In early 2019, my wife and I decided to give up the lease on our apartment in Fremantle, Western Australia. We put all of our things in storage and made the move to Bali. It wasn’t an impulse decision, we had planned this for months, saved, researched and made sure that we could do it effectively. We just weren’t happy living the conventional life anymore. And when you aren’t happy then you have to change some things.
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At the time I was a fly in fly out electrician, so instead of coming home to Fremantle, I would fly another 3 hours to Bali for my week off. Living in Fremantle was neither inspiring or good for our lifestyle. Western Australia is a beautiful place but it’s being my home for 30 years and will always be there so it was time to try something new.
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There is always a cost in life. We all have the basic needs that have to be met like shelter, food and transport. And if you can take your money and spend it somewhere where it goes further, then you can free up time to do the things that are really important to you.
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In 2015, six months before my wife and I got married we moved to Bali for 2 months. We rented a place half way between Sanur and Denpasar and paid around $500 a month for the accommodation. In Fremantle, our rent was $1500 a month and that didn’t even include any utilities. If you are interested to read our 2015 costs please read this article http://www.baliadventureguide.com/blog/what-it-costs-to-live-in-bali-for-one-month/.
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 So here is the break down of a month staying in Bali. In 2015, we came here for 2 months and our budget came to $2000 AUD for both of us so we’ll see if its changed.
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Rent – $550
Cleaner – $30
Washing – $15
Transport to and from airport – $20
Flights from Australia – $300
Food and Drinks – $800
Scooter – $70
Fuel – $30 (I rode 2000kms)
Sim Card – $20
Storage of belongings in Australia – $58
Fostering 2 Dogs – $50
Donations to BAWA – $100
Insurance – $150 – 1Cover Annual Multi Trip
Flights to Thailand – $250
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Total $2400 including the flights.
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I don’t think I included the flights in the budget from 2015 so it seems between $2000 and $2500 is a good estimate for us of our spending in a country like Indonesia.
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 We found our apartment using Airbnb and paid $550 a month for this little 2 storey apartment. It was in an area that was a 20 minute drive from Canggu and a 40 minute drive from Ubud. Please be aware of false marketing on websites such as Airbnb in regards to travel time. Often times the estimate is way under what the reality is. Bali has bad traffic and travel times are blown out at certain times of the day. What takes 20 minutes in the morning can take over an hour at 5 or 6pm at night.
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We found that apartments in Canggu were minimum $800 a month and for us this was beyond our budget. However, after staying here for a month we came to the realisation that maybe it would in fact be better to pay more to stay in a better location. Spending 40 minutes riding return to Canggu is a significant amount of time and multiply that by 7 days a week and it all adds up.  It all depends on what your style is as this area is far from the tourist areas.

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If you go to the co working areas in Canggu or just the cafes its far better to be closer to the main area. Spending upwards of 10 hours a week commuting if you live out of town is a crazy amount of time that could be far better spend on time working or anything else that you’re interested in. This is not an exaggeration either as this is what my wife and I experienced by trying to save on rent but then had to travel to get to the main cafes and co working areas.
I rented my scooter from Putu Rental which is kind of half way between Seminyak and Canggu. I ended up paying $70 (700k) for the month. Ayu, the owner had great reviews on here google maps so that’s why I decided to go with her. A lot of other people wanted more than $100 for the same bike. I have learned that it is better to pay more and get a better bike. Some bikes are really no good. They don’t have a lot of power, which is very important if you have 2 people and are going to the mountains. When we didn’t have the scooter (travelling to and from the airport) we used Gojek. Download the app if you don’t have it because they offer on demand rides, food delivery and much more.
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In regards to getting a better bike, my cousin had a crash because his bike didn’t have enough power to make it past a car. The acceleration wasn’t there when he went to overtake and ended up getting knocked off his bike because of it. It may sound good to try and save some money on the bike but it may cost you later on if you get a sub standard bike. It also goes without saying to check the bike that you are renting. Make sure the lights work and the brakes. If they don’t just get the mechanic to tighten the brake cable, its very easy to do. Also make sure the tyres have the correct pressure. If the front tyre doesn’t have enough pressure your steering will be compromised and it is easy to under or over steer causing you to slide out.
