INNER CITY URBAN LIVING IN A RESIDENTAL HOTEL, THE FRUGAL WAY!
Written by a Net Pal "I know of one way and one way only to live cheaply in the city...specifically San Diego, don't know about Hollywood or LA...and that was downtown...I did it for years. Do you know about old downtown hotels? They rent by the month for only around 291-310 dollars per month and that covers all utilities, trash pick-up, and free basic cable. At least that was the price in the mid 1990s. Hotel would also give everyone free muffins in the morning in the lobby and free Thanksgiving dinner and had a full laundry room down in its basement which was nice, with seats to sit on and all---not a bad laundry room. Certainly not The Ritz but for under 350 dollars per month in SAN DIEGO, well, how can you beat that?
Busses and trolley right there, no need to own a car. People lived there on SSI, told me they received close to 800 dollars per month and got a disabled bus pass for $12.50 per month which also covered rides on the trolley and they got free health care too....also plenty of free food services downtown for those broke towards the end of the month, or anyone who wants free food, at any time, every day---many churches giving free meals, St. Vincent DePaul's giving free meals, and Catholic Charities giving free grocery bags full of food, and other places giving out free groceries. Cheap restuarants to eat at downtown like "Lee's" and fun, big 99 Cent stores. Downtown is QUIET at night, believe it or not. All shopping within walking distance, including drug stores and grocery stores. Downtown Mental Health building, Social Services, Mercy hospital, Court House, YMCA/YWCA with swimming pool, Horton Plaza---BEAUTIFUL outdoorish shopping mall, antique stores, fountains,
Woolworths, Salvation Army, Goodwill, "Gaslamp Quarter"....allll right there, many within walking distance or very quick trolley or bus trip. Pleasant things like Seaport Village just a trolly ride a few minutes away. Beaches only a short bus ride away. Not a bad set-up really, if you like San Diego and you do not have a problem with downtown living.
The area I lived in was not too bad...was by banks and Copley Symphony Hall, I think it was. Lower level of old hotel had a Mc Donald's in it and other restaurants, then floors above were rentable rooms. Had me a decent-sized room with a walk-in closet and my own bathroom with big old-fashioned bathtub.
The drawbacks---yes, these places have roaches. However one guy told me he had no roaches in his room which made me wonder...did he keep his place spotless and they go away? Yes, the management sometimes sprayed pesticide around the halls...not healthy. You would want to stuff a towel under your door and leave your window open...maybe stay at a friend's for a few nights when they did that...did not have a smell, but substance was still there. And yes I would think you would have to forgo your fruit orchard, vegie garden and give up your 30 cats and Puck-Puck the chicken. You probably wouldn't do that, to save 400$ would you, as your rent is what, 995$ for four bedrooms? Two fenced gardens? But most people pay waay more rent for an old cottage and could benefit from tightening ship by going to a residential hotel.
Now, I do know some hotel denizens who did own 1 or 2 cats and some had birds in their room. No you would no longer have a garden though, nor a kitchen, but you could always have a microwave oven, hotplate, and small refrigerator in your room or closet. Hey, if you ever feel like you're sick of gardening and cooking! Also of course you would have to thin down your possessions to only fit into one room and one closet, if possible. And your in-person clients would need to be able to travel to you and find downtown parking, or you could take the bus up to them. I hate to drive, so being without a car was easy for me, nor do I like to cook...and I love plants but I do not want to take care of them...my parents are the gardening ones...so I didn't need to have a garden...after having some bad roommates, I was relieved to be able to live alone but not pay a high price for rent and have easy access to so many things and services. The big key is to just keep to yourself as much as possible and do not get involved with other hotel residents who can be scammers and into drugs, but as long as you do not let them into your room or befriend them, I do not see how they can hurt you. I was never broken into, BUT the maintenance man CAN come into your place at any given time. But if you are only paying 310 dollars per month rent and get free utilities (water, heat, and electricity), free cable, a cheap phone through "Lifeline", and you sold your car and said goodbye to gas prices/car insurance prices and decided to take advantage of public transportation, well, I just wanted to let you know of this "way out" if you just cannot take it any longer....but of course it will not be the same as living in a full 3 or 4 bedroom house with yard and garden and kitchen like you are used to.
By the way, you do NOT have to be on SSI to get a disabled bus pass voucher! All you need is a note from a doctor which states you have a mental condition that does not let you drive a vehicle...if you have a fear/inability of driving due to a mental condition or probaby a physical one, they will write you out a note, you take it down to the bus place (again, last time I checked, it was located downtown) and voila! They take your picture, put it on a card, and you have the right to buy the 12 dollar a month pass which gets you anywhere and everywhere. It's easy.
So I have not called them lately to see what they charge these days...but even if, let's say they rent for say 400 per month ...maybe it is still only around 310 for room with bathroom...who knows...and you pull in a grand a month....that will leave you 600 dollars (after rent is paid ) to have for the month. And if you eat cheaply which you know how to do and take advantage of all the free food down there, that is not bad. If things have not changed down there since the mid-1990s, that is. You will not have to pay utilities or cable, remember. So let's say if you can live on 200 dollars a month for food and your phone bill is saaaaay....20 dollars a month and say your internet connection is say 29 dollars a month....and your monthly bus and trolley pass is let's say 13 dollars a month, that would still leave you with over 300 dollars each month to play with. Not bad. Oh, and you could afford to rent a safe deposit box at a local bank to keep safe things you really, really didn't want anything happening to, you could also afford apartment insurance too if you wanted it also to have something to fall back on if theft occured.
I want to go back to school in San Diego and I want to go to City College which is downtown. DEPT OF REHAB pays entire tuition, books, bus to school and back, so you want to CLICK ON THAT LINK, & then go & LOOK THEM UP! Let me tell you, I would live back in a downtown hotel in a heartbeat, despite the crazies, beggars, and drunks downtown and the roaches. I know of no cheaper place to be and I do not want to deal with roommates...so Anita, if you are not aware of this alternative, I just wanted to make you aware. You may hate it because you're a nature lover but at least you know there are places you can go to if you feel like a life-change and you cannot take the high prices of renting a house any more.
This woman addresses a fact that is very interesting. THE DOWNTOWN AREA, SHABBY but LIVELY, is a DOWNTOWN that soon will be gentrified! Often the buildings have great charm. Read how impoverished artisans can take an old building and make it charming, create a boutique or a cafe and not only make a million there, but also invest profits in real estate in this shabby area, and end up making a million! Just click on THE BARRIO MERCANTILISM FILE.