I first started budgeting when I was five-years-old, courtesy of a heavy metal lockbox hidden under my bed — a tad dramatic perhaps, since the safe held 12 two dollar bills and a Barnes and Noble gift card, but it was my start. I have always loved math and budgeting, possibly because I knew early on I wanted to be an actress. Math is consistent and theatre is not. The two extremes keep me balanced.
Math and theatre pair well with life in Chicago. I’m a billing assistant by day and an actor by night. This city definitely can get expensive, but I have several outlets for hunting down deals while still enjoying all that Chicago has to offer. This week was the perfect example.
Lollapalooza hit Chicago last weekend and tickets ranged from $95 -$235, a steep price for the average artist. Luckily, my friends and I found a pre-party featuring Kate Nash and two bands already in town for Lolla. This concert was free and much less crowded than Grant Park.
Friday night we hit up one of my favorite music spots, Kingston Mines. This blues bar has live music from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. with a cover charge of $15. Side by side stages provide constant music all night long. When one band finishes the other band is already starting the next set.
Saturday, we hit the beach for some morning yoga. My friend Tiffany and I purchased a deal on Amazon Local for five beach yoga classes for $25. I also use Groupon.com, Livingsocial.com and bloomspot.com for deals on events, activities and food in Chicago.
Other great outings in the summer include the free Millennium Park concerts. I’ve seen Dawes, She and Him and Iron and Wine all for free at these events.
I also love Movies in the Park. Pack a picnic and watch a flick outside for free!
And finally, Chicago Shakespeare performs free outdoor shows all summer. My friends and I are planning to see Comedy of Errors next weekend.
Like anything in life, I try to remember moderation with my deals as I have had my fair share of flops. I coughed up a lot of money to fix my Groupon highlights in order to get my hair out of the nineties. Mortified, I once witnessed a party guest actually spit out wine I bought on sale, and I would fork over money not to take the hot yoga classes I purchased last winter as I blacked out through most of the sessions. But I truly think good times in Chicago are even better when you’re catching a sweet deal.
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