Poor helping poor

Millions of Americans have a monthly income of 800 to 1000  US dollars, some will consider living overseas. The most important question is what will be the cost of shelter and food. While there are uncountable  answers to cost of apartments/houses/rooms and also on the cost of food, for as hard as they try most answers are from a low to a high cost, leaving the questioner in a "not sure how much it will cost".
Is there any organization of any stripe that tries to place expats with Vietnamese families who would rent a room plus share their meals for a few hundred dollars per month?
Is it possible for an expat to find such a family for a monthly sum of $300 to $500?
That would leave an expat with $500 per month for everything else.
All critical responses appreciated especially the constructive negative criticism

havaianu2 :

Millions of Americans have a monthly income of 800 to 1000  US dollars, some will consider living overseas. The most important question is what will be the cost of shelter and food. While there are uncountable  answers to cost of apartments/houses/rooms and also on the cost of food, for as hard as they try most answers are from a low to a high cost, leaving the questioner in a "not sure how much it will cost".
Is there any organization of any stripe that tries to place expats with Vietnamese families who would rent a room plus share their meals for a few hundred dollars per month?
Is it possible for an expat to find such a family for a monthly sum of $300 to $500?
That would leave an expat with $500 per month for everything else.
All critical responses appreciated especially the constructive negative criticism

What about health care expenses?

[at]Quidpronothing..... I am not sure why you wasted your time and mine. Retirees should be in good health in first place and if one gets sick he/she can always go home and Medicare will take care of that person

havaianu2 :

[at]Quidpronothing..... I am not sure why you wasted your time and mine. Retirees should be in good health in first place and if one gets sick he/she can always go home and Medicare will take care of that person

It's true that retirees who live abroad should have good health, but that doesn't mean they don't have conditions that require monthly prescriptions and routine follow ups with a specialty doctor.  Health insurance for older people with pre-existing conditions is sky high outside of the US.  We've interviewed a dozen insurance companies and health care providers, and found out that there was no way we could fit the monthly payment into our budget and still live a quality life.

My husband and I are retirees with very good to excellent health.  I haven't needed prescription med or a doctor appointment for more than 20 years now, but my husband had two heart attacks:  the first while we were expats in Europe, and the second when we returned to the States for a few years.  He's still a very healthy person who is slim and trim, who hikes and mountainbikes almost daily, then body surfs and skis at every chance he gets.  At the same time, he takes heart meds daily, has a plethora of tests twice a year, and will continue to do so for the rest of his life.  The cost of health care while we're living here is 100% cash.

In re: your statement "if one gets sick he/she can always go home and Medicare will take care of that person":  actually, it's not that simple.  As a person's contribution to Medicare is deducted from his SS payment, when he decides to move abroad and wants to stop the automatic withholding contribution, he has to let Medicare know of his change of residency.  When the contribution stops, the benefits stop.

If he returns to the States to live, he again has to announce his return to Medicare and the coverage will only begin again after the first contribution, meaning it would take one month or more.  If he returns only to visit or to take care of an illness, Medicare is not available for him.

Both the cost of last minute airfare when a health scare happens and the waiting period for Medicare to kick in again should be taken into consideration in your proposed scenario.

havaianu2 :

[at]Quidpronothing..... I am not sure why you wasted your time and mine. Retirees should be in good health in first place and if one gets sick he/she can always go home and Medicare will take care of that person

The question was valid, and an essential consideration when you consider the financial situation you described.
You have to consider accidents as well as illness - both can put you into a hospital for months without warning, and that's going to leave you with a bill you can't pay.
Even if you could get get to the US, a limited budget means an expensive air ticket, something you might not be able to afford with a limited income.

Going back to the OP, your proposal seems to imply that you are willing to live the lifestyle of your host family.  In that case, retaining $500 for personal spending is far more than they probably enjoy on a per family member basis.  The room may not cost them anything.  Your food however, may not be expensive but it is not free.

