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Old 09-24-2011, 02:52 PM
 
7 posts, read 8,558 times
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Default Can we live off of $30,000/year in Chicago by maintaining our frugal lifestyle?

My husband received a job offer in Lakeview, Chicago that will pay him about 25,000 per year. I am willing to work at a temp agency to supplement our income until I can find a better job. I know that the 30,000 range isn't a lot, but we also don't expect to have a very extravagant lifestyle. Here are a few things working to out advantage:
-- We are definitely okay with living in a studio apartment, which both costs less and keeps the electric bill low.
--Neither of us drive, so that cuts out gas, car payments, and auto insurance.
--We eat out maybe once a week-- if that-- and usually keep the weekly grocery bill down to about $40 (we make stews and saves the leftovers).
-- We try to keep bills low by turning off the water in shower while we shampoo, using energy efficient lights, etc.
-- We both like to shop for clothes primarily at thrift or consignment stores, so we save a lot of money that way.

With this lifestyle, is 25-30,000 enough to live of of in Chicago?
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Old 09-24-2011, 03:32 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
1,789 posts, read 1,847,246 times
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Where are you living now and is that what you're earning there?
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Old 09-24-2011, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Chicago
346 posts, read 424,394 times
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Yes.

You can probably get studio in say Albany Park or Rogers Park for $600 a month. Most seem to include heat. Electric isn't too much (I pay about $30/month). I pay cooking gas (about $25). Water is free, or at least always included in the rent.

CTA has unlimited ride cards for about $80 per month.
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knitgirl View Post
Where are you living now and is that what you're earning there?
No, we make less and live in an all-utilities paid apartment for $500/month in Ann Arbor.
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsk1983 View Post
Yes.

You can probably get studio in say Albany Park or Rogers Park for $600 a month. Most seem to include heat. Electric isn't too much (I pay about $30/month). I pay cooking gas (about $25). Water is free, or at least always included in the rent.

CTA has unlimited ride cards for about $80 per month.
Thanks for the post! glad to know it's feasible!
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:29 PM
 
Location: Cabrini Green
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if you are not gonna own a car I would say yes
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:52 PM
 
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Yes you can do it, esp assuming you'll be pulling about 15k yourself...

But uhh, try a different neighborhood... Plenty of nice and affordable areas, don't have to live in a prime zone esp on that salary and struggle. Why not live elsewhere so you can enjoy yourself more instead of so much money going to rent.

Remember with higher rent prices in neighborhoods like Lakeview, the neighborhood restaurants/shops/etc are also going to be higher...i.e. your daily purchases, if you live the "city life" and shop your neighborhood produce/meat markets and not doing grocery hauls at target or something.
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:01 PM
 
Location: River North, Chicago, Illinois
3,133 posts, read 2,949,230 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garfieldian View Post
Yes you can do it, esp assuming you'll be pulling about 15k yourself...

But uhh, try a different neighborhood... Plenty of nice and affordable areas, don't have to live in a prime zone esp on that salary and struggle. Why not live elsewhere so you can enjoy yourself more instead of so much money going to rent.

Remember with higher rent prices in neighborhoods like Lakeview, the neighborhood restaurants/shops/etc are also going to be higher...i.e. your daily purchases, if you live the "city life" and shop your neighborhood produce/meat markets and not doing grocery hauls at target or something.
This.

This is a very important consideration that many people forget about or simply don't realize until they look at why they don't have any money the last week of the month.

I was well-prepared when I moved to River North from Ravenswood, but was still a bit surprised how much more I ended up spending on "normal" things. It wasn't make-or-break for me, but I hadn't fully accounted for it before I moved here.

Living in a cheaper neighborhood is like choosing a studio not only for the cheaper rent but the cheaper electricity, etc. Also, if you have good self-control, living somewhere that's slightly inconvenient to go shopping from will also save you money because you won't just pop out to the store to get stuff, you'll be much more deliberate in your shopping.
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Old 09-24-2011, 11:36 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL USA
2,474 posts, read 3,113,115 times
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Originally Posted by emathias View Post
Also, if you have good self-control, living somewhere that's slightly inconvenient to go shopping from will also save you money because you won't just pop out to the store to get stuff, you'll be much more deliberate in your shopping.
So true. I live in a highrise in East Lakeview that has a well-stocked but expensive grocery store on the first floor that's open until midnight seven days a week. It's both a blessing and a curse... it's my downfall sometimes because it's just way too easy to take the elevator down there and blow money on junk food I don't need whenever I get a late night craving. If I actually had to go out and travel some distance when those thoughts pop into my head, I'd probably just skip it.
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Old 09-25-2011, 08:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew61 View Post
So true. I live in a highrise in East Lakeview that has a well-stocked but expensive grocery store on the first floor that's open until midnight seven days a week. It's both a blessing and a curse... it's my downfall sometimes because it's just way too easy to take the elevator down there and blow money on junk food I don't need whenever I get a late night craving. If I actually had to go out and travel some distance when those thoughts pop into my head, I'd probably just skip it.
I lived in one like that too... and well, in the winter, most of my purchases came from there as it was just too convenient. I had money at the time but, it can definitely add up!

thanks on the comments, I think it is something that is often overlooked by people wanting to try to scrape and live in the more expensive neighborhoods, all your daily purchases will be higher also, groceries, restaurants, that fan you might have needed the first hot day of summer, couple extra bucks on your brews at neighborhood pub everybody you meet likes to go to that makes more money than you...

well I think you get the picture.

Sure you can keep going out to other neighborhoods, but for most people, they live and play in their neighborhoods, and that neighborhood can change your perception of the city, at 70-100k people in a neighborhood, it's like the entire neighborhood has Ann Arbor packed into it for the OP, it pretty much IS a smaller city and the vibe can be great, or not so great depending on what you like, so choose wisely.

People often forget Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, when you move to Chicago, you also move to that neighborhood.
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