Dinner and a Dentist Visit in Thailand

Sign for the noodle restaurant in Uttaradit, Thailand.
My girlfriend walking to the noodle restaurant.

This post is about a recent evening I had here in Thailand. Nothing too exciting happened, but I thought some people might be interested in my daily life here.

The evening started with a trip to a street food restaurant for dinner. There are a lot of restaurants similar to the one pictured above. These restaurants have outdoor seating with plastic stools and flimsy tables. The Thai people don’t seem to mind eating outside when it is over 90 degrees. We wait until dusk to eat so it is at least a little bit cooler and the sun isn’t beating down on us. We usually eat at a table 2 or 3 rows in since the outer row of tables is too close the noise and traffic of the street for me.

Thai Noodle Shop Menu
Thai Noodle Place Menu

The great thing about these restaurants is that they have yummy Thai food for cheap prices. The menu above shows how cheap everything is. For reference, the cheapest item on the menu is 35 baht which is about $1.11 U.S. Dinner for both of us usually is only about $2. Sometimes it is even cheaper. My girlfriend prefers to go to these types of place for dinner and that works out great for me. Eating at a Western restaurant would cost several times more than the typical Thai place. Since this is not a tourist town the menu is all in Thai. I rely on my girlfriend to order for me. She knows my limited palate and hasn’t made a bad order for me yet.

Chicken and noodles dinner.
Chicken and Noodles Dinner.

The picture above is what we had for dinner. My GF calls my dinner chicken and noodles.
I don’t know the Thai name for the dish. It doesn’t taste like chicken and noodle soup. It tastes better than that and is really good. Her dish contained chicken feet and was eaten with rice. I didn’t try that. This restaurant adds some kind of flavoring to their free water. Most places don’t do that. I don’t like the taste of the water with their flavoring added so I splurged and paid another 10 baht for a bottle of water. Not tipping is required or expected at these restaurants and tax is already included in the prices. Thus, the cost of your food is the cost of your meal.

Uttaradit Dentist Office
Uttaradit Dentist Office

After dinner we made a visit to the dentist office. The night before I had some fresh caramel popcorn that I bought at the Wednesday night market. Unfortunately, a piece of the popcorn got jammed up under my gums and I wasn’t able to floss or pick it out. I complained about it hurting during dinner and my GF suggested we go to the dentist after dinner. I didn’t realize we could visit the dentist at that time of night without an appointment, My girlfriend assured me it would be no problem. The first dentist we went to had a long queue. We left and visited another dentist. This one only had one person in front of me. It turned out this dental office had just opened the previous month. The office did look new and extremely clean. It might have been the nicest dentist office I’ve been too. It was definitely way nicer than the dental school where I’ve been getting my dental work done the last few years.

After about a five minute wait we went back to see the dentist. My GF explained the problem I was having. The dentist did speak some English so I think I could have explained the problem to her if I didn’t have my GF there to do it for me. The dentist flossed between my teeth and then went in with the dental pick and got a small piece of popcorn out. I told her I felt like there was more in there and she went back in and pulled a much larger shard of popcorn out. Although my mouth was still sore it immediately felt better once the larger piece of popcorn was removed. This is the second time this year I have had to go to the dentist to get a piece of popcorn removed. It was in the same place both times. For now, I’m going to give up popcorn until I have some more dental work done.

When we went out to pay the bill, we were told there was no charge. I was very surprised by that. I indicated that I was willing to pay, but they waved off my money. I was impressed with this dental office. If I were going to be in this town longer I would have them do my dental implant or maybe redo my bridge. When I come back later this year or next year I will get some type of dental work done there.

After that we went back to the hotel and took our evening showers. It is normal in Thailand to take 2 or 3 showers a day. After the showers, we got in bed and watched a movie on Netflix until it was time to go to sleep. Other than the dentist visit that was a typical night for us. It isn’t too exciting, but I like it.

My New Thailand Apartment

My apartment in Uttaradit Thailand.

After four different hotel rooms in four nights I am now settling down as I have rented a room for the next month. I did have some people interested in how to find an apartment in Thailand so I will share that process. This apartment hunt took place in a smaller city in Thailand and I was assisted by my Thai girlfriend so my search won’t be relevant to a lot of visitors to Thailand. I’ll probably move to Chiang Mai next month. My apartment hunt there will be more typical and I’ll share that process too.

