How much do you all spend on food and on utilities

I’m taking a poll to get an idea how much I should budget. How much do you all spend a month on utilities if you share an apartment. And, for those of you who are in Taiwan for the long haul, how much do you spend a month on food?


I usually budget about NT$10,000 to $12,000 a month for food, but that means I don’t worry about where I eat and don’t really think about the cost most times. If you figure 30 days in a month, being generous I might spend 70 on breakfast, 100 or 120 on lunch (if you count the drinks) and maybe 100 on dinner, so that’s like 300 a day, times 30 is 9000, but then add in some extra for those times you want to eat Western food or something like that. But as has been mentioned previously on this august forum, I have a boring life for the most part. :wink:

Utilities vary a lot. I think the biggest determinant is whether or not you have A/C running. Don’t forget the cost of Internet connections, which I regard as a necessity of life, therefore like a utility.

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I eat at home everyday (my wife is an excellent cook!) and eat out occasionally. I’m not sure how much she spends for her grocery shopping, but altogether it should be less than NT 10K. :wink:

We’re a family of 4 (5 with the older one is here) so our expenses are obviously higher than yours. But I’ll add my 2 cents anyway.

I thought utilities would be higher here, but even with a/c, electrity bill hasn’t gone past NT4000/billing, which is bi-monthly here. Other months without a/c it can be 1500/billing.

Water bill is inexpensive too… I don’t think I’ve ever seen it over NT600.

Our ADSL connection is one flat rate (can’t remember, but something like 30-40 dollars US) and includes a phone number. With the old phone line we were paying NT$1 / 3 minutes… that adds up when you’re chatty and you’re online a lot.

You said you weren’t planning to get a computer for few years, but I think you might want to invest in one sooner, just to stay connected to friends/family (and others, of course). I’m told you can get a decent one for $10,000 at the computer district (Pateh Rd.) You also save on long distance to the US using telephony (I bought a headset for $150 at FNAC).

Food is cheap, if you learn to like Chinese food. There are these little buffet/lunch box places where you can get a square meal for $80 to 100. When we were having a crisis, it was actually cheaper to go have these lunch boxes than shop for groceries. I’m still amazed that I can get a tasty, nutritious, meal for less than the cost of a Starbucks Frappuccino.

Good luck to you,


Well, I’ll probably use the computers at the Mandarin Training Center for a couple of years before I buy a computer there. I’m going to have to save up, and it could take a while earning as little as I will there. Since I will be studying Chinese and teaching, it will be hard to work enough hours to get a computer any sooner than a couple of years after I get to Taiwan. I remember the lunch boxes. They were a good deal and the food was pretty good. I’ll probably mostly eat Chinese food, though I won’t go with anything too exotic. I’ve seen some things in Taiwan I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot stick, much less eat. But, I remember there are plenty of places to get good food at a decent price. Just couldn’t remember the prices. But, from all your input, it does sound like the NT 13,000 I have budgeted per month should be enough to cover my food expenses.

I calculate my fixed cost per day (without utilities and housing) at NT$500, that includes taxi to office, two busrides (office to school and school to home) plus meals and drinks (7-11).

May spend more on the weekend and other expenses (clothing, local travel etc.) are not included.

Come on Peter, you can’t be serious. A few years before you’ll be able to afford a computer. In TAIWAN? Mate, try about two months, maybe three.

i actually spend a huge chunk of my food money on drinks. bottles of water from the 7-11 and tea drinks from the various stands around. for lunch, if you’re at mtc, you can always go to the cafeteria across the street(south side of heping dong st.) for lunch. rice and soup are free, depending on what dishes you get, varies from nt$30-50. good deal. or you could just buy the nt$50 lunch boxes from the ladies in front of the entrance. if you stick to normal places and don’t frequent western/upscale restaurants, nt$300 a day will be more than enough. typically, i spend more money on the weekends going out and drinking than on food and drinks during the week.

