• How to Live Cheap In Thailand by Chuck "Charlie" Wilson

    If you are looking to live a cheap lifestyle in Thailand, then these tips will help you to survive on a shoestring budget.You can live on 200,000 baht a month in Thailand or you can live on 25,000 baht a month. It depends on how foolish you are with your money. I have been living in Thailand for years living on a shoestring budget of less than 25,000 baht a month. It is not that I do not have more money on hand to spend, but more that I like to save several thousand dollars a year while I am living a Cheap Charlie lifestyle in Thailand. Those of you that drop 100,000 to 200,000 baht a month may be wondering how that is even possible. You may be tempted to call me a liar. You may accuse me of living in some tin shack near a Bangkok canal (klong) spending my days panhandling on Sukhumvit Road to survive. Neither are true! I live a decent life on less than 25,000 baht a month. Actually, I live I great life here in Thailand filled with fun and adventure!

    Here are some tips to help you save money when you are traveling or living in Thailand:


    • Only eat Thai food! And if possible you should only eat street Thai food that costs around 25 baht per meal. I know that you love your Western burgers, hot wings, cheese and other Bangkok costly food, but try to resist. You will become accustomed to eating Thai food and actually learn to enjoy it. I do not think there is any other country in the world like Thailand that offers such a wide variety of tasty, local food.
    • Do not rent a condo or house anywhere near a BTS or MRT station. You will want to find a place as far away from those places as possible. Rent drops by thousands and thousands of baht with each street (soi) that you get farther away from these transportation conveniences. You pay a hefty, premium price to rent a condo that allows you to leave your building and walk a block to a BTS / MRT station. You pay a WHOLE lot more if your condo has a walking bridge (saphan loy) that connects directly to one of these stations.
    • Do not live in Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Koh Samui or other trendy, tourist places. If you must be close to Bangkok, then live in Pathumthani, Nonthaburi, Chaengwattanaor other Bangkok Suburb. If you want to live near Pattaya, then chose Sriracha, Rayong, or Sattahip. If you absolutely feel the need to live close to one of these "wallet eating" Thailand tourist traps, then choose a spot just on the outskirts of that city or a suburb next to it. You rent, food and other Thailand cost of living will be cheaper by thousands of baht.
    • Move to a quiet, rural province. Most everything you can get in an urban Thai city can be procured in a rural province whether its food, clothing, internet, or other products. I know of some farangs that are renting 3 bedroom / 2 bat Western style houses for a few thousand baht a month. The landlord threw in a house full of furniture too!
    • Have a Thai get the price of any item you want to buy before you even think to show your lily white face!
    • Negotiate for a cheaper price on anything you are buying. No matter where you at, if you ask, you will probably get a discount. Just today, I asked for a discount on my truck repairs at my local Isuzu dealer. Guess what? They knocked 800 baht off the bill. If I did not ask, I would have been 800 baht poorer and that could be a weeks worth of eating Thai food on the street! This asking for a discount includes food vendors, fruit sellers, a landlord you thinking of renting from, and anyone else that will be receiving money from your Western hands.
    • Shop at Thai markets, pawn shops and street vendors. Many of the clothes and food that are found at the Hi-So shopping malls and grocery stores can be found for 50% at these Thai style markets.
    • Use a prepaid Thai phone rather than getting a monthly plan if you are not going to use your phone very much. For overseas calls get a Skype number with an unlimited plan.
    • Do not get cable or satellite. Anything you want to watch can be downloaded from a torrent site.
    • Party at Thai clubs, discos and other entertainment venues rather than Western establishments. The food and drink will be at the Thai cost which means you will save big!
    • Do not buy from vendors that are targeting foreign tourists. These vendors know that the people on vacation in Thailand that buy from them have no idea about costs in Thailand and up the price 100 to 1000% or more if they can get away with it. They will not come down for you as you will be seen as a tourist.

    If you start to realize that you can always get it for cheaper somewhere, whether it be a condo, a hotel room, a room at a guesthouse, food, transportation, clothes or whatever, then you will start to find the lowest deals that Thailand has to offer. Once you get to that point, you will be able to start living you Cheap Charlie life in Thailand on a shoestring budget straight way!

    Chuck "Charlie" Wilson has been living the "Cheap Charlie" life in Thailand for nearly two decades.
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. JAFO's Avatar
      JAFO -
      Enjoyable read. It truly depends on what you want out of your life and your expectations in Thailand.

      I have lived on an average of 20k to 30K baht a month since my arrival. It is a good comfortable life. There are months where I have spent 40K baht and months where I spent 15K Baht. Just depends on what I am off doing. I found the more you try and hold on to western style living the higher your living costs will be. I wanted to get away from all that. Some come here and want more but pay an expensive price to sustain it.
    1. Voɔɒlnɘɒl's Avatar
      Voɔɒlnɘɒl -
      While I appreciate there are people who seems to make a hobby out of saving money. Before we all get carried away and start fending off the boat loads of people coming here to "live" on 25,000 baht a month. Shouldn't we at least consider what is called living and what is simply surviving. Plus how many people are there in this family that is surviving on 25,000 baht a month.

      I appreciate that this is not part of the discussion forum, so let call it food for thought.
    1. Voɔɒlnɘɒl's Avatar
      Voɔɒlnɘɒl -
      I'm adding this here so that the Home page shows updatted
    1. Mex's Avatar
      Mex -
      Unless I am buying at a major sore..eg Global House etc I always send the missus, thereby missing the "farang" rate.
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