Chiang Mai weekly budget: Cheap Tuesday #7

Chiang Mai weekly budget: Cheap Tuesday #7

Chiang Mai Expenses: week 7

chiang mai expenses

My cheap Tuesdays are proving to be anything but! But this is okay, because collectively I want the posts to demonstrate a kind of journey through spending.

Obviously at the beginning I was smashing it with some killer cheap weeks, and thats  a fun challenge for a while.

And then it gets a bit old and you have to start making some changes and relaxing a little.

Like living anywhere in the world, the key is to live within your means. Mine do remain meagre, but as the freelance money starts to trickle in (and I do mean trickle), I have allowed myself a few small luxuries.

The challenge is no longer to spend as little as possible; more to try and create the life I want for myself here.

chiang mai expenses


Chiang Mai expenses: Where did my clams go this week?

I had a few more big costs this week; namely I bought a few bits on Monday to enable me to cook for myself after I purchased a little stove off my friend last week.

I got a puncture in my bicycle, and obviously went and bought the wrong pump *face palm*.

I also splashed out on a few more high-end food places … though relative to the actual cost in £ its still cheap!

Otherwise I’m living off groceries every day and cooking at home. Some oats and soy milk for brekky usually, and then some eggs and veggies for dinner!

My biggest expense was a gym membership for the month, at £28. This is mainly for the classes, as my usual yoga teacher has gone back to the States for a few weeks.

chiang mai expenses

Also I bought it for my sanity, as I’m actually really struggling to adjust to the lack of outdoor sports here.

I know, I know, life is what you make it. But this isnt somewhere I feel I can just get up and bash out a 10k, living as I do right on top of a busy street… and without a scooter I find myself feeling quite claustrophobic and unhealthy, so an exercise class a day should get those endorphins pumping once again… and give me some much needed structure in my coffee-shop life.

Without further ado, here are the details:

To view on mobile click here

Monday 20th ฿ £ $AUD $USD
Taxis 120 £2.26 $4.80 $3.53
New headphones 150 £2.83 $6.00 $4.41
Cooking utensils / pans 400 £7.55 $16.00 $11.76
Bike pump 250 £4.72 $10.00 $7.35
Shampoo 100 £1.89 $4.00 $2.94
Conditioner 100 £1.89 $4.00 $2.94
Coffee at work space 50 £0.94 $2.00 $1.47
Corn kernals to make popcorn 44 £0.83 $1.76 $1.29
Pizza dinner 110 £2.08 $4.40 $3.24
Total 1324 £24.98 $52.96 $38.94
Tuesday 21st ฿ £ $AUD $USD
Water refill 5 £0.09 $0.20 $0.15
7/11 coffee 18 £0.34 $0.72 $0.53
Groceries 150 £2.83 $6.00 $4.41
Total 173 £3.33 $6.65 $5.09
Wednesday 15th ฿ £ $AUD $USD
Latte at work space 65 £1.25 $2.50 $1.91
Vegetarian Lunch 95 £1.83 $3.65 $2.79
Extension cable 106 £2.04 $4.08 $3.12
Coffee and cake with friend 100 £1.92 $3.85 $2.94
Total 366 £7.04 $14.08 $10.76
Thursday 16th ฿ £ $AUD $USD
Coffee at work space 59 £1.13 $2.27 $1.74
Beast Burger 190 £3.65 $7.31 $5.59
Snacks 40 £0.77 $1.54 $1.18
£0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Total 289 £5.56 $11.12 $8.50
Friday 17th ฿ £ $AUD $USD
Kamboocha 90 £1.73 $3.46 $2.65
Salad Concept 105 £2.02 $4.04 $3.09
Water refill 10 £0.19 $0.38 $0.29
Total 205 £3.94 $7.88 $6.03
Saturday 18th ฿ £ $AUD $USD
Western Brekky 70 £1.35 $2.69 $2.06
Tuk tukfor hiking 40 £0.77 $1.54 $1.18
Coffee at work space 75 £1.44 $2.88 $2.21
Vegetarian lunch 95 £1.83 $3.65 $2.79
Total 280 £5.38 $10.77 $8.24
Sunday 19th ฿ £ $AUD $USD
Gym membership for month 1450 £27.88 $55.77 $42.65
Mexcian dinner 130 £2.50 $5.00 $3.82
Chicken and rice 35 £0.67 $1.35 $1.03
Total 1615 £31.06 $62.12 $47.50
Week #3 ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
TOTAL 4252 £80.84 $168.73 $125.06


What’s the crack generally?

