Living on a budget in San Francisco

Let`s start off with a fun fact. San Francisco is among the top three most expensive cities in the US! This information may look very intimidating. And we won`t lie to you; San Francisco is on that list for a good reason. The housing market, utilities and the overall cost of living – everything is remarkably high in San Francisco. However, don`t give up just yet! Living on a budget in San Francisco is possible. All you need are a few pointers to get you facing in the right direction.

A girl overlooking the city.

Yes, living on a budget in San Francisco can be done, if you only know how!

Choosing the right neighborhood is of the uttermost importance when living on a budget in San Francisco

As you can imagine, the biggest expense in your monthly budget will be the housing prices. Whether you decide to rent a house or buy it, you can bet that it will not come cheap in this city. However, the act of choosing the right neighborhood can significantly reduce the price of your rent or mortgage. As an unwritten rule, the farther you live from the downtown area, the cheaper your rent will be. Here are our picks for the best neighborhoods just outside of San Francisco:

  • – Half Moon Bay(a 50-minute driving distance to San Francisco) – a laid-back neighborhood, great for surfing and seafood.
  • – Nobe(a 30-minute driving distance from San Francisco) – an up-and-coming neighborhood, perfect for living on a budget in San Francisco while at the same time enjoying all the benefits this city has to offer.
  • – Walnut Creek( a 1-hour driving distance from San Francisco) – it is a perfect neighborhood for families; well – known for its warm climate and beautiful parks.


The Painted Ladies - Probably not a good idea if you are trying to live cheap in San Francisco.

Choosing the correct neighborhood is crucial if you are trying to live cheap in San Francisco.

Be realistic when searching for a house in this city. The iconic houses, such as `The Painted Ladies of San Francisco` are not a good idea, for example. Sure, they look like a fairytale, but it`s better to leave them be until you can stop worrying about living cheap in San Francisco. 

Getting a roommate can also help when living on a budget in San Francisco

Of course, if you are moving with kids, this is most likely not an option for you. However, if you are a single person moving to San Francisco, you might want to give this option a thought. Finding a roommate can be extremely helpful when trying to live on a budget in San Francisco. This option is so good because you are going to share the rent money with your roommate, as well as the utilities. And, if you become good friends, you can also share the money for groceries, among other things.

If you are moving away for college, we wholeheartedly recommend you to try this option out. Good luck to you now and you can thank us later!

Save on transportation when trying to live cheap in San Francisco

Just like in any other big city, getting around in a car in San Francisco is almost impossible. That is why a lot of households in this city don`t own a car. By ditching the car, you can save money on gas, parking, and monthly car payments!

The great thing about San Francisco is that there is a convenient public transportation system! You can choose from trains, buses, subways and everything in between! Hey, how about staying healthy and riding a bike every day if you don`t live too far away from your workplace? Or you can just walk. The point is that you have so many options to choose from if you want to save money on transportation while living on a budget in San Francisco!

A city in San Francisco.

Opt for some of San Francisco`s many public transportation options and save money every month!

Cheap fun you can have if you want to live on a budget in San Francisco

Don`t fool yourself! Just because you are not rich, does not mean you can`t have fun in this colorful city! First and foremost, San Francisco is so full of history that it can keep you entertained for months. There is always something new to learn. And no, you do not have to pay ridiculously high fees to enter different museums. You can learn about San Francisco`s history through some of the free history tours that are offered. One such example is the `Alfred Hitchcock Tour.`

Secondly, need we remind you that you are living in San Francisco? The place where you have public beaches with the access to the ocean? So, what are you waiting for? Grab your bikini and sunscreen, gather your friends and hit the beach! It`s fun, recreational and, best of all, cheap!

Thirdly, you can have lots of fun in one of San Francisco`s numerous parks. Grab your running shoes and go for a jog. If jogging is not your cup of tea, you can walk or pace instead. Both are a free way to stay healthy. And if you have a dog, you can also take him or her out for a brisk walk. What`s important is knowing how to make the best out of every situation, especially the one such as living on a budget in San Francisco is!

Lastly, you can save some money on special offers during the happy hour! Lots of restaurants and bars across San Francisco offer discounts on drinks and food during this time. See? Yet another way to save money while living in San Francisco! 

Different types of drinks.

Use the benefits the happy hour in San Francisco can offer!

The Conclusion

So, there you have it. Different ways to cut your expenses which will make living on a budget in San Francisco possible! We understand how intimidating living in this city can be, especially if you are moving from a small town to a big city. But, with a little help from us, and some luck, you can survive in this city even if you are not rich. Good luck! May everything work out in your favor!