Here is a breakdown of my expenses for September.
My September Expenses were very high due to a couple of large expenditures in the health and student loan categories. Removing those two expenses my expenses were pretty close to my usual $1000 target.
My household expense was for paper towels, toilet paper, a towel and washcloth, soap, detergent and cleaning supplies. This was stuff I needed for my apartment in Chiang Mai. Back home I would have already had this stuff or been able to get it for free. For me, Chiang Mai is more expensive than the U.S. in this category.
Rent was for my apartment in Chiang Mai. This was a fair amount of savings compared to my $435 rent in Kansas City. The difference in rent isn’t all savings since I have to pay for water and electric here in CM whereas it was included in my KC rent. My CM apartment is nicer than my KC apartment and also includes access to a pool and fitness center so this isn’t an apples to apples comparison. I could have saved more on rent if I were renting for a longer term and/or rented a more basic apartment.
Entertainment was quite a bit higher than normal. Almost half of the total was for movies. I went to the movies 7 times during the month and I took my GF with me 6 of those times. The admission fees added up. Since I’ve been using MoviePass or AMC A-List for the past year back in the States, I actually paid more in Chiang Mai for admission than I would have back home. Also, the theater I go to is nice and modern but the seats are uncomfortable. I don’t think they were designed to hold a 220 pound man. I splurged for deluxe seats and a couch seat a couple of times to see if they were more comfortable. They weren’t so going forward I will just be getting the cheap seats.
I also spent quite a bit on concessions. They are cheaper here, but they aren’t cheap. I’ll cut back a little on concessions in October.
The other entertainment expenses included various local outings with my girlfriend. I also put some of our meals together in the entertainment category when we ate somewhere a little more expensive that I probably wouldn’t have eaten at by myself. The big expense in this category was $60 for an NFL Game Pass. This expense was worth it since I can keep up on all of the NFL games and see how my Chiefs are doing. (They are doing great so far, but they started 6-0 last year and that didn’t end well so I’m not getting my hopes up too much yet.)
Transportation was for 6 months of auto insurance. I put taxi and local transportation expenses in the travel category. I shouldn’t have any transportation expense in October.
Food consisted of $44.82 spent on groceries and $110.03 spent on fast food/restaurants. This was a bit higher than the previous month. It isn’t surprising since there was travel during the month and I’m now living in an apartment where I don’t have the equipment to prepare meals. If I eat more Thai meals this month and cut back on the Western meals that should reduce this expense a bit. I’ve also found better prices on some items over the course of the month. As I keep finding better deals that should also reduce my food expense.
Travel was for local transportation, an admission fee, and an airport hotel in Bangkok for the night before my return to the U.S. My flight from Bangkok leaves at 7 a.m. I decided it was wise to cancel my room in the city center and get a hotel closer to the airport in order to get a little more sleep. This expense should go down this month.
Phone was about $16.80 for local Thai phone service. My Google Fi service is supposed to work in Thailand, but I was unable to get the data to work. That was disappointing and unexpected since it did work when I was in Europe last year. It worked out ok since I was able to get a local number cheap and pause my Google Fi service resulting in a slightly lower phone expense for the month. This month should be the same.
Health included $1233.30 for a dental bridge, $15.42 for a prescription refill, and $54.16 for my monthly fitness center fee and the annual fitness center fee. I was hoping the dental bridge would be cheaper. I shopped around online and what I paid was a normal price for a bridge for two missing teeth. The dental school in Kansas City where I usually get my dental work done, quoted me a price of about $1200 for a dental bridge so I paid about the same here in Chiang Mai as I would have in KC. Compared to a normal U.S. dentist price though this was a significant savings. Here in CM I was able to get the entire procedure done over the course of 3 short visits in one week. At the dental school I probably would have had several hours long appointments over months to get the procedure done. Getting it done in CM saved me a lot of time. When you consider that I probably would have had to take off work for at least some of the appointments back in KC I saved a little money as well. I had a little over $1200 saved up in my HSA to cover this expense. My HSA is now wiped out so I don’t plan any dental or medical work this month.
I paid $1600 towards my student loan. Although I have one consolidated student loan I am allowed to direct my over payments to two of the four underlying loans that make up the consolidated loan. I did some experimenting with directing my payments this month and actually managed to pay a little of the principal. Usually all of my payments goes to interest.
This month’s expenses should be a lot lower. I’m hoping I don’t have any unusual large expenses this month so I can get a good idea of what my normal monthly living expenses would be if I lived in Chiang Mai.