I’m afraid next weeks budget will be even bigger. It will mark the two month point and I can work out some more sweet averages!

Drum roll please…. it will include a scooter. I have hired one, yesterday in fact, for the next three weeks. Facing some fears there, because the traffic here is mental… and last time I rode a motorbike I crashed it into an oil drum and hurt myself pretty bad!

But it had to happen- you really need to be able to escape the city sometimes!

I’m trying to sell my bicycle now instead, which was crazy expensive and I should have given it more thought before buying it… but there you go, standard Mel rushing in without thinking.

But holy crap, how alive did I feel again chugging around on my scooter! Do something everyday that scares you, right?

Well It’s been a while since that was the case, and I felt so invigorated after nearly dieing a few times!

Cue moronic giggling, and feeling every bit the silly little blonde farrang girl at traffic lights!

chiang mai expenses

Other good news, my shits finally stopped, for the most part. I’m inclined to actually put a lot of it down to stress if I’m being totally honest. And what do I have to be stressed about, I hear you cry? Living the dream in Thailand, as I apparently am?

Well, turns out freelancing isn’t actually that much fun. Turns out waiting for money from several different clients and wondering if you’ll make rent is kind of unsettling. Turns out forcing myself to sit still all day when I’m accustomed to mad adventures literally makes me sick.

I’m running to the toilet for something exciting to do, presumably. Because an overpriced latte and the glare of my laptop screen will only amuse me so long.

At least diarrhoea has a modicum of fight or flight humanity about it. Will she shit herself in Starbucks? Who only knows. Oh, the excitement.

And you get to use a bum gun. Yippee Ki Ay!

chiang mai expenses

On this bleak note, I have something to confess. I have written a separate post about it, and i’ll be hitting publish very soon. But the upshot is… and hands up if youre surprised (not)… turns out I’m not mad keen on life here.

Is it Chiang Mai, or is it my desk-based work? I’m not sure… regardless, I have tried to force myself into a some kind of idealised life mould, and it’s pinching me painfully in my delicate places. Yikes.

This past week has been really shitty. I’m struggling to adapt to life in the slow lane. I thought I wanted to rest and work online and stay in one place… but I’m planning my adventures again. I’m plotting my next foray into the unknown. It’s my greatest love.

I’m starting to realise it is my calling in life- to be out there amongst it all and actively exploring. I don’t sit still very well, and quite frankly I’m done fighting it.

It’s time to embrace that strength. Because it IS a strength.

chiang mai expenses

And while gazing at my navel and procrastinating like a boss,  I have had some wonderful epiphanies about where I want to take this blog and how I want it to be. I now know what I’m doing and where I’m going (not literally, bitch please). It has almost nothing to do with working online, and almost everything to do with working more wild jobs around the globe.

And helping you do the same. Four years of expertise in this area is worth something, and I’m on the cusp of OWNING IT.

So somewhere in between chronic diarrhoea, tear-inducing boredom and an empty bank account… I am one step closer to figuring out what I want, need and love in life.

And I’ll be sharing it with you guys, every step of the way. This week I’ll explain everything.

Chiang Mai weekly budget: Cheap Tuesday #6

Chiang Mai weekly budget: Cheap Tuesday #6

Chiang Mai weekly budget: How did I go this week?

chiang mai weekly budget

Six weeks in, and my time (and money) continue to go through some kind of bizarre portal.

This week I spent £47 on food and general day to day living.

The upshot… a little indulgent on the old western food front.

And I bought a little stove and some groceries so I can cook for myself. I’m not eating as much as I should be otherwise. I’m putting in long hours at the laptop and I’m just not hungry.

Can you blame me, after last week’s #ClenchOrRun exhilarations? I have no desire to become a gastrointestinal geyser once again.

A plus point is, I’m now a bum-gun convert. It was an invigorating 3am learning curve- one that ricocheted off the rectum and sprayed itself majestically across my bathroom. I think I saw a rainbow.

I eventually mastered water pressures and trajectories. It transpires that neither should be trifled with in an anally delicate context. But I am convinced: bum gun for the win. Hygienic salvation.

That’s enough. I must rise above toilet humour. The words, they just come to me.

