Being a contrarian in Los Angeles has its distinct advantages. I’ve always thought going against the herd is usually a good way to go. This means if most Angelenos are doing or thinking something, I’ll likely turn and proceed the opposite way for economic and lifestyle reasons. Maybe you think the same way?

Today, the serious recession of 2008 and ’09 appears over. Money is readily changing hands in L.A.’s local bars and restaurants. Prime-time Friday and Saturday night tables are usually packed around town and weeknights after 7 are vibrant, too. But, I’ll opt out of those busy times and be a contrarian and spend far less by going to happy hours and early bird dinner specials, which typically last from 5 to 7 p.m. My very close friend and L.A.-area real estate agent, Lance Brukman, says, “If everybody is eating out at 6 o’clock, I’ll take the family out at 4 to 5 p.m. when I can. There’s no waiting around, the parking is easy and I can save a bundle by eating early.”

L.A.’s typical employee works 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or so weekdays. Cars line up on our roads and freeways throughout town and it’s a complete mess out there in early mornings and late afternoons, lasting hours on end. Our freeways simply don’t move.

Los Angeles needs more contrarians on employment times. In order to help fight SoCal congestion during these peak traffic times, why can’t more companies and employees start each day around 11 a.m. and end at 7 p.m.? I’m sure the unencumbered 20- to 30-year-old crowd would love this arrangement.

Change big time

Our customary 9-to-5 day needs to change big time to help our traffic move and reduce the daily stress commuters face. I suspect millions of gallons of fuel are wasted annually in our city because of stalled cars on logjammed freeways and boulevards at rush hours. Chevron, Exxon and Shell might not like more movable prime-time highways, but I suspect most Angelenos would. The astute contrarian avoids rush-hour traffic commutes whenever possible. Many more Angelenos need the option to do the same.

Personally, my contrarian approach extends to movies and much more. Rarely do I attend prime-time 7:30 p.m. shows and sit in packed theaters in Culver City, Santa Monica or Los Angeles with people all around me texting, talking or bobbing up and down.

I prefer to go to discounted shows and have the row to myself with a partner and no heads in front of me. Economically, it makes sense to take advantage of bargains and save 30 percent to 50 percent. Today’s finely tuned contrarian might go to neighborhood stores like Kohl’s, Marshalls, T.J. Maxx or Ross Dress for Less and buy wool sweaters, down ski jackets and heavy gloves in July and swimsuits, suntan oils and surfboards around Christmas time; or, holiday shop for next year a week or so after Dec. 25 when stores are empty and merchandise is severely discounted. The “expert” might find a deal in May and put a 20-pound Butterball turkey in the freezer for six months for Thanksgiving.

Today, think more about becoming a contrarian. It might help your finances, your family and your peace of mind as you venture out your front door.

Ted Lux has been involved in real estate lending in the L.A. area for over 25 years. He is also a writer. He lives in Playa del Rey.

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