[at]Fred, with all due respect, it is a bare bones concept that I put forward. I could have gone on explaining that I would never advise anyone to even try without having a 6 month cushion at  a minimum and someone holding enough cash, on the mainland, for an emergency exit . I have plenty more ideas about the concept. I tried just to find out if there was anyone doing it and how far was the concept developed.
Ironically no one has  answered the question posed.
What would be real relevant it would be a warning such as "here in VN a health insurance policy will cost you around from $200 to $500 per month, I have no idea of how much, just an example given"
I have traveled and lived in 4 different countries, traveled to Europa, Middle East, Africa, North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
I never been to Asia, but I have some clue  on how to live in a emerging country

havaianu2 :

[at]Fred, with all due respect, it is a bare bones concept that I put forward. I could have gone on explaining that I would never advise anyone to even try without having a 6 month cushion at  a minimum and someone holding enough cash, on the mainland, for an emergency exit . I have plenty more ideas about the concept. I tried just to find out if there was anyone doing it and how far was the concept developed.

Posters offered advice based on the information you gave, not what you didn't say.
They might well have thought you were unfamiliar with the situation so were trying to save you from a difficult situation.
Perhaps telling them the actual situation would produce helpful answers.

[at]THIGV  Aloha, yep total immersion, not for everyone but for those who really want to experience VN.
I am not sure what you meant about cost of food. Can you please estimate the room and board costs? From country simple to town simple. Mahalo

havaianu2 :

[at]THIGV  Aloha, yep total immersion, not for everyone but for those who really want to experience VN.
I am not sure what you meant about cost of food. Can you please estimate the room and board costs? From country simple to town simple. Mahalo

I sort of like your idea. It's off the wall and interesting.
I think it would appeal to a very few, since the idea of living with local people is pretty much a nonstarter for 99% of Americans who are accustomed to the a easy lifestyle.
But it would appeal to some.

I think $300 to $500 to the family for room and board would be reasonable and I would think many families would jump at the chance as long as the guest was understanding and respectful of the hot's culture and habits.

[at]Wxx3 thanks for the answer. Of course total respect for the culture and customs. My idea is even crazier, I could see a network of guest homes where one could stay for a month or longer and than move to another guest house on another city so one could the multi facets of VN life.
This is what, in my opinion, sites like expat and their members, could help both VN nationals and expats in one fell swoop by connecting expats with people that they know personally.
Obstacles abound, but nothing insurmountable I believe.
Again thank you

havaianu2 :

[at]Wxx3 thanks for the answer. Of course total respect for the culture and customs. My idea is even crazier, I could see a network of guest homes where one could stay for a month or longer and than move to another guest house on another city so one could the multi facets of VN life.
This is what, in my opinion, sites like expat and their members, could help both VN nationals and expats in one fell swoop by connecting expats with people that they know personally.
Obstacles abound, but nothing insurmountable I believe.
Again thank you

This sounds like a sort of super intercultural tourism - An interesting idea

[at]CiamBella I liked your post very much but I'm not sure about one point, medicare. Medicare part A is free if one is over 65. Part B does cost but if one does not cancel it, which was already factored in my $800 to $1000 range, then it may not be any difference as far as Medicare is concerned. That is something I need to check into, but I don't see that Medicare would forbid anyone from taking a vacation, at worst one may have to comeback to the US after a period of time.
Thank you for your time and insights

If you continue to pay for Part B while living overseas, then everything will be there when you come back.  Many people do not think keeping Part B is worth the cost when they live abroad permanently and do not take frequent trips to the States. 

OTOH, dropping Part B then re-apply for it later is not pain-free, because for each year you do not use Part B (even when you're not living abroad), the penalty is 10% more in contribution when you re-apply.

Still, we cancelled Part B because WEP already took a permanent bite out of our SS, we didn't see a good reason to continue having a chunk of the leftover taken to pay for services we will not use, especially when our life abroad will be for a very, very, very long time.  Besides, we needed to credit that expense back into the budget so that tighten our belt is no longer be necessary.

