Opinion: Living It Up in Laguna Beach for Next to Nothing 


Dear Susi Q: The cost of living is so high. How can I have a social life when everything is so expensive?                                                                                                                  – – Sincerely, Home Alone

Martha Hernandez, LCSW, Susi Q’s director of care management, responds:

Martha Hernandez, LCSW, Susi Q’s director of care management. Photo/Susi Q

Dear Home Alone: That’s certainly true – going out on the town can be expensive these days – not to mention the cost of gas to drive somewhere! The good news is that there is a range of terrific programs, free or at minimal cost, available in Laguna Beach, targeted to a thriving, active population of boomers and beyond. Laguna Local and the trolleys offer free transport, too.

Here at the Susi Q, we have several discussion groups where people interested in current events, music appreciation, and genealogy get together and clubs for quilters, knitters and quitters – aka retirees! Movie matinees take place on Mondays and Fridays. Also, mahjong classes are really taking off.

One of the advantages of retiring is having more time to experiment with interests that may not have attracted you at a younger age. Maybe it’s time to learn to play the ukulele? Or take up bridge?

There are many options for low-cost or free activities in the local community. 

Carl Brown, a registered Yoga Alliance instructor, offers free yoga classes at 8 a.m., Monday through Thursday and on Saturdays, at Treasure Island Park in front of the Montage Resort.

We’re also fortunate to have a very active Woman’s Club on St. Ann’s Drive. For very little cost – mostly for free – you can participate in their game nights, pizza and bingo evenings, walking and book groups.

Our former president Chris Quilter likes to joke that no one wants to be called a senior except when it comes to discounts, and plenty of those are available. Here’s a website where you can find out more: 


Another way to meet people is through volunteering. The Blue Bell Foundation for Cats in the Canyon is a great place to meet fellow cat lovers, and if you’re the active type, you may want to check out volunteer opportunities at Laguna Canyon Foundation. 

If you’d like to entertain but don’t want to spend a fortune, consider suggesting a beach or park potluck picnic with friends. Make it fun with themed paper napkins and plates. There are so many beautiful places in Laguna Beach to enjoy and gorgeous sunsets that don’t cost anything to watch.

If you’d like to figure out ways to save money to enjoy social events that cost a little more, please email me at [email protected] or call (949) 715-8104 to talk about the many programs that are available to help seniors stretch their income.

I hope this has given you some ideas!

“Dear Susi Q,” brought to you by non-profit Laguna Beach Seniors, is intended to provide readers with helpful advice on relationships, retirement, home safety, transportation, mental/physical health, and local entertainment and educational resources. It’s “Dear Abby” for the Laguna Beach crowd.

Qualified staff, support group leaders, and volunteers stand ready to answer your questions, so please send them to [email protected]. We can’t wait to help.

No identifying names will ever be used. Some questions, such as today’s, maybe a composite of several submitted. 

For more information about Susi Q and Laguna Beach Seniors, visit www.thesusiq.org.

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