Cost of living -

7 Things to know and do before moving to Illinois

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. The city of Chicago is a vibrant up-and-coming city. The state has some of the best music festivals in the country.

So, if you are considering moving to Illinois, there are numerous things you need to know and prepare for, like their cost of living or simply how to notify the state of Illinois of your address change. Here are 7 things you need to know before moving to Illinois.

Moving to Illinois: Everything to know and do

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1. First steps before moving to Illinois

Find a reliable moving company, truck rental or moving container

For your move to Illinois, you will need to hire a reliable moving company or take on the move yourself. To find the best moving company in Illinois, look for helpful reviews, a professional-looking website, and years of experience.

Planning a move to Illinois? Take a look at our selection of:

Finding a job 

As of September 2023, Illinois has an unemployment rate of 4.4%, which increased compared to 4.1% in August 2023.

Jobs that are often in high demand are demand planner, truck driver, registered nurses, delivery drive and retail sales associate.

Finding a job in Illinois is easier if you search online for job openings. Popular websites for this include LinkedIn, Indeed, and SimplyHired.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics (Oct 2023)

Getting there 

Below are some travel options to get to Illinois from different parts of the country include:

Flying: Flying is the most convenient way to move to Illinois. Book a flight from your departure city to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, depending on your destination within Illinois.

Train: You can also take the train with Amtrak as an alternative. 

Bus: If you want another way to travel, Illinois cities have bus services like Greyhound, and Flixbus, that can get you there.

If you are flying and require assistance with moving your belongings, you can explore options provided by reputable moving companies.

Must dos before your arrival 

Moving to Illinois may be exciting and will challenge you in many ways. By knowing these things beforehand, you will be better prepared for your new life in the city.

  • If you are moving to Illinois permanently, and you receive a lot of mail (excluding packages), you may want to sign up with USPS’s mail forwarding service. Mail forwarding allows your mail to be redirected to the right address for a given period of time. The fee for regular mail forwarding is only a little over a dollar for 6 months. If you want to extend the service, you will have to pay around $20 for 6 months more. You can begin your mail forwarding process by signing up on USPS’s website or directly at your local Post Office.
  • Moving to a new place is an opportunity to start afresh. If you’re moving to Illinois, selling or donating the items you won’t need will go a long way in making your move easier. You can sell your old household items and personal possessions, and anything that will not be useful. Pick out the items that will not be useful for you in Illinois, then decide if you want to sell them on websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace or donate them to a non-profit organization.

2. Upon your arrival in Illinois

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers.
  • If you roam around the city for work or just simply checking on it, it would be great to purchase a daily pass to save money.
  • Locate the essential facilities like the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for your safety and in case of emergency.

You can easily get around in Illinois. There are several options available. 

  • MetroLINK – provides Metro bus service, Special Transportation Services, ADA paratransit and seasonal passenger ferry boat service with the Channel Cat Water Taxi.
  • St. Clair County Transit District – offers numerous ways to travel across Illinois.
  • Pace – You can get efficient and affordable bus services with Pace in Illinois.

Exchanging your driver’s license

Once you move to Illinois and establish residency, you must transfer your out-of-state driver’s license within 90 days. In order to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license, you’ll need to visit your local SOS Driver Services Facility in person and submit your old license, proofs of ID and a payment for a new driver’s license fee. You will also have to pass the vision and written exams.

Register your vehicle

If you have just moved to Illinois, you’ll have to register your out-of-state vehicle within 30 days of establishing residency. Failure to do so might result in penalties and additional charges. Here are the steps in registering your car in Illinois: 

  • If you wish to print and submit the form online, you will have 7 days to submit it to the SOS office, along with all required documentation.

Change your address

Along with mail forwarding, you will also have to update your new address with the concerned authorities in Illinois, like the DMV. To exercise your right to vote in Illinois, you can register to vote online, by mail and in person at your county election authority. You must register to vote at least 27 days before the next election.

To register by mail or in person, you need to submit a completed Illinois Voter Registration Application (Form SBE R-19) and 2 documents proving identification and submit it to your local election authority or county clerk.

Changing your address with your employer, bank, doctor, insurer, and service providers so that you can avoid any complications further down the road.

Setting up a bank account 

Obtaining a bank account in Illinois is a straightforward process. You only need to present a copy of your valid state or government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. The bank with most branches in Illinois for easy access is Chase Bank. Illinois’s residents has access to a whopping 293 offices of Chase Bank in the state.

Getting health insurance

Getting health insurance is an excellent way to get peace of mind when it comes to your health. With health insurance, you will not have to worry about spending a ton of money in case of a health-related emergency. The state of Illinois proposes a website to help you with your health insurance search. Simply choose Illinois as your state and create an account.

