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How-To: Take Advantage Of Chicago's Hidden Life Hacks

Tuesday, September 15, 2015 Mykah Williams

If you’re finding it difficult to live the luxurious city life you’ve always dreamed of you’re not alone. I don’t think it matters if you grew up in Chicago or just recently moved here like myself; Livin’ in the city isn’t easy. And depending on your financial status, it isn’t exactly affordable either.

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Television and movies perpetuate city life through the rosiest shade of glasses there are, so I got a bit of a reality check semester when I moved to the city and into my 5 x 6 dorm room. Even though I chose the most affordable living arrangements I could find, I was still broke, (ah the lavish life of the average American college student. The extra expenses that come with living in the city can at times feel unbearable. For example, twenty dollars a day for parking can be a little steep, and those thirty dollar taxi rides into downtown aren’t exactly going to make your wallet any happier.

But don’t panic yet, there are some awesome little known ways to hack you and your wallet into a considerably more comfortable state of mind, especially if you’re an on-the-go college student like myself.

Brad’s has compiled the ultimate list of Chicago life-hacks for those of us with strained pocketbooks like myself, and you will be surprised to learn just how much money you could be saving.

I’ve taken the liberty to highlight the hacks I think would be most useful to a new Chicagoan like myself. I’ve included some restaurants, apps, and beauty and fashion bargains.  But feel free to check out Brad’s full list of 50 hacks. 

If you’re a beauty buff there are several brands that offer high-end salon treatments on certain days of the year.

For instance, on your birthday you can head up to benefit cosmetics on your birthday to receive a free brow shaping. I really recommend this one personally, 2015 is definitely the year of the eyebrow and the people of Chicago have some of the nicest brows I’ve ever seen.

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Another favorite is the Urban Outfitters Surplus Store. If you love the laid back look that Urban Outfitters provides but can’t normally afford it, this store will be your dream come true. Urban puts up all unsold merchandise for up 75% off the regular selling price.

Belmont Army surplus is another great option for those looking to spend less for on-trend fashion.

And if you’re in love with everything vintage, The Brown Elephant is a great option for affordable home d├ęcor and clothing.

Another a great option is Rosati's, a fantastic Italian location where you can get a full slice of pan-style pizza and drink for again-only $5.

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For a cheap but delicious full meal, head over to Dave's Red Hots for the perfect Chicago style hotdog, all for only $5!

Another wonderful tip is the Spothero app. Spothero was created to help you find the cheapest parking around you and is especially useful in the downtown area.

Also try ParkChicago for even more parking options in the city.

If you still aren’t feeling satisfied with this short sample of Chicago life hacks-never fear!

Head over to to read the full list, and trust me, it's definitely worth the look!

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