Ash

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 115,000

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

I work in the high school section of an international school. I receive 115,000 baht after tax, including housing allowance. I have not engaged in any extra work at the moment, but may consider taking up some in the future.

To be honest, I left the previous work country due to the insane workload, expectation and stress. I didn't make the move to Bangkok just to slave away again!

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

I've only just started working in Bangkok for a few months, so I did spend quite a lot to start up. I have been tracking my expenses on a mobile app, so if I disregard the initial one-off purchases like household electronics, rental deposits etc., I am looking at around 50,000 baht savings per month. I would expect to save more once I'm properly settled in. Perhaps I'll do another cost of living survey then.

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

I live on my own, and pay 12,000 baht per month for a 1-bedroom condo. It's about a 5-minute motorcycle ride to the nearest BTS station, but I don't need to take the BTS anyway as I'm fairly close to my workplace.

I did previously consider staying near BTS stations or where all the actions are, but paying minimum 20,000 for tiny 28 sqm boxes and the ironically longer commute just don't seem to be worth it. I tried staying a couple weeks in different studio apartments when I first got here, and while I appreciated having amenities right at my doorstep, the claustrophobia just got too real, too quickly.

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

Transportation

My weekly commute on motorcycle taxis and weekends out come up to about 1,800 baht a month. I've come to realise that grab bikes are usually cheaper than motorcycle taxis, but local taxis (running on meter) are cheaper than grab taxis. Go figure.

Utility bills

Electricity, (tap) water, internet and phone cost me around 2,000 baht. I use the AC quite a lot, Bangkok's heat is just too relentless. I also have a drinking water delivery subscription that is around 250 baht a month.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

The school provides lunch, which I am very thankful for. I cook a lot and spent almost 8,000 baht on groceries this month (though that does include household items). On the rare occasions that I do eat out, it would average to around 300 baht per meal. I suppose I spend around 6000-9,000 baht a month on restaurant and food.

Some people say that shopping in local markets is cheaper than supermarket, but I have experienced being charged farang prices in local markets. Supermarkets just seem more reliable with their clear price tags, plus having AC while shopping is always preferred.

Nightlife and drinking

I do not drink, nor do I party. Entertainment would be the occasional movie in theatre, shopping in malls and markets, and thai massage. I find it hard to buy local-brand clothes and shoes that fit nicely, yet I am pretty reluctant to pay the inflated prices of imported brands. Most of my shopping in Bangkok is for 'home improvements'. Overall 3,000 baht a month for all that seems reasonable to me.

Books, computers

I do not spend money on books as I visit my school's library for that. This is an oddly niche section to have, I would say just placing 'other expenses' might be more insightful. I travel a bit, so a monthly average of 4,000 baht is spent on that.

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

Enjoying this new-found financial independence, living the way I want with a good amount of money to spare.

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

Food and transport, for sure. To put things into perspective, my food and transport expenses in Bangkok is only around 30% of what I would normally spend in my previous country, and I think I eat even better here.

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

I've always lived in big cities, so although I don't consider myself to have a lavish over-the-top lifestyle, I think a minimum of 40,000 baht a month is needed or I wouldn't even come here.

On a side note, is it possible to add a search function to the cost of living section so we can filter surveys by locations?

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Ash for an interesting survey.

I've made a note of the points you make regarding the questions. Perhaps 'how much money do you need to survive?' might be better worded as 'how much money do you need to lead a decent lifestyle?' Then again, I'm sure lots of folk have just as many opinions on the definition of 'decent' as they do about the definition of 'survive'.  

Re-wording 'books and computers' to 'other expenses' is a good idea as well.  

And I believe a search function is not too far away!


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