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Cost Of Living In Los Angeles For International Students In 2024

Cost Of Living In Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the undisputed heart of the American entertainment industry. This global icon attracts students from all over the world. But don’t believe the myth that everyone in LA is a wannabe movie star. In reality, this tinsel town is a magnet for dreamers drawn to its picturesque beaches, flawless weather, and unmatchable academic prowess. With its breathtaking landscapes, world-class dining and rich tapestry of cultures, it’s no wonder that the cost of living in Los Angeles is a little bit on the higher end. 

Moving to a city of nearly 4 million people can be daunting, but it’s important to be well-prepared. If you’re thinking of studying in the City of Angels, it’s essential to learn as much as you can about the average living cost in LA.  

Average Cost Of Living In Los Angeles

On average, you should be ready to spend in the ranges of $2,542 (INR 2,11,543) and $2,680 (INR 2,23,027) monthly in LA. The next thing would be finding affordable accommodation before making the exciting move to Los Angeles as an international student. Los Angeles is known for its pricey housing costs, so it’s important to look for the most budget-friendly rental options. This will allow you to create a realistic budget and fully enjoy your study abroad experience. 

Below, we’ve provided an overview of the living expenses in Los Angeles for various items to help you plan ahead.

ParticularsCost (Monthly)
Off-Campus Accommodation $1,542
On-Campus Accommodation$1,680 
Food Cost$371
Utility Cost$139
Total Cost of Living with Off-Campus Accommodation $2,542 
Total Cost of Living with On-Campus Accommodation $2,680
Annual Cost of Living$30,504

Cost Of Accommodation In Los Angeles

The sprawling expanse of Los Angeles comprises an array of districts and neighbourhoods, each with its unique character and charm, which can sweep you off of your feet. Exploring these neighbourhood-specific rental prices can help you decide where to reside while pursuing your studies in the vibrant city of Los Angeles. 

NeighbourhoodNearby UniversitiesAverage Cost Per House
West-Side LAUniversity of California,
Los Angeles (UCLA)

Loyola Marymount University
Santa Monica College
Pepperdine University
Central/East LAUniversity of Southern California (USC)
California State University,
Los Angeles (CSULA)

Occidental College
San Fernando Valley – South, EastCalifornia State University Northridge (CSUN)
Los Angeles Mission College
Los Angeles Valley College
San Fernando Valley – South, NorthCalifornia State University, Northridge (CSUN)
Los Angeles Valley College
Pierce College
Long BeachCalifornia State University, Long Beach (CSULB)$900-1,500
PasadenaCalifornia Institute of Technology (Caltech)Pasadena City College$1,000-1,600

Food Cost

While calculating your LA living expenses, don’t forget to factor in your food costs. The cost of food varies depending on your dining preferences, dietary restrictions and budget. If you’re looking for a quick and affordable meal, fast-food restaurants like In-N-Out Burger and Chipotle offer options for around $6-$8. We’ve also listed down some of the affordable places in Los Angeles where students are seen hogging! 

Name Of The RestaurantCuisineLocationPrice Range
Baja Subs Market & DeliSri Lankan, Mexican, Southeast Asian8801 Reseda Blvd Suite A, Northridge, CA 91324$16 or less
Bé ÙVietnamese557 N Hoover St, Los Angeles, CA 90004$10 or less
Liu’s CafeTaiwanese/Hong Kong3915 1/2 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020Just over $10

Transportation Cost

Getting around a metropolis like Los Angeles may cost you a hefty sum of $165. While there are a variety of transportation options available, most residents opt for the convenience and flexibility of their own car. These are some of the viable options students can choose from: 

  1. Public Transportation

Los Angeles’ public transit is improving as the Metro system continues to expand. There is now a light rail system, city buses and mini shuttles that operate in certain areas.

  1. Ride-Share

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are very popular in LA, especially for people who are running errands or getting to and from social events. They offer a convenient and affordable way to get around the city, but it’s important to note that prices can surge during peak hours.

  1. Bikes and Scooters

Metro Bike Share, which is Los Angeles’ bike share system, offers shared bikes at hubs throughout the city. You can purchase a day pass for $5 and enjoy unlimited rides for 24 hours. Bird scooters are also available and very popular. They offer a fun and eco-friendly way to get around the city, but it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and ride safely.