Here’s the breakdown for this week…

To view as image click here

Monday 13th ฿ £ $AUD $USD
Water refill 10 £0.19 $0.40 $0.29
Western brunch 155 £2.92 $6.20 $4.56
Yoga class 100 £1.89 $4.00 $2.94
Rambuttan 20 £0.38 $0.80 $0.59
Chocolate rotti 15 £0.28 $0.60 $0.44
Total 300 £5.66 $12.00 $8.82
Tuesday 14th ฿ £ $AUD $USD
Western brekky 170 £3.21 $6.80 $5.00
Western lunch 210 £3.96 $8.40 $6.18
Veggies at market 200 £3.77 $8.00 $5.88
Oats & milk for week 70 £1.32 $2.80 $2.06
Total 650 £12.50 $25.00 $19.12
Wednesday 15th ฿ £ $AUD $USD
Latte at work space 50 £0.96 $1.92 $1.47
Yoga class 100 £1.92 $3.85 $2.94
Cinema 100 £1.92 $3.85 $2.94
Total 250 £4.81 $9.62 $7.35
Thursday 16th ฿ £ $AUD $USD
Salad concept 65 £1.25 $2.50 $1.91
Meditation class 100 £1.92 $3.85 $2.94
Smoothie 25 £0.48 $0.96 $0.74
Cappucino 75 £1.44 $2.88 $2.21
Total 265 £5.10 $10.19 $7.79
Friday 17th ฿ £ $AUD $USD
Latte 50 £0.96 $1.92 $1.47
Snack 10 £0.19 $0.38 $0.29
Snack 50 £0.96 $1.92 $1.47
Total 110 £2.12 $4.23 $3.24
Saturday 18th ฿ £ $AUD $USD
Gas stove 250 £4.81 $9.62 $7.35
Exercise weights 200 £3.85 $7.69 $5.88
Vegetarian Meal 40 £0.77 $1.54 $1.18
Fruit 30 £0.58 $1.15 $0.88
Total 520 £10.00 $20.00 $15.29
Sunday 19th ฿ £ $AUD $USD
Western brekky 155 £2.98 $5.96 $4.56
Salad 39 £0.75 $1.50 $1.15
Milk & oats for week 84 £1.62 $3.23 $2.47
Fruit 50 £0.96 $1.92 $1.47
Latte at work space 50 £0.96 $1.92 $1.47
Total 378 £7.27 $14.54 $11.12
Week #3 ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
TOTAL 2473 £47.02 $98.13 $72.74


Where did my clams go this week?

I have a theory. Perhaps you agree?

I believe there exists somewhere in this universe, a densely populated black hole of miscellaneous items.

We all know what I’m talking about. It’s where car keys go on bad days. It’s where other flip-flops and rogue socks abscond to. You have several phones there. Almost definitely, you have multiple TV remotes there. Your Dad’s best tie is there, smugly canoodling with my favourite pair of jeans- last seen circa 2011 somewhere up the Adriatic coast.

I’ll tell you what else is there, in this mythical realm of missing things, and that’s the non-tangible. Ah yes. Unfathomable in both existence and disappearance.

We could descend down this rabbit hole of thinking all night (something about the misplaced dignity of my early twenties oh wait, still missing) (along with my marbles, last seen ricocheting haphazardly under strobe lights, cascading manically to the edges of some particularly choice dance floors).

But I’m mostly referring to time and money.

Specifically, my life in Chiang Mai is flying by. I just can’t believe how fast time is going, and how much writing and blog stuff I still have to do.

As time speeds up, so too I find my spending escalating. I’m settling in. I want some small luxuries every now and then.

With all the will in the world, as I get more and more comfortable with life here… some mornings… I. just. want. bacon.

And then I say… bugger it! I work bloody hard. I’m having a Beast Burger.

One of my readers predicted recently that as I get more comfortable, I am actually likely to spend more… and they were not wrong!


The bigger picture

Let’s be real, it’s still miniscule. I’m talking £47 this week on just food, drink and general day-day living (see monthly budget for EVERYTHING, including rent and bills).

£47 is nothing right?

But let’s be real in a different way… it DOES add up.

And ok, let’s be real a third time. The realest real of all the reals….

This real: I’m spending more than I’m earning.

And naturally I would be, because I’ve come out here with no money (yes, I’m actually balls deep in my overdraft) and am working in a field I never have done before. It takes time to get established and to find your feet. But me being me, I just went and did it with no money anyway.


