The living on 500 Dollar a month challenge

     A big question that is asked all the time is could I live comfortably in Thailand with only 500 dollars a month. My answer to that is a big yes. First thing we should do is get the, must have expenses out of the way and those are food, shelter, and clothes. Let us start with food, if you shop for yourself and avoid canned and frozen imported foods you could get by easily spending five dollars (B150) per day or 150 dollars (B4,500) a month. A decent small one room condo with water and power of 300 sq ft (30M) can easily be had for 165 dollars (B5000). Clothes I would figure in 30 dollars (B900) for washing and replacement of worn out clothes. These are all your very basic needs and added up, it all comes to 345 dollars a month. If we started with 500 dollars (B15000) we still have 155 dollars (B4650) as you can see we are well within the 500 dollar challenge. What we have is a baseline of what you must have every day or month to live here in the land of smiles. These numbers are only meant as a guide for those wanting to make the move to SE Asia and want to know the bare minimum it will cost. Almost daily there are going to be those extra expenses pop up and you really need to allow for these. Some extra costs I can think of offhand are visa cost, transportation cost, internet and most importantly entertainment. I like to have a few beers in the evening with friends and cheap charley beer places can even set you back 150 dollars a month, so that by itself blew what was left of my 500 dollars.

       I should add that the amounts given above are for people that have been in Thailand for at least 3 months. 500 dollars a month would not be doable until a person has learned the basics of living in Thailand. For the first few months a person should budget at least 1,500 dollars a month and for some people 3 months may not be enough.


How about 300 Dollars a month even.

      I actually know some guys that get by on 300 dollars a month. I ask them how they get by on 300 a month and here are  the figures I get from them,

  • 3,000 Baht for rent many small places out there for this price, usually 250Sq Ft  (25M) in size, and no air conditioning.
  • 3,000 Baht for food, very doable cook at home and by  being a careful shopper, with some rice in the diet.
  • 600 Baht for utilities electricity and water no aircon.
  • 3,000 Baht or 100 Baht a day walk around money.

      This totals out to 9,600 Baht, which is 270 dollars a month. I have seen 3,000 Baht a month apartments and they are not what I would like to live in. If I had to I could and to be honest it probably wouldn't bother me that much. I personally  only spend about 3,000 Baht a month on groceries, I shop around for the better prices, I have the time and I have a motorbike. I average myself  about 100 Baht a day walk around money, I just don't need much, I don't smoke and only occasionally drink alcohol.

      The point I am trying to make is if you had to you could get by on 300 Dollars a month. Let's be realistic here, no one really wants a lifestyle like that. Aside from the figures above I live on well above 10,000 Baht a month there are other things I like to have, like some travel and a Thai massage now and then. I have a much nicer bigger apartment and I use air conditioning when it gets too hot for me. There are times when I need a new phone, TV, computer and the list goes on and on.

Health issues, Hospital stays we need to think about it in a serious way.

     One of the biggest things we of retirement age should be concerned with is health care. We never know when something is going to fail and we need medical care. While health care in Thailand is not expensive here it is for the most part not free. If something does go wrong and you don't have insurance or money to pay, you will still get treatment, but it is terrible at best. Imagine 30 patients in the same room, Imagine all of them have something seriously wrong, imagine the odors the sounds that may in itself would make you want to die. This is something we don't like to think about but should be considered.

     Thailand passes the 500 dollar a month challenge with room to spare. For me living within the above stated budget would be a very boring existence. Whatever money you can add to this baseline makes for a more fulfilling retirement. No one wants to stay in their room all the time, especially in Pattaya.

An apartment on Soi Buakhao near the Tuesday and Friday Market, at last check they were renting for 4,000 a month. A place like this is perfect for someone on a very tight budget. It is in the middle of town so really you could walk most places. If you live on the top floor you even get plenty of dailey exercise.

I like to get out and explore some local places

The biggest expense with many Expats living here in Pattaya, is booze and women. While the ladies can be lots of fun, consuming too much booze can create some serious health issues. A hobby of some kind is great, I like to get out ride my bike, walk and take photos.

If I sleep under the beach chair then maybe I could save an extra 50 Baht a day.


Copyright 2009-2022 Pattaya Retired dot Com     All photography and web design by Russ