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What makes Bali special is that there is a lifestyle budget for everyone. Despite being among the pricier Southeast Asian destinations, Bali offers an affordable living experience compared to your home country. 

We recognise that many people question whether they have a sufficient budget and how much they require to live comfortably in Bali. However, it’s important to acknowledge that offering a precise answer to this question can be challenging as everyone has a different lifestyle, goals and expectations.

Factors vary widely with your spending habits and ongoing expenses. For example, the location, style and lease arrangement of your home, the type of medical insurance and visa you choose, grocery shopping (local markets versus supermarkets with imported goods), eating out (warungs versus high end restaurants), transportation (driving a scooter versus hiring a full-time driver), schooling (international versus micro or homeschool), recreational activities, and the list goes on.

To properly budget for the cost of living in Bali, it is important to take everything into account. Again, going there for a few months is not the same budget as deciding to stay there for a year or more. 

Below are several topics to get you thinking. Rest assured, we delve extensively into discussions about local salaries, currency value, budgeting, tips, banking and finance, living expenses, daily costs, pricing, and many other related aspects.

Bali's Costs Compared to Western Countries

In Bali, you’ll find some things don’t hit your wallet as hard as they might back home. Think a variety of services, eating out and grocery shopping, local salaries and getting around – all way more budget-friendly here.

And it’s not just about the price tag; Bali serves up top-notch quality without burning a hole in your pocket. Whether you’re diving into local eats or enjoying the swankier restaurants and facilities, the combo of quality and cost makes Bali stand out.

But, fair warning, if you’re eyeing imported goodies including alcohol, that might put a dent in your budget. Bali’s a bargain for many things, but imported goods might make you think twice before splurging.

Initial set up costs

The extent of variations in expenses in Bali is contingent on the duration of your stay.

These expenses range from minor ones, such as international bank fees (unless you open a bank account) and managing your phone expenses, to more significant ones like visa extensions and travel costs. Additionally, for longer stays, you might need different insurance policies tailored to your needs, and there could be potential work-related expenses, like the upgrading your internet package and membership fee for a coworking space.

Additionally, if you’re opting for the iconic Bali lifestyle with a scooter, there might be some lessons and helmet purchases on your checklist, alongside the settling-in expenses of obtaining a local license.

Moreover, beyond the basics, there could be additional setup costs, albeit more occasional, encompassing the acquisition of extra furniture, bedding, homewares, renovations and preferred cooking utensils. These are the kind of expenses that tend to pop up from time to time, depending on your preferences and needs.

On the other end of the spectrum, there might be more substantial one-time expenditures, such as purchasing a scooter or even a car. These larger investments could significantly impact your budget.

So, whether it’s the little occasional expenses or the more substantial one-time buys, understanding the diverse financial considerations based on your stay duration is key to navigating the Bali lifestyle.

Affordable lifestyle

Living amidst nature in Bali offers a plethora of affordable or even free activities that contribute to a fulfilling lifestyle. The island’s natural beauty provides a backdrop for various recreational pursuits, from exploring waterfalls and mountains to engaging in many different beach and water activities, all while under the warmth of tropical weather.

When it comes to daily living, Bali excels in offering quality food, diverse dining options, and modern facilities, all at reasonable costs. The culinary scene is rich and varied, with local warungs providing delicious and budget-friendly meals, while upscale restaurants cater to those seeking more refined dining experiences. Access to state-of-the-art facilities, be it for fitness, wellness, or leisure, contributes to the overall exceptional quality of life on the island.

One of the distinctive aspects of living in Bali is the affordability of services that might be considered luxuries elsewhere. This affordability allows for a significant improvement in one’s quality of life. Expats often find themselves able to afford services that might have been financially out of reach in their home countries. An example is the ability to hire a nanny, housekeeper, chef and perhaps a full-time private driver.

Budget throughout the year

Bigger expenses, such as housing, visas, business setup, schooling, and health insurance, require careful consideration when relocating to Bali.

Recognise that approximately 50% of Indonesians possess a bank account and considering that Bali functions on a cash-based economy, significant expenses like long-term housing leases often necessitate upfront payment.

Others expenses, such as school fees and insurance policies, can be paid throughout the calendar year. 

Strategic financial planning remains crucial for managing these upfront expenses and ensuring a smooth transition to living in Bali.

Schooling costs

Families considering Bali as their new home, should factor in education expenses as a significant component of their budget. Annual tuition fees for international schools in Bali usually span from $3,000 to $20,000 USD, with variations depending on the child’s age and academic year level.

Additionally, consider other expenses such as non-refundable deposits, registration and application fees, technology levies, uniforms, camps, Student KITAS, and miscellaneous costs.

This is where other education considerations, such as homeschooling and distance education, may also be an option. 

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