Unless you have a creepy sadistic side, and get a lady boner over financial masochism.

And unless you like being THAT chick, you know, the whiny ‘oooohhh ive got no money’ chick. Yuck. I try not to whine, I hate to be that girl.

Because let’s be real again. I have something most of the world does not: I have the luxury of choice. I am globally privileged: I have the capacity (and the inherited audacity) to take risks.

I did this to myself. Totally my choice. I don’t want or expect any sympathy.

Instead, I’ll just do what I always do. Work. Work bloody hard. And believe in my ability to make it work… because after four years of funding my way round the world, I know I will. I always do.

Actually, this month I should break even… yes! So I guess I am figuring it out.

I’ll have my bacon. I’ll have my beast burger and my yoga classes. And I’ll fund them. time to up my Chiang Mai weekly budget it looks like. I’d say £50 is a happy place…

It’s not always about being rock-bottom budget, but about living in a way that resonates for you. Hopefully my scrimpy ways have showed you how cheap it is to live out here thus far though!

Right. A fancy salad doesn’t pay for itself. Le’ts hustle.

Chiang Mai weekly budget: Cheap Tuesday #5

Chiang Mai weekly budget: Cheap Tuesday #5

chiang mai budget

Chiang Mai weekly budget: This week, naughty

Something incredibly amusing happened this week, whereby I spent my predicted monthly budget in a week. Yes, I have parted with a whopping £250 ish this week.

However, £100 of that is rent, for all of July. Unavoidable- a girl needs a bed and roof.

chiang mai budget

The rest is one might call an enormous ‘oops’ moment, and I explain it as the culmination of several ‘f*ck it’ moments.

The big one is a new phone, £100 ish. Mine got stolen last week and wah wah wah but it was killing me not to have one.

So thats £50 odd on living. That really is an oops.

Okay, the truth…

If you really must know- and I’m sorry to share such details- something rather bad happened in my guts this week. That is, I dropped them. Repeatedly. I will divulge more below (literally), but suffice it to say that my appetite for cheap street food has come to a very undignified end.


Chiang Mai weekly budget #5: where did my clams go?

Monday 6th ฿ £ $AUD $USD
Rent 5200 £100.00 $200.00 $152.94
Chicken + rice 30 £0.58 $1.15 $0.88
Smoothie 30 £0.58 $1.15 $0.88
Coconut drink 60 £1.15 $2.31 $1.76
3 x mangoes 55 £1.06 $2.12 $1.62
Total 5375 £103.37 $206.73 $158.09
Tuesday 7th ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
Coffee at work space 50 £0.96 $1.92 $1.47
Iced latte 90 £1.73 $3.46 $2.65
Cake 50 £0.96 $1.92 $1.47
Chicken curry 30 £0.58 $1.15 $0.88
Total 220 £4.23 $8.46 $6.47
Wednesday 8th ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
Milk for weeks breky 55 £1.06 $2.12 $1.62
Teabags 70 £1.35 $2.69 $2.06
Lunch salad 22 £0.42 $0.85 $0.65
Toiletries 50 £0.96 $1.92 $1.47
Yoga 100 £1.92 $3.85 $2.94
Total 297 £5.71 $11.42 $8.74
Thursday 9th ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
Salad concept 210 £4.04 $8.08 $6.18
Water refill 10 £0.19 $0.38 $0.29
Large Heineken beer 120 £2.31 $4.62 $3.53
Baileys on the rocks 120 £2.31 $4.62 $3.53
Local shot 50 £0.96 $1.92 $1.47
Corn on the cob x 2 25 £0.48 $0.96 $0.74
Snacks 50 £0.96 $1.92 $1.47
Total 585 £11.25 $22.50 $17.21
Friday 10th ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
Iced latte 90 £1.73 $3.46 $2.65
Rice + chicken lunch 40 £0.77 $1.54 $1.18
Ice cream 15 £0.29 $0.58 $0.44
Walnut + bree salad 225 £4.33 $8.65 $6.62
Total 370 £7.12 $14.23 $10.88
Saturday 11th ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
Western brekky + latte 220 £4.23 $8.46 $6.47
National Park entry 300 £5.77 $11.54 $8.82
Fuel 100 £1.92 $3.85 $2.94
Lunch rice + chicken 60 £1.15 $2.31 $1.76
Soft drink 15 £0.29 $0.58 $0.44
Total 695 £13.37 $26.73 $20.44
Sunday 12th ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
New phone 5299 £101.90 $203.81 $155.85
4.5gb 3g data + unlim wifi 420 £8.08 $16.15 $12.35
Latte 50 £0.96 $1.92 $1.47
Lunch half grilled chicken 80 £1.54 $3.08 $2.35
Total 5849 £112.48 $224.96 $172.03
Week #3 ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
TOTAL 13391 £254.58 $531.39 $393.85



