[quote=“sharpie”]Don’t know if I should make my own thread for this but I’m in a similar position as OP – as in, pursuing a job that would land me in the 70k NT a month salary range (plus a bonus of half a month’s rent every quarter), and I’m trying to get a sense of what I would actually be spending on food. I keep reading that cooking your own won’t be any cheaper than eating out, but I want to be able to cook at least a little for health reasons.
I was estimating 12,000 NT a month for food but is that way too much? Too little? What about transportation? I read that there are no monthly passes for the MRT but I sort of find that hard to believe…
What about utilities? Does running the AC cost a lot? Do a lot places charge extra for trash disposal? What about internet? And how is that set up?
Okay, sorry for the barrage of questions. Again, if I’ve missed this in a sticky somewhere let me know (tried looking for it but didn’t see anything definitive)[/quote]
I am an old hand here. I came on a 500 USD scholarship and those were tight times but I managed. I started working on a 30K salary. Doubled that in my next position and so on. Take it from me, you can spend as much as you want living the way you want. I spent every dime on 15000 NTD (15K) and 30K and more, and saved yet. Icon does not limit herself at her age and lives high on the hog because life is short and I want to enjoy my stay here in Taiwan. Plus I have learned where to save and where not to be stingy. In summary, I do not starve myself nor steal paper towels to use as toilet paper, I live pleasantly and have done so on a variety of salaries, The beauty of Taiwan is that yes, with a bit of searching, you can find something that suits your budget and lifestyle.
- There is something better than a monthly pass. We have this thing called EasyCard, which we can load up to 10K. It can be used in buses, trains, convenience stores and of course, MRT. I live down the line and commute every day, and go out on weekends. I do not spend more than 2K on transportation, but I put about 2K in the card every month to buy snacks and drinks and coffee anywhere I want to where it can be used.
Cards come in a variety of shapes and sizes, even stickers for your cellphone, again, for convenience. Some become valuable collectors items.
- I subscribe to what everyone calls “expensive” meal service. I do not think so. I get 3 meals a day delivered to my desk, prepared Western style -or Asian, depending on your preference. It is way less than 12K. This could be a good start while you get your bearings about cooking. It is a lot of food.
If traditional markets are not your thing, and you find the produce at supermarkets lacking, you can have organic groceries delivered to your doorstep. Organic stores carry a variety of produce and meats, Costco is also available, so once you get settled and get a fridge, you can be cooking up a storm. It is not easy, though, if just one person, to save on cooking. Buying outside stuff will always be cheaper due to mass quantities. There are very good, reasonably priced restaurants but we have been having issues with food safety so a combination of cooking in and eating out is highly advisable.
- Utilities and such depend on where you live, mostly, as well as usage. AC and dehumidifiers are required in summer, dehumidifiers in winter. If you run the AC 20 hours a day and live in a fancy area like Daan you’ll pay 10K, for example. A reasonable use at 22 or 23 degrees 8 hours or more anywhere else would go for 2K or 5k tops if a big place. Just make sure your AC is working properly. Like a faulty fridge, an old AC will elevate your bills.
My recommendation for starters is to rent a small studio, which run from 8k to 15k, depending on size and location. They include utilities, Internet, etc. and come fully furnished. Due to competitiveness -as said, there are many empty units everywhere- there is a large selection of new rooms -I mean brand new buildings. So do not settle for the first one you see, unless it is an excellent location. In terms of housing, there are no “once in a lifetime” opportunities. There is a super abundance of rooms available.