Author Topic: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?  (Read 4408 times)

Old Man Mase

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
  • Location: St. Louis, MO
    • Old Man Mase
Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« on: October 04, 2015, 08:54:56 PM »
For Mustachians living in Chicago or who have moved to Chicago (city or suburbs) from a LCOL area - how did/do you compensate for some of the higher expenses associated with the area?

Considering a move there in the next few years, and both my spouse and I are confident we could find comparable jobs in our fields with enough searching. However the more we look into the higher costs of owning property, among other things, the more we realize it would slow down our goals for FI.

Hypothetically how could we make the transition less expensive and still maintain a solid quality lifestyle coming from living in a cheaper city?

mschaus

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 134
  • Location: Chicago
    • blog
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2015, 09:53:31 AM »
As with living in any city, how you design your lifestyle around housing, work, cars, cooking, etc., gets you 80% of the benefit. I live downtown so my family only needs 1 car and most entertainment is free. Would be easy to have zero cars if everyone works within bike/train distance.

And it sounds like you would be moving completely voluntarily, so presumably you find value in the exciting lifestyle and opportunities that the city affords. Everyone has to strike their own balance in lifestyle between racing to FI and stopping to smell the roses, and MMM helps you do the latter without necessarily spending money.

norabird

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7701
  • Location: Brooklyn NY
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2015, 09:56:15 AM »
You could rent there rather than owning, for one thing. You can certainly still be MMM even with higher housing costs as you can get rid of cars, only do frugal activities, etc.

frugaliknowit

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1629
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2015, 10:07:01 AM »
In my opinion, the best leverage a mustachian has living in Chicago is avoiding car ownership by locating where you can mostly use the transit system and bike.

ash7962

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Chicago
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2015, 11:33:12 AM »
As others have said the benefits of the big city is the ability to use your car less.  I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago (near O'Hare) and am now living down town.  My rent for a 1br apartment in Lakeview is 1340$/month.  Utilities (electric, gas, water, sewage, and internet) come out to be about 130$-180$/mo (the difference is mostly caused by cost of gas in the winter).  I also get the 100$ unlimited ventra pass every month since I use the cta system a TON.

While growing up my dad would drive to a metra station and then take the train into work.  He could easily have biked to the metra stop in about 10-15 minutes on mostly side streets.  The metra takes you into the loop which is where most of the office buildings are.  My parents also live within a 5 minute bike ride of a grocery store, so using your car less in the suburbs is totally doable.  I don't have many actual numbers for suburbs living, but I know my parents spend less on groceries than I do and there's 2 of them vs me + the times I feed my SO.

I know that was a bit vague, but let me know if you have more questions and I can try to answer best I can.

naners

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 172
  • Age: 37
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2015, 12:00:29 PM »
HA! DH and I are considering a move to Chicago because the cost of living is lower than where we currently live (Brooklyn). To be fair it's basically impossible for COL to be higher than where we are now. But, enjoying the tips on how to keep costs lower in Chicago.

Abe

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1236
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2015, 12:48:43 PM »
Chicago has a lot of free or cheap things to do in the parks. When it's warm enough outside, pretty much don't need to spend money for things to do outdoors. Food costs and housing costs are much lower than in Brooklyn (my cousin lives there, we compared prices recently). The only big expense will be housing, and depending on where you live (and how much dinginess you're willing to tolerate), you can get a good deal. My wife live in a more expensive part of town with a 3 bedroom condo and spend $60k a year on all (non income tax) costs combined. Almost half of that is for the mortgage, property tax, HOA fees etc.

Allison

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2015, 12:54:34 PM »
I live in the far west suburbs(Naperville) and other than higher housing prices, it is not that much more expensive.  I moved 2 years ago from Columbus and my biggest shock was rental costs.  My two bedroom, one car garage is $500 more per month than my single family house in Columbus.

I spend a lot of time at the parks and zoos.  Chicagoland has many nice bike trails going from the suburbs to downtown. And Metra has a $8 all you can ride weekend pass if you want to travel on the weekends.

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3357
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2015, 06:12:04 PM »
Chicago gets a bad rap for HCOL. Yeah, it's not LCOL, but it could be way worse. Put some thought into where you live and work, and there's a lot that you can do to minimize costs. There's a huge range of housing prices depending on where you are. There's several grocery chains, good public transit, etc.

I'm in the west suburbs (Willowbrook) for reference. Naperville is further west than me.

Dee18

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1593
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2015, 06:48:11 PM »
I was just in Chicago for the weekend and was amazed at how low prices were at a grocery in the Loop called Mariano's. 

Old Man Mase

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
  • Location: St. Louis, MO
    • Old Man Mase
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2015, 05:30:46 AM »
Hey everyone thank you for the suggestions.

