Andre

Working in Mae Sot

Monthly Earnings 35,000

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

I work in the English Program at a Thai School and earn 35k a month. There are no deductions so I put 35k in my pocket. Some months I make an extra 2-3k on the side selling a teak cutting board or teaching extra maths.

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

Realistically I can’t save anything. If I have money, I go out. Maesot has a lot of interesting places with beautiful woman and it would be a crying shame to sit at home to save money. When I moved here I got myself a lovely teak house, cable and internet, but I rarely spent my evenings at home using it. Actually, I use it from the twentieth of the month onwards.

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

3.5k a month for a large teakwood house with a garden in a quiet suburb. The house is on stilts which give me covered parking for my car. It’s cheap, because it’s about 10km out of town – it’s right on the border, so I don’t have to compete with NGO’s for rental space. It’s far away enough from school that I don’t bump into those little angels all the time, but I often have to commute back to town at night if I’m tired of my local watering hole.

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

Transportation

2-3k a month. What I save on rent I spend on transport. But I prefer to stay away from school. I have a car and bike, so that money goes for petrol and maintenance.

Utility bills

300baht for cable, 690 baht for internet, +/-120 baht for water and around 400 baht for electricity. I have air-con, but I only used it April and May. I prefer the fan, it’s cheaper and keeps the mosquitoes away.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

The local Tesco doesn’t stock western food, so I only buy dog food there. I never cook for myself, only when I have people over. Asian women really love it when you cook for them. I eat four times a day so food costs me on average 150 baht a day. Times that by 30 – 4500baht

Nightlife and drinking

Whatever money is leftover in my bank account, which is really not that much! But not much more than 5000baht.

Books, computers

Very little: It’s just not available here.

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

10,000 baht short of absolutely fantastic.

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

Tailored clothes, rent, the nightlife, and a Burmese maid at 80 baht a day.

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

There’s a number of volunteers here surviving on 3 000 baht a month (they get food and accommodation). I honestly can’t see how you can live here on less than 20 000 baht a month without becoming clinically depressed.

Phil's analysis and comment

Andre has kind of summed it up for me already - he's 10,000 baht short of a fantastic lifestyle. That said, he doesn't seem to be doing too badly earning 35K in what's a pretty remote area of Thailand. He's got a nice drum, a Burmese maid, a few mod cons. Sometimes you have to take a step back and say 'would I be able to fund this kind of lifestyle back home?' and the answer is probably no in many cases. He's in a nice part of the world doing what he enjoys. You can't really add to that.


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