This apartment costs 4500 baht a month which is about 141 U.S. dollars. There is also a 500 baht fee for weekly cleaning. This didn’t appear to be optional so adding this fee the price for the month is about $156. There is also a 100 baht per month charge for water and electricity costs 8 baht per unit. Since it is over 100 Fahrenheit every day right now the electric bill might be expensive. Like most apartments in Thailand a deposit of one month’s rent was also required. When I leave next month they will deduct the cleaning, water, and electric charges from the deposit and refund the rest to me. They let me use my credit card to pay for the rent and deposit which made things simpler.

The room isn’t quite as nice as the room I had in Chiang Mai. It doesn’t have a couch, kitchen, or a proper desk area. It also doesn’t have a fitness center. It has a pool, but you are charged for every use making it unlikely I’ll use the pool much. Since I never used the kitchen when in CM not having a kitchen doesn’t matter to me. It does have a small table with plastic chairs that I use when I’m tired of sitting/lying on the bed and when I’m using my laptop. This apartment was chosen mainly for its location. It is about a 20 minute walk away from the Tesco shopping center which in addition to the Tesco supermarket has a movie theater, several restaurants, and various other shops. Overall, I think it is a great deal for the money.

My apartment search for this room took just a few hours. My girlfriend drove me to several places which helped a lot since I wouldn’t have been able to walk everywhere and I wouldn’t have known where to go. Our first stop was a hotel that my GF knew and liked. From the outside it looked pretty nice, but they didn’t have any rooms available for monthly rental. Our second stop was a room in a small complex owned by GF’s cousin. This room was quite basic but acceptable considering the price of about $95 a month. I didn’t choose this room since it was a little far away from the supermarket and restaurants. Plus, I knew I could go up quite a bit in quality for not much more money. The third place we visited was the hotel I stayed at when I was here last year. They had a room available for 4500 baht per month. Since it was fairly close to shopping and restaurants and I knew I liked it after staying there last year we decided to rent this room. Since this was Sunday when we were looking we wouldn’t be able to sign the contract for the room until the next day.

On our way back to the hotel we came across another apartment building. They had lots of rooms available for just $3500 baht per month. The rooms were really old and dark and the building didn’t seem very clean so I passed on this place. After returning to our hotel we thought to ask if the hotel had monthly rooms. It turned out they did and I ended up renting my room from the hotel and cancelling the other room. If I would have asked at the hotel first we wouldn’t have had to do any apartment hunting. I think I would have been just as happy at the other 4500 baht per month hotel. Shopping is slightly closer to this hotel and it does have a pool if I want to use it so I decided this was a slightly better choice.

So I guess my advice for apartment hunting in Thailand is to ask at your hotel first or have your Thai girlfriend help you or both. Joking aside, I hope the apartment hunt information was somewhat helpful and/or interesting.

March Income – $5554.56

Here is a breakdown of my income for March.

Interest$6.51
Amazon FBA($58.48)
Job$5719.42
Bank Bonus$125
Cashback$111.30
Dividends$19.21
Online($368.40)
Total$5554.56

March was another great month for income. Although there were no tax refunds in March, I did have three paydays which gave a significant boost to my income. I also worked a little more overtime and upped my 401k contribution percentage to boost my pay a little.

There were two negative sources of income for the month. I didn’t have any Amazon FBA sales and I had one FBA return resulting in a loss for the month. I’m not doing too well with FBA so far this year. I’m only up about $9. That is not a very good return on my time invested. I should make at least a little from FBA this month. Amazon damaged one of my items and they should reimburse me for the item before the end of the month. I’m also going to send in a small shipment of items to sell.

My big negative income was my online income. I haven’t made any online income this year, but I have had expenses. I paid Bluehost (aff link)for three years of hosting. I considered transferring my hosting back to (aff link) Hostgator (my hosting provider before Bluehost) to get their introductory pricing, but ultimately decided I didn’t want to go through the ordeal of switching hosting providers.

I also transferred a domain name from GoDaddy to Namecheap and renewed the name for a year. Namecheap (aff link) is a little cheaper than GoDaddy and doesn’t charge extra to keep Whois information private so I plan to eventually transfer all my domain names to them.

I will make some online income this month. I will get paid by Adsense and I might get an affiliate commission as well.  Maybe if some people sign up through the hosting or domain name affiliate links in this post I might make it to positive income territory in the next couple of months.

