Working in Lampang

Monthly Earnings Approx 110K (35K from teaching)

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

I earn 35K teaching at a local government school. It's a basic type full-time job, only teaching about 15 hours per week at a very laid back school.
I also earn approximately 75K per month doing contract work remotely as a software developer. That figure could be more if I wanted to put more time into it.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

About 50-60K per month, after paying for all expenses including full healthcare and retirement annuities.

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

I live in a small house with a spacious back garden and that costs 9,000 baht per month.

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


I have a scooter and a car and spend about 500-1,000 baht per month on petrol depending on how much I use the car.

Utility bills

Electricity, internet, water and all the other smaller things like laundromat amount to probably 2,500 per month

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

This can vary from month to month, but anywhere from 4,000 to 15,000 depending how active/adventurous I am during a given month if that makes sense.

Nightlife and drinking

Some months almost nothing, other months quite a bit more. I'd say on average around 2,000.

Books, computers

Mostly my 800 baht internet bill covers all that, like playing the odd computer game or reading an e-book.

Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living?

Okay so here comes a long answer, and I'm gonna go off on a big tangent here but bear with me!

8 years ago, I had my first teaching job in Thailand at a standard government school earning a modest 35K salary and mostly loving it, except I soon started realizing I would never be able to save enough to properly set myself up for the future, such as having savings for long distance travel, savings for retirement, full cover health insurance or buying bigger things like a car or perhaps even property some day.

Another thing that really irked me was, though I'm a South African who comes from an English-speaking household and went to English schools, higher-paying positions wouldn't always include my nationality as 'native English speaking'. So I did something kind of crazy and went to work on a farm in Ireland. I was lucky to get in contact with a farm who went through the trouble of getting me a work permit. I stuck it out for five years and got Irish citizenship. Now I am seen as 'native English speaker' in Thailand lol! Also, during those 5 years I did night classes in software development. This qualification now allows me to work remotely in a higher paying profession.

Coming back to Thailand, my first intention was to get that lucrative private school gig with my new 'native-English speaking' passport (coupled with my prior teaching experience). But with my new coding skills, I decided to go the familiar and comfortable route of teaching at an easy-going government school, more so for the love of it, and then use all my 'free/non-teaching time' during the day to do my software development / contract-work.

Now my standard of living is great. I came back to Thailand with $25K and kitted my house out with everything I needed to make life comfortable, like a year's rent up front, a car, a bike, etc. I teach more for the love and social aspect of it. My coding job covers all the bigger expenses I couldn't otherwise afford.

I've been wanting to share this little journey of mine for a while so thanks for sticking it out and reading up to this point!

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

Literally everything. Europe is crazy expensive compared to SE Asia. Rent, food, transport, the lot. I am now doing what I hear some people call 'geo-arbitraging', i.e bringing money I earn in Europe via my coding job into Thailand. Now almost everything is a bargain :)

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

My first stint in Thailand got me 35K per month. I quickly found out that wasn't good enough and I needed to hatch another plan asap. I went through very obscure ways to end up where I am and making my 100k+ per month, but now I can finally say I hit the sweet spot. I could honsetly live in Thailand on 50K a month but I knew 100K was the goal I needed to set for myself.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Cody. What a great life story! We don't get that many teachers doing these surveys who have come up with a completely different sideline to teaching that actually ends up earning them more than their teaching gig...but you've managed it. Well done! Not really much I can add other than to say thank you for sharing your journey with us.   

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