How Our Family Spends 88,799.66 Baht a Month in Thailand in 2024

Cost of Living for your family in Thailand

Whether you’re moving to Thailand with your family for a new start or you’re relocating for work or school, the country’s low cost of living is quite a draw.

In the first few years I lived here, I never paid attention to how much our family spent each month. But as time went on, I thought it would be good practice to document where all our money goes. So, I started a spreadsheet of what we spend every month, right down to the satang.

In this guide, you’ll find out how much it costs our family of four to live comfortably in Thailand each month, and what I consider to be the essentials for any family relocating here. 

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Key Takeaways

  • A family of four should expect to spend at least $2,500 a month in Thailand.
  • Food and education will most likely be your biggest household expense. 
  • Utilities are a fraction of what they cost in the Western world.
  • Healthcare and health insurance are both very affordable in Thailand. 
  • Always plan to spend more than what your monthly estimated budget comes out to.

Conversion Rates

To stay consistent with my money conversions, I used XE.com to come up with the following exchange rates for cost conversions throughout this guide:

  • USD1 to THB35
  • GBP1 to THB46.45
  • EUR1 to THB39.73 

Unless otherwise noted, all “$” in the guide stand for USD.

Here’s Us   

My wife and I and our oldest daughter moved to Thailand in 2014 from the United States. In 2015, my wife gave birth to our second daughter. If you’re interested in what that was like, check out my guide on having a baby in Thailand.

Currently, we live in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo just outside of Bangkok in Samut Prakan province. At the time of this writing my wife and I are in our 40s. My oldest daughter is 10 years old; my youngest is 8 years old.

If you’re single and wondering what it would cost to live in Bangkok, check out our cost of living in Bangkok guide.

What Costs Aren’t Included in My Budget?

Before we look at my monthly expenses in Thailand, I want to be clear that the total monthly amount you’re going to read about is only for the essential costs of raising a family here in the country. 

We also spend money each month on things I haven’t listed below, such as hobbies like mountain biking, keeping fish tanks, converting a Thai school van into a family campervan, and videography and  photography.

These aren’t essential to living in Thailand with your family, but I could say this. If you have hobbies and you want to keep them up in Thailand, budget for at least another few hundred dollars each month. 

The Big Picture

In total, my family spends roughly $2,536.15 per month on just the essentials. In reality, we spend $3,000+ if you include our hobbies and interests (plus allowances I dish out every month). 

Not everyone will have the same hobbies and interests, so I’ve excluded these from my cost of living, as they relate to only me.

We also invest a certain amount of money each month but, again, everyone’s investment strategy will differ, so I’ve left this out.

Another thing to consider when looking at this budget is lifestyle. I know families who spend way more than we do, and I know others who live comfortably on far less.

ExpenseThai BahtUS DollarsBritish PoundsEuros
Rent13,000371.43279.87327.20
Electricity3,321.9594.9171.5183.61
Water343.589.827.398.64
Cell Phones820.8323.4517.6720.66
Transportation2,775.579.3059.7569.85
Internet83422.8317.9520.99
Groceries21,953.27627.24472.62552.56
Eating Out8,214.91234.71176.85206.76
Clothing3,610.25103.1577.7290.86
Education4,339.15123.9893.41109.21
Sports7,645.66218.45164.59192.44
Insurances4,280.42122.3092.15107.73
Healthcare1,375.4239.3029.6134.61
Entertainment1672.8947.8036.0142.10
Travel14,320.63409.16308.30360.44
Visa Fees291.208.326.267.32
Total88,799.662,536.151,911.722,235.07

If you’re wondering what kind of job you can get to cover these kinds of expenses, check out ExpatDen’s book Working in Thailand: How to Ditch the Desk, Board the Flight, and Land the Job. You’ll read about 19 expats from different walks of life who’ve landed their dream jobs in Thailand.

Rent: $371.43

  • Rent: $371.43 | THB13,000

We rent a condo in Bangkok for THB13,000 per month. This gets us a two-bedroom, two-bathroom 64-square meter condo on the border of Bangkok and Samut Prakan.

Our condo is part of a five-building complex that shares a park, 40-meter swimming pool, gym, running path, lake, two playgrounds, and outdoor exercise area.

We’re also a five-minute walk from MRT Sri Lasalle. Tollway entrances, malls, and parks are all within a five- to 10-minute drive.

