Chiang Mai Monthly Expenses

So what’s our spending like in Chiang Mai now that we’ve lived here for a year and a half? It’s been twelve months since our last full budget report, so here’s the latest in what we spend living a good life in Thailand. Onward to our Chiang Mai monthly expense report, round two!

Chiang Mai Monthly Expenses, Round Two!

Chiang Mai Monthly Expenses for July 2014

The two of us spent just shy of $1500 last month:

Rent & Internet: We left our townhouse and moved into a two bedroom house just outside the Old City for 14,000 baht ($450 USD) per month. It has a Western kitchen, a small yard, washing machine, and two air-conditioners. This price also includes excellent WiFi (21 mbps)

Eating Out: We’ve gradually steered away from eating Thai food out all the time. Although we still eat Thai food for lunch, now we enjoy fewer but more expensive Western dinners that average around 600 baht ($20 USD). We’ve also gotten hooked on daily coffee drinks and fruit smoothies.

Entertainment: Most of this expense was from our three-day mini vacation visiting the floating bungalows and Sticky Waterfalls at the SriLanna National Park. But sometimes we like to play pool or watch a movie, too.

Personal Care: We treated ourselves to a massage, a great haircut, some new clothes, and books. We both signed up for gym memberships. We also had a small drop-in to the local clinic and bought some toiletries such as shampoo, razors, and hair gel.

Adult Beverages: What can we say? Two or three times a week we have drinks at dinner or go out with friends. We almost always stick to the local beer and rum, which is significantly cheaper than imported alcohol.

Groceries: Angela cooks dinner about three times a week now, where before it was three times a month. She shops at the our local market almost every day. But this month we’re also guilty of going to the expensive Western import grocery store called Rimping, twice, and splurging on things like grass-fed cow’s butter, Parmesan cheese, western spices, and peanut butter.

Bills (Electric, Water, & Cellphone): We run the AC during the hottest part of the day and our fan is normally on at night. This month’s electric bill was just shy of 600 baht ($20 USD). Our 120 baht ($4 USD) water bill covered what we use for showers, washing clothing, and washing dishes. We buy drinking and cooking water separately. We also both have cellphone plans for our smartphones.

Transportation: Our motorbike has done well and has cost us nothing in repairs. The only maintenance so far have been oil changes and washes. We bought gas this month only twice because we stayed home a lot and ended up walking to places more often.

June 2013 vs July 2014

Alright, so our Chiang Mai monthly expenses have gone up a bit since last year. So where’s our money going?

Where We Spent More Where We Spent Less
  • Eating Out
  • Groceries
  • Personal Care
  • Electric, Water, & Phone Bills
  • Household Items
  • Rent & Internet

We’ve been eating Thai food a little less and have found ourselves splurging on Western food more often, whether it’s home cooked or from a restaurant. We also just happened to buy a lot of clothes and personal grooming items this month, which isn’t the norm.

But our electric bills have gone down a lot since we downsized from a 150 sq m townhouse to a 75 sq m house. It also helps that our internet is included in the rent price.

Thailand vs USA Living Expenses

We were inspired to write this Chiang Mai monthly expense budget post after seeing how little we spent in July 2014 compared to our outrageous spending the month prior when we visited the US.

July 2014 Thailand vs June 2014 USA

Expenses Chiang Mai, Thailand vs USA

Keep in mind that while we were in the US, we still had to pay our Thai rent, utilities, and phone bills. Can we just say that we’re glad to be back in Thailand!

We’re at the top of our budget, so we plan to get our spending back down to $1,200 next month. We plan to focus our on energy on some projects and go out less, cook at home more and dine at Western restaurants less, and spend more time working out and studying Thai.

But hey, we can’t beat ourselves up too much because we spent $1,500 in July. That wouldn’t even cover the price of rent at our old apartment back in the US!


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