April is a month to always look forward to when living in Thailand. It’s the month of Songkran (Thai New Year) when everybody piles onto the streets with their bright floral shirts, water guns, and buckets to engage in a countrywide water fight. As long as you don’t mind getting wet and jumping straight into the action, Songkran is truly an amazing experience.
But if you’ve already partied during Songkran for a few years like we have, April means escape. It’s the longest public holiday we get (usually 4-5 days if over a weekend), and is a bit like Christmas in that everyone is in holiday mode and work slows down. So in recent years we’ve been using it as an opportunity to take longer trips we’ve been planning.
This is a rather long introduction to say that April has been expensive! A trip to China, and a number of other unusual expenses means my savings rate is far lower than target rate.
The beauty of monthly financial reports
I’ve always been fascinated by other personal finance bloggers’ income and expense reports. It’s one thing to write about the concept and values behind financial independence, but another to actually go through the numbers and see how people spend (or don’t spend) their well-earned cash. It’s also great to see people incrementally make progress towards their personal finance goals each month.
I’ve been keeping my own income and expense reports for almost 5 years now, plugging away at a little spreadsheet at the end of each month. I’ll try to publish my numbers here to keep myself accountable, and to keep tabs on progress against the goals I set this year.
April 2018 Summary
Reported in Thai Baht (THB) and UK Pounds (£)*
Income: 74,926 THB / £1,655.02
My income is basically my monthly salary from my full-time job (after taxes and a 3% contribution to a provident fund), plus some modest allowances for housing and phone/internet costs. Unless I find a side hustle in the meantime, this category is going to be looking pretty much the same until I leave in September.
Expenses: 44,919 THB / £1,051.38
My regular Bangkok expenses this month (e.g. food and transportation) are lower than average because I went to China for 12 days, and all of those costs are included in the “holiday” category.
Here’s the full breakdown:
|Category||Cost (THB / £)||Explanation|
|Rent||11,000 THB / £244||This is the shared cost of a fairly small one-bedroom condo unit in a central location.|
|Groceries and regular meals out||1,586 THB / £35.24||Regular meals out are cheap meals I eat in canteens, food courts, or street food stalls – food to fill the belly, tasty, but nothing special. These tend to cost between 30-50 THB (67p – £1.10), and make up most of my usual meals in addition to what I cook at home.|
|Eating out and treats||1,517 THB / £33.71||This includes special meals on date nights or with friends, and little sweet treats I tend to indulge in most days.|
|Drinking||915 THB / £20.33||I include both alcoholic and other drinks like bubble teas and coffees in here.|
|Entertainment||400 THB / £8.89||This usually includes cinema tickets, and other entertainment costs|
|Transport: Commute||591 THB / £13.13||I use the BTS and MRT systems to get to and from work|
|Transport: Non-Commute||367 THB / £8.16||I might grab taxis or motorbikes from time to time|
|Utilities / phone||387 THB / £8.60||The super-low cost this month reminds me I have some bills that need to be paid.|
|Toiletries / personal care||2,554 THB / £56.67||I had to get my hair cut and buy some skincare products that ran out, but this is definitely higher than usual!|
|Health / fitness||336 THB / £7.46||I bought a 4-week workout program from Fitness Blender|
|Gifts / Donations||1,350 THB / £30|
|Holiday||11,661 THB £271.13||This includes all my expenses in China (food, accommodation, transport, etc.) I recorded my flight and visa costs earlier in the year.|
|Learning||14,063 THB / £312.51||I really wanted to invest into a new skill/interest, so this cost is mostly for a 50-hour sewing course I enrolled on.|
|Blog||2,313 THB / £51.40||Set up costs for this blog.|
Savings rate: 37% (January – September 2018 goal = 60%)
As you can see in the expense breakdown, there are a number of exceptional costs that make April fall far below my target savings rate of 60%.
I would have to average a 65% savings rate for the next four months if I’m to meet my savings goal for the year, which sounds far too painful. I don’t want to cut back too much if these are going to be my last few months in this fantastic city, so I’m probably going to revise this downwards.
Net Worth: Up 10.9% from December 2017 (2018 Goal = 20%)
Even with the relatively little money I have invested in an ISA and pension, my net worth has been doing funny things this year due to some volatility in the stock markets. It seems there was an upturn this month and I’m back on track towards meeting my goal, although who knows how things will go in the next few months.
Even though April doesn’t look good on paper in terms of savings, it has been a fantastic month, and worth every penny. China surpassed all my expectations (I’ll see if I can put together a post on it – EDIT: here’s the post), and I’m really looking forward to my sewing course in May and June, and working further on this blog.
How did your April go?
*Note on THB to GBP exchange rate: since living in Thailand, the exchange rate has ranged from a high of about 55 THB per GBP, to a low of about 42 THB (after Brexit). I’m not too fussed about using an accurate rate each month, as long I use the same rate for income and expenses. I’m using a rate of 45 THB/GBP.