Update: As of October 2011, we found a 4br/2b house for 10k baht/mo. = ~$333 rent per month. As of October 2012, we moved into studio apartments and rented out two studios combined we were paying 6000b per month because we thought we may return to the US on a long term basis. We are not returning to the US on a permanent basis, in fact, Chiang Mai will be our base in Asia indefinitely. As of August 2013, we moved to a new place further from the city for 5000b/mo = $167/mo for approx 55sqm = 592sqft. We will be paying .28cent/sq ft. For about six months we lived above a coffee shop and we had a latte factor going for us on a daily basis. Our fridge also went out in April 2013 (very long story) and well, I’ve not cooked in over a month since we came back from the US in June 2013. So the latte factors are everywhere. We need to refocus on ourselves in our new place, strip away the latte factors and make the new place feel like a “HOME” in Thailand.
Now that we’ve lived in Chiang Mai since July 2010, we feel we can share solid information about the living expenses for our family of three. Perhaps this could be helpful for those families interested in coming to Chiang Mai and making it a home-base as well
We are estimating about $1200 per month of living expenses for the three of us.
Here’s the break-down of our monthly expenses 2010:
Rent (one bedroom apartment) – $300 (12 month contract).
Electricity – $32 (avg)
Water – $6.67 (fixed)
TV- $1.67 (basic cable, fixed, only 2 English language channel)
Internet – $11 (In our current home as of August 2013, this is included in Rent)
Petrol (That’s gasoline for you Americans) – $25 (estimate) Yes, that’s for one month!
Motorbike Maintenance – $59 Total, from Sept 2010 to April 2011 (included 1 oil change, 3 flat tire repairs, replaced 2 tires & front brakes)
Food – $300 (generous estimate – includes groceries, cooking at home, dining at street markets/stalls, mom/pop shops – no 5 star dining on a regular basis).
Leisure/Entertainment/Fun/Misc– Your Miles May Vary here, depending on your budget, tastes and lifestyle. As a frugal family, it was typically dining out with friends (see Food exp.), day trips in town (parks, street markets, festivals), short and extended trips within Thailand. We also do our own laundry and pay for cleaning services occasionally.
Service Related Contributions/Temple Visits and Donations Assisting with fundraising for and donations to Community Based Orgs within CM. We also sponsor purchase of raw rice bags enough for 25+ monks for at a local temple. We will resume this when we return later this year.
We admit some months are lower than $1200. We’ve come under $1000 during months we don’t venture too far out of Chiang Mai!
Not included in monthly expenses above:
School Expenses for M – $645/mo (tuition only) for an international school, paid upfront each term. Considered on lower end in Chiang Mai’s handful of international schools. Not including first year, one time enrollment fees. We saved by passing on school food (we pack M’s lunch, which we have always done even in the US ) and bus fees (no bus, Daddy’s motorbike). (This is a dream compared to what we paid for M’s Montessori school in Texas),
Uniforms – $30 (M’s White shirt are no longer white. We’ll be buying new shirts in the new year!)
Costume rental and misc. purchases for school activities – $50
Travel Visas and Transportation – Will vary depending on your visa needs. Here is our expenses: Since J needed to renew his visa we made an excursion out of each trip to Laos. J now has a shiny-new one year non-immigrant O visa with multiple entries for the coming year!
$210 Laos ($35 Laos Visa entry fee per American. Total is for 2 trips)
$20 Myanmar for J (Visa entry fee by land)
$800 Air, bus, boat, tuk-tuk, red bus and lodging
Motorbike – $916.67 to own. (We bought a used motorbike, Honda Click, because we knew we’d be in Thailand long-term!)
Above picture was taken outside of Luang Prabang, Laos at the beautiful Kwan Si Waterfalls.
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