$20 Day in L.A.

College students have never been known for having a lot of spare money. Stereotypes of Top Ramen for dinner and buying cheap bottom-of-the-barrel beer on the weekends exist for good reason.

Now, with the economy becoming ever more turbulent, coveted minimum wage jobs are disappearing and the prices for general goods are increasing. This has put full -time students in an increasingly desperate situation.

In light of these facts, here is a compilation of some helpful tips on how to have a good time on just $20, or less, a day.

The important thing to remember about having a good time is that it definitely does not need to cost money, and Los Angeles is full of places that can entertain a person for hours that are completely cost free.

Of course the first place that people usually think of is the beach, and with good reason. The beach is a public park, and during the warmer parts of the year swimming in the ocean can be entertaining for hours.

However the beach is not always a safe bet, in the middle of February sitting in the sand and getting whipped by the icy wind that is coming off of water that you wouldn't want to enter without a wetsuit on can get tiresome.

But even then you could pass just as much time by heading south down the strand, and going people watching in Venice; which is overloaded with street performers and full on activities like its infamous drum circles.

An important thing to remember is that you have to use your resources. If you own a bike, go on an organized ride by going to websites like www.midnightridazz.com and find out about some of the amazingly fun rides that people have put together.

If you have a way to get up to Topanga Canyon then get up there and spend a day hiking through some beautiful terrain.
If you own a fishing pole, go fishing, it is free and legal to fish off of any pier, with a fishing license, in the state of California and for the most part what you catch is yours to keep.

If you go through the right channels, you can even get into certain concerts and shows for free. Try going to www.1iota.com where you can get free tickets to the recordings of different shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live and Last Call with Carson Daly, just make sure to plan to get your tickets on the date a band you like is performing on.

In addition to that type of show Amoeba Music also plays host to free concerts at their Hollywood location. Be sure to show up early however, because these shows are on a first come first serve basis.
But probably the best way to see good music for cheap is to get interested in your local music scene, and go out to see smaller artists.

Most shows of this nature will be at a random place rather than a professional venue, but that means that the promoters cannot ask for the same amount of money that they would at a larger production.
Besides being entertained it is also important to find good and cheap food.

Obviously fast-food would be the first thing that pops into a lot of people's minds, and there is nothing wrong with that. A five-dollar foot long sandwich is a hard thing to pass up, but it doesn't mean that it is the limit of your options.

Farmer's markets are a great way to grab a fresh snack for cheap from small independent vendors, and www.farmernet.com has a complete list of these events in Los Angeles County.

But perhaps a more practical means of stuffing yourself would be to attend some local happy hours.

Places like Barney's Beanery offer deals where from 4-7 p.m. you can find yourself paying half price on some filling appetizers as well as import beers for $3 and domestics for $2.75.

This is typical of many pubs, restaurants, and bars in Los Angeles, although no two establishments are going to have the same deal it is still a good idea to look around your area for the deals you can find from 4-8p.m.

So even though times are tight for most of us, it is still possible to enjoy ourselves without spending exorbitant amounts of money in the process.