Advertising

Top 10 Most Affordable Cities in Southern California

Advertising
Top 10 Most Affordable Cities in Southern California

California Dreamin’ wasn’t #89 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time for nothing. Aside from its popularity as a song and being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the song epitomizes the desire and longing that so many have felt to be in California — not just during the winter months or for Tinseltown, but for those California Girls.

With 38.8 million people living in California, and 22.68 million of them in Southern California alone, just knowing that the state has over 12% of the US population makes one wonder what the big draw is.

California Sound and the Beach Boys aside, Southern California is actually a great place for raising a family, has nearly-perfect weather year round, and well, you’ll be living the California Dream. Below, we’ve listed the top Southern California cities to live in.

Irvine

As #1 on the NerdWallet’s list for best cities for young families in Southern California, and in the top 100 on Livability’s list of best places to live, Irvine is at the top of our list for a reason. Set just a little inland, Irvine has consistently ranked as one of the best places to live. Its livability score on AreaVibes is 86, and it received A’s all across the board (aside from cost of living). With 10 higher education campuses and continually generous support for public schools, Irvine is one of the best places for families. Irvine has a medium income rate of $92,663 and only a 7.64 unemployment percentage, far less than the nation’s average.

Advertising

irvine

    Fullerton

    Fullerton is a quaint, picturesque city set in Orange County. With one of the top Public Schools and a rating of 8 out of 10 for Capistrano Unified School District, Fullerton has been ranked as an “Exceptionally Livable” city. With a lower median housing value than most Orange County cities, nine different parks within one mile of each other, and at least a dozen libraries and book shops, Fullerton offers families a wonderful living experience. With better scores for education, weather, employment, and even better housing, Fullerton ranks higher than Provo, UT — which ranked higher than it on Top 100 Best Places to Live.

    fullerton

      Costa Mesa

      With the Orange County Fair, Pacific Amphitheatre, and South Coast Plaza all close by, Costa Mesa is another top city in Southern California to live in. Also considered “exceptionally livable,” Costa Mesa has high graduation rates and an extremely stable housing market. Between Huntington Beach and Newport, Costa Mesa is a short drive to the beach and surpasses the supposed #1 place to live in the US, Madison, WI, with a higher median household income and a lower crime rate — Costa Mesa should really be #1 on that list.

      sealbeach

        Seal Beach

        With a Greatschools rating of 10 on NerdWallet, Seal Beach, California is not just one of the best, but one of the cheaper choices for families in Southern California. With top company Boeing calling Seal Beach home, it has one of the lowest housing values in California. At $286,400, Seal Beach also competes with another top US city to live in — Arlington, Virginia. As #3 on the Top 100 Best Places to Live, Arlington’s median housing value rockets to $577,300. Seal Beach also has a higher high school graduation rate than Arlington, at 93%. Seal Beach boasts a tight-knit community — when the pier needed major rebuilding, the community came together to save the pier and raised $2.3 million.

        Advertising

        ranchosantamargarita

          Rancho Santa Margarita

          As #2 on NerdWallet’s top Southern California cities, Rancho Santa Margarita definitely is on our list! With a small-town feel, Rancho Santa Margarita has a high-quality education background with a 94% graduation rate. With an exceptionally high median household income of $102,975, Rancho Santa Margarita’s small and local businesses have played a huge role in the city’s growth since 1999. (According to NerdWallet, there was a 31.22% income increase from 1999 to 2012!)

          cypress

            Cypress

            The quaint suburb town of Cypress, California is a great place for new families. With great neighborhoods and a Greatshools rating of 9 from NerdWallet, Cypress ranks high on the AreaVibes livability scale. Cypress battles the #2 best place to live, Rochester, MN, with a lower crime rate and higher median household income. Oh, and don’t forget the better weather! Cypress ranks an A+ on local.niche.com

            Advertising

            placentia

              Placentia

              With a 46% lower crime rate than anywhere else in California, Placentia is a great and safe place to raise a family. Placentia also has a higher average household income ($75,693) than even San Diego ($63,990). It also has a high graduation rate, like most other California cities, and was named the “second-best place to live” in California according to The Orange County Register. Among this, Placentia also has a low unemployment rate, sits next to some beautiful lakes, and has great weather!

              Citrus_groves,_Golden_Ave.,_Placentia,_June_1961

                Murrieta

                Nestled between Temecula and Corona, Murrieta, California is a booming town in Riverside County. With a 133.7% population increase from the years 2000 to 2010, Murrieta definitely ranks on our top 10 cities. With an extremely low average housing value, at $286,600, Murrieta competes with our other top cities to live in. It also ranks 48% lower in crime rate compared to other California cities, and even Boulder, CO — which hits #4 for livability. Murrieta also has a much lower cost of living than Boulder and a higher household income, at $75,485.

                anaheim

                  Anaheim

                  Home of the Anaheim Angels and Disneyland, Anaheim California is the epitome of California Dreamin’. With a lower housing value than most other Orange County cities, at $415,900, Anaheim’s beautiful summer temperatures and great sightseeing make it a fun and adventurous place to live.

                  Advertising

                  12443407504_0d0e7190ee_z

                    Westminster

                    As another top city with a lower housing value ($462,100) than most California cities, Westminster has a wonderfully stable housing market. It’s even ranked as “extremely livable!” It has a great high income per capita and tons of great local amenities. With its close proximity to the LA metropolitan area and Little Saigon, Westminster offers great fun for families. It also scores an A+ on local.niche.com, and even though you may run into some notorious LA traffic, you can be sure to find great a personal injury attorney close by.

