Student Budgeting for Life in New Orleans

Housing is the biggest issue when you move to another city even another country. When I first came to New Orleans, I was impressed by the unique architecture. Many times, my friends and I spent a whole afternoon walking along St. Charles Avenue to see the beautiful houses, expecting to find a sweet place to live. Most graduate students rent apartments off campus. Tulane is located in a historic Uptown neighborhood, so most of the housing options are older homes that have been converted into apartments.
The rent depends on where you live and how many people you live with. I was lucky to find a house that is a five minute walk from campus for $600/month that I share with my roommates. If you decide to live off campus, which most graduate students do, the rent ranges from $450 to $650 per bedroom. If you prefer to live alone, then the rent could be $800 or more near campus. However, it will be much cheaper if you live with roommates or a bit further from campus. You can either drive or ride a bike. Most houses are not furnished (no beds or large furniture), so you should take it into consideration for budgeting purposes. Tulane provides graduate housing in the lower Garden District at the Papillon Apartments and on the downtown campus at the Deming Pavilion . These two options are not in walking or biking distance of campus; however, Tulane does provide free shuttle service to the uptown campus for students.
Utilities (water, gas, electricity, phone, etc…) can range from $100 to $200 per month per person. The electricity and gas bill varies in different seasons and is generally the highest in the summer months. For example, I paid $70 last month. Internet is about $40 per month, but is much cheaper if you split the cost with roommates.
Some MFIN students buy a meal plan and eat at school, which will be $7 to $10 per meal, while others choose to cook for themselves. The Graduate Business Complex is conveniently located near several campus dining options. Tulane provides free shuttle service to Walmart and Fresh Market daily. Most students shop for groceries once a week, which can range from $50-$100 per week.
Besides the main cost above, you may also consider the spending for clothes, transportation, textbooks and entertainment. Tulane does provide free weekend entertainment shuttle service to shopping malls and a movie theater. The campus is within walking distance of Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. Compared to my home country China, clothes do not cost much in US. However, textbooks are very expensive. If you plan to buy a car or travel around during break, that will be another big expenditure to consider for budgeting purposes.
Lin Yang, MFIN 2014 Candidate