Brian

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 75,000

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

I earn 42,000 baht a month after tax from my full-time job at a Bangkok university and I top my earnings up to about 75,000 with private students and a little bit of online teaching. I'm lucky inasmuch as my university don't mind me not being around when I'm not teaching so that leaves me with plenty of free time to do extra work and boost my monthly income.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

I try to set myself a target of 20-25,000 a month but don't always achieve it. I enjoy travelling in Thailand and try to get out of Bangkok at least six times a year for a long weekend. After rent and food, travelling is easily my biggest expense.

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

I've just moved up in the world and gone from a 6,000 baht a month studio to a 10,000 baht a month one-bedroom apartment with a small kitchen area. I've only been in my new place for one month but it's so worth the extra money to have a bit more space and be able to have a guest come around and not feel like you're on top of each other.

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

Transportation

My new apartment is only four sky-train stops from where I work. Thrown in a few taxi fares at the weekend when I go out and about and I wouldn't have thought transportation comes to more than 1,500 baht.

Utility bills

I'm something of an air-con fanatic and it goes on from the moment I walk in the door to the moment I leave. I haven't had a bill at the new place yet but I'm expecting something in the region of 2-3,000 for the air-con alone. We'll have to wait and see what the electricity and water comes to.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I try to keep this bill as low as possible without feeling like I'm skimping or starving to death. I get an adequate lunch at the university for peanuts and I set myself up for the day with a good breakfast of toast, cereal and a bit of fresh fruit. That just leaves me with an evening meal to find. Sometimes I'll skip it and make do with a fruit smoothie, otherwise I eat in a local Thai restaurant where they know my face now and meals are about 50 baht.

In all honesty, I've never been much of a foodie and I'm never tempted by Western or fast food restaurants, although I enjoy a very occasional McDonalds. I bet I don't spend more than 8,000 a month on food.

Nightlife and drinking

I like a drink! I have about four bars on Sukhumwit Rd that I regularly frequent but a couple of pints and perhaps a few games of pool is enough. Probably 10,000 a month if I go out three or four nights a week. The places I go to all have very reasonable beer prices but they are not what you would call 'lady bars'. Those places can suck you dry.

Books, computers

I download the odd book for my Kindle and my laptop is four years old and still going strong. This is not a great expense.

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

I'm doing OK on 75,000. I think it's a decent income for a single guy in Bangkok, without really putting much away for the future.

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

Getting around Bangkok is not expensive and local Thai restaurants serve up a good plate for food for a couple of dollars.

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

I've always felt no matter how much you earn, you'll find ways to spend it. I've been in Bangkok a while and I've earned salaries of 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 and now 75,000 and to be honest, only my living accommodation feels better. Of course 75K is better than 40K because you can go out more, you can travel, you can taxis more often - but I still find saving money just as difficult. There is no doubt that Bangkok is getting more and more expensive, so to go back to the original question - I would have said a minimum of 50,000 for a single guy.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Brian. I think 75,000 a month is a very decent income for a single guy in Bangkok, especially as it sounds like only 15,000 a month (probably less) is going to go on rent and bills.  That leaves you with 60,000 a month (about 2,000 baht a day) in your pocket. That's not to be sniffed at. I'm surprised that you don't save more than you do actually but perhaps when you go away for those long weekends, you do so in style!  

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