                    Picture1

                      Featured photo credit: Cypress at Lover’s Point Park, Monterey Bay/Ed Suominen via flic.kr

                      More by this author

                      Bethany Cleg

                      Photographer, Entrepreneur

                      10 Small Changes To Make Your House Feel Like A Home Top 10 Most Affordable Cities in Southern California 5 Things to Consider When Moving to New York 10 Things That Happen When You Move Across the Country A Step-By-Step Guide To Achieving Mindfulness

                      Trending in Home

                      1 10 Small Changes To Make Your House Feel Like A Home 2 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of 3 5 Reasons Why Tidying Your Room Can Change Your Life 4 25 Really Cool Cat Furniture Design Ideas Every Cat Owner Needs 5 Scientists Discover Why You Should Take Off Your Shoes Before Entering Your Home

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on January 13, 2022

                      10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

                      Advertising
                      10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

                      A honeymoon is important.  The wedding is over.  The months, or even years, of stress and planning are finally over.  It’s time for the two of you to relax, settle in, and start enjoying your time together as you embark on your first journey as a family.

                      To make the most of this time for the least amount of money, it’s important to focus on what you want out of a honeymoon.  This isn’t your typical list of touristy honeymoon locations everyone goes to.  Rather, it’s a list of cheap honeymoon experiences a couple can enjoy together, regardless of where it’s at.

                      1. Camping

                      A week long camping trip is a fantastic way to see how you mesh together as a couple.  You’re put in a low impact “survival” situation where it’s just the 2 of you and nature.  You have a chance to see how your new spouse handles themselves when left with the basics of life.  There are amazing national parks all over the United States where you can camp for a week for $20-30, disconnect from technology, and enjoy some of the natural wonders our nation has to offer.

                      Advertising

                      2. Staycation

                      You don’t have to go anywhere for a honeymoon.  In fact, the tradition of taking a honeymoon vacation is a relatively new one.  Prior to the 19th century, a honeymoon involved staying home together for a month to get to know each other physically.  Think of how blissful it could be to take a full month off work, disconnect from the outside world, and focus entirely on projects together.  You may not be wowing your friends and family with pictures of some exotic location, but they’ll be envious of your escape from the rat race nonetheless.

                      3. Island Getaway

                      People tend to overspend on their honeymoon vacations to Hawaii, Tahiti, etc.  Going to these places doesn’t have to be expensive.  You don’t need to stay in a 5 star resort when you’re on a Best Western budget.  You’re there to be in the atmosphere of the island, not a hotel room. Book a cheap flight and sleep in a hotel alternative, on the beach or in your car.  It’s the view in paradise that really matters.

                      4. Fancy Resort

                      Book an expensive resort, spa, or retreat in the city you live in.  While this may seem counterintuitive as a cheap destination, when you consider your savings on airfare and other travel costs, you can afford to be treated like royalty within your own city limits.  If you book a honeymoon package, you’ll end up with a lot of free amenities and extra attention.  There’s no need to fly halfway across the world to live the good life.

                      Advertising

                      5. Road Trip

                      The journey is often more fulfilling than the actual destination.  If you fly out to some exotic locale, you’ll be stuck on a plane for 8-30 hours.  Rent a luxury car, pick a handful of places you each have always wanted to visit, and go on an adventure.  You can keep food costs down by packing your own snacks, but it’s always a good idea to sample the local delicacies wherever you go, even if it’s only a few states over.

                      6. Charter a Boat

                      If the ocean is your thing, a week-long cruise can cost you $1500-$3000 per person, depending on the destination.  You also have to factor in travel costs to and from the cruise, alcohol, souvenirs, and on-shore excursions.  You’ll also be surrounded by people.  For the same price (and often much cheaper), you can charter your own boat and enjoy the experience in private.

                      7. Las Vegas/Atlantic City

                      If gambling is your thing, these are the places to do it.  Which one you choose depends on your preference, budget, and proximity.  The way to make this vacation cheaper is to gamble smart.  Stay away from low odd tables (i.e craps, roulette) and read up on the MIT blackjack strategies to beat the house.  If you do it right, you can win enough for a free trip (and gain a valuable team skill in the process).

                      Advertising

                      8. Themed Retreats

                      There are weeklong retreats all over the world where you can fully immerse yourselves as a couple into a hobby you’re both passionate about.  Go on a yoga/meditation retreat, a ranch, a vineyard/farm, a backpacking adventure, treasure hunt, or whatever you’re into.

                      9. Working Honeymoon

                      Your honeymoon doesn’t have to be a vacation.  For a truly memorable experience, dedicate a week to a charity or volunteer organization.  You can drive out to a campground to help restore it in the offseason.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to volunteer to help out your local animal shelter, plant trees, help the homeless, etc.  Use the time to do something together as a couple that will fulfill you spiritually while contributing to the community.  Just because you’re on a honeymoon doesn’t mean you can’t be productive.

                      10. Festivals, Fairs & Special Events

                      Every city, state, and country has festivals, fairs, and special events.  Find one you’re interested in.  If you time your wedding right, your honeymoon can be a trip to one of these festivals.  Burning Man, SXSW, Bonnaroo, the Renaissance Fair, regional harvest festivals, Mardi Gras, New Years Eve in Times Square, a movie premiere, or whatever you’re into.  If you plan your honeymoon at the right time in the right place, the possibilities are endless.

                      Advertising

                      Featured photo credit: Josue Michel via unsplash.com

                      Read Next