Monthly Expenses

How much does it roughly cost?

Firstly lets create a list of all the things we need to calculate:
Please remember that whenever you move, the initial expenses are higher than your monthly costs. This is because you will need to place a deposit on your home, perhaps pay installation fee for Wifi, water bottle deposit fees, as well as shopping to make your home, homely. If you want to see an actual break down of figures scroll to the bottom. But, for now the main monthly expenses:

  • Rent
  • Bills – maintenance / water / electricity / gas
  • Mineral water
  • Phone bill
  • Wifi
  • Food


Rent depends on which many factors, the first being which district? The more desirable districts, based closer to the centre can sometimes be double of that, than in further districts. Another factor is are you renting alone or sharing? The size, amenities, furnishings, these all could effect how much rent.

Literally rent can range anywhere from 20 million Vietnamese Dong, down to 3 million per month.

Mine: I am renting a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment in District 8. It has the basic furnishing of beds, sofa, dining table and chairs, fridge and electric hob. We are 2 girls sharing this 10 million dong apartment.

Additional: Usually 2 months rent is required as a deposit and apparently it is not common to get this back at the end of your contract as a lump sum, but rather the last 2 months will be rent free.


If you are in an apartment block, you are required to pay a maintenance fee, which pays for the upkeep of the premises, from maintaining elevators, paying security, gardening… and more. This is compulsory, and is in addition to your rent.

Mine: Mine is set at just under 600,000 per month. This is the same every month. If you have a car or bike, then an additional fee will be added to this. It is a little paper slip, received under your door and it is your responsibility to take it down to the office and pay.

Additional: Remember these figures are based on my apartment and may very in relation to the size of your apartment, and which district etc 

Your water bill is usually on the same ‘paper slip’ as your maintenance bill. For 2 ladies, we pay no more than £10 on water per month. That is us, showing everyday (it’s a very hot country), using the washing machine, and general washing dishes, hands etc.

I personally do not have a gas cooker and can not provide a quote for this but gas is commonly from a ‘can’ (the big thing you have to change yourself), you may shop around different companies to get the cheapest price and set up a service to collect and deliver.

The electricity bill looks like a long till receipt, again slid under your door. You can pay this online if you have a Vietnamese bank account or alternatively wait 4 days and you can pay it at selected convenience stores, like circle K.

Mine: Again costing around £10 a month. Divide this by 2, and we are talking as cheap as a fancy Starbucks coffee in the UK.

Mineral Water

Maybe you are not aware but in Vietnam, people tend not to drink the tap water. You could head down to the shops and buy yourself a 12 litre bottle of water but that’s just heavy and awkward to carry all the time. Considering how hot it you’re likely drinking 4 litre a day, so every 3 days you would need to go buy.

A better option is using Lavie water, their website in English, super easy to navigate, all you need it a local phone number and to know your address.

Head to the website and select order. There are many options with regard to size and if you need a coolant stand. Just make sure you look at the north or south, and select accordingly. You must order a minimum of 3 bottles, as you can see this is 144,000 which is £4.89. If it is your first time to order you will need to pay an addition bottle deposit of 50 thousand per bottle (Total deposit £5). Type in your address details and number and someone from their call centre (English Available), to arrange a drop off time.

Phone Bill

Being from the UK, we have the option of contract as well as pay-as-you-go, I have no information on a contractual phone service in Vietnam; not sure if it is even possible for a foreigner. But, pay as you go is an easy enough option. I was informed that buying sims from the store or in/around the airport, are more for tourists, and are more expensive. If you are planning to stay long term, head directly to the phone service centre with your passport and register there. I used Veittel, which gave me a list of phone numbers to choose from, costing like £2 for the sim.

After this you can go to any convenience or even mini stands selling Viettel credit, you simply load the desired amount and within the app, buy yourself a package.

Mine: I use MIMAX200, this is 200,00VND giving me 15GB of data for the month.


Perhaps wifi is already in place for you, or you know of a cheaper service you would prefer, either way it is usually paid 6 months or 1 year.

Additional: You will need to pay a one off installation fee.

Mine: Sorry guys, I can only remember approximates. If I have recalled correctly we purchases 6 months for £30 and were given 1 or 2 additional months for free. This did include the installation fee.


This is where it gets tricky to provide estimates because if depends on your taste. You can shop cheaply at wet markets or the co-op, for local cuisine and groceries. Yet if you prefer more international foods or organic etc Annam Gourmet is a good choice.

Eating out at the local food stands can be cheaper than cooking at times, you can eat meals from as little as 80p. Check out the food sections of my blog. On the other hand, you may develop a taste for the fine dining which can compete with UK prices. A brunch costing £10, or a steak dinner equalling £20+ etc.

You would need to decide for yourself how much you would like to budget for food.

Mine: I recorded every expense in January 2020, combining my grocery shop and eating out, it totalled to 1,500,000VND. Now, I must say that on an every day basis I would try to eat at local stalls and simple foods like chicken and rice. Very affordable. Occasionally I would treat myself but I was not working, so I really tried to live on a budget.

More to the point: Figure crunching.

The total is excluding my rent, so I would need to add 5 million as I am sharing. Creating a new total of 9,080,000.00 equivalent to £309.53.

I mainly travel by using Grab, and it can be a lot cheaper if you have it linked to a local bank account. As there are many promotions available.

I have to say that I must have been limiting my alcohol consumption in January as upon reflection this is way too low. A single cocktail can be this much. If you head to the local shops you can grab a beer for around 5 thousand, whilst at the pub it’s around 20 thousand.

I will quickly break this down into GB pounds.

  • Food £33
  • Bills £31
  • Rent £170
  • Travel £29
  • Groceries £17
  • Personal £11 (top of shampoo, deodorant etc)
  • Drinks £10 (going to coffee shops is a must do)
  • Alcohol £5 (realistically I would budget £50, if you are a drinker like me)
  • Phone £6
  • Wifi £5 and under
    • Totalling £317
    • If you are working, a lower end salary is about £1200. So there is potential to save a lot.

Additional: These figures don’t include buying bedding, plates, things for the house etc. Also gym memberships are around an extra 1 million per month (£34). How often you like to go to the cinema could cause influx (approx £5).

Mine: This is a true reflection of what I spent in the month of January but I usually plan to spend no more than £500 a month. It is not a target, but I am living on my savings and this gives me a comfortable lifestyle that I will be able maintain for some time. It allows me to take trips and vacations within Vietnam and explore near by counties too. Treat myself to activities like going to the cinema, having the occasional fancy meal etc.

Disclaimer: Please not that any information displayed is from my research and may differ to other sources. In addition, please do not confuse my opinions with factual data. Photography displayed are either my own or from a paid subscription;  and are not to be copied without permission.

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