About Us


We are a married couple who will be retiring in 2014 and moving to Thailand to experience life in another culture and experience adventures we could have only dreamed of a few years ago.

You are welcome to join us on our adventures through this blog. We hope you enjoy the trip as much as we do.

Monday, June 30, 2014

FIRST MONTH BUDGET AND VERDICT

One of the big questions we always get asked about is: How much does it cost to live comfortably in Thailand? When you go to various websites that promote moving to Thailand you can find those that say you can live like a king for $500 USD per month and others that say it takes quite a bit more to live comfortably. So WHAT is it? Those who are thinking about moving here get confused due to all the different claims.

We started by trying to determine if we could live here comfortably on what we want to spend per month, not what someone else told us we could live here on. Our one month scouting trip helped us to understand that we believe we can live comfortably on around 50,000 Baht or around $1550 USD per month. So that is the standard monthly budget we would like to have. This will allow us to save almost as much each month without having to touch our 401k's.

We know that the first month will be more expensive than our regular monthly expenses. We will have to stock the household with the basic food, cleaning, and other supplies that you normally buy occasionally. We knew coming over that we would also spend more than normal in the first month because we would want eat out more often than what we consider “our” normal with friends who enjoy eating at farang (foreigner) restaurants where the prices are higher. These meals are celebrations of getting together with others in Thailand.

We also will have substantially more expenditures on deposits, furnishings that we would want to add to wherever we live, more transportation costs because of more than the normal number of trips to and from the various places to buy the one-time purchases. We felt that to get everything set up and comfortable would probably require about an additional 100,000 Baht or around $3000 USD.

So, the questions now are: You've been there a month, how much did you blow your budget? Were you even close? Do you really think you can live on 50,000 Baht per month? Do you have enough money to return home now that you've found that you can't afford to live in Thailand?

Here is the rundown of what we actually spent. Boy, was it a pain in the patooty to keep track.

Normal Monthly Expenses

Normal monthly household expenses include: Rent, Utilities, Food and non-alcoholic Drinks, Transportation, Medical Expenses, Entertainment, Internet, Cell Phones (2), Laundry, Language Classes, and Clothes.

Total: 47,412 Baht or $1461 USD

One Time House Setup Costs

One Time House Setup Costs include some furniture (5 end tables, two decorative shelves, one utility shelf), an additional fan, outdoor patio set (Lin is vertically challenged and the railings block her view, so we bought an additional tall set of patio furniture. Kinda like a booster seat for adults), dishes, cleaning supplies, sheets, pillows, internet router, printer/copier/scanner, industrial strength blender, and a multitude of other goodies.

Total: 105,230 Baht or $3241 USD

Final Verdict

We won't be returning to the US. I think we did pretty well with estimating our monthly budget, which I expect will generally be lower than what it was this month. We were really close on our household setup estimate also. If Lin were taller we would have been under on that.

We are living very comfortably here. We have a beautiful 79 Square Meter (850 Square Feet) Luxury Condominium on the 19th Floor overlooking the City of Chiang Mai, the Ping River, and with an awesome view of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep on the hillside across the valley.

Could someone really live on $500 USD per month here? I doubt it very much. At least not comfortably. Push that to $1000 USD per month and a single person that didn't party too much or spend their time in the bars would probably be able to be fairly comfortable. $1200 USD per month for a couple would be do-able and pretty comfortable. It really depends on what your expectations are and your lifestyle choices.

EDIT

Here is the breakdown for our utilities for the month.  Let me say that we used the Air Conditioning a lot this month.  We had just arrived from Oregon where the temperatures were averaging 60-65 F during the day and 40 F was the lows.  The temperatures when we arrived here were between 97 and 100 F for the highs during the day and the lows were around 81 F at night.  I expected our electrical bill would be outrageously high because of the constant running of the AC for the first several weeks and by Thai standards it probably is very high.

We are using the AC a lot less now, mainly at night in the bedroom and in the living room for about an hour or two when we return home in the afternoons.  Being on the 19th floor and the 4 sliding glass doors facing almost due west it gets hot in the condo at times.  Even at night when it is cooler outside the temperature inside rises quite a lot, almost like running a heater.

Our electrical bill was a total of 1908 Baht, approximately $58.80 USD.  That is still quite a reduction over our electrical bill in Oregon where we didn't even have air conditioning.

Our water bill was 90 Baht, approximately $2.77 USD.  If I remember right our water service bill in the US was at least $40 - $45 which included the wastewater charges also.

In case you're wondering I had included 4000 Baht in our monthly expenses for electricity and water since we had not received the bill yet.  I have edited the post above to reflect the lower amount we actually had to pay.






4 comments:

  1. Great work! I'm always astonished by folks who break down their costs of living here. It's so subjective. I think many make the mistake of eating "Western food" which costs so much more than Thai/local food. Of course, I understand the need, but I think this need must factor into people's budgets. Which reminds me, I should start budgeting again!!!

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    1. Thanks Lani. Lin was keeping track of everything and on the last day of the month I was thinking that we were going to be nowhere near the budget we had hoped for. I felt like we were spending money like a drunk sailor. It was a pleasant surprise. Feeling better now that we have the actual figures.

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  2. You're right, $500 a month is not easy or comfortable, but it is doable, Sacha, myself and Eden have lived off of that amount for almost 2.5 years now ($500 flat, not each :-S). We are still struggling to earn a better online income but after all these years it seems to still average down to $500 again. $1000 would be a much nicer amount for us I think and $1200 would be perfect. We could cut down on the amount of cafes we visit and the amount of miles we travel in the car, but that wouldn't really be living. ;-) Always nice to see other peoples figures.

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    1. J and Sacha - That is amazing. Are you talking USD or Euro or GBP. If it is USD I don't see how you are able to do what you do. Really, really impressive. We keep voting for your videos on Citizen TV in hopes we can help in some small way. Hope to see you soon.

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