Monthly Utility Bills: $177.34

  • Electricity: $94.91 | THB3,321.95
  • Water: $9.82 | THB343.58
  • Cell phones: $23.45 | THB820.83
  • Internet: $22.83 | THB834

Electricity costs us $94.91 a month. The air conditioners, electric stovetop, and electric wall oven eat up the majority of electricity in our home. We run at least one air conditioner during the day and two throughout the night. We cook at home six out of seven days a week, either on the electric stovetop or wall oven.

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Water runs us $9.28 a month. This is inexpensive considering four people shower twice per day and we use the tap for filtered drinking water. Plus, we water the plants and vegetables on the balcony gardens once or twice a day. We also have two fish tanks that need regular water changes.

For two phones we pay $23.45 a month through TRUE (me) and AIS (my wife). These plans get us what we need, as we don’t eat up too much data or make many voice calls. I have the option on my phone to call America at THB1 per minute. So, the months that I use the phone to make the occasional call back home, this price goes up a bit. 

Read more: Thai SIM Cards: Plans, Data, Prices, and Registration

Internet comes out to $22.83 per month. We use a $14.26 plan from AIS for home. Since I often work outside or on the road, I also use an AIS pocket wifi router that costs $8.57 a month.

Read more: How to Choose the Right internet Provider in Thailand (Premium Members Only: Join Now)

Food: $861.95

  • Groceries: $627.24 | THB21,953.27
  • Eating out: $234.71 | THB8,214.91

At $627.24 a month, grocery shopping remains our biggest monthly expense and, especially after the recent wave of inflation. When I tell my single Thailand expat friends what it costs to keep my family fed, they are shocked. They tell me they spend about a quarter of that amount each month. 

When you have two growing kids, though, it’s not easy to keep this number down. I’ve tried everything possible to lower this cost while eating healthily. But I’ve found it nearly impossible without sacrificing quality. It doesn’t matter if we shop at Villa, Foodland, Big-C, Tops, Central Food Hall, or the local market, this is the number we’re stuck with.

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Each month, we spend about $234.71 eating out. This includes dinners in the city, quick lunches at food courts, picking up food, and ordering through foodpanda.

Transportation: $79.30

  • Gas: $52.43 | THB1,835
  • Tolls, parking, and public transportation: $26.87 | THB940.55

Gas costs $52.43 to fill up my van and my wife’s car. But keep in mind we don’t use the van as a day-to-day driver. If we used both vehicles every day, this amount would double.

As for tolls, parking, and public transportation, we spend about $26.87 a month. This number is also quite low because neither me nor my wife have to commute to work or bring the kids to school. Most of our driving is done locally, taking the kids to sports or going shopping.

Clothing: $103.15

  • Clothing: $103.15 | THB3,610.25

To clothe a family of four, we spend roughly $103.15 a month. Keep in mind that we don’t go clothes shopping every month. We usually go quarterly. But broken down into months, this is what our cost comes to.

We shop at malls instead of markets or clothes, as the quality of clothing tends to be much better. But we don’t buy top-of-the-line name brands either. We stick with UniQlo, H&M, and Cotton On.

For kids shoes, we pick those up at MBK Center or Decathlon for roughly $15 to $20 a pair. Me and my wife buy our sneakers from the local running stores.

Education $123.98

  • Homeschool: $84.48 | THB2,956.75
  • Books: $8.45 | THB295.58
  • Stationery: $31.05 | THB1,086.82

Both of our daughters are homeschooling, so our education cost is quite low compared to other expat families in Thailand. We use a curriculum from the U.S., pieced together with other subjects that they are interested in.

Books are always more expensive to buy in Thailand than back home. So when it comes to kids books, we get them from a local international school that allows homeschooling families to join its library program. When we do buy books, we go to Kinokuniya, Asia Books, or shop online at Better World Books or Amazon.

With two young girls, stationery has to get its own category on my monthly budget. They love pens, pencils, stickers, notebooks, paper, crafts, and everything else found at B2S or other stationery shops in Thailand. 

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Sports: $218.45

  • Taekwondo: $30.95 | THB1,083.33
  • Swimming: $38.10 | 1,333.33
  • Ballet: $149.40 | THB5,229

For $218.45 a month, we enroll our kids in taekwondo, swimming, and ballet classes. Most of the schools charge by the semester or by package. So we usually pay for these classes every three or four months. But $218.45 is what it breaks down to by the month.

