Chicago, IL

5 Places to Shop in Chicago to Save, Save, Save!

Jennifer Brown Banks

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Now more than ever, our dollars have to stretch like African rubber. Amid a pandemic, record unemployment and economic uncertainty, every penny counts. Accordingly, wise spending and comparative shopping will enable us to acquire more and stress less.

Consider the following statistics provided by Pewresearch.org:

" Nearly half of U.S. adults with lower incomes have had trouble paying their bills since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. A quarter of U.S. adults say they have had trouble paying their bills since the coronavirus outbreak began. Smaller shares of U.S. adults say they have had problems paying their rent or mortgage (16%) or affording medical care for themselves or their families (11%). Still fewer say they lost their health insurance (5%)."

Among adults with lower incomes, 46% say they have had trouble paying their bills, and about a third (32%) have had problems paying their rent or mortgage since February – significantly higher than the share of middle- and upper-income adults who have faced these struggles. This income pattern holds when looking at the shares saying they had trouble paying for medical care or lost their health insurance."

It states further: "As many Americans struggle with the effects of the coronavirus recession, a third say they have turned to savings or retirement accounts to pay their bills. Additionally, more than one-in-ten have borrowed money from friends or family (17%), gotten food from a food bank or charitable organization (17%), or received government assistance such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (15%) or unemployment benefits, (15%).

These are sobering statistics indeed...

Luckily for me, I have always been a frugal female. I work hard for my money and I need my money to work hard for me. Hello!

So this penny-pinching diva is uniquely qualified to give you the 4-1-1 on where to shop to garner more bang for your buck and become a more savvy shopper.

BELOW ARE MY FIVE FAVORITE PLACES FOR SAVING DOUGH:

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ALDI'S

Founded in 1946, Aldi's has it all. And they have it all for less. I shop for most of my grocery items from Aldi's---whether it includes frozen pizzas, bakery goods, beverages or canned goods. Most of the times, their prices are lower than other local grocers; although it's not always the case. For example, a bottle of ketchup or other condiments can often be purchased more cheapily at the Dollar Tree for the same size. That's why it's important to routinely check out the merchandise at various stores, when time permits. Or, as an alternative, you can also browse the weekly sales online or through the store's sales papers.

FOOD 4 LESS

As the name implies, shoppers can expect to save money by picking up various items here. Many times I find them to have a large variety of meats, fruits and vegetables that are affordable. Additionally, they periodically sale decorative home items, bakeware, etc. One year I was fortunate to get a beautiful backyard table umbrella with an African print here that really impressed my neighbors and friends.

DOLLAR TREE

If you have champagne taste on a beer budget (like I do), here's the place to shop until you drop! My favorite gotta-have items from this store include: movies, books, scented candles, cleaning products and cooking seasonings.

COOK BROTHERS

For those seeking a good deal on furniture, household goods, clothing and accessories, Cook Brothers is a one-stop shop. There is so much to see here, plan to spend as much time as possible.

GOODWILL ON WESTERN

I love going here, not just for the merchandise, but for the experience. For me, it's relaxing, the associates are friendly, the piped in music is great, and they have a wide selection of both new and used items. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and change for the snack machine.

Happy shopping!

Image credits: Jennifer Brown Banks

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Veteran freelance writer, award-winning blogger, thought leader, herbal tea enthusiast. My mission is to entertain, engage and inform readers with articles that are interesting, enriching and diverse.

Chicago, IL
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