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My kind of budgeting town: inflation forces Chicago to zero in on savings

82% of Chicagoans are sticking to their New Years Resolutions on budgeting

March 29, 2023
 min read
Last updated:
Jan 23
A drawn image of the Chicago skyline with people and the mascot looking out to the Chicago River in the foreground.


As economic concerns continue to plague the United States, everyday Americans are facing more and more hardships that make the path to financial wellness all the more difficult. 

New research from Super, a financial technology company on a mission to help consumers spend less and live more, shows inflation is a key issue forcing Chicago to zero in on savings. In fact, the economic squeeze is so profound that 82% of people in the Windy City are sticking to their New Year's Resolutions around budgeting, outperforming the national average of 20% by February.

To understand how Chicagoans are spending and saving their money, Super surveyed more than 200 respondents across the City.

Key Findings

  • 80% of Chicagoans said that inflation is the top obstacle when it comes to savings. 
  • Analogue is king when it comes to finding savings solutions. 
  • Central Chicago is the most likely to make an impulse purchase. Northwest communities are least likely to do so.

Key Takeaway 1: Inflation is the Top Savings Obstacle

Everyday Americans are feeling the squeeze as the U.S. inflation rate hovers at 6.41% causing an alarming spike on products ranging from eggs and milk to couches and electronics. 

Inflation and the associated rising costs are the top obstacle facing Chicagoans when it comes to savings. A remarkable 80% of survey respondents listed this as their top concern, followed by 73% for the high cost of living. Additional obstacles included unexpected expenses (43%), low income (31.6%) and healthcare expenses (30.8%).

Key Takeaway 2: Analogue is King When it Comes to Savings Solutions


Compared to five years ago, the need to save for Chicagoians has increased by 78.9%, forcing consumers to clamp down on savings and look for new solutions to do so. The majority of consumers in the city are looking for savings at least most of the time when making purchases. 

When it comes to finding savings solutions, analogue is king, with printed coupons, in-person price comparing and tracking budget using pen and paper as the top strategies. 

  • More than half of the respondents (54%) have used coupons, while 44% use shopping apps to find deals or make purchases. 
  • Additionally, 43% visit multiple stores to find the best deals, and 36% use online price comparison websites/tools. 
  • Almost half of the respondents (49%) regularly make a budget to track their spending and savings, with 53% using pen and paper as their primary budget tracking method.

Key Takeaway 3: Central Chicago Dominates Impulse Purchases


Spending habits vary depending on the region of Chicago. One way to track this is through impulse purchases, defined by most Chicagoans as an unplanned purchase over $20.

Respondents from Central Chicago, in neighborhoods like Hyde Park, The Loop, Bucktown and Chicago Heights, were most likely to make an impulse purchase, with 58% confessing to the habit. 

Meanwhile, respondents from the Northwest, in neighborhoods like Old Town, Wrigleyville and Arlington Heights, were the least likely to do so. Only 36% of respondents in these communities reported making an impulse purchase this year. 

Other regions of Chicago fell in between, with 53% of respondents in the Southwest and 49% in the West reporting impulse purchases. 


Financial wellness is a growing concern for everyday Americans. Inflation is the top obstacle when it comes to savings, forcing Chicagoans to zero in on savings solutions. Analogue approaches, such as finding print coupons or tracking a budget using pen and paper, reign supreme for consumers. And yet, not all regions of Chicago face these challenges at the same rate.

*Prices fluctuate based on season and day of the week.

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Radhika Duggal

Radhika is currently the CMO of, the mobile commerce and fintech company that enables consumers to experience more of what life has to offer. Prior to Super, she led underbanked marketing as a CMO at Chase. Radhika earned an MBA in marketing from Columbia Business School and a B.A. in marketing and international business from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University. She is also a published author, who teaches Consumer Behavior at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University.