My bad, but I can’t do without a phone

My wonderful nan in England sent me some birthday money- £100- and I used that to buy a new phone. It”s a bit rubbish, because I would rather put the money to rent… but after getting my state of the art i-phone 4 stolen on my birthday (have fun with that technology, idiot), it was sort of unavoidable.

Judge me all you want for that decision, but running a blog and working online requires almost full-time devotion to the online world and social media. I tried to muddle by for a few days and just couldn’t do it. I got major FOMO at being unconnected,and dont even get me started on being apart from Google Maps. So whatever, I’m an evil ignorant millennial. We are all products of our time right? And a phone is so much more than a phone these days. Discuss.

Anyway, £100 bought me a 13mp camera phone running the latest android stuff. I bought a strange cheap Thai brand called a ‘Pro 5′, and its actually pretty wonderful. This is the first new phone I’ve had in YEARS, and it is making my online work so so so much easier I can’t even tell you. So thankyou, Gran (who struggles to work the VCR, so will likely never comprehend the extent of my gratitude).

Also, I paid my phone bill for the month- £8ish for 4.5gb of data and unlimted wifi at hotspots. Who wants to skype?

chiang mai budget


Toilet trauma

So let’s address that £50ish on random expenses…

chiang mai budget

As I said, it suddenly became very hard to stomach cheap street food, and so I have started spending more to eat at high-quality places. When I want to eat at all, which has not been much recently.

I figured I was fine, one month in. But apparently my body has officially decided: enough is enough.

Alas, I can only describe this week as an exorcism of the anus.

Such lexicon is likely why I’m single. Sorry boys, girls actually do poo. Rather enthusiastically, it turns out, when fuelled by the formidable spicy aggressions of Thai cuisine.

What does this have to do with budget?

Everything. You try eating 30 baht deep fried chicken (fried in what? A question one must never dwell upon) and clumpy dont-know-how-long-youve-been-sat-there rice… when you’ve been up at 3am every morning, for a week, staggering to the bathroom for earth shattering movements that scare you (sh*tless) with their machine gun ferocity.

Not just at home, actually. There have been times, oh so many times, that I have had to do the hideous clenched-butt-waddle across vast distances. It is a very unique slice of hell.

Only those that have suffered a similar fate will know what I am talking about, but there really is no decision quite like it. It’s literally a life or death conundrum- do I run for speed, or do I clench for protection?

The panicked result is a devilish mixture of the two, where one contorts their body with delirious spasms, breaks out in a cold sweat, and performs an inconspicuous clench-waddle-run; staggering to porcelain salvation in a montage of agonising convulsions.

Life on the edge, ladies and gents.


And some fun

But it’s not all been grotesque. There has been much fun this past week, and I find myself wanting to spend more now I have a meagre freelance income. Cue some national park fun and some pre-lavish-brekky hikes!

chiang mai budget  chiang mai budget

And after that epic nature fix, I really REALLY need to write a proper update on my life here. There is one in the works, so stay tuned… I promise no more gruesome gastronomical sagas (the more expensive western food is working, as it happens, so I’m well on the mend).

This week: Smashing the freelance articles to earn next months rent. And staying away from chilli, obvs.

Chiang Mai monthly budget: Cheap Tuesday #4

Chiang Mai monthly budget: Cheap Tuesday #4

chiang mai monthly budget

I can barely believe it, but somehow I have been living in Thailand for a month. A MONTH.

In honour of this milestone, I’ve OBVIOUSLY been having multiple spreedsheet-gasms today; compiling all the financial data from my previous four weeks of living to produce some spectacular Excel epiphanies.

It is interesting to note that I am terrible at maths and lack anything remotely resembling numerical competence; and YET, I am obsessed with facts, figures and data. Go figure.

Get excited, guys; I am. I’ve made freaking PIE CHARTS and everything. My nerd nipples are erect.

So, I am ready to give you some mad averages and answer my golden question: How much is my monthly Chiang Mai budget?


