Working in: Rayong
Monthly Earnings: 78,000
Q. How much do you earn from teaching per month?
A. 78,000 baht a month
Q. How much of that can you realistically save per month?
A. 10,000 baht
Q. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?
A. I pay 10,000 baht a month for a big 3-bedroom house. It's old but really spacious and comfortable to live in. My three cats love it as they can run everywhere!
Q. What do you spend a month on the following things?
|a) Transportation||I have 12,000 baht car payments that finish in September. I also spend 4,000 a month on petrol. In addition to the car, I rent a motorcycle that costs about 2,500 baht a month with gas. So a total of about 18,500 baht.|
|b) Utility bills||About 3,600 baht in total. My electric bill is 2,000 baht, my internet 750, water is 200, and I pay 500 baht a month to the laundry lady.|
|c) Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping||When you add up both supermatket shopping and restaurant bills, it must be at least 10,000 baht.|
|d) Nightlife and drinking||About 10,000 baht.|
|e) Books, computers||No more than a thousand a month.|
Q. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?
A. I have everything I need except for savings. My problem is that I tend to impulse buy. I could save much more but I just need to be more disciplined. This will happen once my car loans have been paid off. I have already reduced my outgoings by getting rid of the maid (2500 baht a month) and cable TV (1800). I want for nothing and also enjoy regular scuba diving trips but money does seem to just slip through my fingers. In England I was a saver but here I'm a spender.
Q. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?
A. KFC. I can get a bucket of chicken here for the price of a single meal in England. Cinema tickets and popcorn are also cheap. Everything else seems reasonably cheap but it still saps my money.
Q. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?
A. To survive – 25,000 if you don’t mind living in a little place and only having a motorbike to pootle around on. Probably 40,000 to have a good lifestyle but not be able to make big rash purchases or be able to afford to go home. 60,000+ to be able to buy want you want when you want and not really worry too much.
Phil's analysis and comment
Ben believes in enjoying life - there's no doubt about that. When I first started to read his figures, my initial thought was 'how the hell is one guy and three cats getting through 68,000 baht a month In Rayong? But surround yourself with flat-screen TVs, the latest Apple technology, maids, cable TV, new cars, motorcycles and regular scuba-diving trips, and I guess it's easily done.
One enormous saving grace though is that Ben knows exactly where he's going wrong and he knows exactly what he has to do to put it right - start saving a little more. I've worked with people who just like Ben, tended to surround themselves with endless material possessions - but never saw it as a problem - even when they would run out of money well before the month's end.
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Ajarn.com was started as a small hobby website in 1999 by Ian McNamara. It was a simple way for one Bangkok teacher to share his Thailand experiences and pass on advice. The website developed a loyal and enthusiastic following. In 2004, Ian handed over the reins to Phil Williams and 'Bangkok Phil' has run the ajarn website ever since.
Ajarn.com has grown enormously and is now the most popular TEFL site in Thailand - possibly even South East Asia. Although best-known for its vibrant jobs page, Ajarn has a wealth of articles, blogs, features and help and advice. But one principle has always remained at Ajarn's core - to tell things like they are and to do it with a sense of humor. Thailand can be Heaven or Hell for an English teacher. It's always been Ajarn.com's duty to present both sides of the equation. Thanks for stopping by.