Living in a big city like Chicago can be expensive, and many people choose to live in apartments for cost-efficiency and convenience.
After you’ve found the right Chicago apartment, there are additional steps you can take to live frugally and have money left over to build for your future and enjoy everything the Windy City has to offer.
1. Create a Budget
The most important thing you can do live frugally and feel in control of your personal finances is to distinguish wants from needs. The best way to do this is to create a budget. Having a budget will help ensure that you don’t live outside your means, are saving money for the future, and have disposable income.
2. Discover Your Inner Chef
Dining out on a regular basis can take a big bite out of your budget. Try cooking at home instead. Eating at home saves money on groceries, and preparing meals together can also be a great family activity. If you live by yourself, don’t be afraid to overcook; leftovers can be used for lunches, or as quick meals on nights when you have other plans or don’t feel like cooking.
3. Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is not just for doomsday preppers, and it doesn’t always have to be done at warehouse-sized club stores. Buying bulk items like toilet paper, canned goods and cleaners can add up to substantial savings over the long-term. But always check the unit price. Some retailers know you assume bigger containers are cheaper and may actually be charging more for the larger containers sometimes.
4. Coupons (and Group Coupons)
Coupons are all over print and social media. Follow your favorite products online for coupons and other deals, and watch your mail and newspaper for coupons. This applies to entertainment as well as food and home products; group coupon sites like Groupon are also good sources for deals on local restaurants, retailers and other services. The Chicago CityPass coupon book also offers access to prime attractions at discounted rates.
5. Furnish Frugally
Do you need home furnishings or appliances but find new models out of your price range? Chicago is full of excellent resale shops that will allow you to furnish your apartment frugally. If you’re a crafty person or are looking for a family project, you may want to try upcycling or refurbishing.
6. Cancel Your Gym Membership
Exercise is important, but gym membership can be expensive and, frankly, unnecessary. There are plenty of workout options both in your apartment and outside of it. Chicago is home to an exceptional network of hiking and biking trails, and many apartments offer fitness rooms or swimming pools so residents can exercise indoors when the weather is bad.
7. Think Smart, Be Creative
Often, it’s the little things that add up and subtract from our budgets. So counteract with creative solutions. Use the library to check out books and movies instead of buying; use public transportation instead of driving; find your inner Do It Yourself-er; and visit museums on free days.
If you’re seeking for a great Chicago apartment in the Gold Coast, Lakeview, Lincoln Park or Wrigleyville neighborhoods, please contact Planned Property Management today. We are devoted to improving the experience of finding, living and renting in Chicago’s best neighborhoods, and we offer 24-hour, live-in maintenance among other amenities.