Chiang Mai budget: Week 4

But first, let’s look quickly at what I spent this week, a whopping £110 ($168USD).

Though £67 ($102) of that was my birthday present from my family: a bicycle. Thanks!!

So if we deduct that one time expense (that I will hopefully make back by selling when I leave, and that will pay for itself in saving me from taxis) then my costs this week sit at £45.

Still a lot, for me. But yes, I did allow myself a few birthday splurges… especially the next day when I couldn’t move after the previous night’s ‘excesses’ of THREE glasses of wine.

Alcohol, you are dead to me.

Monday 29th ฿ £ $AUD $USD
Coffe + sandwhich 75 £1.44 $2.88 $2.21
Chicken + salad 75 £1.44 $2.88 $2.21
Chip 55 £1.06 $2.12 $1.62
Electricity bill (1 month) 49 £0.94 $1.88 $1.44
Water bill (1 month) 28 £0.54 $1.08 $0.82
Total 282 £5.42 $10.85 $8.29
Tuesday 30th ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
Water refill 10 £0.19 $0.38 $0.29
Coconut soup 50 £0.96 $1.92 $1.47
Glass of red 120 £2.31 $4.62 $3.53
Street food meat 30 £0.58 $1.15 $0.88
Total 210 £4.04 $8.08 $6.18
Wednesday 1st ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
Bunch of bannanas 30 £0.58 $1.15 $0.88
Coconut water 36 £0.69 $1.38 $1.06
Burmese lunch 75 £1.44 $2.88 $2.21
Total 141 £2.71 $5.42 $4.15
Thursday 2nd ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
Bicycle 3500 £67.31 $134.62 $102.94
Massage 200 £3.85 $7.69 $5.88
Burmese lunch 35 £0.67 $1.35 $1.03
Iced chocolate 75 £1.44 $2.88 $2.21
Italian birthday dinner 320 £6.15 $12.31 $9.41
Total 4130 £79.42 $158.85 $121.47
Friday 3rd ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
BLT brekky 130 £2.50 $5.00 $3.82
Snacks 200 £3.85 $7.69 $5.88
Laundry 180 £3.46 $6.92 $5.29
Beast burger 100 £1.92 $3.85 $2.94
Total 610 £11.73 $23.46 $17.94
Saturday 4th ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
Chicken + rice 45 £0.87 $1.73 $1.32
Salad 39 £0.75 $1.50 $1.15
Water refill 10 £0.19 $0.38 $0.29
Latte at work space 65 £1.25 $2.50 $1.91
Total 159 £3.06 $6.12 $4.68
Sunday 5th ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
Noodle soup 30 £0.58 $1.15 $0.88
Italian dinner 170 £3.27 $6.54 $5.00
Total 200 £3.85 $7.69 $5.88
Week #4 ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
TOTAL 5732 £110.23 $220.46 $168.59

The more observant among you will note that I had my first set of utility bills. How laughable must they seem, coming in at about £1.50? It is worth noting that I unplug everything, do not use aircon, no longer use my fridge, and am barely ever at home.

I had a few wonderful friends treat me to birthday meals this week… and a yoga class (thanks Nadia!), so if you think I don’t eat much, trust me, I really do.

You will also see that I had my first massage! Yay!

I opted for a Thai one, my first ever, and I found the experience to be in equal parts hellishly awkward and blissfully peculiar. I was literally bent like a pretzel, and in between trying not to kick the poor girl in the face when I inadvertently learned I have a ticklish right leg (just the right one, mind), I preoccupied myself with trying not to giggle or let out an enormous and ill-timed fart.

I happen to be quite flexible, and I believe my pint-sized friend took this as a personal challenge, as she set about with glee to turn me into human origami.

Still, I will probably go again; because although I cant quite articulate why, there is a certain curious delight in letting a tiny, freakishly strong Asian crawl on you for an hour. For £4.

I love this country.


Chiang Mai monthly budget: Month 1 totals

Drumroll please, here we go.

My total monthly outgoings (calculated as four calender weeks) were… £334.77 ($512USD)

TOTAL WEEK #1 8368 £160.92 $321.85 $246.12
TOTAL WEEK #2 1396 £26.85 $53.69 $41.06
TOTAL WEEK #3 1912 £36.58 $73.15 $55.94
TOTAL WEEK #4 5732 £110.23 $220.46 $168.59
MONTH 1 TOTAL 17408 £334.77 $669.54 $512.00

Now what is interesting to note is that I deemed a $500 per month budget to be too high in my original post but obviously I need to admit I was wrong.

