In order to find the best living situation, there are multiple factors to consider. How much are you willing to pay for housing? How important is safety and what do you consider “safe”? How important is the surrounding location to you? The only person who can answer these questions for you is you!
Some AmeriCorps members choose to live with other AmeriCorps members, some choose to live with non-City Year people, some live with family, and some live alone.
This is another case where you need to be honest with yourself about what you think you will need in your life during your corps year. Keep in mind that you will be at work 10 hours a day, which means you will be with AmeriCorps Members for at least that long.
When searching for your apartment in Los Angeles, consider your budget carefully. Housing will more than likely be your largest expense, but that doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. Start with the right mindset; you’ll be averaging about $1,000 a month after taxes are taken out of your paycheck. Be realistic with yourself on how much of that you’re willing to pay for rent and utilities each month. Don’t forget to consider hidden expenses when relocating and moving – security deposits, utilities, appliances, first and last month’s rent, etc.
Will you use public transportation or a personal vehicle? AmeriCorps members receive a free Metro TAP pass for unlimited transportation in the LA area, but it does not cover many commuter transportation options for suburbs or neighboring cities. Your commute time can drastically vary depending on your mode of transportation and where you are coming from.
Move Yourself: You’ll want to make sure you do your homework, but moving yourself can significantly lower your relocation expenses. Being extremely prepared is important when you move because you don’t want any unpleasant surprises. Plan your route, get your car checked out, utilize family and friends to help pack, and get your boxes from your office or local grocery/liquor stores for free.
Downsizing Belongings: When you move, you will realize how much excessive stuff you have. Now is the time to downsize some of your belongings and eliminate the need for extra storage space. Host a yard sale or see what you can sell elsewhere. Anything else you may not need can be donated to local shelters or other organizations. By getting rid of things you do not need anymore; you will feel better and be ab le to save some space.
Minimize your lifestyle: Get a smaller apartment. Find a roommate. Sell your car. Think about moving back home with your parents if you’re graduating from college before you start your year. Cancel any of those unnecessary monthly memberships you don’t need. Whatever it is that will reduce the amount of bills you have to pay regularly, then do it.
You'd never set out on a cross-country road trip without consulting a map. Likewise, you can't expect to live on a stipend without developing a plan for spending and saving.