I’m an American Expat Living in Vietnam. Here’s What I spend in 1 Week.

I’m an American Expat Living in Vietnam. Here’s What I spend in 1 Week.

If you’re interested in living in Vietnam as an expat or leaving your home country to travel the world here is a great guide to how much it actually costs!


Our family of 3 has been traveling outside of the United States for the last 4 months. My husband and I run two businesses online, which gives us the flexibility to travel as often as we want. We spend anywhere from one week to one month in a certain place, homeschooling and finding friends for our 6-year-old as we go.

One motivation for traveling is to actually save money. The truth is that it’s cheaper to live on a beach in some countries than it is to live in in an American suburb!

We chose to make our latest home in Hoi An, Vietnam. We chose Hoi An because it’s a small beach town which has maintained it’s cultural roots. Other expats and tourists love Hoi An for the same relaxed reasons, and we were happy to make more friends with like-minded settlers here than in any other country.

We have spent the last 2 months as expats in Vietnam. Yes, it’s temporary, but we jumped in to renting an apartment, cooking food at home, enrolling our son in school, and making friends. It was easy to create a life in Hoi An, Vietnam, as it (and many other places in Vietnam) is very expat-friendly! There is less red tape in Vietnam than other places we’ve lived and we were shown around and welcomed as soon as we arrived.

Related: Follow our travels through our weekly journal entries


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Here’s exactly what we spend while living in the cultural beach town of Hoi An, Vietnam.


Monthly rent for a 3-bedroom apartment with a private pool: $730

Monthly community school fee: $600

Monthly Moto rental: $52



9:00 am: Ben takes Whit to school on the moto. On the way he stops to fill up on gas ( $3.87) and buy a pair of goggles to use with Whit at the beach later ($4.30)  $8.17

12:00 pm: After working in separate quarters of our apartment, Ben and I are ready to take a break for lunch. We stop at the neighborhood market for a week of fresh groceries ($9.03) and a LEGO set for Whit ($2.15) before sitting down to a bowl of pho and glass of fresh sugar cane juice each ($3.44). $14.62

3:00 pm: Ben picks Whit up from school and they meet a friend back at the market. Ben picks up a couple of things we forgot earlier, like mangoes. $2.00

6:00 pm: We sit down for a home cooked meal of spaghetti with fresh vegetable ragu and milkshakes, all with ingredients we picked up earlier at the market. $0

Daily Spending: $22.79



9:00 am: Ben takes Whit to school. On his way home he stops at the corner mini mart for floss and milk. $3.20

12:00 pm: I was supposed to make lunch at home, but a work emergency kept me in my office. Ben went out for lunch, instead, and had a plate of dumplings and fresh lemonade. $2.00

3:00 pm: I came with Ben to pick Whit up from school and the three of us went for an afternoon pick-me-up. We stopped at a corner mini store for 4 of my favorite sodas, an ice cream cone, and two candy bars. $4.30

5:30 pm: We meet some new friends at a fancy restaurant in town for dinner. $8.40

Daily Spending: $17.90

Related: Everything you need to know about living in Hoi An, Vietnam


9:00 am: We have breakfast at home of scrambled eggs and fresh baguettes before taking Whit to school. $0

12:00 pm: Ben and I both have a ton of work that came up suddenly, so we have a quick lunch at home of vegetable soup and fresh baguettes. $0

3:00 pm: We pick Whit up from school and head straight to the beach to meet some new friends for a fun afternoon $0

5:00 pm: We and our friends move to a favorite expat hangout, a beachside restaurant with a pool. We overpay for 3 meals so our kids can play while we eat. $10.75

Daily Spending: $10.75



9:00: We had a lazy breakfast at home before Ben took Whit to school. On his way back he stopped at a cell service store to charge our two monthly SIM cards. $8.58

12:00 pm: We didn’t feel like doing the dishes, so we went out for a fancy lunch instead of cooking. $4.51

3:00 pm: We went for an afternoon jaunt wandering around Old Town after we picked Whit up from school $0

5:00 pm: We stop in a recommended restaurant in the Old Town for dinner. It’s a classy place geared for tourists, and the most expensive meal we’ve had in Hoi An. $15.26

Daily Spending: $28.35



9:00 am: Breakfast of banana pancakes before Ben takes Whit to school. $0

12:00 pm: We both have a lot of work to do, so we take a quick break at my favorite pho stand down the street and head back to our offices. $3.40

3:00 pm: We take Whit to the beach for some afternoon relaxation time. We pick up 3 ice cream cones to eat along the way. $3

6:00 pm: We buy dinner at our favorite beach restaurant where we can lounge and Whit can wander from beach to pool. $6.88

Daily Spending: $13.28



7:00 am: We leave early to spend an entire day at one of the local attractions, Ba Na Hills recreation complex. It’s an expensive day but completely worth it! We spend a small fortune on hiring a private car to drive us there, wait around, and bring us home ($47.31), entrance for three ($83.87), and food ($13.00)

Daily total: $144. 18

Related: See incredible pictures of Ba Na Hills new Golden Hands Bridge


Weekly Total: $237.19


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We were shocked at how much house we got for less than half of our mortgage in North Carolina, USA. We loved the cheap, delicious food. Buying anything you need is so easy at the quick, accessible street markets. We fell into the “we’re saving so much money!” mentality so quickly, in fact, that we often had to stop ourselves from overspending and breaking even with our cost of living in the United States. But even if we had broken even, at least in Hoi An, Vietnam we were able to ride a moto to a warm, secluded beach at the drop of a hat!