Or do I?

Because whilst this has been my first month’s total cost, I do not believe it will be the budget every month. Far from it, actually.

Let’s look at some averages and some spending categories, and I’ll show you why, in actual fact, I believe I can live off just £250 ($386 USD) per month, all in.


Chiang Mai monthly budget: Spending categories

So I can work out where my money is going, and so you can be extra nosey, it is worth breaking my spending down into categories.

I have tried to keep it as simple as possible, and opted for the following blobs of expenditure, which pan out as below:

chiang mai monthly budget

Note: Next month might have to include one solely for coffee. Everyone wants to know about iced lattes, after all?

So most of my calculations are going to be in GBP, because I am British after all, and most of you guys are too; but here are the less than pretty stats in AUD (G’Day loved ones) and USD (Whats up, America?).

Item type ฿ £GBP $AUD $USD
Rent 3925 £75.48 $150.96 $115.44
Utilites 527 £10.13 $20.27 $15.50
One-off items 5184 £99.69 $199.38 $152.47
Food 4184 £80.46 $160.92 $123.06
Water 152 £2.92 $5.85 $4.47
Social 3095 £59.52 $119.04 $91.03
Personal 341 £6.56 $13.12 $10.03
Total 17408 £334.77 $669.54 $512.00


So, my total spending this month breaks down into the following:

chiang mai monthly budget

To clarify, social includes coffees, hobbies, clubs, nights out… basically everything non-essential.

Personal is things like deodorant, toilet roll, shampoo and laundry…. I came out here pretty well stocked, so that’s low right now.

You will note that my rent is low, only for three weeks (usually it will be 5200 baht), but as I moved into my apartment on the 8th not the 1st, this is just how it is. Still, this budget covers four weeks of living costs exactly as they happened, as my rent for this upcoming month I actually paid in my FIFTH week here, my current one.

One-off items includes big purchases such as my fan, swimming goggles, bicycle, etc; and was my SINGLE BIGGEST expense. Hopefully, there will not be any next month, now I am all set up; so this is hardly representative of a real month-month budget. But you get the idea that there is more outlay at the beginning.

I predict from this that next month I can save £100 (no bike, fan, camera charger, swimming goggles to buy), thus reducing my entire budget by almost a third to £230.


Chiang Mai monthly budget: Month 1 averages

This is all very illuminating, but I wanted to take it further and look at what this works out to be day-to-day.

Based on my above categories, the figures for daily spend look like this:

Everything 580.27 £11.16 $22.32 $17.07
Everything, less one-off items 407.47 £7.84 $15.67 $11.98
Everything, less rent & utilities 431.87 £8.31 $16.61 $12.70
Food + water only 144.53 2.78 5.56 4.25
Rent only 130.83 2.52 5.03 3.85
Food, water, social & personal only 259.07 £4.98 $9.96 $7.62


Let’s get pretty with this:

chiang mai monthly budget


So I have lived here this past month, all in, for a total daily cost of £11.

If we deduct those one-off starter items and look at the real day-day costs after, I am living for under £8 a day.

Food and water wise, I am feeding my body on less than £3 a day.

My home costs £2.50 per day.

So to live and eat and do nothing else, would be little over £5 per day. With social and personal, it comes to £8. Wow!

Of course, we all want a social life, and we damn well want those iced lattes.


Chiang Mai monthly budget: Conclusions after 1 month

There is much I could say about my first month here; about the many lessons I have learned and the wonderful people I have met, and also about my voyage into the terrific and terrifying world of freelance writing…. but all this I wish to cover in a separate post. There is much to say, indeed.

Allow me instead to just make a few conclusions about my financial situation based on this haphazard report:

  • This month I have lived for £334. Thats is £11 per day.
  • If we deduct big purchases, then I have lived for £230. That is under £8 per day.
  • I feed and water myself for under £3 per day.
  • I have a roof over my head for £2.50 per day.
  • Next month I aim to live for £250, which I believe is doable as there will be no big purchases.

