Minimum salary to live decently in Chicago

What is it? I got a call-back for a job in Chicago and wouldadgjl10/19/12
Do you already have a job?karlfarbman10/19/12
Not yet, but I want to have an idea what would be an acceptaadgjl10/19/12
What is the salary you will be receiving? I have lived in Chswimmer8610/19/12
$60k if you are single and have student loan debt.123fakestreet10/19/12
I agree on $60k, single, student loan debt and living on youmunicipald110/19/12
@swimmer86 Probably 50k.adgjl10/19/12
you can get a decent one bedroom near a train line for 1000-chicagojoe10/20/12
Assuming you don't have $100K+ in student loans, you can eastttheaven10/20/12
From Oak Park, you can just take the green line el. Rush hochicagojoe10/20/12
40-60K without major student loan debt and, if you can, nearswimmer8610/20/12
Chicago can be very affordable if you know where to live andchicagoloser10/20/12
Yeah, West Ridge ain't that bad in comparison to the "brokendaleycenter10/20/12



adgjl (Oct 19, 2012 - 12:23 pm)

What is it? I got a call-back for a job in Chicago and would like to live somewhere with easy access to the Loop (location of potential job). I'm hoping to live on my own. What is the minimum salary that I should be willing to accept?

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karlfarbman (Oct 19, 2012 - 1:30 pm)

Do you already have a job?

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adgjl (Oct 19, 2012 - 2:18 pm)

Not yet, but I want to have an idea what would be an acceptable salary.

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swimmer86 (Oct 19, 2012 - 4:54 pm)

What is the salary you will be receiving? I have lived in Chicago my whole life until fairly recently. I can tell you if it will work or not.

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123fakestreet (Oct 19, 2012 - 3:29 pm)

$60k if you are single and have student loan debt.

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municipald1 (Oct 19, 2012 - 5:20 pm)

I agree on $60k, single, student loan debt and living on your own (which I see you want to do). It might be tight if you want to be within walking distance of the Loop unless you don't mind living in the South Loop.

You could get away with $45k if you have roommates, know the city, and don't live in River North, Streeterville, Old Town, or Lincoln Park.

If I had to do it all over again, I'd live in Bridgeport near Comisky Park.
Cost of living is "lower" than the Coasts but still not low for the rest of the mid-west.

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adgjl (Oct 19, 2012 - 10:48 pm)

@swimmer86 Probably 50k.

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chicagojoe (Oct 20, 2012 - 12:02 am)

you can get a decent one bedroom near a train line for 1000-1300/mo, so rough estimate would be 3000-3900 after taxes, so I'd say 50k to live comfortably with moderate student loan debt.

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tttheaven (Oct 20, 2012 - 12:33 am)

Assuming you don't have $100K+ in student loans, you can easily live comfortably in Chicago on $50K. You won't be able to live in River North, the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Wrigleyville, or Wicker Park/Bucktown, but there are many other great parts of town where you can rent a one bedroom (and probably throw in some utilities) for around $1,000 per month. It helps if you don't own a car.

I would look at areas like Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, NorthCenter, Edgewater, Old Irving Park or Rogers Park on the northside; or the West Loop, Ukranian Village or Logan Square on the west side. You will have a commute in these places, but it will be manageable (on the El). If you're hell bent on being close to work, you can live in the Loop. But I wouldn't recommend that, as that area tends to empty out on weekends.

If you're really trying to stretch a dollar, live on the south side or in Oak Park, which is outside of the city (but close enough) and has a lot going on. Plus, your commute would be easy on the Metra.

My first job out of school was making $55K in a state court clerkship, and I had $40K in student loans and $5K in CC debt. I lived just fine, albeit modestly.

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chicagojoe (Oct 20, 2012 - 12:49 pm)

From Oak Park, you can just take the green line el. Rush hour is 80% professionals who live in Oak Park and it's not nearly as bad as people suggest in the off hours. You can also live in Evanston, which can be cheap if you aren't in downtown (there's probably good options around the Main and Dempster stations)

I wouldn't recommend Rogers Park, but the rest he mentions are pretty good options, and I would add the south loop, which someone above mentioned. I know people who've managed to live well there in the 40-60k range w/ similar debt.

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swimmer86 (Oct 20, 2012 - 1:47 pm)

40-60K without major student loan debt and, if you can, near public transportation and you should be able to live well. I know many people, just like chicagojoe, who have had that salary and have lived well and been happy.

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chicagoloser (Oct 20, 2012 - 3:50 pm)

Chicago can be very affordable if you know where to live and how to get around.

There are so many places to live that are still just 15 minutes or less from the loop if you live near Metra. I work in the loop but live 10 miles away, along the northern edge of the city (West Ridge). My rent is $670 a month ($750 with all utils) for a 1-bedroom.

If you choose to live closer to the loop then parking quickly becomes prohibitively expensive, so like most young people in those areas you will have to do without a car. I like to avoid the CTA trains which are slow, smelly, and full of thugs, but many others don't mind. Thanks to my low cost of living I can afford a car and get to where I need to go, while also saving gas by taking Metra to work.

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daleycenter (Oct 20, 2012 - 6:31 pm)

Yeah, West Ridge ain't that bad in comparison to the "broken heart of Rogers Park" but if you stray to far east of Western, definitely across Ridge, you could end up as a chalk outline. There's a few good bars in the area: Candlelight, Mullens (the best) and McKellins.

I haven't had to exist on that kind of money in at least 25 years, but you could definitely do it in many areas of Chicago and the surrounding burbs. Personally, I'd go northern burbs, downtown (or right outside of) Evanston. AlLords could probably point you in the right direction.

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