If there was anything that united us as a country this past year, it was the economic slump. The reckless spending, McMansion building, and general living beyond our means that seemed oh-so-cool at the dawn of the millennium took an abrupt halt as unemployment soared and the housing market collapsed.

Everyone everywhere was looking to live a simpler, cheaper life- including Gozamos’ Lifestyle gurus. Check out the best of our advice for living within a budget and not sacrificing any of your style.

Keep it Local

Escaping the Grind of City Life for a Weekend By Elvin Yavuz

Not everyone can afford a year backpacking across Europe, but that doesn’t mean you still don’t deserve a vacation! Gozamos stuck to road trips this year and visited the gorgeous places in our backyard including Bahai Temple, Independence Grove Forest Preserve, and Starved Rock State Park. Elvin Yavuz skipped the Illinois border for a weekend in charming (and cheap) Harbor Country, Michigan.

Keep it DIY

The Bold and the Broke by Emilie Yount

Feathering your nest can be expensive- especially if your budget is more Ikea than West Elm. Gozamos rolled up our sleeves this year and kept decorating our apartment do-it-yourself.

Keep it Romantic

Need a Cheap Date? by Natalie Reece

Here at Gozamos, we’re romantics at heart. Sure expensive chocolates and couples’ massages in fancy spas are nice, but so is a round of flirting and a walk through the Lincoln Park Zoo! Gozamos’ favorite single girl Elvin Yavuz put together a comprehensive list of where to meet and mingle with other eligible lovelies while Natalie Reece told us where to take them out once you’ve secured a first date without breaking the bank.

Keep it Thrifty

The Indumentarian: Early 90s Hip Hop for Her by Roberto del Rio

No one knows their way around a second hand shop better than The Indumentarian. To prove it, he gave us two fabulous photo shoots this year comprised solely of thrift store finds. He kept it simple in black and red for The Bare Minimum, but our favorite threads were the styles he pulled for our own Fly Girls in his early 90s themed shoot.

Keep it Crafty

Get a Freakin’ Hobby: Canning Vegetables by Melissa Nunez-Mangold

When it comes to hobbies, the Gozamos Lifestyle team has dozens of favorites. Bookworm Natalie Reece found the perfect place to snap up cheap reads and Melissa Nunez-Mangold gave inexpensive, traditional hobbies like crocheting and canning veggies a shot (to surprisingly pleasing results!).

Keep it Chicago

Underground Walkabout: Chicago’s Pedway by Rebecca Bretana

When it comes to adventures, Gozamos’ loves to keep it in our hometown. Chicago is a playground of cheap (and free!) escapades waiting to be had. This year, we ran around with our ani-pals at the Lake Michigan Dog Beach, hung out at cheap Karaoke joints, toured the most beautiful cemetery in the Midwest, and learned how to fish. Gozamos’ Rebecca Bretana even went underground to explore Chicago’s pedway system (sadly, no scary mutant mole-people were found. . . so far). Read up on our adventures and get started on making some of your own!

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