·30 August 2023

15 Tips on How to Save Money While Living in Indonesia as an Expat

5 minutes read
15 Tips on How to Save Money While Living in Indonesia as an Expat

Maintain your living cost can be tricky, but here are some tips on how to save money while living in Indonesia.

Living as an expat in Indonesia offers a wealth of cultural experiences and opportunities, but it’s important to manage your finances wisely to make the most of your time here. The cost of living can vary greatly depending on your location and lifestyle choices, but there are several effective strategies you can employ to save money without sacrificing the quality of your expat experience.

15 Tips How to Save Money While Living in Indonesia

Here are some valuable tips on how to save money while living in Indonesia as an expat:

1. Budgeting is key

Creating a detailed budget is the foundation of effective money management. Identify your monthly income, fixed expenses (rent, utilities, insurance), and discretionary spending (entertainment, dining out). This will help you see where your money is going and where you can cut back.

ALSO READ: Exploring Jakarta’s Cultural Treasures: 10 Must-Visit Museums While You’re in Town

2. Tips to save money in Indonesia: Choose affordable housing

Rent can be a major expense for expats. While it’s tempting to opt for luxurious accommodations, consider more budget-friendly options. Look for apartments or houses slightly away from popular expat areas, as they tend to be more affordable. Sharing housing with roommates can also significantly reduce costs.

3. Eat like a local

tips to save money in Indonesia

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Indonesian street food is not only delicious but also budget-friendly. Embrace the local cuisine and explore warungs (small local eateries) instead of dining at upscale restaurants. Cooking at home using local ingredients can also save you a considerable amount on food expenses.

4. Tips to save money in Indonesia: Use public transportation

Indonesia’s major cities offer various modes of affordable public transportation, including buses, trains, and ride-sharing apps. Using these options instead of owning a car can significantly reduce transportation costs, including fuel, parking fees, and maintenance.

5. Bargain and negotiate

Bargaining is a common practice in Indonesian markets and stores. Don’t hesitate to negotiate prices when shopping for items in local markets or from street vendors. Polite haggling can lead to significant savings.

6. Embrace second-hand shopping

Thrift stores and second-hand markets offer a range of items at lower prices. Whether you’re looking for clothing, electronics, or household items, exploring these options can yield some great deals.

7. Be mindful of utilities

Be conscious of your utility consumption, such as water and electricity. Turn off lights and appliances when not in use, and opt for energy-efficient appliances to reduce utility bills.

8. Tips to save money in Indonesia: Use local mobile plans

Opt for local mobile phone plans, which tend to be more affordable than international plans. Many providers offer packages with data, calls, and texting at competitive rates.

ALSO READ: 10 Things You Should Know About Car-Free Day in Jakarta

9. Save on entertainment


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Expensive entertainment options can quickly add up. Explore free or low-cost activities, such as hiking, visiting local attractions, or attending cultural events. Look for special deals or promotions to save on movie tickets or other entertainment expenses.

10. Health insurance

While health insurance is important, research and compare various insurance plans to find one that provides adequate coverage at a reasonable cost. Avoid overpaying for unnecessary coverage.

11. Tips to save money in Indonesia: Limit imported goods

Imported products can be more expensive due to taxes and transportation costs. Whenever possible, opt for locally produced items and ingredients to save money.

12. Banking and currency exchange

Choose a bank that offers reasonable foreign exchange rates and low transaction fees. Consider using local currency for day-to-day expenses to avoid extra charges from currency exchange.

13. Tips to save money in Indonesia: Plan travel wisely

While exploring the country is essential, plan your travels strategically. Look for off-peak travel times and consider budget accommodations to reduce travel expenses.

ALSO READ: 15 Tips to Survive Traffic Jam in Jakarta

14. Seek local advice

Local friends or colleagues can offer valuable insights into cost-saving strategies specific to your location. They can recommend affordable places to shop, eat, and explore.

15. Monitor your spending

Regularly review your expenses to ensure you’re sticking to your budget and making progress towards your financial goals. Identify areas where you can cut back or make adjustments.


By implementing these tips and practicing mindful spending, you can navigate your life as an expat in Indonesia while maintaining financial stability and enjoying all the country has to offer. Remember that saving money doesn’t mean sacrificing experiences; it’s about making conscious choices that align with your financial goals and priorities.

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