Since I’ve always found these “what does it cost” posts so helpful on other people’s blogs, I figured I’d pay it forward by adding one of my own here. 🙂
We were hoping to spend $1500 per month, and if we had to, we’d increase it to $2000 per month. Want to know how we did?
The Budget Breakdown
Ok. So I didn’t break it down to every little detail, but this will give you a decent idea.
Rent for a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom villa in Sanur, Bali, for 59 nights: $1839 ($31.17 per night). So just what kind of house was this? Here is the low-down.
By Western standards, the kitchen is very simple – just a single (very small) sink, no hot water in the faucets, and a 2-burner stove. There is no oven.
The bathrooms were also very simple – they were an older style, our master bathroom was one of those ones where if you have a shower, because there is no shower curtain, the entire bathroom gets soaked, and you’ll run out of hot water if you’re not quick enough. But it was perfectly functional, so I have no complaints. That being said, if one requires a fully modern bathroom with a large hot water tank plus fancy tiles and such, you’re not likely to get that in this price range.
The bedrooms would be perfectly fine for most people – probably comparable to the average 3-star hotel room in terms of decor.
The living room and dining room were furnished very nicely, and quite pretty if you ask me.
We had our own private, fully fenced, landscaped yard. A gardener would come by every couple of days, and they would come to clean the floors and change our bedding every 3rd day.
For what we ended up with, I think we got a good deal – any other comparable properties were asking considerably more, and, the first 5-6 weeks of our stay coincided with high season.
The reason why we got a good price: it was a new listing and the owners were hoping the great price would increase the odds of people giving them a chance – after they started to get some reviews, they would raise the price (and sure enough, they did indeed raise the price after we left).
Where did we find this house? We booked it ahead of time via Airbnb. (If you click that link, you’ll get a travel credit to put towards your next booking with Airbnb – and no worries, there’s no catch – it doesn’t cost you any extra if you check them out via that link.)
The rest of our expenses were for:
- insecticide (There were lots of ants inside when we arrived at the villa, so we went through a ridiculous quantity of ant killer before we finally got them under control, and lots more ant killer to keep them that way.)
- sightseeing (Waterbom, Bali Safari, a full day excursion to see temples, rice fields, the volcano etc.)
- local SIM card and frequent purchases of extra credit for data (the internet at our villa was pretty unreliable, so we often used our cell phone as a back up to provide wi-fi for our laptops)
- a house call from the local doctor (and medicine) when Paul got sick
- renting beach chairs in front of the Hyatt on Sanur Beach
- dining out
- miscellaneous stuff that I’m sure I’m forgetting 🙂
All of that added an additional $2500 to our stay.
We ate out for dinner about 2-3 times per week on average, generally spending about $10-20 on a meal – most meals out were closer to $10 total for our family of 4 – we managed this by sticking mainly to the cheaper restaurants, plus the local Sanur night market was a bargain too. Keep in mind that we could easily have spent more – most restaurants were charging around $5-8 per meal per person.
Our grocery costs were kept lower by eating most meals at home, and eating rice as a side dish rather than potatoes (which are more expensive). We also tried to eat mostly local fruits, rather than the more costly imported stuff from home. Alcohol is insanely expensive in Bali, so we didn’t buy it too often. And since our kitchen was not ideal for cleaning up afterwards, we avoided any added hygiene issues that preparing meat can bring by eating mostly vegetarian when “home” and getting our meat fix when dining out. I believe this also cut down our grocery bill, since meat is generally more costly to eat than local fruits and vegies.
So, the total cost of a 2 month (59 day) stay in Bali for our family of 4: $4500.
That works out to about $76 per day for all 4 of us combined, or $19 per day per person.
If you took out the medical expenses, the cost of buying data credit for wifi all the time, and our electric bill (many places include 100% of the cost in your nightly rent), we’d have averaged closer to $2000 per month.
In any case, when I saw that we were going over budget, I decided to do a little online income generation experiment to see if I could quickly earn the money we’d over-spent. Within a month of working online very-part time, I’d made about $500. That canceled out our overspending nicely.
So there you have it.
The Potential Downsides of This Kind of Budget
This budget will buy you a very simple life with a few perks. This worked for us since we needed time to homeschool the boys, plus work on our income generation experiments. We were totally fine with this since the alternative would be to go back to our old life of 40+ hour work-weeks for Paul, me working weekends and evenings, and almost no time together as a family. It was a very rushed life that we were living back home. Yet here we were in Bali listening to the roosters, looking up through palm fronds to see the sunny blue sky every day, and only a short walk from the beach.
However, if you don’t have homeschooling and assorted personal projects to keep you busy, our simple life here that we enjoyed so much might be a total bore for you. If that might be you, then budget for more meals out, more entertainment expenses, and possibly even the cost of renting a scooter so you can easily get out and explore on your own. Or heck, go all out and hire a driver.
Another factor to consider is if you have kids like we do, what will your kids do to keep themselves busy when everyone is just chilling out at your new home? We solve this issue by packing a carry-on suitcase per child containing toys, drawing/colouring supplies and Play-doh. Plus they have an allowance of time each day where they are permitted to play games on their i-Pads. If we didn’t have these supplies along, I think our kids would get bored much more easily. Mind you, maybe that’s an age thing, and if they were older it would be a non-issue? I’m not sure.
Keep in mind I’m not complaining at all, but just trying to give you a realistic idea of the trade offs involved in living on this kind of budget in Bali. 🙂