immediately expected the worst: my work was lost and I would have to buy a new laptop.

Thankfully, my laptop was easily repairable. There was a part that needed to be replaced, although it took a long time to be done for reasons I still don’t quite understand. And even if the worst had happened, I would have been fine thanks to our emergency fund.

This little adventure had me thinking about all the other times our emergency fund has saved our budget. I wanted to share them here in hopes it will inspire someone to start their own emergency fund. There is nothing like knowing you have a safety net when the unexpected comes up

5 Times Our Emergency Fund Has Saved Our Budget

A Natural Disaster

In 2009, we were still living in Kentucky and experienced a massive ice storm. It was devastating to the area. Most people lost power after the first night and remained without power for over a week. At our house, we had a large oak tree that splintered, sending a huge limb through our roof and ceiling and also smashing the hood of my car. Since we had no power, we had no heat. At one point it got down to 40 degrees inside the house and we could no longer stay there. It was so bad that it was deemed the worst natural disaster the state had ever experienced. Words cannot accurately describe how bad it was.

We had to pay for a hotel, food and a quick repair of our roof out of pocket before we were reimbursed from our insurance company. At the time, we were one a much tighter budget and there was no way we could have covered those unexpected expenses without the aid of our emergency fund.

A Dead Laptop

I feel like I had some reason to panic this weekend because I have experienced laptop issues before. During my final semester of law school, my old laptop completely crapped out during finals week. Since exams are taken electronically, I was forced to either buy a new laptop or hand write my essays for each three-hour exam. And I had four exams to take. Since law school grades are often determined by a single exam at the end of the semester, I knew I’d be at a disadvantage if I was handwriting when everyone else was typing. So we opened up the emergency fund and purchased my current laptop.

While it’s true that replacing electronics is not a true emergency, the strict timeline of the final exams kind of forced my hand. It is ideal to have a replacement fund (which I am going to start after my scare this weekend) so that the emergency fund doesn’t have to be tapped for a purchase like this. But I sure was glad to have some source of funds to avoid taking on debt or getting an inferior product.

A Dead Car

One of my worst experiences in Los Angeles was that time we caused a traffic jam on Sepulveda Boulevard during rush hour. I had just finished up a job interview and my husband and I were on our way back home. Traffic was stop and go, as it so often is on that road at 5:00 pm. When my husband went to accelerate to inch forward, our vehicle wouldn’t move. We tried everything we could think of, but it just wouldn’t budge. We were stuck in the left lane waiting for a tow truck to arrive for an hour and I was so embarrassed.

Once we got out of that situation and got our vehicle to the shop, we learned our transmission was shot. Apparently there was a known issue with the vehicle and the manufacturer replaced part of the transmission free of charge. We still had to pay for another part that wasn’t covered, as well as a rental car for the week our vehicle was being repaired. We didn’t wake up that morning expecting to spend a couple thousand dollars on our car, but we were able to go to our emergency fund to cover it.

A Sick Puppy

The biggest unexpected expense came just a week after we adopted our dog, Bentley. He was only a few months old at the time and when he became lethargic and developed a cough, we took him straight to the vet. The first vet we saw thought he had a sinus infection, so he was prescribed antibiotics and we were sent home. After his condition began to get worse, after normal business hours no less, we took him to an emergency vet clinic. There, we learned that our puppy had pneumonia in both of his lungs and would need to be kept under a vet’s supervision until his infections cleared up. He was at the animal hospital for a little over a week and we racked up quite a bill.

At the time, we actually decided to drain our vacation savings rather than our emergency fund to cover his expenses. We wanted to make sure that we had our own safety net should something else pop up. Plus, we didn’t feel it was wise to take a vacation while we were rebuilding an emergency fund. No matter where the money came from, I am so thankful that we had the funds to cover his care.

Medical Bills

The most recent use for our emergency fund came with the influx of medical bills from my shoulder injury. Specialists, diagnostic tests and physical therapy are not cheap. Since we are relatively healthy otherwise, we hadn’t put much money towards our deductible. The tear in my shoulder caused me pain, which kept me from working on and off, depending on the severity. The loss of cash coming in coupled with the higher amount of cash going out necessitated dipping into our emergency fund.

I am so happy we have been diligent about maintaining an emergency fund and replenishing it after we’ve withdrawn money. Our emergency fund is the safety net that helps us feel secure in the face of uncertainty. In almost all of the occasions mentioned above, we would have had to resort to debt had we not already had savings set aside.