And a few things to note about this report which should be obvious but I want to stress anyway:

  • This is by no means the cheapest you can live here; you can be a lot more budget than this.
  • Conversely, this is by no means a budget for everyone; I do not drink much, smoke or have expensive tastes. I am very good at budgeting and living a pared-down life, I always have. So take it in that context.
  • Consider the context of Thailand and the relevant wage for most local people.
  • I am not claiming that it is morally correct or appropriate to contribute so little to the local economy, but I am certain that what I do bring (and the people I may inspire to come) still goes some way to benefiting the local industry here. Certainly, more so than if I stayed at home and waited till I was rich (which would be never).

Overall conclusion… I believe I can comfortably live off £250 per month, and in July this is my aim.


I hope these costs have been illuminating for you. If you have any constructive feedback or questions please comment below, especially if there is a better way I could break it down or visualise it next month, or a certain aspect you would like to learn more about.

Thanks for reading!



Chiang Mai Budget: Cheap Tuesday #3

Chiang Mai Budget: Cheap Tuesday #3

chiang mai budget

Ready to peek into my finances and have a little nosey?


Chiang Mai Budget: Cheap Tuesday #3

Welcome to this week’s budget.

Three weeks in, and life just keeps getting better! I’m settling in nicely with a wonderful group of people, I’m finding my feet and my way around, I’ve been able to get out and see some of Thailand this weekened… and perhaps the best news of all, I have some steady freelance work.

A few bits, actually. Wowsers.

Looks like I can officially say

I’m a freelance travel writer living Thailand

and even

Im self-employed

chiang mai budget

Those are some big claims for me! When I have a bad day (it does happen) I just tell myself those things, and then I remember how wonderfully privileged I am.

Check back with me in a year, when hopefully I’ll have this site monetised, and maybe then I can even call myself an ‘entrepreneur’. Ha. The very notion makes me giggle, in my mind I’m still just this little girl who can’t quite believe she is ACTUALLY an adult. But here I am, 4 years, 6 continents and 41 countries into an alternative patchwork life on all over the planet.

Anyway, I’m late for three different midweek drinks (welcome to Chiang Mai), so I’ll stop digressing and keep it brief… this week I survived on £36 (AUD $73 / USD $56).

Please note this does not include rent or bills- these I pay monthly so check back for next weeks budget when they WILL be included. I will also do daily and weekly averages based on my first month here.

So below is exactly what I have spent in the last 7 days, baht for baht.


Where did my clams go?

chiang mai budget


What’s new this week?

Well, I read the above and you could conclude that I don’t actually eat. Its a little embarrassing. But I really do! Portions are just big enough for me here that I tend to eat two meals a day, and the weather is hot which always kills appetite. Also I scored a couple of freebie meals last week at various events, as luck would have it.

This week I decided not to do a grocery shop and to turn my fridge off, mainly because I’m out all the time anyway and there is just so much incredible and cheap food knocking around! So my spending went up by £10.

I have been leading a very active social life this past week- lots of nights out and lots of gatherings! Many wonderful meals at the side of the street with many wonderful people. I found some new hangouts and some great new eats, and long may this continue.

Don’t be fooled though, I’m doing it all sober. Well, last week I had three beers courtesy of a friend, after a few weeks tee-total, and ACTUALLY vomited. I’m deadly serious.

I was hungover the entire next day. THREE BEERS. VOMIT. I can’t even.

Obviously my body is just saying a big fat NO to that right now.

I also got out into a bit of the surrounding area to frolick in a waterfall. If there’s anything a girl like me needs, its frolicking in a waterfall.

chiang mai budget

Proper blog post on all this coming very soon!!

Just like many adventures this past year, moving here is such a big deal to me that I struggle to even begin penning my motivations and sentiments.


How to improve?

It has become more apparent than ever that I need a bicycle or a scooter- I do try to walk when I can, but its not so great arriving everywhere late and dripping in sweat. So I’m hoping to make those taxi journeys a thing of the past and spend some clams on a set of wheels.

I have also found a much cheaper apartment- a crazy 3000bht (£60) per month. It’s in roughly the same location, but has no pool and is not nearly as nice. But… I am toying with it because that saving would enable me to get a gym membership (with pool, as it happens) and perhaps a scooter.

In other news, I’ll soon be able to add another facet to this budget- INCOME. Yes. I’m serious. She is actually making money writing travel articles. Don’t get excited, its tiny tiny tiny money. But it is money.

On that note, I’ll end with the words of someone way more wise than I…

‘You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great’


PS… It’s my birthday this week! 27… ahhhh!