Adam

Working in Trat Province

Monthly Earnings 50,000

Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)

I work at a largish college in Trat Province (about 4-5 hours from Bangkok) and I've been here for four years. I started as a teacher on around 28K a month but have risen to almost a part-time teacher / part-time academic director position now and get 50K.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

In what I call a 'normal month', where I don't have a major expense or do any travelling, I can live on 15,000 quite comfortably. so save around 35K. I would say most months it averages out closer to 25K though. I think if you said I saved about 250,000 baht a year, you wouldn't be far off.

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

I rent a one-bedroom flat above a shop that belongs to one of my Thai colleague's relatives. I've been paying 5,000 baht a month for it since I moved in four years ago. The people that own the business downstairs are almost like family now (I've even tutored a couple of their children) and while 5,000 baht a month is a steal for the space I have, I feel they wouldn't dream of increasing the rent while I'm the tenant. It's a nice situation to be in.

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

Transportation

I have my own little motorcycle and work is about a 10-minute commute. I more or less use the bike to go everywhere so this expense is just a few hundred baht a month for gas. Having your own motorcycle out in the provinces can save you a small fortune. I wouldn't be without one!

Utility bills

The family I rent the property from take care of the bills and I haven't a clue how much they are. I bet it's not more than a thousand baht a month. I do have air-conditioning in two rooms but try to use it sparingly.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

This is probably around 8,000 baht a month. I get free lunches at school and for other meals I have about three or four local restaurants where I can eat for 50 baht a dish. Western treats like fast food are few and far between. Firstly, we don't have the choice and secondly, I don't miss that kind of food anyway.

I try to do more and more of my shopping at the local night market as opposed to supermarkets. The cost of supermarket goods has gotten silly in recent years.

Nightlife and drinking

LOL There isn't really anywhere to go past ten 'o' clock at night. Any drinking I do tends to be a couple of swift ones after work with a couple of other foreign teachers and that's twice a week at most. Going out until the wee small hours and getting plastered has never appealed to me. I don't drink at home either. Let's say a couple of thousand baht a month.

Books, computers

I do like my computer games and this is one of my biggest expenses. Maybe about 3-4,000 baht a month. I also have the usual Netflix and Disney packages and that adds a few hundred on to the entertainment bill.

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

To use that famous line, people reading this will think that I 'live like a Thai' but I just don't see it that way. I live life the way I want to and if that means no Western food or heavy drinking sessions, then so be it. I live quietly and I love my own company.

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

Having recently returned to my home country for a holiday and seen the price of everything there, I'd say almost everything is a bargain in Thailand. Yes, food prices have risen sharply in Thailand in the past 12-18 months but not to the degree where you have to budget carefully...not down here where I am.

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

It depends on your personality. A person like me could live relatively comfortably downn here on 20-25K. With a salary of 50,000, I want for nothing. It's more than enough to live well. I won't tell that to my boss though.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Adam. That's a nice part of Thailand you live in and having been myself a few times, I totally get the lifestyle you lead. There's a big difference between 'living like a Thai' because you have to and living like a Thai because that's how you rather like things. What it often means is that you just prefer a quieter lifestyle and you're happy in your own company. Nothing wrong with that. With free school meals and a great deal on a rental apartment, you're playing the game well.    


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