What It’s Like Living in New Orleans

Wow! That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think I get to live in this beautiful city.  I am so lucky! New Orleans is known for it’s creole cuisine, non-stop festivals, including the most popular, Mardi Gras.  It’s also known for its architecture, music and extremely well known nightlife, known as Bourbon Street.  When people ask me what I love about this place, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I guess it’s all things aforementioned!

How Did We Get Here

We moved down here in 2016 as my husband was offered a promotion within his company.  I had finished my Masters program and wasn’t really digging my job.  Basically, we didn’t have anything holding us back! It was an obvious YES from both of us! We had the opportunity to do two exploratory trips prior to moving here to get acclimated with the city and find our new house.  We learned quickly we had to minimize what we owned because we would no longer have a garage or a basement to store unused items!  It was freeing to be able to donate, give away to friends and family, and sell items that no longer served us.

Housing Costs In NOLA

We knew when looking for a house we wanted to make sure we lived in a safe area, because yes it is a city and there is a significant amount of crime.  But also, that we had a space for guests.  Living in the Midwest our house payment was approximately $1700/month on a 15 year fixed mortgage.   Turns out the Midwest is cheap AF and you can’t find houses for the same prices down here! I mean you could, but like I said, one of our main concerns was safety! We decided quickly on we would become renters.  Also we would expand our rental budget in order to get the things we thought we needed.  Keywords: Thought we needed.  Our rent for a 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, with a small yard is $2300/month.

There isn’t one bill here that I can think of that is less expensive than what we were paying up north.  It’s just in general an expensive city to live in.  Which is so ironic because Louisiana overall is one of the poorest states. We could live on the outskirts of the city, but I think we would be missing out on a lot of the culture, and that is something we aren’t willing to give up.  We love being 10 minutes from the French Quarter, being walking distance to coffee shops, dog parks, listening to the streetcar pass by, and always having an Uber 5 minutes away.

Things to consider if moving to NOLA:

  • Prices are high on everything. Rent, car insurance, water bills, boutique gym memberships, and a lot of nice restaurants that you can’t overlook!
  • Also, you will always, and I mean always, have people who want to visit! So get used to hosting.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love having people come and visit!  But, when they are here on vacation we are basically also on vacation so we spend a lot of money when people are in town.  I get it though, people aren’t just here to see us.  They want to explore the city and what it has to offer.  That often times means a lot of alcohol and food! There’s been times, when I am literally dropping friends off at the airport, while simultaneously picking up our next guests.  It’s a popular city.  It has it’s drawbacks when it comes to saving money, and although we try to save as much as possible, we aren’t frugal people.  It evens itself out because when we don’t have friends in town, our weekends consist of a lot of reading, movies, and parks, and an occasional boozy brunch!

What I would do differently on our next adventure?

I realized living here, we don’t need as much as we think. We don’t have to keep up with the Joneses.  We have a few good friends who love us for us.  Back up north, it felt as if there was a constant battle between who can have the best house.  We don’t have that feeling here at all.

With it being just my husband and I, we most certainly don’t need 3 bedrooms and a dining room table that seats 10, that is solely used now for puzzles.  I would gladly downsize our place again.  It’s hard to say if we will ever downsize living here.  We would have to take into consideration moving costs, smaller furniture and that could very well cost just as much as we would be spending on higher rent. But for a future move, wherever that may take us, we know now.  It’s funny how things are put into perspective for you throughout life.

But there are no costs that I wouldn’t gladly spend again here as we are so fortunate to be able to live here.  We have just adapted to the cost of living.  Both my husband and I are now making more money so it hasn’t set us back financially and we continue to see what areas in life we can cut costs in as we transitioned from a low cost of living area to a high one.  New Orleans, you are a magical place.