So you want to move to Southern California. If so, you’ve probably set your sights on one of two cities: Los Angeles or San Diego. When it comes to affordability, choose your poison; the cost of living in both metropolitan areas is among the highest in the country.

That said, millions of people manage to live in Southern California without breaking the bank. If there is a will, there is a way. If you got your heart set on move to San Diego in the near future, the following serves as a handy guide to saving money along the way:

The road to roommate

Moving to San Diego without living with roommates is almost unheard of unless you’re already rich and well off. You will likely live with one or more people in order to share the cost of rent. When you think of how to find a roommate in San Diego that you can bear to live with, it might not be as hard as you think. Approach the question as if you were looking for a new job. Stop and consider all the factors before agreeing to sign the lease. After all, saving money on rent by living with one or more roommates won’t do you any good if you’re forced to move in a few months due to insufficient compatibility.

Just the outer border

Like most large cities, San Diego is divided into several sections based on proximity to certain locations. Apartments near the beach or those near the city center will certainly cost more than those located further inland and several kilometers away. With that in mind, expand your apartment search to include everything from Oceanside in the north to Imperial Beach in the south. This may lead you to accommodation that suits your budget better than more central options.

Enjoy free activities and experiences

What do public beaches, state parks and museums have in common? They are free! With that in mind, skip the nightclubs, fancy restaurants, and other expensive activities and spend your time enjoying all the fun and free things San Diego has to offer. While it’s assumed that you’ll throw a dollar or two into the donation jar when visiting otherwise free museums, it’s still better to shell out upwards of $20 each time you enter a turnstile.

Buy from ALDI

The ALDI discount supermarket chain has three locations in the Greater San Diego area. It’s not much, and you may be too far to make the trip worthwhile, but the savings are amazing. You’ll pay 20-50% less than buying the same groceries at Ralph’s. Wal-Mart is another option to consider. We can all agree that we’d rather give our money to a less controversial company, but Wal-Mart will make your dollars stretch further. And for those struggling to afford to live in San Diego, every dollar counts.

Take advantage of sales and discounts

It may seem obvious, and it may be, but waiting for sales and discounts is an incredibly effective way to reduce the cost of living in San Diego. Many restaurants, shops and iconic venues provide great sales opportunities throughout the year. Rather than paying retail prices, consider waiting for those price drops to drop. Check websites and sign up for email newsletters to be notified of upcoming sales and discounts. This might be your only chance to enjoy authentic fish tacos without feeling guilty the following week.

Go without a car

Owning a car in Southern California is an expensive proposition. Between the price of gas, parking fees, maintenance, taxes and registration, you’re looking at shelling out thousands every year. The solution is to sell your car and get used to walking and biking to and from most places. It may seem absurd, given how California’s infrastructure favors the automobile, but obsessive car culture is more of a phenomenon in Los Angeles than San Diego. Also, SoCal’s population density means that most people are only about a mile from the nearest grocery store or drug store. Add in the great weather all year round and getting rid of your car doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.

Do you dream of living in San Diego but dread the cost of living? If so, consider the many ways to save money.