Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 55,000

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

35,000 baht from my regular salary and about 20,000 from private teaching.

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

I try to save all the money I earn from private teaching and survive on my 35K monthly salary.

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

I live in a small rented apartment in a quiet suburb of Bangkok. It costs me 6,500 baht a month.

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


I'm lucky inasmuch as I live about a 5-minute walk from my school so there's no need to deal with buses or taxis. I generally use taxis at the weekend though to go shopping or to go out and meet friends. But I'm guessing my monthly 'taxi bill' rarely tops 1,000 baht a month

Utility bills

Obviously I've noticed a big increase this month because the weather has got so hot and I'm blasting out the air-con all the time. In the cool season when I don't need the a/c on, my bills can be as low as 800 baht but last month was well over 2,000.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I like to have a mix of Thai food in local restaurants or maybe take-aways from the local street vendors and a splurge in a 'farang restaurant' once or twice a week. My weekly supermarket bill comes to about a thousand baht. I guess altogether food costs me about 10,000 a month. That might seem excessive for one person living alone but I've always thought that food is one thing you should never skimp on.

Nightlife and drinking

I'm not a big drinker at all. I go out a couple of nights a week and I'll enjoy three or four beers each time. I don't go to the kind of places where - cough! - there are too many temptations. Put me down for about 3,000 baht a month for this category.

Books, computers

I like reading so I'm often to be found in the second-hand bookshops around town. I'll probably spend 1,500 a month on books. And I pay just under a thousand baht a month for high-speed internet at my apartment.

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

I'm very happy with it but I make 55,000 baht a month only because I top up my regular salary with private students. I certainly couldn't and wouldn't survive on my base pay. I worked that out a very long time ago. If I look at my overall lifestyle, I probably don't enjoy enough weekends away or short holidays in Thailand - but that said, I'm not a beach or island person so trips don't appeal to me all that much.

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

Prices are definitely increasing here right across the board. I would say taxis are still an amazing bargain though. How those taxi drivers make money I'll never know!

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

In Bangkok? I wouldn't like to survive on less than 40K a month. In fact I'm beginning to think 50K is becoming closer to the mark. I don't know how much you could survive on in the rural areas. I've never had any desire to work there anyway. I'm a city boy!

Phil's analysis and comment

Sensible guy. Very sensible guy. Brian doesn't earn a great fortune but then again, he doesn't do anything to excess. It's a case of everything in moderation, leaving him 20,000 baht a month to stash away for a rainy day. I would like to have known a bit more about Brian's privates (ooh er missis) and how the numbers stack up. If he's earning 20,000 baht a month and I assume charging at least 500 baht an hour, then that's 40 hours of private teaching a month or 10 hours a week. That's quite a lot. I used to do about 6-8 hours a week with private students and found that more than enough. Sometimes you do your regular job from say 9am - 4pm and then a couple of hours in the evening, it can make a very long day indeed. Still, if you want to cream in the wonga, you've got to put in the effort!  

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