The first time the audience sees The Dude, he writes a check for 69 cents to buy his favorite drink in half. It is clear that this is not a wealthy person.
However, the Dude lives without roommates in Los Angeles, historically one of the most expensive cities in the country. As the narrator (Sam Elliott) explains, The Dude claims to be “the laziest in LA County,” and while it’s good that “sometimes there’s a man” who fits his time and place, how does that work? will a man feed himself if he doesn’t have three quarters to rub together?
The biggest clue to The Dude’s financial viability may be the gentle, friendly attitude of his landlord Marty (Jack Koehler). The dude attends Marty’s dance cycle and even brings two friends with him, which is not only wonderfully supportive of him, but clearly gives him more time to pay his already past due rent.
Even after the events of the film, The Dude (or His Dude, or Duder, or El Duderino, if you don’t like all that brevity) doesn’t walk away with any of the financial surprises that various “clients” promised him. so its future is unclear. Somehow this Dude lives in eternal voluntary poverty in the city of angels.