With that, let me describe the kind of life I've imagined from the many visits to Indonesia over the past decade and a half, talking to expats and Indonesian friends living there, and also many bits of advice from this forum. All of the estimated prices are from Central Java around the Surakarta area, and of this writing in January, 2017. For starters, I've decided to rent versus buy a house. This is a big decision with many pros and cons, but for me I just feel more comfortable with renting a house or condo. I've found a very complete selection of nice places from about Rp40M-Rp120M per year, and the ones around Rp85M (or Rp7M/month) are about just right. This would have 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and in a nice area close to shopping malls. High speed internet is very important to me, and I'm pleasantly surprised to see 100mbs at reasonable prices now being offered around the country. I would have 2-3 rooms with an A/C unit, a fairly high wattage PC, a washer/electric dryer, and hopefully a dishwasher. I mention all that to say, I'd be in the market for a house with 4400 watt capacity, but in Solo most of the houses seem to max out with 2200 watts.
On the topic of transportation, this is something I've wrestled with for years in my mind. To buy a car, or just use taxis and other public transportation. After considerable thought, I'm thinking to start out by not getting a car. I'll see how long I can do this, and if it's not too much hassle, I'll just keep on doing it. In Solo, the minimum taxi fare is Rp25.000 - even if you're just going a few blocks away. I also use becaks, and am not opposed to learning the bus routes. As well, there's pretty decent rail service to Yogyakarta, Semarang, Surabaya, and even Jakarta (although flying there is probably better). I figure that an average of Rp100.000 per day would be enough to cover transportation. I should mention, that I really like riding a bicycle around Solo, so that would be another option for me.
On the topic of food, nutrition and other household items, we usually eat pretty healthy meals and take a number of vitamin supplements. That said, we also like eating out quite a bit in Solo. There's an amazing range of choices, from the street vendors to some of the fancy restaurants in the malls. Other items we would need might come from places like Hypermart, and Carrefour, - soaps, cleaners, tissues, bathroom items, etc. We also like to visit the fresh vegetable/fruit pasars, where you get some pretty good prices. Finally, we'll probably get drinking water (Aqua) delivered to the house. All told, my estimate for all of this would average about Rp300.000 per day, or about Rp9M per month.
Yes, we have electronic gadgets that require voice and data plans. We've been using SmartFren, as that seems to work best in the Solo area (at least for us). There's several different ways to get these services, and so far we've typically spent Rp300.000/month for two people by buying pulsa when needed. Along with that, we get haircuts, manicures, an occasional foot reflexion, a few clothing items, and other things. We'll just say that's about Rp50.000 per day or about Rp1.5M/month. In this area, I might go from thinking like a western tourist and scale some of this back over time.
One final area is the topic of a housekeeper (pembantu). As for me, I'm not really sure that I could get used to this, as I prefer to do everything myself. Most of the people we know in Indonesia have a pembantu (some with several) in their employ. It does provide a means of income for someone who may not have another opportunity. My thought is a part time situation, where someone may come over for about 30 hours per week. I'm told that this type of arrangement might cost about Rp1M per month - although it probably varies quite a bit depending on the person.
So here is the estimated average monthly totals of this imaginary Indonesian lifestyle described above:
|Transportation||Taxis and other public transportation||3.000.000|
|Consumption||Groceries, household, restaurants, Aqua||9.000.000|
|Electricity||2200W house with 2/AC, other appliances||1.000.000|
|Natural Gas||For stove and hot water||200.000|
|Internet/TV||Package data plan with TV channels||1.500.000|
|Gadgets||Voice and data pulsa||300.000|
|Other misc||Services, haircuts, etc.||1.500.000|
|Housekeeper||30 hours per week||1.000.000|
So there it is. I'm interested to hear other prices, ideas, and opinions. BTW, I purposely did not include certain discretionary and other one time purchase items. This would include travel, annual government fees (taxes, KITAS, etc.), appliance/furniture purchases, etc. The other thing I've left out is medical and insurance costs. I really have no idea what this costs, or what to think. I believe that I'll need (and would want) to have medical insurance, but really don't know what to budget for this. More research is definitely needed on this topic...