Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 75-85,000 baht a month

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

Monthly Earnings 75,500 baht after tax, if there’s some OT going I can add in another 10,000. I’m contracted to work 37.5 hours a week. This works out at 21 hours of teaching plus 3 hours of cover or placement testing, the rest is planning time, admin and personal development. We also have full health insurance which over the last year saved us in excess of 200,000 for me and my wife, this is a total godsend.

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

I participate in my employers provident fund, which automatically saves 9% of my gross salary and is matched by my employer. So that’s 14,000 a month. The provident fund reduces your income tax, so I pay about 1000 baht less a month in income tax. I usually try to save about 20,000 on top of that.

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

14,500 for a 100 sqm older two-bedroom apartment. It doesn’t have a pool or a gym, but the owner is excellent and the neighbours all say hello to each other and stop to chat.

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


About 3,000 - depends how many times we have to visit the mother-in-law. We take the BTS/MRT/buses when it makes sense, otherwise it’s a taxi.

Utility bills

Internet is free at our condo. We like our air-con at night so that puts our leccy up to about 2000 and I like to have a bath or two so, water is another 250.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

About 16,000 in total, we like to eat out and we shop at Tops as it has a good range of fresh vegetables and we can get most things we want in one stop.

Nightlife and drinking

Neither of us drink, so we spend our money on restaurants and holidays.

Books, computers

Books about 1000 a month, I pick up an occasional new title, but most of my purchases are second hand from Dasa. I’m not a big techno geek, I bought a cheap PC a few years ago, all I need it for is email, word processing and the internet, so why pay big bucks?

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

Comfortable. We save what we can and we enjoy our lives here. Going to the islands a couple of times a year, is something we couldn’t imagine doing from the UK.

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

Taxis, hotel buffet lunches and massages.

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

I think this depends on who you are, how old you are and your financial security. My early 20-something self would be happy as Larry getting by on 25-30k, eating street food, drinking in cheap bars and living in a 6,000 baht shoebox. My now 40-something self wouldn’t want to do it for less than I currently earn. This provides me with a comfortable life and allows me to save for the child that’s on the way, buying a car, trips back to the UK, pension etc.

Phil's analysis and comment

Alan's a teacher who earns very decent money but lives well within his means. He's obviously with one of the 'better' employers as well and enjoys the benefits of a nice savings scheme. The most interesting part of the survey for me - and something I completely agree with - is how your mindset can change as you get older. You hit your thirties or perhaps your forties and find you don't want to go the cheap accommodation and the cheap food routes anymore. Perhaps you feel that at a more mature age, you deserve something better.   

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