Updated 11 Feb 2016:

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Updated 22 December 2015:

The petrol prices here dropped again last week and unlike Australia, where the government keeps prices artificially high with a heavy tax slug, we get the true benefit of low world oil costs:

E20, the ethanol mix recommended for my Mazda 2, is now priced at around A$0.92 a litre.

E20, the ethanol mix recommended for my Mazda 2, is now priced at around A$0.88 a litre. The one at the top is diesel – even cheaper.

Updated on 22 November 2015:

I have been keeping a rough record of the various expenses we have had for the one month mid-October to mid-November and you can see the results HERE. A couple of things to keep in mind. There were two payments totalling 10,000 for Peng’s orthodontic treatments which were one off. A car service of 4,200 also fell in this period. I have fixed insurance annual costs which should be factored in – 35,000 THB for health, 14,000 THB car insurance, and 6,000 house and contents insurance – say 5,000 THB a month.

I will have missed some expenses but they won’t be major. The biggest living costs are the shopping for farang type essentials – Tesco Lotus items. I am surprised at how little we spend on local market shopping. Gaun tends to buy meat in bulk and a little goes a long way in Thai cooking. Massages are not part of everyone’s expenses. I enjoy them and my step daughter Peng has started a weekly 2 hour massage for health reasons.

We spent three days in Bangkok and I haven’t listed those expenses. It was a once off and therefore not useful to include in this list of costs.

16 November 2015:

A reader of the blog living in Bangkok has written to share his very comprehensive record of living expenses and you can find his post HERE. Obviously everyone has their own demands and priorities when it come to personal spending but It will be interesting to compare this Bangkok orientated list with the one I am preparing based on living in a small rural town at the other end of the country. Thanks for sharing Karsten.


Index:

Fresh Food HERE

Farang Food HERE

Useables HERE

Garden HERE

Utilities HERE

Services HERE

Treats HERE


I thought I would pin this post to the main menu of my blog and then I can add to it as I record various new expenses.

It will give you some ideas of the cost of living here in Isaan and give you a basis for comparing that with your current expenses wherever that might be.

As you can tell if you live like a local it can be dead cheap. Anything farang orientated is mostly what you’d pay in your home country or more. Most service that involve a large labour component are very cheap. Where people earn 300 – 400 THB or $12.00 – 16.00 a day it isn’t hard to work out why. Anything imported is hit with huge taxes and ends up being expensive. Electronics are probably as costly here as back in Australia.

You can rent a decent Thai style two bedroom house with hot water and maybe air con for 5,000 THB ($200.00) a month.

The dollars here are Australian based on the current rubbish exchange rate of $1/25 THB:


7 October 2015

We have just returned from local market shopping as we have a couple of friends coming over for a farang dinner tonight. Orange brandy and chicken pate for starters, plus a roast shoulder of New Zealand lamb and creamy potato and onion bake for mains. Mojito and pina colada cocktails to kick things off made with fresh pineapple, mint and coconut cream the latter squeezed as we watched. The shopping basket looked like this:

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Sugar peas 200 grams

Carrots 780 grams

Cucumbers 1.2 kilos

Limes 1.3 kilos

Tomatoes 430 grams

Potatoes 2.4 kilos

Onions 800 grams

Oranges 1.2 kilos

Gaun models the grapes. Firm. sweet and tasty - the grapes!

Gaun models the grapes. They are very sweet and tasty.

Grapes 1 kilo

Mint 3 large bunches

3 small pineapples

Total cost 570 THB or A$23.00

Chicken livers not shown 1 kilo 100 THB (A$4.00)

The meal on its way.

The meal on its way.


Fresh Food – obviously prices on vegetables change according to season:

1 kilo carrots 50 THB ($2.00)

I kilo garlic 60 THB ($2.40)

I kilo cucumbers 20 THB ($0.80)

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1 kilo limes 50 THB ($2.00)

365 grams dried chillies 50 THB ($2.00)

1 kilo of small mixed green and red tomatoes for pappaya salad 20 THB ($0.80)

350 grams of full sized red tomatoes 30 THB ($1.20)

30 (size 1 – large) eggs 110 THB ($4.40)

Chicken breast 80 THB/kilo ($3.20) market (75 THB Tesco Lotus supermarket)

Chicken wings 100 THB/kilo ($4.00) market (125 THB Tesco Lotus supermarket)

Pork from local market 120 THB/kilo ($4.80)

1 kilo of local pork.

1 kilo of local pork.

Pork tenderloin 162 THB/kilo ($6.50) – Tesco Lotus

Potatoes 40 THB/kilo

Fresh fish 80 THB/kilo ($3.20)

Prawns 220 THB/kilo ($8.80)

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Whole watermelon 40 THB ($1.60)

Asparagus 50 THB a bunch 450 grams ($2.00)

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Pumpkin 25 THB/kilo ($1.00)

Grapes 120 THB/kilo ($4.80)

A bunch of fresh mint (for Mojito cocktails!!!) 5 THB ($0.20)

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Farang stuff:

2 Litres of milk 92 THB ($3.70)

Campbell tinned soup 305 ml (small) 49 THB ($2.00)

Mainline cheese (Aussie) 250 grams 182 THB ($7.30)

Cornflakes 275 grams 76 THB ($3.00)

Instant noodles 10 pack 550 grams 51 THB ($2.00)

Sprite/coke 1.25 litres 28 THB ($1.10)

Allowrie butter 227 grams 87 THB ($3.50)

Orange juice 1 litre 62 THB ($2.50)

3 litre Berri cask wine (basic Australian) 650 THB ($26.00)

A case of Leo beer 12 large bottles 650 THB ($26.00)

Spirits are cheaper  than Australia where so much tax is levied. I will make a list and report back soon

400ml flavoured milk 22 THB ($0.90)

French fries (yes I know!) 1 kilo 135 THB ($5.40)

Spanish olive oil 250ml 72 THB ($2.90)

Bacon (packed) 150ml 70 THB ($2.80)

Checking the prices. Peng reads from the docket, Gaun finds and I write down for the blog.

