Readers' Submissions

My Bangkok Budget

  • Written by Anonymous
  • April 16th, 2012
  • 7 min read


Firehouse


My Bangkok budget is very reasonable. I teach at a government school, income 35,000 baht a month. I teach Saturdays and Sundays at a language school, income varies from 18,000 (now) to 24,000 (pre-flood). Language schools are still taking a hit and not back to pre flood registration. I earn about 55,000 a month give or take depending on the hours I do at the language school.

Rent is 2,000 a month for a large sitting room, a large bathroom and small kitchen that leads out to a postage sized balcony. I have a water machine on my floor and washing machines. Water is 1 baht a liter; washing is 20 or 30 baht depending on the machine. My electric and water runs less than 200 a month. My internet (DTAC) is 399 month. I have a TV and VCR but no satellite TV.

I was the first tenant four, nearly five years ago in a new building. I had a furnished apartment, 3,000 (500 for the furniture) and 500 for air con. I moved down a floor into a different apartment, same layout but no furniture and no air con. My building is extremely well maintained and cleaned thoroughly every morning. It is very quiet; three of us foreign teachers live here. It is four stories and no elevator. I’m on the second floor. There are a few little stores around and the morning market is a couple of blocks one way, the night food market a block or two in the other direction. We have a nice Tesco and a couple 7/11s handy. I walk unless I’m too loaded down with groceries. That happens about once a month. 10 baht for a motorcycle taxi. 5 for the ride, I always give the driver 5 tip. Good will. They appreciate it and always stop for me when I need a lift.

I edited a book for a teacher and that’s how I got the TV. I’m working on my new novel when I’m not teaching.

The living / sleeping room is big enough for a double bed, wardrobe, table and chairs. I bought a day bed when I moved in to a new suite without furniture. I also bought a couple of end tables (tri level for a little more real estate / shelf space) and a nice wood table with 2 chairs. They are light finished and the chairs fold if I ever decide to move. I bought a fridge (3 months used) for 4,000 baht. My furniture came to 5,600. I just replaced one lamp (a gift) and bought new fan as my old one died after 4 years of use.

I bought a cooking device, a one element burner (2,100 baht) and cook with my pressure cooker (a gift) and an expensive large frying pan (another gift).

I think with my 300 baht kettle I’m at about 12,000 baht bought over almost 5 years for household items. About 2,400 per year when you divide it out.

I walk to the government school and ride the bus to the language school – 92 baht for the weekend transport. Sometimes I take a taxi after work if it is really hot, about 120 baht.

I cook homemade soup, stew, and roast chicken with dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, potatoes etc. when I’m in need of comfort food. I make salad, coleslaw and sandwiches. I’m a mustard freak so I take my homemade sandwich loaded with lettuce, tomato, and ham and slathered with mustard to work. I’ll buy a thermos and when I get a blender I’ll take cold fruit smoothies with me.

Food runs me about a hundred baht twice a week for my fruit and veg, eggs, milk for my oatmeal and so on. When I’m at one of the malls I work at I spend maybe 60 – 70 baht for a wonderful salad at the supermarket (The Mall Fresh Food Supermarket in Bang Khae). I have the salad bar and maybe a half rack of ribs at Sizzler’s every 8 weeks or so if I can drum up someone else to eat with. If not, I have the salad bar and pack the ribs and baked potato home. 350 baht?

I buy oatmeal, 35 baht a bag, good for two weeks for my breakfast, add yogurt, fruit and that’s another meal.

I eat out at the local Steak Today, a chicken fillet is 59 baht, and a lemon slush jug with a couple of shots is maybe 160 for a small one. I do Steak Today every couple of weeks. Two beer a day from my convenience store downstairs is 96 baht. Other teachers live in the building, we meet nightly for a chat and chug. Three beer and I feel awful.

I’ve got a night market down the road a block or two so I can get anything I want there. Small salad 25 baht, a whole large barbecued fish for 50 or 60 baht depending on the size. Chicken is 25 baht up depending on the piece or if you get a half.

I buy my books at the used book store on Rambutree, maybe 500 – 800 every 6 weeks; I get half back when they are returned.

I write so I’m pretty much locked into my keyboard when I am not working. I dislike the bar scene, and frankly because I happen to love cooking and I’m really good at it, I’d rather eat my own concoctions. Mung bean veg. soup, a potful costs maybe 50 baht and lasts for 4 or 5 meals. My sage dressing when I do chicken is just like you would eat at Christmas dinner back home.

I only shop for clothes when something is so tired and worn out it must be replaced. I’m not into jewelry and use my phone as my watch and camera. I blog and that also keeps me entertained / occupied.

Writing and reading keep me busy. I take the odd trip to Hua Hin when I have time off. That’s rare when you work 7 days a week so I enjoy it when I can get away. I just got back from Chiang Mai and spent less than 5,000 baht for five days and ate very well, stayed at a nice guesthouse and had beer and wine with my Italian dinners. I did the train up and the bus back. Hmong Village, Doi Suthep, hair cut, usual stuff.

I’d say I can bank about 45,000 a month. Rent, food, beer, I’m guessing maybe I go through 5 to 6,000 a month for my expenses. I don’t want for anything, I can buy whatever I like, I have a simple lifestyle and dislike the fried everything here and the spicy food. The oil is reused over and over, the chili kills the taste of whatever it is I eat and I’m not keen on people handling money handling my food so tend to do my thing in the kitchen. I do buy a 15 baht coffee every Saturday and Sunday morning from a terrific little street vendor by Central Rama II. It is wonderful and large. He has to be losing money.

I paid about 10,500 for a new computer last year. My phone also new last year was 2,000 baht. Believe it or not, I’m not cheap, although it sure reads like I am. Because I work Monday – Fridays and weekends and write I don’t have the time or inclination to dive into the downtown scene. I live in Nong Khaem, a little district not far from Phetkasem. About 40 minutes from The Mall Bang Khae traffic depending. I go to Rambutree for books, get a haircut, enjoy a Mexican dish / meal at Ricky’s and meet friends every 6 weeks or so. It is enough. I don’t have to travel out for a visa anymore, that saves a lot of hassle and cash. I gave up the Non B for a retirement visa, which you can get before you turn 60 by the way so that is great. All in all I’d say I’m content. I enjoy the weekend work far more than the government school but I’ll keep it up for a while yet. I keep a few plants, I won’t get any animals just yet, I’ll save that for when I buy a boat which I intend to live on, and pay a mooring fee as I churn out the next novel.

I’m a single female, on the other side of fifty who kissed her other life goodbye when I moved to China almost 9 years ago. My time is now and I relish it. Four years in Thailand in the same village, same school.

I recommend everyone put away something for emergencies. Nothing stays the same for very long or lasts forever. .



Stickman's thoughts:

Good on you for doing your own thing and I like your refreshing honesty. When you touch on things like cooing your own food because you don't like people who handle cash handling your food i can totally relate!

And yeah, saving a few baht for a rainy day is very wise, especially so in a country where things can be a little unpredictable!