What is a student to do when he or she in on a budget yet lives in a glamorous city where the tax rate is above 9%? Be smart about spending! Chicago is undoubtedly an expensive city to live in but there are definitely places around the city where you can find things at decent prices if you know where to look. Personally, the two things that I’ve been spending money on lately are clothes and furniture (this is especially true for older students who live in apartment-style dorms).
Though Michigan Avenue is a hot spot for clothes shopping, your receipts do rack up quite quickly after a store or two. I’ve recently discovered an outlet mall called Chicago Premium Outlets located in Aurora, IL (about an hour drive from our Lakeshore campus). I was extremely pleased with the wide selection of stores available and all at great prices! Dressing well does not have to involve spending obscene amounts of money, and I’m sure parents and avid shoppers will appreciate this.
As for furniture, the Home Goods store downtown was easy to get to via the ‘L’ and a great place to stop by. I invested in some decorative pillows, lamps, and wall decorations… all without my parents gaping at the bill! And if you don’t want to deal with the downtown craziness whilst lugging around your newly bought furniture, there are also Home Goods stores within close driving distance from campus.
All in all, there are stores in Chicago that cater to all budget levels and tastes – you just need to explore! It is always exciting to shop for new things to start the school year, and it becomes even more exciting knowing that you can do it by spending reasonably.