A clarification......
I started the thread as another possibility for living abroad, for any wanna be expat.
While I could learn some about VN, I believe I can do ok on my own.
My question was if there is any  organization altruist or commercial that caters on providing a safe and clean place for a reasonable rate while helping poor folks on both sides. No one so far has answer the question, so I will assume that such organization exists.
I've been coming to expat for about 3-4 years and what I noticed is that most answers are far more critical than helpful.
Example while an answer was "what about medical costs?"....... how useful is that answer???? None. Would be a helpful answer if it said instead "health insurance costs x amount of dollars for that age range"
Anyone can check the housing ads on this site and find a room for $90 per month, with swimming pool or a $260 per month plus electric, say $300 per month.
Food while not free for someone that eats like a local $200 to $300 a month should cover it.
If someone is not into women and alcohol than $500 a month may not be ideal, but not too bad, my guess.
Myself if I was moving to a foreign country I would want to have 6 months of cushion plus cash for an emergency return ticket. Another answer mentioned that a last minute ticket can be very expensive,
without giving any parameters, not much help there either
Then I would book a stay on a hostel and than start looking for a place.
My first choice would be cab and motor bike drivers, then food vendors and neighbors  and offer them a finder's fee.
I am not planning to settle some place, but not out of the question either, my plans is to hop around not just in VN but other countries in SE Asia.
My situation is a bit better than in the question plus i "own" a place in the US which should provide me with extra income, barring bad tenants.
About Medicare, part A covers hospitalization, part B covers Doctors visits, if someone is in dire straights health wise they will probably need an hospitalization. So Medicare will pay for it, even if one has given up part B.
Again thanks for helpful information

Several of my teaching assistants, who were either college students or recent graduates, often spoke of using "homestay" instead of hotels while traveling.  I don't now but I expect that is probably a fairly direct translation of whatever they call it in Vietnamese.  Traveling in small groups, they apparently have some point of contact, either online or print,  with people who are willing to rent rooms short term.  I also have the impression that meals were not included except maybe some instant noodles for breakfast.  Perhaps you could find out more about this but Vietnamese language may be required.

Example while an answer was "what about medical costs?"....... how useful is that answer???? None. Would be a helpful answer if it said instead "health insurance costs x amount of dollars for that age range"

The costs depend on where you shop.
If you buy a local product, you'll get local prices and local service
If you buy an expat product, you'll get an expat price and sometimes expat service

Some international insurers operating in Asia approach you in malls, their first question being, "How stupid are you?", but they phase it as, "How much will you spend on health insurance?", the list of benefits never being mentioned unless you try to force it out of them, and then only after a lot of attempts to con you.

In other words, the answer varies so much, it's something you have to research for yourself.

havaianu2 :

My question was if there is any  organization altruist or commercial that caters on providing a safe and clean place for a reasonable rate while helping poor folks on both sides. No one so far has answer the question, so I will assume that such organization exists.

No one has answered the question because no one has ever heard of such organisation.  I can say with almost certainty that there isn't one in existence.

Here are some of the reasons: 

- Poor Vietnamese do not have time to join organisations.  Making a living is a 12 to 16 hours a day and 6 to 7 days a week job.

- Poor Vietnamese do not have extra rooms with private baths in their houses to rent out.  When 3 generations live together under the same roof sharing one or two bathrooms, there's no room for a foreigner who requires more space and privacy than everyone else in the family.

- The families with rooms for rent often prefer to rent out to people with whom they can communicate.  The families that rent to expats have at least a member who speaks English and one who stays at home to cook, clean, and provide services to the expats.  Most poor Vietnamese do not belong in the latter category.

- Poor Vietnamese wouldn't be involved with a third party because they don't want to pay commissions to the middle man.


havaianu2 :

Example while an answer was "what about medical costs?"....... how useful is that answer???? None. Would be a helpful answer if it said instead "health insurance costs x amount of dollars for that age range"

Again, QuidProQuo's question was valid.  He wanted to know whether medical insurance existed in your scenario.  His reply might not be useful in a narrow Q&A, but it's useful in a normal give and take conversation.

No one knows the cost of insurance that another person would have to pay.  I spent months talking to a dozen insurance companies and received a dozen different quotes.  Age range is not the only factor.  Pre-existing conditions, the level of coverage, and the amount of deductions are also important.  Other posters would not be able to give you the answer when they don't know anything about you.

 

havaianu2 :

Another answer mentioned that a last minute ticket can be very expensive,
without giving any parameters, not much help there either

That's I who mentioned last minute airfare.  Sorry if you think I'm not being helpful.  On this site, you would be the only one who thinks so.

For my flight from SGN to LAX next year, the prices are between $486 and $2750 depending on the airlines.  Even with the same airlines, there are 3 or 4 *very* different prices, depending on the departure time.  Therefore, how do you expect me to give you any parameters when I don't know your prefered airlines, your departure and arrival airports, and the time of the year you wish to travel?  You can easily find the info by yourself instead of waiting for someone to give it to you.  Go to Google Flight, plug in the date and your airports and see how many different numbers on the display.

