6 Unorthodox Ways To Survive In Los Angeles Without Any Money

So you’re living in LA and trying to make it in the biz and you’ve had absolutely zero luck so far. You’re not delusional, you have a great deal of talent and “what it takes” to make it here, but you just haven’t hit your stride yet. And you’re fucking hungry. And on your way to homelessness. But you’d rather die here than in your parents basement, so you haven’t given up yet and are willing to get your hands dirty. And be a little bit of a diabolical piece of shit. Here are six ways you can stay alive in LA that may not occur to your average hungry 20-something.

Hook up with someone who has a nice place

What? Don’t act like you’ve never slept with someone because you were impressed with everything they had going on. It’s called desire, hon. It’s also called having to full on mooch off of someone because you can’t provide yourself with the Egyptian cotton sheets and fully stocked fridge that you know you deserve. Is that wrong? Probably. But let’s not act like the relationships between the young and the old in LA hasn’t already been cemented by thousands of desperates before you. They get a hot young slampiece and you get a nice meal and a steam shower once in awhile. And all it costs you is… your dignity. But it’s not like you moved to LA to have dignity, so whatever!

Bite the bullet and call that girl from high school you never wanted to speak to again

When she announced via Facebook that she was moving to LA three months before you, you shuddered. You thought this girl was out of your life for good—OF COURSE she’s moving to the same city as you. And now that you’re penniless and her dad’s paying her rent, OF COURSE you’re going to get over your decade of hating her and make her your new BFF. She was always dying to get a little attention from you and in exchange for the attention you give her, she can buy you a latte. And a ticket to that movie you wanted to see. And lend you her car, $200 bucks and maybe put you on her Framily phone plan. Who cares if it’s not nice? By the time you’ve made it, she’ll be living back in New Jersey where she belongs.

Use Google

Every day is some kind of “day” in Los Angeles. Earlier this week, Chipotle was giving away free coupons for food with the purchase of a sofritas burrito bowl. The Pride Parade and Halloween brings out the open arms of many generous gay men who are all too drunk to understand that it’s probably inappropriate to let the random chick they met at the Abbey sleep on their couch for the weekend. You can drink enough free wine to forget just about anything at galleries and art walks and jewelry parties. Look for this stuff. Just start typing different combinations of “Los Angeles” “free” “event” and the date in the search bar and see what comes up. And then go to one of the places you find and drain the blood of the first person who will pay attention to you.


Yeah, I know you came out here to be a writer, but get some headshots taken by another poor person, send them to commercial agents and when they call, let them send you anywhere they want. Auditioning sucks if acting is what you actually want to do. If it’s something that you stumble into and happen to book some huge national commercial that pays your rent for the year (or even something local that’ll cover your expenses for a week) DO IT! Do extra work if you have a free day, check out central casting and look for ads for jobs that require a special skill you just happen to have, like crashing your skateboard and spilling a hilariously large cup of fruit punch down some lady’s white blouse.

Show up to parties

My best friend and I threw a party about eight years back and were visited by a woman we dubbed “The J.Crew Grifter.” She strolled into his house party saying that she was a neighbor who heard the music and wanted to see what was going on and because we were young, drunk and stupid, we invited her to stay. Needless to say, she ate about half the buffet then walked out with several of our pot brownies stuffed in the pocket of her light blue puffer jacket. And you know what? We all respected it. We were like, “You go, insane woman who just stole from us and may very well be homeless! You made that work for you!” No one in LA can be mad at someone who has a good grip on the game.


Perhaps there are some people in LA that utilize the bajillion coupons that are stuffed into our mailboxes everyday, but for the most part those things go straight into the trash. Everyone’s busy/running around with their heads up their asses, not flipping through newsprint bundles looking for coupons for a free chicken fajita pita. And those coupons exist. They do. I have never seen one, but I don’t look for them. But I have a friend who does and he seemed pretty upset when he realized that just about everyone he knew tossed a piece of paper worth a $5 chicken sandwich in the trash. So, there’s that. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Molly McAleer lives in Los Angeles with her chihuahua and can be found on Twitter (@molls) and on Instagram (@itsmolls). Her writing has appeared on your television, your Internet and the bathroom walls of your favorite cyber cafes.

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