Read more: Bangkok Swimming Classes: How to Pick the Right School for Your Kid 

Car and Health Insurance: $122.30

  • Health insurance: $103.05 | THB3,606.92
  • Car insurance: $19.24 | THB673.50

To insure the van, we use Tokio Marine Insurance Group and have its Motor Insurance Policy +2. To be honest, I didn’t put too much effort into picking insurance coverage. This is what came with the van when I bought it, and it’s what I’ve kept ever since.

As for health insurance, I have the Luma Hi5 Plan 2, which covers me in Thailand and throughout Asia (except in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan).

I opted for zero deductible because I want to show up at a hospital and have Luma cover everything. Yearly, this comes out to THB43,263. If you opt to pay a deductible, you could lower this cost.

My wife and kids belong to the THB35 scheme, which covers them for medical emergencies. But I’ve been considering adding them to Luma because Bangkok Children’s Hospital — although a great hospital — is quite far from us.

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Healthcare: $39.30

  • Doctors $30.73 | THB1,075.42
  • Dentists: $8.57 | THB300

Healthcare is relatively cheap in Thailand — even at private hospitals. So for non-medical emergencies we go to the two local nearby private hospitals for outpatient doctor’s visits, kids’ vaccines, health checkups, and so on. This breaks down to $30.73 a month. 

To see the dentist every six months, our cost breaks down to $8.57 a month. We go to a local private dental clinic solely for the convenience factor and positive reviews she’s gotten over the years. But we’ve never needed anything other than cleanings. For more major treatment, I might opt for a place like Bangkok International Dental Clinic.

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Entertainment: $47.80

  • Movies, arcades, go-karts: $47.80 | THB1,672.89

Our entertainment costs average out to $47.80 a month and are not related to traveling. Entertainment for us is going to see a movie, playing at the arcades, or riding go-karts.  

Travel: $409.16

  • Thailand: $56.33 | THB1,971.58
  • Abroad: $352.83 | THB12,349.05

Traveling in Thailand costs about $56.33 a month. This includes going camping, staying at resorts, or going on road trips. We usually travel abroad once a year. This year we went to South Korea for 10 days and, when broken down over a year, the cost came out to $352.83 a month.

Visa Fees: $8.32

  • Visas, re-entry permits, residence certificates: $8.32 | THB291.20

My visa fees per year come out to $8.32 a month. This includes the THB1,900 cost for my annual Thai dependent visa (take care of Thai kids visa) plus any immigration-related fees for re-entry permits and residence certificates. 

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ATMS and International Money Transfer Fees: $27.06

  • International transfer fees: $23.77 | THB832
  • ATM fees: $3.29 | THB115

Because I make monthly international money transfers from the United States to Thailand, I pay about $23.77 in fees. I use Wise, which I’ve found offers the best exchange rates and the lowest fees compared to its competitors. 

I withdraw money every now and then from ATMS in Thailand from my Thai bank account. Sometimes I can’t find a KrungThai Bank ATM, so I use another bank’s ATM and pay a small fee. 

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How Much Do You Need Every Month to Live Comfortably in Thailand with a Family?

I get asked this question a lot, and my usual answer is this: If you’re okay living in a small condo or house, don’t want to travel outside of Thailand much, eat at home, and live a modest life, you can get by on $2,500 a month with a family of four. But we’re talking no extras here.

If you’d rather travel, have money to enjoy life in Thailand, eat and buy Western foods, drive a newer car, live in a more spacious condo or house, then I’d budget for at least $4,000 a month.

You can probably shave one-third off the amounts above if you avoid living in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin, or one of the other popular expat areas.

How Much Do You Spend in Thailand Every Month?

That’s how much it costs our family of four to live in Thailand each month. But I’d like to hear from you. How much do you spend on the essentials with a family in Thailand?

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Also, if you want to find out how much you could spend each month on rent, food, transportation, and more in Thailand, check out ExpatDen’s Thailand Cost of Living Calculator.

Considering moving to Thailand with your family and want to find out how to cut back on all these expenses? Become an ExpatDen Premium Member. You get instant access to hundreds of guides on how to move to and live in Thailand.

John Wolcott is the global editor for ExpatDen. He's a New Jersey native who now lives in Bangkok with his wife and two daughters.
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