Every new arrival wants to know if they can survive or live well in Thailand on X thousand baht a month?

It's a difficult question because each person has different needs. However, the following surveys and figures are from teachers actually working here! How much do they earn and what do they spend their money on?. And after each case study, I've added comments of my own.

If you would like to submit a Cost of Living survey, you can answer the questions on line - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RH6Y3JP

Approximate conversion rates as of September 29th, 2016

35 Baht to one US Dollar
45 Baht to one Pound Sterling
39 Baht to one Euro
27 Baht to one Australian Dollar
0.72 Baht to one Philippine Peso

Bill

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 60,000

Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?

I'm a director of studies at a language school and my salary is 60,000 baht a month.

Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?

Zero

Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?

I pay 14,000 baht a month for a 3- bedroom townhouse in Bang Na

Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?

a) Transportation

15,000 baht a month on car loan repayments, 6,000 baht a month for the diesel to take my daughter to school and go to and from work

b) Utility bills

Utility bills are usually around 3,500 baht / month for electricity and around 300 for water.

c) Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

Around 10,000 baht for regularly eating American fast food and restaurants in shopping malls.

d) Nightlife and drinking

Around 6,000 baht a month on a weekly trip to Sukhumvit.

e) Books, computers

I don't spend anything on books and computers.

Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?

Unless you are a bachelor living in a shoe-box style room it isn't as good as my home country (the UK). Trying to live a Western lifestyle (houses, cars, food) means I would probably be better off elsewhere, but as my wife and child are from here, I'm not sure how to get out!

Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?

Water bills

Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?

To have a family (including school fees and everything) I'd say at least 80,000 to survive. More if you want to save anything!

Phil's analysis and comment

I think Bill is the first director of studies that we've had fill in one of our cost of living surveys. He's the man who controls the teachers and probably looks after a lot more besides. You have my sympathy Bill. I had a director of studies job once upon a time and held the position for six months before resigning. I hated every minute of it! I couldn't wait to go back to being a plain old teacher again. The teachers earned more money than I did and they had far more freedom to come and go when they pleased. 'Director of Studies' might look good on your business card but as my wise old dad used to say - "titles on business cards don't pay bills"

Another thing my wise old dad used to say - and I remember his words when I finally passed my driving test - "a car will keep you poor". And he was right. I think in your case Bill, it's the car and the family combined. It sounds like you need to find a way to reach that magical 80,000 baht figure but it can be difficult when you have a full-time management position that takes up all your time and energy. Good luck to you though.  


Leo

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 55,000 baht

Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?

I make 55,000 baht monthly from my full-time teaching job. I could make more money if I taught after school for about an hour but I don't. I'm pretty tired by the time school ends so I just go home.

Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?

I can save about 25,000 baht a month. I don't spend much on clothes or high tech items.

Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?

Right now I spend 8K baht a month for a studio apartment next to the BTS train line. The 8,000 baht a month includes 2,000 for utilities such as electricity, wifi, water and a parking spot. The studio is pretty small for two people so I plan on moving out very soon.

Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?

a) Transportation

1,500 baht, It costs me about 50 baht to get to work and back. Taxis are so cheap here so I take one everywhere I go. Taxis, when shared, are much cheaper than taking the train line

b) Utility bills

2,000 baht a month - It's standard in my apartment. I know it sucks

c) Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

10,000 baht a month. Lunch is free at my school. I always eat out for dinner. I eat out almost everyday, because its easy to do. I know I should eat at home more often because it's healthier but I usually get home too tired to cook

d) Nightlife and drinking

500 baht. I don't drink very often or go to any clubs. I'm not much of nightlife party person. Kinda lame I know, but that's just me

e) Books, computers

I just bought myself a new computer for about 28k baht but I normally don't do that of course. I normally spend about 500 baht on miscellaneous computer stuff. I don't normally buy books, I know I should but I haven't.

Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?

Extremely comfortable and simple. I eat anything I like without caring too much about the price. I'm not worried about not having money to pay for important bills like rent, transportation and food. All my needs are met here.

Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?

Transportation - taxis are incredibly cheap. Food - you can eat some delicious chicken with rice for about 1 US dollar. It does not get any better than that.

Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?

25,000 - 30,000 baht a month, In my opinion all your needs are met with that amount of money every month. Housing, food and a little extra for whatever else you want.

Phil's analysis and comment

I don't think that 25-30k is enough in Bangkok so sorry to disagree with you there Leo. However you do sound like someone who wouldn't have much trouble surviving on that amount (only 500 baht a month on going out will certainly help)

Good point about sharing taxis. If you have three people travelling a short to medium distance, a taxi can work out half the price of the skytrain. Plus you are going door to door.

