Cost of Living in Chicago For Students: [Updated 2024 Guide]

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You may be surprised to learn that the third most expensive city in the United States is not New York or Los Angeles, but Chicago. Although, you can still enjoy life in Chicago while saving money on your budget by following a few tips and tricks. The cost of living in this Midwest hub is higher than in both those cities and other urban areas across the country. Well, so if you’re looking for cheap apartments or rent prices that will leave much room for you to save even after paying bills each month, then this might be your best bet! To help you understand and be prepared with your finances, take a look at the proper breakdown of the cost of living in Chicago for students in detail in this blog.

The monthly cost of living in Chicago for students lies between $2,075 to $2,107 approximately for a single person’s expenses. This is how much a person would need to cover the necessities for a month and live comfortably in Chicago. Living expenses in Chicago are higher than the national average and lower than in other major cities like New York City or Los Angeles. It’s also higher than some Midwest cities like Detroit and Indianapolis but much less expensive than other Midwestern cities such as Minneapolis-St Paul or Milwaukee.

Cost Of Living Calculator

DescriptionCost (£)
Total Cost of Accommodation100
Total Cost of Transport50
Total Cost of Utilities30
Total Cost of Food70
Total Estimated Cost250

What Is The Cost Of Living In Chicago?

The average cost of living in Chicago is a question that many people ask themselves when they’re considering moving there. The answer depends on your lifestyle, your student accommodation, and your spending patterns. Other basic necessities impacting your total living costs include food, transportation expenses (car insurance and gas), clothing/shoes for work or school and entertainment. The table below comprises the monthly breakdown of the individual living expenditures of a student when living in Chicago –

ParticularsCost (Monthly)
Off-Campus Accommodation $1,297
On-Campus Accommodation$1,329
Food Cost$320
Utility Cost$158
Health Insurance$80
Total Cost of Living with Off-Campus Accommodation $2,027
Total Cost of Living with On-Campus Accommodation $2,107
Annual Cost of Living$24,898

Cost Of Living In Chicago In Detail


The average Chicago living cost for students in rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Chicago is $1,104. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Chicago is $1,917. The average rent for a three-bedroom apartment in Chicago is $2,533. The average studio rental price in Chicago is $726 per month, which means that you could find yourself paying between $547 and $867 per month depending on what part of the city you live and whether or not you have roommates with whom you split costs. 

Basic Utilities 

While living in an accommodation the various utilities will also cost a certain amount of money. Take a look at the average cost of these utilities below –

  • Electricity: $0.15/kWh
  • Water: $0.04/gallon
  • Internet: $50/month (fast) or $30/month (slow)
  • Heating and cooling costs vary greatly by season and neighbourhood but are typically less than $100 per month for a single person depending on where you live in Chicago.

A Basic Meal At A Restaurant

Average meals cost around $10. There are also many tips that students can use while eating out in Chicago. For example, eating before you leave your apartment. If you’re hungry and want to save money on food costs, order a small appetizer and an entree that can be eaten at the table. Then, when your friends arrive, they’ll have something to share with each other while waiting for their own orders. You can also find coupons online before heading out to eat and use them! You might also try asking friends if they know of any restaurants with specials happening at the moment; if so, ask about those deals and take advantage of them too!

Monthly Transportation Expenses

Transportation costs include gas, parking, tolls and public transportation. You can save money by carpooling or taking public transportation (the CTA is a good option). Walking or biking instead of driving can also help you save money. If you want to go out with friends and not worry about paying for parking at the bar or restaurant where you’re going to eat, consider getting an Uber instead of driving there yourself—it’ll be cheaper than paying for parking!


The average person in Chicago spends $72 per month on entertainment, including $20 for coffee and food at restaurants, and $35 for alcohol. For example, if you want to go out for dinner with friends once a week but don’t want to spend too much money on it (and would prefer not to order takeout or eat at a chain restaurant), then you’ll probably end up spending around $30 – $40 in total.


If you’re moving to Chicago, it’s important to know how much you’ll need to save through your Chicago living expenses. You need a budget and not just any old budget—you need one that’s specific enough for your lifestyle, but flexible enough for any unexpected expenses or emergencies. The best way of doing this is by taking out an apartment lease with a fixed monthly cost. This way, if something happens and your bills skyrocket (or decrease), then they won’t affect your savings account as much because they’re already accounted for in the monthly rent amount. Once you have this down pat—and once all of your other financial obligations are covered—it’s time to start saving up! We hope this has helped you understand what the cost of living in Chicago is like. If you’re moving there, it’s important to know how much money you’ll need before moving forward with your decision.

PS: If there’s anything more you’d like us to know about. Add it to the comments section!

Thank you for reading this blog on ‘A Detailed Guide: The Cost Of Living In Chicago’ If you’d like to read more, here are some blogs that may be of interest to you –

  1. Living Cost In The UK for International Students 2022
  2. An Overview Of The Cost Of Living In Toronto
  3. Cost Of Living In New York: A Breakdown For International Students!


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Cost of Living in Chicago For Students: [Updated 2024 Guide]

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