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Thread: How long does 1000 baht last?
18-06-06, 09:51 AM #1
How long does 1000 baht last?
STRETCHING YOUR BAHT
Some can blow it in a single night. Others can make it last for half a month. How long can you survive on 1,000 baht? Here are some first-hand accounts of thrift and indulgence
Story by RANJANA WANGVIPULA
'Bangkok Post' rewriter
Some years ago, a 1,000 baht banknote would have lasted me a long time. During my early days at the Bangkok Post, I was on the city beat. With a rather small salary, I had to scrimp by every possible means. One of my proudest achievements was that 1,000 baht could cover my lunches for two whole months!
How? At a roadside shop near the City Hall building, a full dish cost only 15 baht. The quality was admittedly not that great; after all eating gourmet cuisine was not a priority back then.
But last Saturday, I had a taste of high-class living, or something almost like it. I went to a bar on Khao San Road, the mecca of backpackers. There, we ordered some liquor, two bottles of soda and cola. The highlight of the evening was a demonstration of the ''reggaeton dance'', a sort of sexy Latin-style swinging set to hip hop and reggae music.
Time flew, and finally, a waiter arrived at our table with the bill.
''It's 1,060 baht,'' he announced.
In five seconds, I literally saw money _ the same amount that would have been stretched over two months in my previous incarnation _ fly out of my wallet. You may think I'm crazy for blowing it all on a mere three-hour stint at a bar. But for me, every baht was considered excellently spent, for it had brought me las noites longas _ a Portuguese phrase meaning a long and pleasurable night.
Story by ARUSA PISUTHIPAN
There are campaigns for people to save money blaring everywhere. Don't splurge. Set aside at least one-quarter of your income. Jot down your expenses. But how realistic are these expectations?
On some days, I think the feat is not all that difficult. I just stay at home, eat cups of noodles, watch TV and sleep. The mystery is that certain bills _ for my mobile phone, monthly parking and so on _ still manage to slip into my mailbox.
So I tried the last bit of advice: Keeping track of my money. How long can I keep a thousand baht? (Or you could say: How long will it want to stay with me?) A brief report of a ''typical'' outing in Bangkok is quite revealing.
The other day, I had a date with a friend. We went to see the film everyone's being talking about _ The Da Vinci Code.
By late morning, I already said goodbye to the first 120 baht I spent on the ticket.
That was only the beginning. Having had our adrenaline pumped rooting for Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou to solve the riddles in time, my friend and I needed to fill our stomachs. We decided on a Hot-Pot lunch that created another dent of 170 baht each in the wallet.
Then off to cruise around the shopping centre _ that lasted several hours. I successfully resisted many temptations, but was finally overtaken by a chic T-shirt (495 baht). We celebrated the discovery with a nice cup of coffee. There went another hundred baht.
My mother's impromptu call saved the day: She wanted to treat us to dinner at the very same shopping centre, but at a different restaurant. That was a bonus _ I saved on the petrol and dinner bill too!
At the car park, the moment of truth arrived though. The guard standing next to the exit gate handed me a bill: I had to pay him a total of 130 baht for the hours I had my car parked at the shopping complex. A short ride later, I had to pay another 40 baht for the tollway charge as I drove my friend home.
Such a pleasant day it was, until I looked at the calculator. The figure ''1,055'' stared back at me, so innocently. It was a bit over the limit of what was supposed to be my maximum daily spending. If only there was a nang klang plaeng (open-air cinema) offered to people free of charge as in the old days! Or a river with shoals of fish ready to be caught and served up on my plate. Or a tree where I could park my vehicle gratis. But we city people don't have such ''luxuries''. I strongly doubt if I will ever be able to save one-tenth, let alone one-quarter of my salary. Any ideas?
Story by SUTTHI JANLEE
Cleaning lady and mother of two (as told to Vasana Chinvarakorn)
A thousand baht can last for two, even three weeks. It's a whole lot of money. It took us 10 years to clear our debt with the Tor Kor Sor (state-run Agricultural and Agricultural Cooperatives Bank). Ten years ago we went bankrupt growing cassava. The original amount we owed them was 20,000 baht. But my husband's negligence to pay the interest meant we had to pay a total of 50,000 baht in the end.
Last year my husband won the lottery so I took a day's leave and went back to the bank's branch in Kamphaeng Phet to clear up everything myself. It was a huge relief.
With inflation, the price of vegetables at Khlong Toey market is quite high. But somehow I've found the cheapest place to buy food for my family: The street vendors near our rented flat. I don't know how they can make any profit, but a small bag of curry cost 10 baht, 15 if I ask for a little more meat. For dinner I just buy two to three bags and some rice. My husband loves eating a lot of rice, but scrimps on the side dishes. And my two children, who work elsewhere, don't usually come home until very late at night.