Free school lunch is always a decent benefit too. I know it probably isn't five-star cuisine but it's going to save you best part of a thousand a month. It all helps!


James

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 50,000 baht on average

Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?

I work part time so my earnings vary from month to month. A good month will see me earn 65,000, a bad month 45,000 and I don't get paid holidays (roughly 10 weeks a year), I still probably average about 50k a month though.

Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?

A good month 30,000, a bad month 15,000.

Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?

I pay 7,000 baht a month for my apartment. It's within walking distance to the BTS so it's convenient although I do hate not having a kitchen or even a fridge.

Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?

a) Transportation

I buy 40 trips a month for the BTS which is just over 1,000 baht. Motorbikes and taxis probably cost another 1,000 a month, so 2,000 baht a month

b) Utility bills

I sparingly use the air-con and I have few appliances. With my phone included I pay about 1,000 a month on utilities.

c) Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I eat cheaply. I nearly always eat street food so probably about 150-200 baht a day. With the occasional meal out I'd put it at around 8,000 for the month

d) Nightlife and drinking

I like to go out at least once a week but I'll often hit cheap bars and drink cheap drinks. 5,000 a month

e) Books, computers

My 4-year old laptop hasn't died on me yet. I pick up maybe one or two books a month often to help me learn Thai, but probably no more than 500 baht a month.

Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?

It's comfortable but I'm not exactly making a lot of money either. I save just enough to do a little travelling and enjoy myself.

Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?

Street food - where else in the world can you buy a meal for as little as 35 baht?

Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?

30,000 to survive, but you won't have much money for luxuries. 40,000 to get by and enjoy yourself from time to time. 50,000 to live comfortably without saving the megabucks. 60,000+ and I think you'd be pretty comfortable here.

Phil's analysis and comment

It would be interesting to know how many hours a week James has to teach to make that average 50,000 a month because that's not bad if he considers himself to be 'part-time'. 

Why haven't you splashed out on a fridge James? The very basic models are quite cheap here. 


Beck

Working in Krabi Town

Monthly Earnings 33,000

Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?

I work in a Thai primary school and my salary is 33,000 baht a month

Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?

10,000 baht. I could actually save more if I didn't ever eat Western food or drink any alcohol or go out.

Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?

6,000 a month plus utilities. It's a room with a balcony and its own bathroom. its modern and clean but very small.

Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?

a) Transportation

Nothing because I have a friend with a bike but very occasionally I'll get a bike taxi for 20 baht

b) Utility bills

200 baht for water and at least 600 for electricty, depending on how much air-con i use.

c) Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

Around 7,000 baht per month. Western food costs more, but sometimes I need a change from Thai food

d) Nightlife and drinking

1,000 baht but it depends. Some months I don't go out at all, other times I really need to.

e) Books, computers

E-books keep me sane, 3,000 baht-ish.

Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?

It's okay. I don't have a kitchen, so no cooking, and sometimes it can be hard to get a balanced diet. You really need a bike so you can get around easily, but then that adds to your expenses too. Some people rent houses, but they cost way more than apartments. You can get cheaper rooms than 6,000 baht, but you pay for what you get.

Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?

A good balanced meal for 80 baht but food and accomodation are more expensive here than other places in Thailand

Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?

To just survive, around 20,000 baht I would say.

Phil's analysis and comment

When I look at Beck's survey, I see a typical teacher earning a typical Thailand TEFL wage. And that's great! We need more of these figures because I'm sure the vast majority of teachers perusing these surveys and thinking of coming to teach in Thailand, will be earning this sort of dough. 

Take note of some of Beck's answers. The e-books keep me sane. I need my Western food from time to time. I need to go out for some nightlife now and again. Of course you do to all three! If you can't afford to treat yourself to a night out, a hearty steak and chips or a few nice books every so often, there's just no point being here is there? You're not here to live a work and sleep existence.

I would have thought 33,000 baht in a Thai town (albeit a more expensive Thai town) would get you an OK standard of living - and that's exactly how Beck describes it.


Jay

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 57,000 - 60,000

Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?

I work at a private school in Bangkok and earn 51,000 a month from the school before tax. Also around 6,000 a month from extra classes/tutoring. So about 57,000 - 60,000 in total.

Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?

Each month I put at least 15,000 into savings.

Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?

My rent is 12,000 a month for the one-bedroom condo I live in.

Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?

a) Transportation

I spend about 4,000 a month on getting to and from work. I take a motorbike taxi to get around most of the time. On weekends, my better half nearly always pays for taxis so I'd say 5,000 tops.

b) Utility bills

Electricity and water comes to about 1,100 a month. That's with 2 air-con units / cooker / TV / games console

c) Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I don't really spend too much on food. I get a free lunch at school and normally pick up something easy to eat on the way home, or my other half brings something back from work. I'll do a 'big shop' on a weekend and spend about 1,000 baht on that. We may eat out once or twice a week also but that's about it really. So say around, 6,000 at the most.

d) Nightlife and drinking

I'm just about to become a father, so my nightlife at the moment is non-existent. Back in the day I raged!! I sometimes have a few beers with the guys once every few weeks and I'm partial to a couple of beers after work if that counts?

e) Books, computers

I spend a fortune on books about babies at the moment. Or it certainly seems that way!

Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?

Comfy. Not so much hi-so but more so-so. But getting there.

Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?

Accommodation. I am actually looking to buy a new place and it keeps crossing my mind that I could never afford a pad like this back in the UK.

Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?

I used to be on 30,000 a month before tax and I lived 'OK' on that. I had an apartment, a half stocked fridge/ice bucket and a social life. But come the end of the month I was skint. I could live on 25,000 at a push I think.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Jay. 60K a month is not bad at all, certainly for a single person or as I guess in your case, someone who lives with another wage earner. But of course, you're about to become a proud father and I bet there's no amount of money you could spend on the new arrival right? Good luck with everything. I wish you well.


A plea for your kind help.

There never seems to be a shortage of teachers out there who are good enough to take part in our cost of living survey - and that's fantastic! I'm extremely grateful.  Could I also get a few of you to help out with updating our region guides if possible. I would love your feedback if you are teaching outside Bangkok. Here is the list of towns and cities covered in our region guides. Please don't feel that you have to answer every question. If you just want to fill in a couple or three answers then that's an enormous help! Muchas gracias. 

Page 1 of 32 (showing 5 entries out of 158 total)

Featured Jobs

English Language Teachers

14 hours ago

฿400+ /hour

Bangkok


English Teachers for Buriram

21 hours ago

฿30,000+ /month

Bangkok


English Program Teachers

21 hours ago

฿40,000+ /month

Bangkok


NES Phonics Teachers

23 hours ago

฿50,000+ /month

Bangkok


Teaching Positions in Different Locations

1 day, 10 hours ago

฿30,000+ /month

Ayudhaya


NES Teachers for Bangkok Area

1 day, 10 hours ago

฿40,000+ /month

Bangkok


TEFL Courses & Training

Get off to a good start...

Take your course
in Thailand!

Training Directory

Featured Teachers

  • christophe


    BA

    Belgian, 41 years old. Currently living in Hong Kong

  • Mark


    BEd

    American, 32 years old. Currently living in United States of America

  • Vinetha


    BEd

    Indian, 28 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Kirsty


    BA

    British, 21 years old. Currently living in Spain

  • Alain


    BA

    Belgian, 49 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Michael Paul


    Diploma

    American, 61 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Andrew


    BSc

    American, 30 years old. Currently living in United States of America

  • Ryan


    Diploma

    British, 33 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Rodney


    BA

    Canadian, 48 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Jon


    MBA

    American, 50 years old. Currently living in China

Sponsors

Eduplus

We get you a job! Options for placement and training across Thailand

Rental For The Holidays

Thailand’s number 1 property rental website starts from 10,000 THB/month

English Planet

To be internationally recognized as the leader in quality English language training.

Smartys

Vacancies for in-house and corporate teachers at the finest schools in Suphanburi City

BSI Broker

Brokers for ajarn health insurance and for all your Thailand insurance needs.

Siam Computer & Language

Competitive teacher packages with benefits and bonus incentives

Kajonkietsuksa School

First bilingual school in Phuket. Vacancies for kindergarten, primary and secondary teachers.

Kasintorn St Peter School

Progressive English program school near Bangkok employing NES and Filipino teachers

Inlingua Thailand

Premier language school with many branches and corporate training.

The Hot Spot


The dreaded demo

The dreaded demo

Many schools ask for demo lessons before they hire. What should you the teacher be aware of?


Contributions welcome

Contributions welcome

If you like visiting ajarn.com and reading the content, why not get involved yourself and keep us up to date?


Can you hear me OK?

Can you hear me OK?

In today's modern world, the on-line interview is becoming more and more popular. How do you prepare for it?


Teacher mistakes

Teacher mistakes

What are the most common mistakes that teachers make when they are about to embark on a teaching career in Thailand? We've got them all covered.


Air your views

Air your views

Got something to say on the topic of teaching, working or living in Thailand? The Ajarn Postbox is the place. Send us your letters!


Will I find work in Thailand?

Will I find work in Thailand?

It's one of the most common questions we get e-mailed to us. So find out exactly where you stand.


Renting an apartment?

Renting an apartment?

Before you go pounding the streets, check out our guide and know what to look out for.