Living Costs in Bali, Indonesia

This place is called the “enchanted land”, and no wonder, fordespite its small size, this island packs in everything you expect of paradise, from coral reefs to the jungle-clad slopes of mighty mountains complete with tribes of naughty monkeys. Here, amid the most gracious and hospitable of peoples, you can live for as little as US$1,500 a month.

When you first arrive, you will probably find shopping at the western-style groceries and supermarkets easier and more familiar. This is the time to pay attention. Keep your eyes and ears open, ask your friends, neighbors, and acquaintances questions about where they shop, and you will soon learn where you can find the freshest food, best selection, and most reasonable prices.

By any standard, Bali is an inexpensive place to live. Here’s a sampling of prices for the island. Most of the food prices are derived from the big international grocery in Denpasar and are intended for comparison only. As a rule of thumb, the more you shop in local and traditional markets, the more you will save.

Cup of Balinese coffee (Kopi): US$0.25
Coffee (locally grown, 7 oz): US$1.03
Domestic beer (0.5 liter, draught): US$0.80
Beer (domestic Bintang, 33cl can): US$1.00
Beer (imported Carlsberg, 33cl can): US$1.16
Coke/Pepsi (33cl bottle): US$0.49
Water (1.5 liter bottle): US$0.80
Milk (1 liter): US$1.07
Yogurt (4.5 oz): US$0.55
Ice cream (1 liter): US$2.00
Loaf of fresh bread: US $1.30
Eggs (12): US$0.50
Rice (2.2 lbs): US$0.65
Corn oil (A quart, Mazola brand): US$4.22
Bell peppers (2.2 lbs): US$0.26
Hamburger buns (six pack): US$0.83
Oranges (2.2 lbs): US$1.05
Bananas (2.2 lbs): US$0.94
Onions (2.2 lbs): US$0.79
Corn on the cob (2.2 lbs): US$0.73
Fresh cheese (2.2 lbs): US$8.10
Sirloin steak (2.2 lbs): US$15.84
Fresh local fish (2.2 lbs): US$3.43
Chicken (2.2 lbs): US$0.66
Whole turkey (per 2.2 lbs): US$4.74
Round steak (2.2 lbs): US$8.69
Jar of Prego spaghetti sauce: US$2.00
Can of tomato puree: US$0.59
Can of tuna fish: US$0.95
Cheddar cheese (6 oz packaged): US$1.50
Apples and oranges (New Zealand, 2.2 lbs): US$0.98
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro): US$1.90
T-shirt (local brand): US$2.45
Jeans (local brand): US$5.72
Haircut (male/female): US$1.00/ US$3.00
Soap (local – one bar): US$0.11
Soap (Dove, branded – one bar): US$0.49
Toothpaste (Sensodyne, branded): US$1.74
Laundry detergent (Surf, 2 lbs): US$1.00
Hour-long massage: US$3.50
Gasoline (1 liter): US$0.48
Electricity (two-bedroom house, with air conditioning): US$28.62 per month
Garbage removal: US$1.64 per month
Rent (one bedroom - varies enormously): US$125- US$1,000 
per month
Rent (two bedrooms): US$250- US$1,500 
per month
Full-time maid (live-in, plus room and food): US$50 per month
Part-time maid (two to four hours): US$5 per visit
Internet (Indosat – unlimited, 1.5 mbps): US$36.96 per month
Cell phone (depends on features, starting price for Nokia): US$55 per month
100 minutes for pre-paid cell phone: US$2.45
Driver’s license: US$8.00
Meal for one at a local, inexpensive restaurant (includes tofu, egg, tempe, a firm, nutty-flavored soybean product, rice, noodles, chicken, and/or fish): US$1.00
Meal for one at local restaurant (chicken, rice and vegetables): US$0.65
Meal for two at a mid-range restaurant (western food): US$18.62

By Wendy Justice

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