Working in Samut Prakarn
Monthly Earnings 25,852 baht
Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?
I work at a government school and my full-time salary is ฿17,852 (after taxes) with an ฿8,000 housing allowance
Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?
For me personally, I can pinch about ฿9,000+, but I wouldn't expect other foreigners from a Western society to get near what I save.
Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?
I've lived in a condo for ฿6,500 and a studio (room with bathroom) for ฿3,000.
Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?
The cheapest way is to use songthaews and that would come to about 600 baht a month. I could also use motorcycle taxis or regular taxis but you are at the mercy of traffic jams and doing things this way could come in at 2,500 baht a month. It really depends on the situation.
b) Utility bills
Depends on where you live again, but ฿600-1,000 electricity depending on how often you're home and use the air-conditioning and ฿90-200 water, although water can greatly change depending on how wasteful you are. I think water is priced about ฿18 per cubic unit at the ฿6,500 condo.
c) Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping
For me, eating twice a day, and very conservative on spending, around ฿200-400 per day. So you'd be looking at ฿5,600-11,200 per month. On the low end price this is eating at local restaurants where one meal is about ฿55-65 and drinking water, while also getting street food to take home where one meal can be ฿30-40. Adding in some shop snacks or fruits I'd generally stay around ฿200-250 myself, but not many people could adapt to my cheap lifestyle.
d) Nightlife and drinking
I work 8 hr first shift Friday, 12 hr graveyard shift Friday, 12 hr graveyard shift Saturday and sometimes day or graveyard shift Sunday. I've also been called in a few hours after I fell asleep to work a day shift during an emergency. So, it is no lie when I say most people couldn't live my life, especially with the low income.
e) Books, computers
Cell phone bill with a plan is about ฿250 per month where a 30 day card at 7/11 for just apps access you can get for about ฿90. For 50mbps internet you'd be looking at around ฿700 and 30mbps around ฿500.
Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?
I enjoy my life. If I had more money I'd just end up helping others more. I can say that I still live a good life even on a low budget. Remember, this is from my experience and my standards, so others might not say the same.
Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?
Since I work for the government I get free healthcare. I really love the fact many Thai people as well as myself don't have to worry about their health. Street food, small local restaurants, and housing is also a great bargain if you are a low budget hunter.
Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?
I will say you can live a much more normal and comfortable life at around 40-60k. If you're someone who can live off the land or likes to really fall into the common class of another culture then you should try 20-25k per month. If you like to party you'd hate a salary like mine. I know many Thai people who live on 15-20k per month, some as little as 8-10k per month. It really depends on you as a person and how you want to or can live your life.
Phil's analysis and comment
Hi Chris, sorry mate but there was much of that survey I just couldn't understand. It seems like you are talking about figures in general rather than how they apply to you or what you actually spend?
Do you live in two places (a condo and a studio)? What do you mean by 'living off the land'? Where I come from that usually means you have your own vegetable patch or you nip into a farmer's field after dark and pull up his turnips.