My policy is very simple: Don't buy unnecessary things. I don't go to the cinema or any entertainment venue. I have a haircut once every two to three months. Each of us has our own mobile phone, but I usually buy a refill card worth 200 baht, which lasts me an entire month. Most of the phone calls I receive are from my supervisors who call with some special orders. I buy myself a new dress or a gift only when I earn bonuses. But those are few and far between. After all, I get paid on a daily basis. When I feel sick and have to stay home, my bosses will automatically cut my pay. Nor do they give me any extra for working every day without a break.
Every morning I reach the office by 6:30am and stay there for the next 12 hours, sweeping and waxing the floor, mopping and washing dishes. Sometimes we are so busy we can't stop for lunch. On other days, I can survive on a bottle of soya drink for the morning and then skip lunch.
My most expensive day? It happened last Monday, June 12. I paid 300 baht for a standing ticket to witness the royal barge procession. I finished the day's job by noon, asked my colleagues to cover for me in case some urgent task should arise, had a quick lunch and took a bus to the Tha Chang pier.
From 1:30 to 8pm, when I reached home, I didn't eat anything. Not even a single drop of water. The experience was well worth it. I don't think I would have another chance in this lifetime.
The front rows were reserved for those who paid 3,000, 2,000, 1,500, 1,000 and 800 baht, respectively. At least I think I had a better view than people who paid a hundred baht. I looked back and saw the sea of yellow shirts standing behind me.
I also had one yellow shirt for this special occasion. I couldn't afford the expensive versions. Some of them cost 550 baht! Instead, I bought a cheap yellow shirt _ it was a little over 100 baht _ and I ironed on a washable sticker with the royal insignia on top of it. They were on sale in the market, ranging in price from 50 to 80 baht.
This wristband with the ''We Love the King'' inscription? My husband bought one each for the two of us.
Story by KRITTIYA WONGTAVAVIMARN
What a big relief! After a whole month away from home, I managed to return to Bangkok safe and sound and with a 1,000 baht banknote safe and sound inside my wallet.
I recently attended an international workshop for Southeast Asian journalists in Chiang Mai. The beautiful capital of the North was a refreshing change from the hectic, hustle bustle of my everyday life down in Bangkok. But I found the change in atmosphere quite friendly _ both environmentally and financially. When left on my own, I dined at a university canteen or local food shops, and each meal cost about 25 baht. When I wanted to cross to the other side of the town, I just hopped on one of the red songthaews and the return trip back to the dorm only cost me about 15 baht. Last but not least, there was plenty of free ''gym space'' for jogging or riding a bicycle _ crucial for someone who can't miss a day of a fitness regimen like me. On some days, I spent only 50 baht and still had a full stomach!
Stepping on the tarmac of Don Muang Airport, I felt a rush of warmth and confidence. I was going to turn over a new leaf _ my success in Chiang Mai convinced me that I could become a thrifty, and rich journalist.
Alas! I was doomed from the beginning. By the time I reached home, my taxi's meter registered 300 baht _ and I also had to pay another 50 baht for the airport charge.
At least I consoled myself that I still had 650 baht left _ translatable into 26 meals, or fewer in case I wanted to treat someone to dinner. But then my phone rang. ''Long time no see!'' screamed my fitness buddy. ''Come to the gym right now!''
Before I knew it, the gung-ho exercising streak got the better of me. I didn't even bother to unpack my suitcases. I grabbed my long-orphaned gym bag, ran to the nearest Skytrain station, and another 35 baht was quickly converted into a BTS card for the ride.
Phew! I arrived in time to meet my friend. But before a whole afternoon of marathon body-combat and cycling sessions (and more marathon body-combat and cycling), I needed an adrenaline boost. So we stopped for a cup of espresso frappuccino and it was, uh-oh, another 125 baht. Luckily, I needn't pay anything else at the gym having already footed the advance membership fee of 24,000 baht at the beginning of the year!
It was 8pm, and I was voracious, starved to death. We staggered inside a Japanese restaurant. There we took no time to decide on the best deal available: The all-you-can-eat buffet for 499 baht. ''Well, I'll have to owe you nine baht, and you'll have to pay the tax too!'' I told my friend. And he kindly gave me a free ride home on top of that.
Thus did a 1,000 baht banknote, unused for a whole month, vanish in one day. I think I definitely need another assignment in Chiang Mai!
18-06-06, 11:30 AM #2News Contributor
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18-06-06, 10:17 PM #3
Well, when I stayed with my former Thai girlfriend in 2002, I spent an average of 785 baht per day, whilst in Thailand and she had a hide to complain I was tight.
18-06-06, 10:59 PM #4
As an experiment, I thought I would try today to see how long 1000 baht would last. Not very long. The petrol tank was flashing empty when I got in the car this morning and so had to fill up. As a consequence, I ended up going 700 baht over budget before I had even started. I went to Central City as I needed to buy a new kettle. My old one had sprung a leak the other week and had finally died this morning. That set me back 549 baht. I then went to Asia Books where I bought a new novel to read. This was 310 baht. I needed some more blank DVD-RW Cds and a pack of ten set me back 349 baht. I had lunch at Banana Leaf and it cost 140 baht. On the way home I stopped at Makro to buy some supplies. I go there once a month a month to stock up on vast quantities of bacon, ham, sausages and cheddar cheese. The latter was 650 baht for 2 kilos. I know it sounds a lot, but at normal supermarkets cheese costs 100 baht for 250 grams. The total bill came to 2,090 baht as I also bought a table and umbrella for my back yard. Next I stopped at Foodland to do my weekly shopping. Here I usually buy fresh vegetables and meat etc. Today it came to 1,300 baht as I had to buy some supplies for cleaning the house too.
