Thursday, January 29, 2009

Free Museums & Attractions

Museums and their free days:

The following are ALWAYS free:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Free/Cheap Stuff - Resources

Some resources for free/cheap events, updated weekly:

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Some of my favorites:

  • Allende (2408 N Lincoln) - Mexican - I recommend the tostadas.

  • Aloha Eats (2534 N Clark) - Hawaiian - Burgers and (very filling) spam musubis for under $4; plate lunches average $7-9 with massive portions, so good value.

  • Feed (2803 W Chicago) - Southern/Comfort Food - Good stuff, large portions.

  • Nhu Lan Bakery (2612 W Lawrence) - Vietnamese - Big sandwiches for an average of $2-4, giant spring rolls, great unusual desserts if you're feeling adventurous.

  • Royal Thai (2209 W. Montrose) - Thai - Reasonably priced and excellent food.

  • Sultan's Market (2057 W North and 2521 N Clark) - Middle Eastern - I give this one of the best ratings when factoring both cost and quality. Healthy, tasty, and both meat and vegetarian options, including a kick-ass salad bar. I recommend the falafel sandwich or one of the tastiest things you will ever eat, the zatter fatia sandwich.

  • Taco Burrito Palace (multiple locations) - Mexican - aka Taco Burrito House. Fairly standard little Mexican place, but you can't beat getting a veggie taco for less than two bucks.

Also some other resources:

Cheap Movies

In general, as with most things, the further away from downtown you go, the cheaper things get. With that in mind, some of the cheapest movie theaters in the city:

  • Logan (2646 N Milwaukee) - By far, cheapest I've found yet at $3 all day (last I checked, correct me if I'm wrong). The catch - kinda scummy and tends to be limited to family-friendly movies.

  • Davis (4614 N. Lincoln) - Best of all worlds - cheap, and run every type of movie from family to R-rated, mainstream to independent.

  • Village North (6746 N. Sheridan) - also has free popcorn Wednesdays, if you bring your own container/bucket/trash bag to fill with it.

  • Brew & View at the Vic (3145 N. Sheffield) - 2 movies for $5.

And if you haven't hopped on the Netflix bandwagon...
Cheapest Rental Places:

  • Discus CD Exchange (2935 N Broadway) - Used CD/DVDs for sale and $0.50 DVD rentals (new releases slightly more).

  • Hollywood Video (multiple locations) - $0.99 DVD rentals on Wednesdays (slightly more for new releases).

Cheap Tickets to Everything

The great thing about not being picky or having a tight schedule? Not having to pay full price! Some resources for scoring cheap or free tickets for theater, comedy, concerts, and more:

  • - This site offers discounted tickets (often as much as half price) and sometimes free offers to countless theater events in Chicago and a number of other cities. Register for free on the site, get your tickets in advance, you're set to go.

  • - Last minute discounted tickets to some of the typically pricier plays and musicals - changes daily (I think?)

  • Lakeshore Theater - Sign up for their weekly mailing list - almost (if not every) week will have free offers for certain things if you just email/call to reserve your tickets before the show. They also frequently hold drawings for ticket giveaways at the theater. 99% of shows I've seen here have been great. Even if not, hey, it's free.

  • - Offers discounted movie tickets if you prepay and buy in bulk.

  • Craigslist, - Assuming it's not for something where tickets are in extremely high demand, both are guaranteed to be cheaper than Ticketmaster the longer you hold out. Screw "convenience" fees...

  • - Sign up for their mailing list - every once in a while they will send out free ticket offers to some of their less high-profile concerts at the last minute.

Common Food Staples

Your list may vary of course. But here are some things I usually keep a regular stock of, and where to get them cheapest (please correct me if you have any tips):

-Cereal - Jewel, Dominicks - If you're not picky, sales bring them as low as $2 a box.
-Cheese - Jewel, Dominicks - They usually have 2 for 1 sales on blocks of cheese. Go for the blocks, the convenience of having it pre-sliced is personally something I can do without.
-Couscous - Technically the cheapest would be to get the loose grains at Whole Foods or somewhere that sells it that way. The boxed variety Near East often goes on sale at Jewel/Dominicks.
-Hummus - Trader Joe's, Harvestime, Stanley's - I usually make it, but if I'm lazy or wanting a bigger selection, these places have the small-size containers for $2-3 usually, versus more than $5 as I recall the last time I bought it at Dominicks or Jewel.
-Sandwich bread - This depends on your individual taste really, but in general, this is another thing you can save on - and better yet, get higher quality - if you're willing to sacrifice the convenience of pre-sliced. Go to the bakery section instead of the bread aisle. Otherwise, Trader Joe's has some tasty varieties of pre-sliced bread.
-Soy milk - Whole Foods, Trader Joe's - One of the few things that tends to be cheaper at these places at regular price.. usually not more than $2 for a 1-qt non-refrigerated carton. West Soy is usually cheapest.

I will add to this list as I think of more...
Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fruits and Veggies

For fresh produce:

  • Stanley's Fruits & Vegetables - 1558 N Elston Ave. - Prices so good you'll feel like you're stealing. Case in point - certain varieties of apples go on sale for $0.49/lb, vs. an average of $1.79/lb at Treasure Island/Jewel. Seriously, I don't know how Stanley does it.

  • Harvestime Foods - 2632 W Lawrence Ave. - Not usually as cheap as Stanley's, but good prices. Way less than the Dominick's up the street.

  • Smaller ethnic/neighborhood markets - If you're lucky enough to live near one, they're generally cheaper for most things.

For canned goods:

In general, I would not pay much more than $1 for any canned fruits/vegetables. Country Time tends to be a cheap brand (avg. $1.09 at Treasure Island). If you manage to hit a smaller neighborhood market, they can be as low as $0.79 - this has become my new target price.
However, Trader Joe's canned chickpeas and black beans are only about $0.80, so you never know...

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