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Getting laundry done is insanely over priced in Canggu (And every other tourist area on the island). Some places want 15-20k a kilogram which is very expensive. If you need to get it done take it a little out of the tourist areas and you can get it done for 1k per piece or 5k per kg. Alternatively, use the scrubba bag. I have been using this bag for 2 years now and it is great. It isn’t good for really dirty clothes or for when you need a good wash but for general day to day washing its great. I mainly use it for my sports clothes after running. They aren’t super dirty, just very sweaty and a 3 minute wash in the scrubba bag and then quick rinse has them smelling fresh and clean again. The upside is that you don’t have to wait 2 days for your washing to be ready either.
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Our food bill we worked out to be roughly $30 (300k rupiah) a day for 2 of us. This by far is our biggest expense but works out at $15 a day each which isn’t too bad. Breakfast we would usually cook ourselves at home, whether it be oats or toast, just something easy to get the day started. We would then alternate trying to eat one western dish a day and one Indonesian dish to mix things up. This also cuts the cost as western dishes are around 3 or 4 times the cost of Indonesian food. My wife never drinks alcohol but I would have one big bintang beers around 2 or 3 times a week.
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Getting a sim card in Bali is very easy and highly recommended. For apps like gojek and grab it’s a necessity. If your phone is locked from your home country its super easy to get it unlocked in Bali. My wife and I both got telcomsel/simpati sim cards with 9gb to start for 150k. Now I got totally scammed with this price because I literally drove to a village just up the road and saw the same deal for half the cost. So for 75k (local price not tourist area) you can get a sim card that has 9gb and will last you a week. Because we stayed more than one month we discovered that you can go into any Indomaret to recharge. The cost is 102k for 12gb. 
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Travel insurance is a very important thing to get and if you can’t afford it then maybe you shouldn’t be travelling. It’s ok to be reckless yourself but when you don’t have insurance and your family or friends have to pay for medical expenses because you didn’t have it then that really is a shitty thing to put them through. The biggest liability would be the medical expenses as overseas hospitals assume that you have insurance so they make sure they have as many doctors and you get as much care as possible to wrought the system. This happened to my wife in Nepal and she had to end up paying for the hospital visit because of a 2 day rule all insurance companies have. If you buy insurance today, you aren’t actually covered from today, you are covered from 2 days time in whats known as a cooling off period. With any insurance you must read the PDS to make sure that it will infect cover you for what you need it to. 
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As my wife is still waiting to become a permanent resident of Australia we have to get separate insurances. My insurance is from 1cover and I paid $450 for a year for their 90 day multi trip. This means that every 90 days I have to return to Australia to reset the insurance so that it can be valid for another 90 days. As I am working FIFO this is perfect for me but they have something to suit everyone. My wife goes with another company and pays longer term eg. 2 or 3 months at a time. This is a cheaper option. One company wanted $60 for one week and then $100 for one month so it makes sense to get the longer option and then extend once you know what your plan is. 
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If you are not a full blown nomad ie, have a place back home, then you will have some additional expenses. Our additional expense is the storage of our belongings in a storage unit. This costs us $58 AUD a month. Last year we went to Canada for 6 weeks and had to keep paying our rent on our place, that was an extra $2250 added to our trip budget and we didn’t even get anything for it, Ouch. Things in life are expensive and you have to think of absolutely everything so that you can afford to go overseas for an extended period of time.
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I don’t think I included the flights in our budget from 2015 so it seems between $2000 and $2500 is a good estimate for us of our spending in a country like Indonesia. For the majority of couples moving to Bali for a month or 2 a good estimate would be around $1000 AUD a month per person. With this budget you can live very comfortably and have just about everything that you need.
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We also found 2 abandoned puppies that BAWA rescued and then we fostered them until we left. They hated eating rice and only wanted chicken so they would eat around $5 worth of food everyday. They were very malnourished and needed all the good food they could get 🙂. If you are in Bali for 2 weeks or more and have a place that is dog friendly, please considering fostering while you are there. Many people just dump their puppies if they don’t look healthy or can’t afford to look after them. The team at BAWA are overwhelmed with the amount of dogs that need care and if you can take a dog for a few weeks you can really free them up to be able to help other animals. If you can’t foster they are always looking for donations of blankets, toys or any other animal related products. So if you have space in your luggage and can bring some things from your home country please consider helping out.
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If you have any thoughts or questions please comment below. I’d also love to hear from anyone else what their budget is or how much they spent per month living in Bali.