As Fred said, "the answer varies so much, it's something you have to research for yourself."  I don't think we're critical of you or not being helpful to you.  It's just that in your original post, you only asked 2 questions: 

"Is there any organization of any stripe that tries to place expats with Vietnamese families who would rent a room plus share their meals for a few hundred dollars per month? Is it possible for an expat to find such a family for a monthly sum of $300 to $500?"

No one answered the first question because no one knew the answer.  The second question can be answered with both yes and no. because it's possible to live with a family for that sum, but under what living conditions, and what compromise are asked of you?

We brought up other issues because we thought about other aspects of life here in Vietnam, aspects that you didn't mention in your original post.  That's not being critical, that's being interactive.  We couldn't read your mind so we asked, and apparently, you couldn't recognise our helpfulness so you reacted defensively.

Oh, the perils of communication on an Internet forum.

[at]THIGV, Mahalo for your response. The board part of the room and board was two fold. One to give some assurance of stable cost to expat. Two to funnel more money to the local folk. i logically can see why meals may not have worked for your assistants. They would have been at work for some of the meals and not wanting to be tied down to the rest of the meals. The expat can make his time to fit. Again Mahalo

havaianu2 :

They would have been at work for some of the meals and not wanting to be tied down to the rest of the meals.

You missed the words "while traveling" in my post.

[at]Fred last thing I am looking for is arguments. I only asked for info. If I want total immersion, expat products is something I'm shunning. If insurance varies so much, that is precisely the reason why it would be nice having the personal experience on the subject to aid in the search. They could say "I know someone that pays  this much". or such company seems to be the most reasonable. Researching on the net pales in comparison. If people going to bring up health insurance surely must have it. A ball park guess is something that most people should be able to give. The other option would be go to VN just to find out the cost.
As far as cook at home food for my cooking I will probably pays less than most locals pay for the same ingredients. I will be shopping at the wholesale markets like the wet fish market of Binh Tay and all other wholesale markets

Touche..... but..... I still see a big difference between traveling, where one may not want  be encumbered  by meal times versus staying put for months

[at]Ciambella it would be nice if when a person asked for information that they got an answer to their question and then the respondent added any thoughts of his/her own.
Health insurance is a topic I wish I did not have to spend a second on it.
FYI I live in a State that has medical insurance for all and I also hold a EU passport, so i could get taken care of in the US with a cost or in the EU for free. How can anyone plan fur medical emergencies in VN without having a clue how much they may cost?
If someone asked me, for example, how many points a NBA team scores per game my answer would be ...between 80 to 120, some higher some lower, but most on that range

I think you have pretty successfully insured that the next time you have a query, you won't be getting much help.   :whistle:

You even managed to ruffle the feathers of someone who is definitely one of the most useful commenters here due to her unique combination of early life in Vietnam, educational level, and world travel experience.  Good going.

[at]TGHIGV I tried just to open another avenue for expats, for me I can manage. No one regrets this thread more than me. but it seems that having an opinion is not welcome. The "help" came more on the way of scary tactics than real help. Where did I mention a private bath? Are all poor locals in the same exact boat, really? My personal experience tells me that poor folk will try to make extra money any way they can. A last minute and expensive ticket for tomorrow to Los Angeles costs all of $572....yep lot of help.....Please help get this thread erased and I would real thank you for the help. Mahalo

havaianu2 :

Is it possible for an expat to find such a family for a monthly sum of $300 to $500?
That would leave an expat with $500 per month for everything else.
All critical responses appreciated especially the constructive negative criticism

https://goo.gl/maps/1twoMPpSENx

$7 per night

31 days (Let's get pessimistic) = US$217 per month - and no messing around living with a family

KFC meals are cheap

https://goo.gl/maps/1twoMPpSENx

4 bucks per meal, 3 meals per day, 31 days per month = US$372

Hotel + food + $589

I've just saved you over 400 bucks from your stated budget

Say, "Thank you Fred, you're my god".  :D

[at]havaianu2 maybe you will also find my answer critical along with everyone else's, maybe you will find some hidden nuggets, offering my 'info' all the same.