I know many people are working to repay debt as quickly as possible and may feel the need to forego an emergency fund for a bit. I know the struggle: I also want to repay my debt. But life has shown me to expect the unexpected and an emergency fund may just be the cushion to keep you from accumulating more debt. I hope my experiences have demonstrated how unexpected expenses can pop up out of the blue. I encourage everyone to put a little bit aside to save for those times. When the time comes that you’re faced with an unexpected expense, and it will happen, I promise you won’t regret it.

My #1 Trick To Pay Off Debt

#1 Trick to Pay Off Debt

As regular readers of my blog may know, my biggest financial goal right now is to pay off my debt. Even though I was able to graduate from undergrad debt free, law school is very expensive. When I graduated from law school in 2012, I had about $82,000 in student loan debt.

Over the past 3 years, I have drastically reduced that number. I went from having 8 different student loans down to only 3. As of now, my student loan balance sits at $21,410.52. Sometimes I look at what I have left to pay back and I get discouraged. After all, over $21,000 is a whole lot of money. But when I remind myself of the original balance, I have to feel proud of my progress. I have been able to off over $60,000 in debt while making a very low salary attorney’s salary.

One of my most important goals for 2015 and as part of my 30 by 30 list was to pay off my largest student loan. It started out at about $14,000 and at the time I set my 30 by 30 goal, it was around $12,000. At the beginning of 2015 I had the balance down to $10,000 and I was determined to pay it off by the end of the year.

When I reviewed my 2015 goals I mentioned that I was successful in meeting my goal of paying off my largest loan. I know a lot of people have debt they would like to pay off and I wanted to share with you my #1 trick to pay off debt. It’s the main reason I’ve been successful in tackling my student loans so far.

My Number One Trick to Pay Off Debt

Tricks to Pay Off Debt

It seems like almost everyone is searching for a quick fix to pay off debt. One of my most popular posts is Tricks to Pay Off Debt. In that post, I shared a variety of methods and mindsets I like to use to find some extra cash to throw towards my loan balance. While these tricks are no magic bullet to eliminate debt, they are little things I’ve done to find money in my budget for debt repayment.

These tricks work well for savings goals as well since they tend to focus on choosing to apply money towards a financial goal opposed to spending it on something unnecessary. But little mind games and money tricks will only get you so far. There is a reason people are searching for easy ways to get rid of debt. Paying off debt sucks. It is a painful process that takes time and money, and usually lots of it. Unless you are lucky enough to get a hefty windfall, your debt isn’t going to get paid off overnight. In order to be successful at repaying your debt, you’re going to have to get serious.

My Number One Trick to Pay Off Debt

I’ll let you in on a something important: there is no secret to paying off debt! As I said above, paying off debt isn’t easy at all. The only reason that I have been successful at paying off my debt so far is actually pretty simple though. I have made paying off my debt a priority. That’s it.

I know that my debt has been holding me back. It has kept me from taking risks. I took the first job I was offered in order to ensure I could make my monthly payments. I hunkered down and dealt with a career slump before finally taking charge of my career because of my debt. While there are some things I won’t sacrifice just because I have debt there are other things that I do sacrifice because my debt is a higher priority.

I want to pay off my debt in order to move forward with my goals. I want to be able to afford to own a home in Southern California. I want to pay off our rental property. I want to travel a bit and ensure my future children have good lives. I want to continue working to save puppies. I know I can’t focus on those things until I eliminate my debt.

You Can Do It Too

If you are working to pay off debt, I want you to know that you can be successful. You just have to want it bad enough. You have to decide that nothing else is more important than killing your debt. You have to be willing to forgo some of life’s pleasures now and then, like shopping for entertainment, so you can apply more of your budget to your debt. Every time you are faced with a decision to spend money on something nonessential, ask yourself how bad you want to be debt free. You may have to roll up your sleeves and start a side hustle to earn more cash. You will have to give up some of your time, but it will be worth it when you start to see your balance decreasing.

I’m writing this post partly as a pep talk for myself to suck it up and pay off the rest of my student loans. While it feels like I have a long way to go, I think it’s also important to remind myself of the hard work I’ve already put into my debt repayment process. But I’m also writing this post to encourage anyone else out there who is working to pay off their debt. You can do it. Paying off your debt is possible. Make your debt repayment a priority and you will see results. I promise. 🙂

Have you worked to pay off debt or save for a big goal? What has been the most important thing that’s helped you while on your journey?