Who doesn’t want to get the best bang for their buck?
Lots of stuff goes into pricing an apartment: how new or rehabbed it is, number of bedrooms, natural light.
Location, though, is the most important thing. If you’re in a walkable area, meaning quite a few choices for shopping, coffee, restaurants, places to get a drink close to your house, you’re going to pay more than if you need to walk four or five blocks. This makes sense- if you’ve got more money to spend on rent, you probably have more money to spend on convenience and aesthetics.
Being near (but not too near) a train will also increase your monthly rent.
Garden units are a cheaper option if you just have to live in an area whose average costs are more than you’re looking to spend. Some people think you’re more likely to have problems with pestilence if you live in a garden unit, but I have never seen that personally.
Another option to find a cheaper place is to rent in the wintertime, when the only people who move are those who have to move. Landlords don’t have as many applicants (as opposed to the rental madness of summer) so there might be a little room for negotiation on the price.
But if you just want a nice place and don’t care where you live, move to the suburbs where you’ll get a lot more for your money. Or somewhere far from the Loop.