Working in Bangkok
Monthly Earnings Base salary 43,000 baht a month plus 10-30K from corporate work.
Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?
I usually end up around 60,000 - 65,000 or so.
Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?
I save every satang from the corporate work. I only touch that account when I go back home annually to visit my family and when I bought my 50” Plasma TV. My goal is to buy a condo, but the laws are tough for a mortgage, so I have to do it with hard work.
Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?
I have a two-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-story townhouse in the On Nut part of town. My monthly rent is 6,000 baht per month. I live with my girlfriend.
Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?
I spend about 600 baht a month on gasoline for my Yamaha Nuevo.
Nothing. My girlfriend pays the electricity and water bills. I pay 300 baht for internet shared amongst 3 neighbors. I pay something like 1,500 baht for True Visions Gold Package.
Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping
I am a light eater, so I don’t eat much. My diet is primarily western food. I would say I spend about 15,000 per month.
Nightlife and drinking
I mostly drink at home, and I buy beer by the box. So, about 15,000 baht is my estimate. Cigarettes add up to another 2,000 baht.
Well, I tend to buy things impulsively. XBOX, etc. It varies from month to month, but I usually blow my base salary on such things. DVDs, games, professional ironing, etc. This doesn’t really always happen in one month, but the money in my main account starts adding up, and I splurge at Khlong Thom or the like.
Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?
Life here is wonderful, but I work a lot and haven’t got a lot of free time.
Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?
My rent is shockingly cheap! My transportation costs are next to nothing because I drive everywhere.
Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?
I know people making 25,000 a month or less and surviving. I know of apartments for 1,500 baht. To be reasonably happy, I wouldn’t live here on less than 40,000 per month.
Phil's analysis and comment
I like this guy and I like his strategy. Brent manages to live very comfortably on his 43,000 baht a month base salary, and he's saying that any money he earns from extra corporate work - usually in the region of 20,000 baht a month - is going straight into the bank. That's 240,000 baht a year so more than enough for those annual trips home. In fact he could probably afford to go twice! Brent's lifestyle cost is uncannily similar to my own. The numbers are almost identical. If I factor in a couple of holidays a year, I figure on spending about 65,000 baht a month. You can have a very decent life here on 60K plus, especially if your partner is working and paying a few bills - and in Brent's case, if you've got a great big house that costs you peanuts to rent. I would certainly keep that location a secret.