I get this question a lot. I received it in the Ask Away Round 2 post, as well, so I figured I might as well make a post about it to welcome in my first post of the new year.
When I came to Thailand over 3 years ago, I came as an exchange student. I was lucky enough to be placed with a host family that took me in, cared for me, and paid most expenses (food, shelter, fun, etc). That year, the most expensive thing I bought was an iPod. Other than that, I didn’t spend much money. A few dollars a day tops. Lunch at my exchange school was less than a buck per day, and phone service was pay as you go (pre-paid sims) cost me a couple dollars a day. I was easily living off less than $100 a day.
When I started going to college, besides my tuition expenses, I still wasn’t paying a lot for anything. I was outside of Bangkok, so that certainly lowered rent rates (I lived in a couple places in my time there, both under $200). Food there is cheap as always. Most of my meals were 1-2 dollars. I’d spend $3-4 on a burger meal if I really craved it. During this time I was a freelance writer, and that made me about $1000 a month (I was lazy; didn’t write a lot). In this case here, I lived off about $800 a month, give or take some.
I moved to Bangkok, before I really started balling, and things got a little more expensive. My room got smaller and stayed around $200 per month. Luckily, I lived next to a few mom and pop restaurants, which provided me food at around a dollar or two per meal. I also lived within walking distance to my school cafeteria with lots of different Thai and international food. 7/11 was around the corner and I’d spend a couple of bucks there everyday. Bangkok, however, has many more attractions. Night clubs, shopping, better restaurants and transportation. I started spending a lot more to go out with friends. I was over the $1000 mark now. Probably around $1500.
And now, well, I’ve got a two-bedroom condo, party a lot more, eat at better restaurants, order in often (thanks to ChefsXP.com), and generally throw away my money at stupid thing because I can. I worked hard for that privilege though.
So how much do you need to live comfortably in Thailand? Well, thats all based around location and what you plan on doing. Living outside of the “farang” infested areas will keep your comfort level pretty good at under $1000. Chiang Mai and Hua Hin might be good examples for that. Stick to Bangkok if you got a little extra to blow. I’d say depending on whether or not you plan on partying a lot, buy a ton of hookers and blow (ick), and if you can stomach Thai food or just have to have your daily fix of Starbucks and Burger King, you could live with $1500 – $3000 a month.
There are farang that live here off less than that, and I used to be one of them, so my statement here is just a typical observation.
And for all you affiliate marketers on a budget, why not buy some cheap landing pages to help you get your work started. For $5 a page, you can’t really go wrong. Click here to go to the affiliate store.