Type of healthcare

Cost

Employer-sponsored health insurance

$148.16

Non-employer-sponsored health insurance

$636.67

Gym

$79.00

Numbeo (Oct 2023) & EHealthInsurance (Oct 2023)

3. Best places to live in Illinois

Chicago

If you are a couple, you might want to consider living in Chicago. It offers a suburban feel, a thriving nightlife, a distinct neighborhood, diverse culture, and a lot of amenities.

If you are a family, you might want to consider Wheaton. Wheaton offers some high-rated public schools, great job opportunities, parks for kids, and it’s a great place to raise a family. 

If you are single, you should consider moving to Urbana. Urbana is home to The University of Illinois, which brings life to the city. That’s why a lot of young professionals live here. In addition to this, it also provides a lot of amenities. 

Setting up home services 

Setting up essential home services like electricity, water, and internet in Illinois is a straightforward process. 

  • The Illinois Commerce Commission is responsible for regulating electricity, natural gas, water, and telecommunication services in Illinois. Visit their website and search for electricity, water, and gas providers and even reach out to them if you have any inquiry. 

Should you rent or buy?

The average Illinois home value is $252,552, increased by 3.7% from 2022. Illinois’s price per square foot to buy an apartment outside the center is $426.00.

Finding an apartment for rent in Illinois is easy, utilize websites like Zillow, Apartmentguide, and Apartments.com. When seeking a house, these websites—Zillow, Realtor, and Century21—will assist you in your search for a home in Illinois.

Cost of rent in Illinois

Area/Neighborhood

1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Chicago (Outside of Center)

$1,720.95

$3,267.65

Cost of buying a property in Illinois

Area/Neighborhood

Average home price 

Chicago

$252,552

Numbeo (Oct 2023) & Zillow (Oct 2023)

Consider getting home insurance

Getting home insurance is essential, whichever state you are residing in. It is a kind of financial protection that will cover for your expenses if a natural disaster damages your home. Residents in Illinois are at a high risk of severe storms, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, winter storms, landslides, and wildfires. Therefore, getting home insurance will prove to be valuable.

4. Cost of living in Illinois

Category

Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$1,720.95

Groceries

Numbeo’s grocery list ($72.99 multiplied by 4)

$291.96

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$166.81

Internet with 60 Mbps

$70.32

Transit pass

$60.00

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$111.25

Gym membership 

$79.00

Total

$2,500.29

Numbeo (Oct 2023)

5. The weather in Illinois

On average, there are 198 sunny days per year in Illinois. The highest temperature in summer is 86° and the winter low is 17 degrees. Illinois averages 22 inches of snow per year and 40 inches of rain. Summers in Illinois are warm, with humidity and fluctuations in temperature. It has cold winters and very snowy. The fall and spring in Illinois is pleasant with colors of gold, red, and orange.

6. What to do as a local in Illinois

After you are done settling into your new home in Illinois, you will probably want to familiarize yourself with the state and all its attractions. Some of the most popular activities and locations in Illinois include:

Grand View Drive & Park – An ideal place to visit with your family. A lot of sightseeing, which especially looks beautiful in fall. 

Six Flags Great America – If you love adventure, this is a must-visit place for you. A lot of laughs, thrill, and screams. 

Miller Park Zoo – It’s a great place to spend the day with your family and friends.

Some common grocery stores in Illinois are: Trader Joe’s and Aldi

The two most popular big chain stores are Walmart and Costco. 

Must-visit food places in Illinois are Engrained Brewery & Restaurant and Lucca Grill.

Visit the popular cities in Illinois: Chicago, Springfield, Rockford, and Peoria.

7. Fun facts about Illinois

  • Fun Fact #1: The Willis Tower in Chicago is the third-tallest building in North America
  • Fun Fact #2: Walt Disney was born in Chicago.
  • Fun Fact #3: About 80% of Illinois is made up of farmland.

Conclusion

Illinois is home to diverse cities, each with its own unique charm. Chicago, the largest city, offers a bustling urban environment with a vibrant arts and culture scene. While often associated with the urban environment of Chicago, Illinois also offers natural beauty. Locals can explore state parks, enjoy the shores of Lake Michigan, visit the Shawnee National Forest in the southern part of the state, and check out one of the best universities, which is the University of Chicago.

While moving to Illinois has its pros and cons, checking the cost of living is essential to making sure you will live comfortably in this city and call it home. It’s a good idea to research specific neighborhoods within the state and consider your priorities to determine if Illinois is the right fit for you and your family.

Need a trusted moving company for the area? Discover the 5 best movers in Illinois.

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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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