Well, I know I could afford a computer if I cut back on my expenses and buy a cheap computer. But, I’d rather wait a little and save up enough money to get a pretty good computer. Like, one with a fast processor, big hard drive, LCD monitor, nice sound card, CDRW drive, nice speakers, etc. At least here in the U.S., that would cost about $3,000. I know in Taiwan it would be cheaper, but I don’t think the difference in price would be that substantial so that I could afford such a computer within just a few months.


Actually Peter, the price difference would be substancial. If you were spending $US3,000, now that’s about $NT102,000 I think, you could but yourself two pretty good laptops, talking fast processer PIV Acer or Compaq. IBM just realease three kinds here ranging from $NT35,000 to $40,000, so you’d nearly be able to buy three of them. If you want a desktop. Bundled paggages go for as little as $NT20,000 with a flat LCD screen. If you wanted to buy something unreal, again you’re only looking at $35,000 or a touch more for everything you mentioned. Don’t forget that the majority of computer components are made here. If you want to buy one, it’s here. Any it did only take me my first month of savings to buy my $NT38,000 laptop over two years ago, what’s that, $US1,100?

Agree, a PC in that configuration should not cost more than NT$50,000 - more likely less than that.
(17" LCDs can be had at NT$17,500 now, 15" are of course even cheaper!)

Are you sure about that price on 17" LCDs? I’m kinda keeping my eye out for when they come down in price… they places I’ve seen run about $25,000 at the cheapest (but only $12-13000 for a 15"). If you did see that, where would that have been…?

Yep, I am sure.

Seen at FNAC (Asia World, Nanjing / TunHwa junction), display had even build in speakers if I remember correctly. Ok, so it wasn’t a branded product but looked ok to me …

I doubt if the price is correct too. But, if so, that’s a really good deal indeed! What I do know is for about NTD13,000, you can have a very nice ViewSonic’s 15" LCD monitor… :smiley:

Regarding Peter’s spec for his ideal computer, I think the price won’t be over NTD50,000 (including a 15" LCD) at either NOVA or Kuang-hua market. :wink:

So, I just got my utility bills for this month. My water bill is $709, my gas bill is $942 and my electric bill is gasp $4150!!! Could this possibly be right? There are two of us, and we have one small air conditioner, but we have only had it for one of the past two months. We do run it at night, but very rarely during the day, as it is in the bedroom.

Two months ago, the electric bill was only $1793, and the previous tenant told us that seemed really high! The gas and water bills were a little bit lower last time, but only $100 or $200. Can this electric bill really be right?

If so, does anyone know where I can get one of those hamster-wheel generators so I can make my cats power the AC for us?

Thanks again!

What the hell? I’ve never paid more than $1000 or so per month, including when I run my crappy old A/C every night. I live by myself, but my water and gas usually come up to like $500 or so a month (combined). Those all sound really high, esp. the electricity.

But usually all those are billed every two months; are you sure you’re not looking at two months worth of bills (even then, it still sounds high).

I’d make sure someone else isn’t siphoning off (stealing) your power. I’ve heard of stuff like that before…

I thought so too! It is for two months, but still, over $2000 for one month? It seems way to high to believe!!! Who do you think I should talk to? Or, let me rephrase that - who should I have a Chinese-speaking friend talk to?

Thanks again!!!

I wonder about the current food situation. It seems hard to spend less than ~12k NTD per month on food if you live in Taipei and don’t cook at home. I wonder what the average monthly expenditure on food is given that the salaries are still averaging near ~40k.

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Great question , probably a big percentage.
Coffeeshops are charging 90ntd and 100ntd routinely . Average meal cost going up to 150 ntd in Taipei ?
How much is the average foodpanda order ?

Think so? My impression is food prices haven’t changed much at all in the past twenty years. Lunches and dinners for under 100NT are easy to find, even if I mostly avoid them. @ironlady’s numbers up at the top of the thread still seem a decent approximation for a frugal budget.

Caveat: I do live near a university campus, so that may affect my sense of costs.

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