Working in Thung Song (Nakhon Si Thammarat Province)
Monthly Earnings 34,000 baht
Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?
I earn 34.000 baht per month teaching at a private school in Thung Song
Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?
Realistically I could save 10k baht per month, but cancel out partying and expensive accommodation and I could save up to 20k per month.
Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?
I share a house with one friend, each of us pays about 7k baht per month and this is including bills. It’s a real fancy house, but one could easily find accommodation for 2-3k per month
Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?
My motorcycle rent costs me 2500 baht per month, and I spend another 1k on petrol. Thung Song is a small town so I never really drive very far to get around.
Our water bill is 150 baht a month and our electric bill is usually around 2000-2500 baht a month.
Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping
We tend to eat out nearly every night of the week, as it is more expensive to cook your own meals, and as one can get decent meals for 50 baht, it’s just so much more convenient to go eat out and be social. I am fortunate enough to get lunch at school, so that saves a few bucks at the end of the day. For breakfast I usually have eggs and toast at home. I do buy fruit from the market every week, and sometimes a few things from the supermarket. At the end of the day I spend about 5500 baht on eating per month
Nightlife and drinking
I do spent a lot of money on going out and partying, it is quite expensive to drink in a bar or pub here, as you have the choice to take your own booze into the club, but you still have to pay corkage - and the price of mixers are absurd. If we go out every weekend I probably spend between 8000 and 10 000 baht a month.
I’m fortunate to have a computer and don’t spend too much cash on reading, as I brought books along if I feel the need to read. So no, I don’t spend anything on books and PCs.
Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?
Yeah we as foreigners are in a real fortunate position, as we earn much more than the local Thai people and they manage to live rather comfortably with the “little” cash they earn. That just proves that we have it real easy here, if you are not sending cash back home or paying off some kind of dept you can basically live as you wish. I never have any trouble or stress about cash, and that is quite a satisfying feeling.
Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?
I feel that this will differ from person to person, as people that come from countries where the currency is so much stronger than the Thai baht might find everything a huge bargain. I think food is pretty cheap, and one can get good accommodation for a fair price. Any service where labour is involved is pretty cheap. Medical care in town is a bargain, as one can go see the doctor and get treated for 400 baht. Transportation is a real bargain, especially travel by minivan to nearby towns.
Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?
Realistically one can survive on 15,000 baht per month, you will have a reasonably comfortable lifestyle, but without any luxuries.
Phil's analysis and comment
I don't agree with Chris that you could survive on 15,000 baht a month but Chris isn't the one doing the 'surviving' here anyway. He's earning an OK salary for rural Thailand and it seems to afford him a good lifestyle. "I never have any trouble or stress about cash, and that's a very satisfying feeling" You bet it is Chris and I bet there would be millions of people around the world who would be happy to change places with you. Not just because you're in Thailand but also free from money worry.
Chris says that he can save 10K a month (which is OK) but he could save 20K if he moved to cheaper accommodation and cut down on the partying. However, this is one 'cost of living' survey where I would say don't lower your living standards. I bet you've got a wonderful place there for 14,000 baht a month - plenty of rooms and a nice leafy compound. It must be a joy to come back to at the end of a hard day's teaching.
Good on you Chris. You clearly enjoy life down there in Thung Song.