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Can a family of four survive on NT$35,000 per month in Taipei?

The minimal monthly average living costs to stay in Taiwan's capital is NT$15,544

A mother and her child at an anti-nuclear protest organized by Homemakers Union Consumer Co-op.

A mother and her child at an anti-nuclear protest organized by Homemakers Union Consumer Co-op. (CNA photo)

Taipei (Taiwan News)—Lately, there has been a debate online about the cost of living in Taipei, the city government responded with an official statement that minimal living costs for a single person living in the capital is NT$15,544 (US$501.21) per month.

If a person is living on a monthly budget below this standard, they can apply for low-income subsidiaries, stated city officials.

Household expenditures in Taipei are even higher averaging NT$27,000 per month, according to family spending statistics compiled by Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).

This indicates a controversial post by a netizen with two children are probably living fairly close to the poverty line, by relying solely on her husband's monthly salary of NT$35,000, which sparked debate online as to whether this was plausible.

The netizen posted on popular online forum PTT marriage board that they are surviving on her husband's sole income, even though a large chunk of the salary is used to pay the monthly rent NT$17,000.

That leaves the family with NT$18,000 for spending each month, and is just slightly above the minimal living cost benchmark for a single person in Taipei.

"Can you please teach me how this is even possible, my monthly food bill alone is NT$10,000,” responded one person.

The woman claims she is able to lower household spending by clothing her children in second-hand clothes, spending family holidays at local parks, department stores, and retail shops. Any excessive costs are absorbed by earlier savings and annual bonuses.

Her family monthly spending broken down:


Costs (NT$)

Infant milk formula




Food costs

9,000 (around NT$300 per day)

Smartphone bills for two people

Less than 1,000

Water bill


Electricity bill




She also claims to have basic insurance for her two young children, and adults in the family.

Family surviving on NT$35,000 per month annual insurance costs:

Insurance type

Costs (NT$)

Insurance for two children


Insurance for two adults


She said this was only a temporary situation before her children starts school, and she returns to the workforce, which would increase their family monthly income by NT$45,000.

For her "money is not that important, what is most important is spending time with your children.”