Yes, the move would be completely voluntary, we would simply be looking to move closer to family. I totally agree that we should leverage the benefits of living in a big city like Chicago, especially when it comes to transportation. We're a one car family now and we've found that has worked out pretty for us here in St. Louis.

We'd be looking to buy a house, but we'd likely rent for 6 months to a year just to get acclimated first and make the right decision. One thing we thought about too was buying a multi-unit building or single family home where we can rent part of it out, which theoretically would really help with housing costs.

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3357
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2015, 12:17:27 PM »
I would recommend renting for a year or so, it's a very large metro area, so there's a lot of neighborhoods and factors to consider when deciding where to live.  If you move here, you'd be starting from scratch in that knowledge, so it'll take a while.

REAL WORLD EXPAT

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 69
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2015, 12:51:58 PM »
Suburbs dweller here also, Glen Ellyn and aside from house prices (mine is paid off so is more of a low risk investment when I sell it) and taxes it can be a good place to make good money and keep costs low. We moved from Columbus, OH, and never regretted it. Living without a car all year is hard but you can do things to minimize it. I wish I could use public transport more and if you are in the city on the El then it is totally do-able. I try to do my shopping on my way home from work as opposed to making a special trip, use my bike as much as possible on weekends and get outside as much as possible. I don't see staying post FIRE as I'd like to move to a smaller town with less traffic, release some the equity in my house and maybe escape the snow, but for now it's been good to us for the last 11 years and we'll do our best to enjoy the next 4 or 5 while we search for our FIRE destination.

eliza

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 364
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2015, 07:47:13 PM »
Like many cities, it can be as expensive as you care to make it, but can also be quite reasonable if you are careful.

I lived in Chicago for a couple of years before I ended up living on the road full time (yay per diem!) and then moving to DC.  I rented one room in a three bedroom shared flat in Old Town (2 minute walk to #11 bus to Loop or 5-7 minute walk to Sedgewick El Station) for $450 plus my share of utilities ~$100/month.  The apartment had in-unit washer and dryer and a large backyard with firepit that we shared with two other units.  Within a short walk from my apartment I had Lincoln Park Zoo, the Botanical Gardens, Lincoln Park, a playground, the beach, and a bunch of bars and restaurants.  The nearest grocery store was about a mile away, but was right on my bus line between work and home.   

If I'm remembering correctly, studios in my area were running $1,200 - $1,500 and with time and effort, it would probably be possible to find a smallish, oldish studio in Gold Coast/Old Town/Lincoln Park for ~$1,000 per month. 

If you can get by without a car, that generally compensates for the higher rents as compared to a LCOL area.   Beyond that, most prices are relatively the same.  There are a ton of free/cheap entertainment options available, especially in the summer.  I found grocery prices to be roughly equivalent to what I was used to from my small town (as opposed to NYC where I almost died when a medium sized box of Cheerios were $8). 

Bearded Man

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1142
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2015, 11:23:21 PM »
Doesn't Jacob from ERE live in Chicago? He moved there not too long ago.

Easye418

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 467
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2015, 10:31:52 AM »
If you do, please send me Nonna's pizza please :( 

I dearly miss it down here in TX.

Tris Prior

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2696
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2015, 04:08:14 PM »
I was just in Chicago for the weekend and was amazed at how low prices were at a grocery in the Loop called Mariano's. 

Ha, Boyfriend and I actually just decided to limit our shopping at Mariano's because there are such great deals to be had elsewhere. Like at the small ethnic grocery stores and produce markets that are tucked away into different neighborhoods. In fact, I just hauled home 25 lbs. of fruits and veggies, for which I paid a grand total of $9.82, from Stanley's Produce!

We haven't had a car for more than 10 years (and for me it's been longer; Boyfriend moved here from the St. Louis area and still had his car, but we unloaded it before he'd been here a year). Really only miss it when needing to haul large or heavy things (see above re 25 lbs of produce; I will admit that the el/bus journey home was not fun), or things like needing to take the cat to the vet.

Rent is our biggest expense; we pay $1200 for a large 2-bedroom 1 bath in Uptown. Lately it seems like the apartments closer to the el are skyrocketing in cost. If you're willing to do a bus/el combo (or sometimes bus/bus/el combo) to get to and from work every day then you'll likely do better with rent. After the last couple of winters we've had, I am ecstatic to have a 20-minute door-to-door commute involving only one el.

soupcxan

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 179
Re: Considering Moving: Is it Hard to Be Mustachian in Chicago?
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2015, 04:22:31 PM »
Personally I would not want to live in/support a city that passed a special tax just on Netflix. That's ridiculous.