Category Archives: The Frugal Balinist

June 21, 2017

*Health pointers: Topical index of alternatives to medicines from Acupuncture to Zenreiki: *Teach your kid how to ride a bike by having her practice riding down a grassy hill. *The Community Health Care Center’s website ( is an invaluable source of information on pregnancy, prenatal care and childbirth on Bali. *Mata beras (coarse rice powder) promotes digestion and can be used as a laxative when constipated and as a bulking agent in the same way that Psyllium seeds can; grind rice seeds in a food processor and mix with a tablespoon of water. *To stop a nosebleed, pinch the nose firmly ... [ Read More ]

May 24, 2017

*Money. *Fire Cash BCA is a fast, easy and safe way to withdraw cash from Indonesian BCA branches in Saudi Arabia, Brunei Darussalam, Hongkong, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, UAE, Bahrain and USA by simply showing the sender’s PIN and your proof of identity. *Pos Indonesia’sWeselpos Instan money transfer service has 4,500 cash-out points in post offices all across the country. *Utang emas boleh dibayar, utang budi dibawa mati.“You can repay debts in gold, but you take your debt of deeds to your grave.” *Establishing cheap credit. Take advantage of the low interest rate of only 1.7% for purchases of appliances that is ... [ Read More ]

April 26, 2017

*Bright Gas. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) are fossil derived fuels used in cooking, heating water and lighting a gas lantern. Even though “Bright Gas” LNG tanks are not subsidized by the government, they are still a less expensive source of fuel than your standard LPG tanks. Bright Gas LNG tanks hold gas that is cleaner and longer lasting and are safer in preventing leaks from the cylinder valve (regulator tabung gas); the purity of the gas contents are guaranteed; stickers on the tank give instructions on how to use the cylinders; they are accompanied by a ... [ Read More ]

March 29, 2017

*Important Nazava update! Since we bought our Nazava Bening XL Water Filter three years ago, and reported on how frugal a source of clean safe water it is in this column, we have learned how to use it, information that is only available in Bahasa Indonesia. Installing and cleaning instructions are in the manual and on You Tube (in Indonesian). Averaging about three times cheaper than buying the big Aqua water bottles, Nazava’s 3 water filter candles last up to 7,000 liters or 1-2 years, depending on usage. Dirty water reduces the lifetime of candles. What’s important to remember is that ... [ Read More ]

March 1, 2017

*Stormy weather: March-April is the beginning of Bali’s windy season (musim cuaca badai). Start looking for a good roofer (tukang atap) who are not always that easy to find. Waterproofing roofs is an art. Don’t let just anybody climb on your roof lest they cause damage. Charging Rp400,000 in the Denpasar/Kuta/Legian area and Rp200,000 in the outer districts, they often need special equipment (tall ladders, cherry pickers, ropes, etc.) to do their work. High winds and rain drive leaves and organic debris up under ceramic tiles (genteng), degrading the underlayment and causing leaks. Now that the weather is a little drier, it’s time to ... [ Read More ]

February 1, 2017

*Health/safety tips. Smokers are two times more likely to die from a bursting blood vessel. *Small bottles of Soffell (Rp14,000/100 ml) and Autan Refresh (Rp12,000/100 ml) are cheap and effective anti-mosquito (anti nyamuk) lotions and sprays. *So you don’t suffer horrific face injuries in an accident, use a sturdy helmet that wraps around your jaw and mouth with only your eyes showing – called a helm tropong – when renting a motorbike. *In Bali, honking/beeping your car or skooter simply means “I’m here!” as you overtake a vehicle or approach a busy intersection. *Young coconut water (air kelapa muda) makes an excellent rehydration liquid (pengganti ... [ Read More ]

January 4, 2017

*Natural air-drying. God created evaporation, so let it work for you! An economical, efficient and environmentally friendly way to dry pots, pans, dishes, cups and glasses and eating and cooking implement is to use a rak piring available at Dapur Prima stores, supermarkets and traditional markets. These large drying racks are particularly useful if you have a large family, don’t have enough kitchen countertop space or don’t want to buy an expensive dishwasher (mesin cuci piring) that can cost Rp6,500,000 (Henkel) to Rp16 million (Ariston). Placed inside or outside the kitchen, put a rubber or vinyl mat underneath to catch the dripping water. .Masters is a sturdy brand; ... [ Read More ]

December 7, 2016

*Poncho pointers: This single large sheet of vinyl with an opening in the center for the head and an extra hood to ward off rain and wind is cheap, waterproof and offers reasonable ventilation. If used properly on a scooter/motorbike or bicycle, a poncho will cover the head, arms, thighs plus a bag or backpack. What you don’t want is for the poncho to blow around in windy conditions, a super pain and dangerous. The wings and sides must be tucked in so the fabric doesn’t get caught in the chain or wheel spokes. Riders must anchor the front and sit ... [ Read More ]

November 9, 2016

*Food tips. According to the New York Times (Oct16), mercury can be harmful for pregnant women and small children. Though experts maintain that fish remains preferable to red meat, avoid mercury by skipping ikan todak (swordfish), ikan hiu (shark) and ikan kembung (mackerel) that accumulate high levels of the element. *Have you ever wondered why most Indonesians are instantly able to tell why any type of a banana is ripe by just looking at it? *Beans and other legumes (lentils, black beans, etc.) are a good, low cost source of protein. Baby food can be made from beans by cooking ... [ Read More ]

October 12, 2016

*Transferwise. Indonesian transfers are more expensive than in most other countries but Transferwise ( still beats onerous bank charges by a long shot. It is a dirt-cheap hassle-free way to transfer money from any bank worldwide to a bank account in Bali like Mandiri and BCA – far less expensive than ATM withdrawals. Your foreign-based bank charges no fees for transfers to your Bali-based bank. For years I’ve been enduring punishing bank and foreign exchange charges of from US$60 to US$80 per month, but on a recent transfer of $1400 from my U.S. bank to my Bali-based bank, Transferswise charged a ... [ Read More ]