Entertainment Cost

Los Angeles is a city with something to offer everyone. There are over 105 museums, more than a dozen professional and collegiate sports teams, Universal Studios and Disneyland just a short drive away; there’s never a shortage of things to do. Add to that a thriving music scene, with concerts and performances happening all year round, and the chance to attend a live taping of a TV show, and you’ve got a city that’s always buzzing. For an unparalleled entertainment experience in Los Angeles, expect to spend around $60 per month. Here’s some of the top places you can visit:  

  1. Warner Bros Studio

2. Santa Monica Pier

3. Griffith Observatory

Education Expenses In Los Angeles

Tuition costs vary from school to school in Los Angeles and the surrounding area, with out-of-state residency and private colleges typically resulting in higher fees. The average tuition cost for a four-year public university in California is $37,910 for out-of-state students. Private universities in Los Angeles typically have much higher tuition costs, with some schools charging over $60,000 per year. Here are the fees at leading universities in Los Angeles: 

Name Of The University Average Tuition-Fees
The University of California, Los Angeles$44,830
The University of Southern California$64,726
The University of California, Irvine$43,739
California Institute of Technology$60,864
Loyola Marymount University$55,441

Cost To Live In Los Angeles, California Compared To Other Cities

The graph shows the cost of living per month in Los Angeles compared to other cities in the United States. 

  • The cost of living in Los Angeles is higher than in all of the other cities. 
  • Los Angeles has the highest cost of living out of all the cities shown, except for Panama City.
  • Panama City has a cost of living that is 50% lower than Los Angeles.
  • Paris has a cost of living that is only 2% higher than Los Angeles. 

It is important to note that the cost of living can vary significantly within a city, depending on factors such as neighbourhood, housing type and lifestyle. However, this graph provides a general overview of the cost of living in Los Angeles compared to other major cities.

Financing Tips For Managing Expenses In Los Angeles

In this section of our cost of living in Los Angeles blog, you can find some tips to saving up better in LA:

  • Rent or buy back textbooks: Don’t buy all your textbooks new. Rent them instead, or buy used books and sell them back at the end of the semester.
  • Check out books from the library: If you only need a book for a short time, check it out from the library instead of buying it.
  • Carpool or bike: You can carpool with other students or bike around the city if transportation is a big expense.
  • Take advantage of student discounts: Many businesses in LA offer discounts to students. Hence, it is advisable to keep your student ID with you at all times.
  • Plan your meals: Eating out every night is expensive. You should plan your meals and cook at home whenever possible.
  • Borrow movies from the library: Most public libraries have a collection of movies that you can borrow for free.
  • Ditch your streaming service subscriptions: Instead of paying for streaming services, borrow movies and TV shows from the library or watch free content online.


Los Angeles is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, but it is possible to find a place to live and still have money left over with careful planning and budgeting. If you are thinking about moving to Los Angeles, be sure to factor in the high cost of living when making your decision. However, don’t be discouraged! With a little effort, it is possible to live comfortably in LA without digging a hole in your pocket!


What is the cost of living in Los Angeles?

The cost of living in LA is between $2,542 (INR 2,11,543) and $2,680 (INR 2,23,027)  monthly. 

What is the average monthly rent for an apartment in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles rentals average $2,123 for a studio rental to $14,500 for a 4-bedroom rental

How does the cost of living in Los Angeles compare to other major U.S. cities?

Los Angeles is the second-most expensive city in the United States, with high living expenses due to factors such as housing costs and quality of life.

What salary do you need to live in Los Angeles?

A single person living in Los Angeles without children would need to make an after-tax income of $76,710 to live comfortably. 

How much do groceries cost in LA?

An average student in Los Angeles can expect to pay a total sum of $48 for groceries.

Thank you for reading about the “Cost of Living in Los Angeles: 2023-24 Student Budget Guide.” If you’re interested in exploring more articles on related topics, we recommend checking out the below articles:

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Cost Of Living In Los Angeles

Cost Of Living In Los Angeles For International Students In 2024

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