My wife's family was much poorer when I first met them. Later they started a business and are now doing much better. But let's go back in time to when they were poor.

6 living in one small house. Located in poor district of Saigon. Note that city costs of food etc higher than the country. Monthly income about $800 was shared, mostly went to food, rest for fuel for old motorbikes, electricity, cleaning supplies, toiletries. House was inherited from ancestor, so no housing cost. Almost all food and clothes bought at outdoor market with dirt/mud floor, in poor area next to smelly river. Some purchases at Coop mart like toothpaste. Food: many dishes of Vietnamese food are from weird cuts of meat and fish, and strange vegetables and fruit. Example: sugar and salt used in food combinations never seen in the west. Hot peppers and fish sauce with everything. (Half the time I visit, they make something different for me that I can eat). Living standard: No chairs; stand or sit on the tile floor. Well maybe some little plastic chairs. Fan cooling, aircon almost never used despite 35 degree days and 32 degree nights. TV all Vietnamese language. Roaches are ignored; rats were a problem at night in the bedrooms until they got two cats. The older members slept on the hard floor, younger slept on thin pads. No sealed windows, mosquitos not too bad. Water was boiled, bottled cost too much. Only one person in her family spoke English (her). In poor houses in the country, expect more mosquitoes, leaky roofs, mud, more creative food, cold temps in mountains, even fewer English speaking hosts.

I could see a network of guest homes

There are lots of homestays for tourists. And they are fun, living with or near a family, but those are built to tourist standards, cost like hotels, and are also for a couple nights not long term expats.

The most important question is what will be the cost of shelter and food.

I completely disagree.
How many poor families have you visited and lived with so far? What was that like for you? No problems with food, comfort, communication, sleep ok?
I am thinking it is not about money, for even $100 a month I anticipate a very high dropout rate. Like 100%.

Have you considered expats staying with middle class Vietnamese, more similar living conditions, and they can teach English to the kids.  :/

[at]Gobot, Mahalo nui loa, Thank you very much. Your post is more relevant and informative than all the other posts combined. I only appreciated another post, the rest of the posts were a bad joke at best.
I wasn't looking for something for myself but just trying to open another way for expats.
Myself I can live on very little in VN. I love bread and pho, so bahn my and pho will cover 2 meals a day for $2 to $3, plus a nicer meal for about $3 to $4, so a cost of $5 to $7 a day for food. I eat bread with everything, even fruit. The first words in VN I need to learn is half noodles and very little rice, please. I will be carrying my bread on me. A hostel for $5 to $10 a day, monthly should be a bit less. I want to experience VN so I don't plan to stay in my 'room" very much. So my monthly cost should be from $300 to $500. I do understand that in the countryside costs are even less, Hoi An is cheaper than HCMC
The question I had asked was if there was any organization that catered to helping poor folks on both sides. I could appreciate an answer like "no idea...now what about.......?" . If someone "answered" by saying only "what about health costs" It was a very disrespectful and insulting answer, because the person was saying " I don't care about your stupid question, now let's talk about what I choose to talk about".
If there was such an organization then one would have the reasonable expectation to be able to get just about any answer from them for the issues that will arise. They could even possibly place expats in some remote village with free room and board in exchange for some hours of tutoring conversational English in their school.
I also found really stupid to try to make all VN poor the same.
I never been to VN but I can ask a question that will have a lot of VN folks arguing over an answer, and here it is "who is the typical VN person?" I would bet my bottom dollar that there are many different folks HCMC different than Hanoi, coastal folks different from mountain folks and so are the poor.
No I have never lived with poor folks but would be willing to try.
Again Thank you for your response, it was greatly appreciated

havaianu2 :

All critical responses appreciated especially the constructive negative criticism

Fair enough.  However you failed to live up to your own standard.  Instead, when someone with extensive expat experience came back with a real concern, this is how you responded:

havaianu2 :

The question I had asked was if there was any organization that catered to helping poor folks on both sides. I could appreciate an answer like "no idea...now what about.......?" . If someone "answered" by saying only "what about health costs" It was a very disrespectful and insulting answer, because the person was saying " I don't care about your stupid question, now let's talk about what I choose to talk about".