So, my 1,000 baht note didn't stretch so far did it. My total today was: 6,438 baht! I know this is not a daily total, some of this stuff I won't need to buy again for another month. But, when you consider that a lot of people have a starting wage of only 6-8,000 baht per month, it makes you wonder how on earth they survive.
18-06-06, 11:16 PM #5Forum Regular
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Well when I lived in Bangkok 1000B would barely last a day, and if it was a weekend well then I could kiss 2000+ away.
Now I live in Prachin 1000B lasts a week or more, but I will try and experiment and jot down everything I buy in a week and let you know.
Having said that I just had a blowout weekend in BKK and splurged on a new 30G iPod video which cost 15000B with it half loaded with music. heehee
19-06-06, 03:24 AM #6
This thread has not only stirred a few grey cells, (I do still have a few working!), but has made me think a little deeper.
Back in the 'dark ages' of the sixties, my local overseas allowances were a grand ฿350p.w., and that was on top of my wages, but, and it is quite a 'but', my wages went into the bank to remain untouched until I returned to the U.K.
O.K., food and lodgings were taken care of, but we were all out just about every night of the week, sometimes all night, and we none of us stinted on the 'facilities' of Bankok!
As you have all noted, that would not last a day now!
The further thought was, convert that ฿1000 to sterling and that worked out to £14 more or less, and that is about half of my food bill each week here in the U.K.
And to think of how I have been worrying about managing if and when I move out to Thailand.To be happy with where you are, first be happy with who you are.
19-06-06, 09:25 AM #7Inactive Member
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OK, I will join in here and see what I spend,
I have to go to town this morning, I looked in my wallet and I have a 1000, a 50 and 3 -20s, my motorcycle is full of gas as I just filled it, used to fill for 100 baht and now it costs 300 at least,I was planning on using an ATM card, but I will try not to today..
There is a new Tesco/Lotus store that used to be Topland and you could not buy much there anyway and now you can buy some farang stuff there such as lunch meat and different fruits and vegs. costs more, my family likes oranges which they have and topland never did, 45 TB. for 4 oranges which is more spendy than Tangerines at 35 TB. a kilo, and they even have a Dunkin Donuts too so I know I will have to have at least 100 TB. worth there.
And I often wonder how my wife supported a family with an income of 15,000 a month, she has been at her school for 18 years and that is her total income as she gets none of the bonus that was talked about teachers getting in an earlier thread, in fact she was required to work 7 days last week with no extra compensation.
For the last 2 months I have transfered 20K a month to my Thai bank and we have managed to spend most of that but will pobly have to move more this month and in August when I go to CM to renew my visa we will spend about 40K to buy foods that are not available here that will last us a year, farang stuff is tasty, but spendy, and I just like some stuff better than Thai stuff, such as Mayo, I do not like Thai mayo with all the added sugar, and I like farang cheese better than the NZ export cheddar, Carefour has some good cheese sometimes, Damn I would kill for some Tillamook cheddar from the Oregon coast.
19-06-06, 07:58 PM #8
on average, 1000 baht lasts for 3 or 4 days for me. but I never eat cheese, I'm too mean, it's four times the price I was used to. I don't go out (ever) but I have my own indulgences
19-06-06, 08:33 PM #9
This is the thing, if you don't go out much, use public transport or walk, eat street food and don't touch any Western "luxuries' (both food and gadgets) then it is possible to live on something like 500 baht or less per day. However, as a houseowner, there are so many bills to pay every month. Here are a few:
Electricity - 3-6,000 baht
Water - 180 baht
Telephone - 1,000 baht
Mobile Phone - 600 baht
UBC - 1,500 baht
Cable TV - 200 baht
Garbage collection - 60 baht
Internet Connection for broadband - 1,200 baht
So, that is a minimum of 7,740 baht in house bills a month. That doesn't count supermarket bills. Like I said, I am a houseowner so I don't have to pay monthly rent or a mortgage.
Today is the second day for jotting down my expenses. After my splurges yesterday, I am happy to announce that I spent exactly ZERO baht today. In fact, unless I go out in the evening (doubtful as there isn't much evening entertainment here) then it will be close to zero all week. If I lived in Bangkok then I am sure it would be a different story. Too many temptations there.
19-06-06, 10:24 PM #10Inactive Member
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OK I spent today for 2 packs of oranges=8 oranges=90 baht
2 kilo lychee from a roadside peddler at 40 baht a kilo= 80 baht, I could have bought them at Tesco/Lotus for 68 baht a kilo.
And I pack of Gold City Cigs=42 baht, so see how much you save if you don't smoke. total of 212 baht.
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