I went to Chicago in September to visit a friend who has started his new full-time job there. My friend, S.B. had recently completed his MBA program and graduated from Michigan University. He had accepted a job offer in Sears Holding located in Chicago.
The one thing I quickly noticed about Chicago, aside from having the tallest skyscraper in the country, is that Chicago also has one of the highest, if not the highest, sales tax rate, a whopping 10.25%. Beat that New York! But no, I think NYC’s sales tax is already too high. I asked my friend about Chicago’s high sales tax rate and his answer was that Chicago has a much lower income tax rate than other states, so I think that offsets the high sales tax. Here’s what I think – earn money in Chicago and spend elsewhere.
I was in Chicago for 5 days and stayed over my friend’s place. I tried to keep my trip costs low and since I stayed over at a friend’s place, I believe that helped cut a lot of the cost. Below is my expense report for my 5-day trip.
Expedia – Continental – $210
I purchased round trip tickets online through Expedia.com and flew with Continental.
NJ Transit/ Air Train to Newark Airport – $15
On the way to Chicago, I took the faster route, from NYC Penn Station to Newark Airport. It took about 30 minutes to get to Newark Airport. I thought the wait time was longer than the actual train ride.
Bus / PATH / MTA to NYC – $3.75
On the way back home, I took the cheapest route, but it was also the longest route. I took the NJ #62 bus outside the Newark Airport to the Newark Penn Station. I then transferred to the PATH. I had to transfer again in Journal Square Station and finally transferred to the MTA subway/bus system when I was in Manhattan. The total ride time from Newark Airport to home was about an hour and a half, but the cost was undeniably low. The NJ #62 bus far was $1.25, but I paid $2, because I didn’t have change. The PATH train fare was $1.75 and I did not have to pay for the MTA subway/bus, because I had an unlimited metrocard.
Total Transportation Cost: $228.75
Dining – Jaipur Indian Cusine – $50
I treated my friend to dinner at a nice Indian restaurant of his choice. The cooking was authentic and delicious.
Dinner – Sarpino’s Pizzeria – $27
On my last night in Chicago, we ordered pizza and had drinks at the rooftop, which has an amazing view of the city.
Lunch – San Marino – $7.23
Lunch – San Marino – $6.62
This was a small deli near where I was staying. The sandwiches were pretty good. I went there two days in a row.
Fannie May – $4.39
The name of this place may remind you of a stock you have purchased in the past, but this store has nothing to do with mortgage. They serve great-tasting ice-cream.
McDonald’s – $1.25
I bought a soda while waiting for my flight.
Walgreens – $2.25
I got thirsty from walking around in Chicago and bought a drink.
Deli – $3
I bought some snacks while I was walking around in Chicago
7-Eleven – $4.69
I bought some soda and chips to my friend’s place.
Total Food Expenses: $101.18
Friend’s place – $0 FREE
I stayed over at my friend’s apartment and did not have to pay a dime. Since he was busy at work, I had the place to myself most of the time.
Total Cost of Trip: $335.18
The total cost of my trip to Chicago cost $335 for five days, which was not bad. I think if I had stayed in a hotel, the cost would have been easily 50% more.