"Disrespectful and insulting?"  By whose judgement is that?  You get to ask the questions but you don't get to dictate the answers.

havaianu2 :

I do understand that in the countryside costs are even less, Hoi An is cheaper than HCMC

How is it that you are so sure of this, never having been there?  Hoi An is a tourist destination for both expats and locals.  Prices reflect that fact.  Also your suggestion that you will live on bread and pho, runs contrary to your assertion that you desire cultural immersion.  Will you ignore the vast extent and variety of Vietnamese cooking?  It's sort of like saying you will visit the US and only eat at McDonald's. 

Allow me to digress on this point with an anecdote (hopefully without being attacked.  :blink: )  Psychologists say that children do not have a concept of race or nationality until 5 or 6.  I once had a Viet Kieu 4 year old tell me that I must be Vietnamese.  I asked her why she said that and she replied "Because you eat our food."  Food is a core element of culture.   There certainly is a lot more to Vietnam than Banh My and Pho.

As you are obviously unwilling to accept the advice of people on this forum, perhaps you need to just jump on a plane and find out the same things for yourself.

I think, the OPs idea is interesting, but I see it fail for a number of reasons. The closest, one can make it it, getting  married to a local
- Vietnam, families are closed societies, they are prepared to die or kill for each other
- Families tend to put all their money/haves into 1 pot and personal allowances are usually granted by the family head(s),e.g. pocket  money for a new phone ..
- House rules are set by the above. Privacy usually doesn't exist
- food, trust and habits are just to different
- poor Vietnamese, who likely would, are away, to make living, better off's aseem less likely to let you in their lifes
- communication language I see as another big hurdle

Either marry, or forget it

Well, I would start by getting a long re-entry VISA, then tour Vietnam and SE Asia. Thailand has better food, IMHO. But is turning into a Police state. Upon arrival, one must register one's address with Immigration Police etc.
I hotels all over the country for like 200,000 d and up. Sone [at] 150,000 d with wifi but no meals.

Try COUCHSURFING to make informal contacts. That way, you can negotiate something...

Gym? Often as low as 3-500,000 d a month. For a good one withweights, too, not just cardio machines.

Explore deliveries for delicatessen and also dry cleaning.

KruChris :

Well, I would start by getting a long re-entry VISA, then tour Vietnam and SE Asia. Thailand has better food, IMHO. But is turning into a Police state. Upon arrival, one must register one's address with Immigration Police etc.
I hotels all over the country for like 200,000 d and up. Sone [at] 150,000 d with wifi but no meals.

.......

To be honest, questions are similar, between the two of you compred countries."hotels" where do you stay ..? A lovely Q and I can ensure you, it's more ment personally. I don't flash money oor assets, but it's more like, can I help you or even more like: can I see you again. Staff who are working there, ain't overpayd ,,,,
Not sure, why you complain about the pricing, breakfast .... I can ensire you, you also can book a real single room for 6k in US$ without a breacky as well 'hotels', which are about 35k a single night, agaion iin booth countries.
So really, I don't see  any huge differences, apart from national currency within the 2 mentioned things..

I could agree, that wet markets in thailand are looking cleaner and ladies of the night offer in TH a better servicem but that agin might be only true, if it is, what its looking like

[at]thigv, did you even read my last post??????? I had you in the highest place among equal in this HCMC chat, but y've came tumbling down.
Not answering a question and talking about whatever they choose is disrespectful and insulting to whomever asked the question, period.
Eating banh my and pho is equal to McDonald's ??? Really?? I would bet that there is more varieties of pho than items on MacDonald's menu. In how many different ways does McDonald's offer their burgers?
Those were just examples of cheap food but not limited to just those.
CB wanted to talk about Medicare, which I need no help with because I can find out anything I need about it here in the US much better. Plus the assertion that Medicare is taken out of SS and one has to wait a month for it to kick in is patently false. Medicare part B, comes out of SS, part B is for office visits, while part A is not. In a catastrophic situation one needs hospitalization, not a doctor's visit and is covered by part A.
CB assertion that poor VN wouldn't ever go along with the idea was knocked down by you by mentioning homestay. I again would say if someone asks for info and the answer will be about anything else but the original question, they should have some self respect and keep their trap shut.
My question about any organization, bla, bla, bla was moe for anyone else that may read this post than myself. While I may have done that part time I much rather keep moving. For example in HCMC I would spend some days on an area, explore it, and then move on to another area of HCMC, after I had sen enough than move on to the next city and eventually to another country. Hoi An was brought up on one of many videos i've watched about VN. The point being that there are many places cheaper than HCMC like in the countryside. My plan is to tale 6 months and visit VN, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand for a month and than return for a month or two to one or two of the countries visited.This is my last reply to you

Bro, get your attitude adjusted. This is an internet forum. If you post stuff then be ready for comments from all angles even ones you don't want. Next time if you don't want to waste my time or everyone else's don't start a thread.

