Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 40,000

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

My full-time monthly salary is 40,000 before taxes and medical insurance deductions. The salary is calculated based on a 30-day monthly calendar. Medical insurance (through employer) is 385 baht per month for AETNA. Taxes are 665 baht.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

10,000 baht ($310.88) as of March 2020

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

My one-bedroom condo costs 15,000 baht a month (including electricity, water, internet, and washing machine). The condo also normally has a rooftop pool, sauna, and gym in operation prior to the covid-19 pandemic.

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


BTS sky train (40 trips) is just over a thousand baht a month.
*Note: sometimes I need to refill the BTS rabbit card amount before the month ends, so that would cost another 1,080 baht for an additional 40 trips
Grab trips (ride share): 300 baht (occasionally)
Motorbike taxis: 20 baht per 2.2 km

Utility bills

Included in rent but if separated:
- water: 100 baht
- electricity: 1,000 baht (when at work Monday to Friday), 2,500 baht if running the air-con all the time and at home most of the time
- Home internet / wifi: 480 baht

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

Supermarket shopping comes to 8,000 baht a month and I spend about 2,000 baht a month on restaurant bills.

Nightlife and drinking

1,000 baht (4 craft beers). I don't participate in the nightlife on a regular basis

Books, computers

I use my laptop for work and at home. E-books are the way to go. If you would like to purchase books, then you should check Dasa books on Sukhumvit Road or one of the book stores at the Emquartier shopping mall near Phrom Phong BTS station or one of the book stores at Central World shopping mall near the Chit Lom BTS station.

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

I am able to live modestly and save the equivalent of a few hundred dollars per month. Bangkok is an expensive city, so a monthly salary of 80,000 baht would provide me with more of a Western lifestyle and the chance to eat at restaurants more often, enjoy craft beer, take weekend excursions, and save more money each month.

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

If you can find a meal for 40 baht or less that fills you up, then that's a great deal!

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

When moving to Bangkok, you should have at least $5,000 saved, have a job lined up within 1-2 months, and then you should aim for a salary of 60,000 baht monthly minimum, although a monthly salary of 80,000 baht or more is preferable.

Phil's analysis and comment

Nice to hear from someone earning a more 'common' teacher salary for a change - 40,000 in Bangkok. 

The thing that leapt out at me from this survey is spending 15,000 baht on accommodation, getting on for half of your salary. Thankfully that includes the bills. 

However, as I've said many times in these surveys, 'going over budget' on a place to live can actually save you money in the long run. When you have a nice place that's simply a joy to come back to each day, you're far less likely to wander the streets looking for entertainment and ways to pass the time. 

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