We always knew that we wanted to live overseas and that in most places our dollar would stretch a lot further than in the U.S. For this first year we allocated ourselves $40,000. By choosing Chiang Mai, we hope to live on a lot less, but felt comfortable setting this initial amount.
So, our first month of early retirement living has passed and now we can show you what has transpired. Figuring out the budget breakdown has proved to be a little difficult, but after banging our heads against the calculator and spreadsheet we think we finally got it right.
This initial budget will include a few start up costs that won't be included in the future, but I'm sure something else will take its place. For example, we will have dentist appointments this month so our medical expenses will change from almost being nonexistent in our first month.
After converting baht to dollars we round up our expenses to the nearest dollar in order to build in a margin of error.
Expenses for the first month in Thailand:
Rent - $560 (brand new 1 bedroom condo about 520 sq. ft.)
Tuition/Visa Fees - $130 (Thai language school and Education Visa)
Electricity - $16 (meter is not working yet, so flat fee right now)
Water - $4 (water meter works, just cheap)
Phone/Internet - $66 (purchase 2 cell phones, 2 SIM cards, internet ($20)
Eating Out - $473 (any meals from local Thai vendors to western food)
Transportation - $159 (purchase 2 bikes/repairs ($93) and local baht bus)
Groceries - $205 (food, detergent, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.)
Entertainment - $208 (massages, golf, manicures, pubs, etc.)
Medical - $9 (medicine)
Misc. - $197 (hair cuts, maid, items for condo, etc.)
Total for month- $2,027 ($68 a day and on track to spend $24,324 per year)
Some of you might be asking, where is our airfare and hotel costs we incurred while traveling to Thailand? The answer? We used credit card points to pay for both airline tickets and all hotel costs prior to moving into our condo.
Of course this budget will fluctuate and unforeseen expenses and/or events will arise, but we are very happy with this first month's results and our fiscal future looks bright.