Checking the prices. Peng reads from the docket, Gaun finds and I write down for the blog.


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Usables:

Glade air freshener spray 320ml 85 THB ($3.40)

Clothes washing liquid 550ml 16 THB ($0.65)

Car wash liquid 800ml 49 THB ($1.95)

Scotch Brite cleaning pads – kitchen x2 pack 26 THB ($1.05)

Nivea roll on deodorant 50ml 96 THB ($3.85)

Bleach – washing 600ml 26 THB (1.05)

Sunsilk shampoo 480ml pump pack 96 THB ($3.85)

Colgate toothpaste 180 grams twin pack 92 THB ($3.70)

3 pack Oral B toothbrushes 40 THB ($1.60)


Garden

50 kilo bag of pellet fertilizer 1,250 THB for flowers and plants ($50.00)


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Utilities:

Rates: Nil

Water/sewerage: Nil (we provide our own water and have on-site septic)

Broadband – wireless 13 mbps unlimited downloads 740 THB/month ($30.00)

Electricity: billed monthly at 3.65 THB/unit plus add ons (service fee and VAT/GST). Our last bill for 655 units totalled 2,900 THB ($116.00) or 4.43 THB/unit ($0.177)

I thought I would add my monthly electricity payments here since the date we moved in. They aren’t directly helpful to others looking to work out expenses, as my electricity usage is obviously unique, but they give an idea of the seasonal use/cost of electricity. The bills are t0 the 17th of each month.

  1. March/April – 2,345 THB ($94.00) – we moved in 26 March.
  2. April/May – 4,238 THB ($170.00) – hot season and we are watering a lot plus air con.
  3. May/June – 2,947 THB ($118.00)
  4. June/July – 2,906 THB ($116.00)
  5. July /Aug – 2,465 THB ($100.00) – wetter and cooler.
  6. Aug/Sept – 2,474 THB ($100.00) – still using 9,000 BTU air con in bedroom every night.
  7. Sept/Oct – 2,883 THB ($115.00) – not sure why higher this month.
  8. Oct/Nov – 2,519 THB
  9. Nov/Dec – 2,669 THB – cool season but warm this year, nighttime mostly 9,000 BTU air con in bedroom set on 26 degrees. Watering every day.
  10. Dec/Jan – 2,462 THB – cool season but mostly warm, nighttime mostly 9,000 BTU air con in bedroom set on 26 degrees. Watering every day.
  11. Jan/Feb – 2,355 THB – cool weather continues. Mostly fan at night. Watering every day.
  12. Feb/Mar – 2,650 THB – we are back to using air con at night in one bedroom set on 26 degrees. Watering every day.
  13. Mar/Apr – 3,366 THB – We are using the two air cons in the living areas during the day as most of this billing period it has been over 40 degrees. We have a 12,000 BTU in the kitchen area and 18,000 BTU in the lounge. Running on their lowest setting because the house is very well insulated and I only need to drop the internal temperature from its natural base maximum of 30 degrees to 28. A Thai style house would have a natural base temperature the same as outside so the air con would be working to reduce the temperature by 12 degrees plus rather than the 2 degrees in my case. We are running one 9,000 BTU air con all night in the bedroom.
  14. Apr/May 3,584 baht. The peak of the hot season so our most expensive electricity bill. No rain so Gaun is watering every day.
  15. May/Jun 2,842 baht. Cooler weather and some rain.
  16. Jun/Jul – 2,280 baht. Cooler weather means that we are mostly only using air con in the bedroom at night. We have had rain so the garden isn’t being regularly watered. The combination has made a big difference to the costs.

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Services and other:

Tooth filling with white insert 500 THB ($20.00)

Front wheel balance 100 THB ($4.00)

Car oil change and new filter 1,200 THB ($48.00)

Haircut male 60 THB ($2.40)

Massage 1 hour Thai 150 THB ($6.00) Oil 300 THB ($12.00)

Photo prints 10 x 15 cm 4 THB each ($0.12) including folder

12 months car registration 1,800 THB ($72.00)

Compulsory Third Party insurance 650 THB ($26.00)

Comprehensive motor vehicle insurance (260,000 THB value 2010 Mazda 2) with AXA including 24 hour assist 13,500 THB ($540.00)

Car service 80,000 km + disc brakes machined, wheel balance 4,200 THB

Large 16.3 kilo gas bottle refill – 380 THB (about A$15.00)


Treats:

Cornetto ice cream cone 25 THB ($1.00)

Large iced coffee (Thai style), green tea or fruit iced shake 20 THB ($0.80)

Mentos roll of peppermints 10 THB ($0.40)


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A Tesco Lotus shopping trip 1 Nov 2015:

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Expenses Oct/Nov 2015:

Expenses Oct-Nov 2015

Expenses Oct-Nov 2015

I wrote another post about the cost of living when we were resident in Chiang Rai back in 2013, which you can find HERE. It is more a summary of total costs rather than a breakdown that you see in this post however it helps round out the topic.

More to come so keep an eye on this post.

Thanks for reading.