"If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen".

[at]havaianu2 I think that the reason you find answers to your question frustrating is because you have a misconception of forum etiquette. Let me explain. Imagine this is a group of friends or colleagues, going out to a restaurant or cafe, sitting around a big table. Everyone has equal status to attend and speak. And different personalities. Topics arise, some support, some criticize, conversation drifts to other topics. Nobody is throwing personal insults. Nobody is so sensitive to get their feelings hurt. There is a mutual respect. You have been to many such gatherings.

It seems, from your comments, that you expect that internet forums are different. That the person who creates the post has special powers over audience participation, like a teacher in grade school, or a CEO at a company meeting. Nope, you have that wrong. I have never seen a forum like that. There are often moderators who enforce general rules, but posters never have higher status than commenters.

Ok! Regarding poor people and expats, again I suggest home stays as a tourist as a starting point to experience village life. You can look on agoda.com and google. I've seen them listed in the Mekong. Something I would be interested to do especially in the Highlands.

gobot :

There is a mutual respect. You have been to many such gatherings.

Are you sure of that?  All evidence seems to run to the contrary.

Hi,
     You can do it easily. Lease required all rent up front in Danang I am paying US100 a week for a reasonable equipped house.I Vung Tau last yeat US$50 a week for a nice one br apartment with funny maids cleaning once a week.  Food is cheap except dairy goods double the price.Wine twice plus Aussie prices but beer cheap. Buy a scooter if you are daring $200 and repairs cheap as.
People are great watch out for women who  chase after you! May cost you one way or another.
John.

It is possible to survive with 500 usd per month on a single expats to live with a local family that can include bedded accomodations to be shared which will include utilities bill and water ; other than air condition . I can assist you as i am too an expat that move to Vung tau which is one of the cheapest city to live in comfort and luxury if you can afford it.  For 500 usd per month will give you basic livelihood. Can also get a job here if you can read, write or speak fluent english. That will be basically the high salary of 500 usd which you can earn compare to locals whom only earn 300 usd as monthly wages. Best you can learn the local language which is difficult for me..but with money you can engage a translator at low cost to get job done. Need more info just buzz me as i am not too sure if i can give you more contact info as i was warn before for trying to help but rules are rules which for reasons of efficientcy by direct contacts might violate expat policies which i could not be bothered to seek and ask why.

Reality check, please?
Answers to most questions about costs, e.g. food, housing, visa renewal, even medical insurance, homestay, etc. etc. etc. can be found on Youtube,  Facebook, etc. without any problem or flack.
If anyone had bothered to read the op, would have realized that I wasn't asking for myself but for the millions of $800 to $1000 crowd of wannabe expats. Reiterating ....anyone can take the conversation to any theme, AFTER ANSWERING THE QUESTION. The question I asked was something that I could not easily find in those a fore mentioned places.
Right now I have no intention of settling down anywhere, i am planning on being a traveling nomad and travelers insurance should take care of most medical needs.
I probably have traveled and lived in more countries than most members of this chat. So living in a foreign country is nothing new to me. I was a flight attendant for a spell besides all that.
Most of what I found here was a lot of "do gooders " that ignored the question and brought up issues I didn't care about and above all nitpick my answers. Too much time on their hands?Thanks for nothing to those.
Ironically, and because of it, i answered their nitpicks, because i injured myself 2 weeks ago and have being laid up for 2 weeks. I fell from a ladder, from a height of about 6 foot, 2 meters onto a hard surface,barefoot, and got major compression fractures on both heels. Even having insurance I didn't bother going to a hospital, because I knew that all they could do for me was to tell me to stay off mt feet and give me pain killers.
Had I been in HCMC it would be so much easier to get food and most anything I needed delivered to me, instead of relying on friends.Thanks  to those who answered the question and thanks for nothing to those who didn't.

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