Frugal Finds + Zillow: Why Move to Chicago!

Dearest Frugal Finds readers,

Exciting collaboration to report!  I've paired up with the go-to resource for all things real estate, Zillow, to give you some insight into why my beloved city, Chicago, is basically the coolest place to be.  And when I say coolest, I don't mean just temps.  I mean in regards to everything from restaurants to cultural outposts to shopping, particularly of the budget-friendly nature.  Trust me, I've lived in NYC and LA as well, and Chicago really know what's up when it comes to the one watching their pennies.  There's a reason I founded Frugal Finds when I was posted up in New York, but Chicago is really a city that serves the young professional on a budget well.  Check out what Emily of Zillow has to say about the Windy City and why it's perfect for the Frugal Finder!


Chicago is the third largest city in the country, with nearly 3 million proud Chicagoans. This city is a goldmine of great eateries and culture, outshining other Midwestern cities with its natural beauty and diverse culture. 

Considering moving to Chicago? The metro appeals to large families, social singles and couples, savvy students and busy professionals. Here are six reasons to relocate to the Windy City.

1. To Indulge - Chicago is a foodie’s dream comes true as it’s famous for an array of gourmet selections and several local specialties. Chicago culinary staples include the indulgently thick deep-dish pizzas, and Chicago-style hot dogs which are the primo versions of regular hot dogs finished with fresh gourmet toppings. For more discerning food connoisseurs, check out the impressive line-up of restaurants in West Loop and Randolph Street where everyone can find a favorite dish.

2. For Student Life - Chicago is home to impressive educational institutions including Northern Illinois University, DePaul University, University of Chicago and Northwestern University, providing the city with a constant stream of new talent. For that reason, Chicago is extremely student-friendly with lots of rental properties available in neighborhoods close to major schools. The city is also ideal for locals without cars due to its quality transit system and remarkable Walk Score of 75 out of 100.

3. To Soak up Culture - Throughout the summer, Chicago plays host to multiple street markets, festivals and cultural events. The well-known Pride Parade is held in the Uptown neighborhood during the last week of June. Performing art and stage show enthusiasts get their cultural fix downtown at the Chicago Theatre, while a younger crowd enjoys the nightlife culture in Lincoln Park and Lakeview after dark.

4. To Find Love - Chicago is arguably one of the best cities to potentially meet that special someone because more than 40 percent of the population is single. Old Town and The Loop are popular neighborhoods to find likeminded singles socializing after work or on the weekends. Both neighborhoods are packed with bars, restaurants, shopping and entertainment.

5. For Its Beauty - A central business district connected to a sandy public beach is a rare find. Chicago boasts 25 miles of public beach where residents enjoy open water swimming throughout the summer with multiple dog-friendly parks and picnic areas. In addition to the natural beauty provided by the beaches and skyline, Chicago is packed with public art sculptures and monuments such as Calder's 'Flamingo and Cloud Gate.

6. For Affordable Housing - Both homeownership and renting in Chicago is reasonably affordable. Property renters in Chicago pay slightly less than the U.S. average rent price each month. The median rent list price in Chicago is $1,500, and the national median price is $1,600. Alternatively, home values in Chicago are slightly more expensive at $187,200 when compared to the national average of $169,000. The investment of homes in Chicago is encouraging as the market has rebounded 14.7 percent throughout the past year and Zillow forecasts additional appreciation of 4.5 percent during 2014. Apartments and condos are readily available in the bustling downtown neighborhoods River North and The Loop, while larger households requiring more space have an array of safe, family-friendly suburbs such as Skokie and Naperville to choose from.  From its diverse culture to delicious food and a plethora of neighborhoods and activities, Chicago has something for everyone. Before making the move, complete some research on suitable neighborhoods including affordability, demographics and local entertainment to ensure a smooth adjustment and a long-term fit.

Party Time!

I'd say I was a big party thrower, but my apartment is at maximum capacity at about 4 people (don't be fooled by the photos, they're flattering).  

However, see the party collection of Joy Choy (of wildy successful blog - Oh Joy) for Target.  (fun fact: she is the most followed member of Pinterest), I kind of want to have some sort of gathering.  

In true Target fashion, all the items are extremely Frugal Finds friendly.  Items range in price from $3-$25.  

Who wants to come over for a studio apartment fete in Lincoln Park?  Email me to RSVP.



Here are some of my picks...

Some seriously awesome party inspiration...

Fellow Chicagoans I Love: Olive Juice

Kaylan and her husband's (and dog Coco) adorable apartment

Even though this winter in Chicago was one for the books (but seriously, 3rd coldest and 3rd snowiest winter on record here.  You think you had it bad New York?  You got it easy...), I'll always love this city.  It's a beautiful spring day today and some how the miseries of winter seem to fade away.

Therefore, I love sharing with you fellow Chicagoans who are doing great things in the realm of design.  

I've been acquainted with Kaylan Kane for a while, as she's the manager of a showroom that we did quite a bit of business with at my old interior design firm.

I had no idea she had her own design business (called Olive Juice) until I spotted her at Randolph Street Market (if you're an art and antique junkie like me, you'll die for Randolph Street Market), where my friend picked up the most amazing black lacquered Chippendale chair.

Not only does Kaylan refurbish furniture, she also sells antiques and trinkets that are both unique and affordable.  Oh yes, and she offers her own design services!  

Take a look at some of my picks from her newly launched website.  And take a look at this photo of her apartment - major envy.  Oh yeah, and it was featured on Refinery 29.  DOUBLE ENVY.

Kaylan and her adorable pillow creations

Chicken or the Egg?

Nico and Lala designed goods from my sister's wedding..pretty much the best wedding ever.  They designed their wedding logo based off of the logo of the beach club where they were getting married in New York.

Adorable Nico and Lala goods that have that same theme as my sister's wedding!

What came first: the chicken or the egg?  Did I introduce my sister to Nico and Lala and she therefore had them design all of her wedding materials?  Or did she make me aware of them and I therefore became obsessed?  Pretty sure it was the former.

Regardless, this dynamic duo not only designed the most fantastic nuptial goods for my sister's wedding, but also their online shop is just delightful as well.

Not going to lie, their things give me heart palpitations they're so cute.  Ok, they may not be the most frugal items I've ever come across, but certainly worth the extra $10-$15 I'd usually spend on that given item elsewhere.

Kind of obsessed with this toile iPhone cover

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Aesthetically Inclined

Belated New Years resolution: blog more.  2014 looks like it's going to be a crazy busy year.  My job is in the fashion world, but my passion will always be interior design.  I've made a solemn vow to myself and to you guys to not neglect what I love doing and sharing it with the (budget) decor obsessed.

If you haven't caught on by now, I'm an Instagram fanatic.  Not only do I love sharing, but I love following those I find to be inspirational.  I actually get a ton of ideas and resources from the addictive photo sharing app.

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I love sharing photos like these from my apartment

I'm currently loving everything from the account of blogger/artist Jessica from The Aestate.  Her watercolor prints are whimsical yet relevant.  None of those starving artist landscapes that make me gag (although I'm kind of obsessed with the watercolor app, Waterlogue...).

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Can I have her apartment?  Photo via Instagram


Her prints range in price from $16-$63, so some are a quick decor pick me up and others are a bit of splurge.

Take a look at some of my favorites.  Her prints can be purchased both on her Etsy shop as well as her website shop

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