Okay, so a month ago I decided I would set myself a challenge, attempting to live for an entire month on a total of 6,000 baht (or £200 £125 to my countrymen). This was to include all food, drinks, fuel, bills and other entertainments, the only exception being rent which is included in my contract.
So how did I do? Well the month is now over and my final outlay came in at – drum roll – 5,925 baht! I made it! In fact I technically came in well under budget depending on how you look at things…
You see I was extremely strict with my tally, including every unseen expense which cropped up – oil change on the bike, fixing a headlight and the added expenses of keeping in touch with a girlfriend who’s bathed in sunlight while I’m staring at the moon (admittedly not much but texts and internet access add up over time). But this stictness with additional outgoings means I’m also permitted to include incomings on my budget so toss in an extra 1,000 baht’s worth of winnings at the three pub quizzes which took place over the period of the experiment. That’s 1,000 baht I intend to spend on enjoying myself this weekend, bottle of half-decent wine here I come 🙂
So that’s how it worked out on paper, but what was it like actually living on that kind of a budget? Could it be done long term? Would I do it again? Well the only honest answer is that I don’t know. There were so many factors to add up – I’m saving for leaving Thailand, I’m trying to cut down on drink (major expense over here), there was a ton of work to be done so I was permanently exhausted and, on top of everything else, I missed Em immensely and didn’t always feel sociable. So maybe at another time it wouldn’t have worked and I wouldn’t have enjoyed it.
But the fact remains that the cost of living here is so low and entertainment is so easy to come by that there’s no need to be earning a fortune to enjoy life in Surat Thani. With the right attitude, some good friends and a little imagination you can live like a king on a shoestring budget.
It’s going to be a hell of a shock re-adjusting to Western prices and the difference in value between items – over here you can buy a good meal for half the cost of a bottle of beer, back home you can get (if I remember rightly) at least a couple of pints for the price of your lunch. It’s easy to avoid naughty snacks in a country where a small bag of Maltesers can cost more than your dinner. And to balance that up, let’s not forget the insanely low price of ‘blended spirits’ and the fact that you can bring a bottle to pretty much any bar.
I’m going to miss Thailand. But I’m going to enjoy my brief trip back to my old world just as much 🙂
(Thanks to Tigger for the currency correction, my impending trips to the UK, Canada and America have my head all in a tangle…)