My dividend income increased slightly for the month.  I only added $100 to my dividend portfolio in March since I’m saving for my Thailand trip. I did reinvest some dividends in more stock as well.  Before the year is out I should have enough monthly dividend income to pay my phone bill.

I made $125 from a bank  bonus. There won’t be any more bank bonuses for the next few months since they are difficult for me to manage when I’m out of the country and don’t have a check to direct deposit to qualify for the bonus. Some people make thousands each year from bank bonuses. That might be difficult for me to do since I don’t have the cash flow that they do, but making $1000 might be possible. I’ll pursue more bank bonuses once I return from Thailand.

I did great on cash back for the month. I had $57 of cashback from my Fidelity card automatically deposited into my IRA that I wasn’t even expecting so that was a nice surprise. I also had cash back from another credit card and two shopping portals. All the little sources of cash back add up to a helpful  bit of income.

April’s income will be quite a bit less since I’ll only have two paychecks and the second one won’t be for a full pay period. Income should still be quite a bit more than expenses so I can’t complain.

How was your month?

February Income – $6196.95

Here is a breakdown of my income for February.

Interest$1.78
Amazon FBA$67.26
Job$2850.96
Bank/Investment Bonus$202.67
Cashback$56.54
Dividends$14.07
Dietbet$35.67
Tax Refunds$2968.00
Total$6196.95

February’s income was great. I doubt I will have a better earning month this year.

My income was almost doubled by the almost $3000 of state and federal tax refunds I received. When you only work part of the year, they withhold way too much from your paycheck.  I suppose I should change my withholding, but I probably won’t bother.

My dividend income increased slightly for the month.  I’m going to keep investing in dividend stocks to keep increasing my dividend income. My investments will be limited the next few months due to needing to bulk up my cash savings to fund my Spring Thailand trip.

I worked full-time at my tax job for all of February. I received two full paychecks which was good. This month will be even better since I’ll have three paydays. Also, I have been authorized to work some overtime hours which will help increase the paydays.

I made a little bit from Amazon. I haven’t felt like sourcing on my days off so I don’t have much for sale right now. This total would have been a lot better if I wouldn’t have had a $200 item returned. You got to take the good with the bad on Amazon.  I also made a little bit from eBay which I forgot to add to this income total.

I made over $200 from a bank account and investment account bonus. I think bank bonuses give me the highest return for my time invested. I should really do more of them.

I won $35.67 from Dietbet by participating in three diet bets. I bet a total of $155 and the bet only lasted a month so that is a really good return on my money. I won’t be doing more of these for a while though because I found it quite difficult to lose the needed weight.  I’d rather be able to eat whatever I want for right now. I’ll worry about losing weight when I am in Thailand. It is much easier for me to lose weight there.

Even with the three paydays this month’s income will be quite a bit lower than February’s income. It will still be a good income month and I should have a good shot at making at least $5000.

How was your month?

I Saved 47.4% of $37k Income in 2018

I didn’t quite reach a 50% saving rate in 2018. I’m still quite pleased with the rate I was able to achieve. If it weren’t for over $4000 of medical and dental bills plus 2 1/2 months in Thailand where I earned almost nothing I would have easily saved over 50% of my income. I think a 47.4% saving rate is pretty decent for my level of income.

Last year was my first year of what I’m calling my semi-retirement. I worked roughly 7 months and had about 5 months off. I consider the first year of semi-retirement a success since I was able to save a big chunk of my income while having several months off and trying out living in Thailand. My semi-retirement plan is to work my tax job during the tax season and then work a couple of document review projects to boost my income when the projects fit into my travel schedule. I’ll continue the semi-retirement plan until I have enough money to completely retire or find something I like to do that makes sufficient money for me to live and travel. I might write a separate post about semi-retirement later. For now, I want to get back to the actual subject of this post.

My savings in 2018 consisted of $6500 to my IRA and $11499 to my work 401k. My income from jobs and net self-employment earnings was $37962. I also contributed $400 to my solo 401k and invested about $2700 in dividend stocks. I’m not counting the solo 401k or stocks in savings since they were offset by some credit card debt.

This year I will likely have a much lower income. My income was significantly boosted last year by working lots of overtime during the tax season. I don’t think there will be nearly as much overtime available to me this year. With the reduced income it will be quite difficult to match my 2018 saving rate this year. I do think I will be able to reduce my expenses a fair bit this year so it might not be impossible for me to save that much. If I get close to saving as much money this year as I did last year I will be happy.