How Much Money do Expats Spend in Thailand
Managing your money doesn't matter where you live is important and especially if you're living month to month. If you don't manage your money well it can cause you to stress out. People don't just stress out about money in Thailand either, there's always the dreaded Visa reports and applications that cause unending drama and undue stress. In this article I'll explain how I've applied a fast rule that helps me make decisions about spending money in Thailand.
Before I could create a quick rule on how much to spend on my most basic living needs I wanted to find out how much the average Expat spends every month. Knowing that everyone who lives in Thailand has all different income levels and that Thailand provides an opportunity to live in absolute squalor or five star accommodations when someone asks the question "How much do I need every month in Thailand" giving them an actual figure is near impossible. This is why I'm now changing my thoughts on this and saying that you should be looking at your monthly budget and only spend a certain percentage of that money on your most basic needs.
You can spend 100,000 baht a month but your accommodation expenses will be at least 15,000 baht
You can spend 30,000 baht a month but your accommodation expenses will be at least 4,500 baht a month
That's 15% of your accommodation budget each month
A few months back I posted a Poll on this site to find out how much everyone living here is spending each month. The reason for this is because even if you make a million baht a month but only spend 30k do you really need a million baht a month to live in Thailand?
The results of the poll below
I ran the poll for one week and had 253 submissions. I was quite surprised about the number of people that put down they spend less than 15,000 baht a month. Nearly 20% of expats. This amount leaves little opportunity to go out and party but then again not everyone is into that either.
I thought it would be fun to group people socioeconomically into what I call the Expat Class system). It's totally based on how much you spend each month combined with the data from the poll. It's done just for fun so don't take offence.
The Average Expat
Not surprising is over 50% of respondents claimed they only spent less than 30,000 baht a month. Not all the people living on 30K a month are poor either. There are many guys here earning millions of baht a year but like living cheap so they save more money. Thailand is a cheap place to live and yes you can live on less than a thousand dollars a month however I think it's fair to say that if you spend 50 thousand a month you're probably more comfortable.
The Expat Middle Class
Those people that spend between 30 and 100 thousand baht a month are in what I'd call the Expat middle class you can afford enough luxuries to not feel like your missing out on too much.
The smallest group of people in the pole were those spending between 50 and 100 thousand baht a month. That's the bracket I'd put myself in right now. I'm spending probably 80-90 thousand baht a month between my girlfriend and I. 15% of that budget goes into rent and 10% on food and the rest on entertainment transport visa and grocery stuff. If I didn't go to G clubs and Karaoke i'd only be spending 30-40 thousand baht a month back at the Average Expat.
Like I said you can live in Thailand on pretty much any budget, If I made my g/f work and moved into a 20 sqm apartment with only a fan outside the city I'd probably spend less than 10 thousand baht a month. Or I could rent my own house in a gated community and private swimming pool by the beach and eat seafood to my hearts content for 1oo's of thousands a month. I really do however live a modest life in Thailand and from the stats most expats do as well. If you are spending more than 100 thousand baht a month you're living way different to the majority of people.
Expats Living the dream
The 13% of guys who said they spend more than 100 thousand baht a month while it doesn't seem like a lot that's still more than 1 in 10 guys who have enough money to burn to pretty much do anything they want.
Unfortunately I didn't add a poll for this class. I doubt people from Thailand Tatler read Living Thai anyway.
How much to spend on vacation in Thailand
If you're on vacation in Thailand the amount you spend really depends on how much you want to spend. You can still have a cheap holiday here for a month even on a thousand dollars but likely you'll want more than that. Guys coming here for sex should look at the price of sex in Thailand guide
How much to spend if you live in Thailand
How much you spend in Thailand more than likely depends on how much money you make in Thailand. So I've come up with some quick and fast rules for what your budget should be on certain things. The following list is easy to remember and works at all levels no matter how much you have to spend in Thailand.
Remaining 40% to be used to make your own adjustments to the previous percentages
Cost of Accommodation in Thailand
Accommodation in Thailand is cheap. Right now i'm living in a 4 bedroom house with a private swimming pool that costs half as much as my 1 bedroom condo back in California. My rule is that you should not spend more than 15% of your current monthly budget on accommodation. So if you are making 30,000 baht a month don't spend more than 3000 baht on rent and if you are able to spend 100,000 baht a month then don't spend more than 15% of your money on accommodation. Those who think spending less on accommodation means a lesser standard of living can stand corrected. You can move further out from the city and get cheaper better digs.
Chris and Angela from Tieland to Thailand put down there budget as 45K but that's 30% of their budget so that might appear against my rule but this is two Farangs sharing one budget doubling the accommodation and food budget percentages is necessary. They seem to be spot on.
Cost of Food in Thailand
Food is tricky to evaluate because everyone has different diets. I can't live without a few Australian steaks every week and one of my mates is vegetarian, we're both going to have different budgets. As a general rule though make sure you have 15% of your budget on food. If you're on a super budget I honestly recommend cooking your own food. It's pretty easy to cook yourself 3 meals a day for 60 baht or less.
Travel expenses in Thailand
Even if you live here you gotta get around. From Taxis to Tuk Tuks to gas for your bike and car there are always travel expenses in Thailand I'm pretty sure people walk less here than even California you're going to have to pay something. If you have more money to spend then you're probably paying for plane rides and taxis. As a general rule do not spend more than 10% of your budget on transportation.
Nightlife Expenses in Thailand
I say nightlife but if you're more likely to do stuff during the day then really this should be called entertainment expenses. Your entertainment expenses are likely to be high in Thailand. I recommend a good 20% of your monthly budget be spent on Entertainment. That's higher than your accommodation expenses! This is Thailand live it up and enjoy yourself. Even if your not into drinking there's plenty of other stuff you can do.