Working in Thonburi

Monthly Earnings 32,000

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

I teach at a private Thai school and my salary is 32,000 baht a month. This is actually a job that I fixed up while I was still in England and doing my research. For that salary I work four days a week and have about 16 contact hours so it's not a punishing job by any means. I have lots of free time.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

I would love to save 10,000 a month just for the sake of putting something decent away but I find that pretty much impossible. It's usually closer to 5,000.

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

The school found me a cheap apartment just a short distance away. It's a fairly small studio in an old building but quite a bargain at 4,000 baht a month plus bills. It's comfortable enough for the short term but I wouldn't want to live here forever. The noise from the traffic and construction can sometimes be a problem. Most of the foreign teachers at my school live in this building so it's a little bit of a farang enclave.

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


Virtually nothing. I can walk to work every day. If I need to go into Bangkok at the weekends or on my day off, I can use the sky-train.

Utility bills

Water and electricity come to about a thousand baht.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I eat street-food as much as I can to keep costs down, although I do sometimes worry about the hygiene side of things. I very rarely eat Western food. I'm actually surprised at how expensive it can be. I think it's on a par with what you would pay in the UK, probably even a bit more. I guess my food expenses come to about 6,000 a month.

Nightlife and drinking

I go into Bangkok once a week for a night out and a group of us usually do the bars until very late. Depending on how wild things get, you can easily blow a couple of thousand in a night so this could account for 8,000 baht a month. Actually, blowing 25% of your salary on entertainment does sound a bit crazy now I think about it.

Books, computers

Nothing. I can use the computers at school for free. I always make sure I have the latest smartphone though.

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

It's OK but only for the short-term. I wanted to give teaching in Thailand a try but I can't honestly see me signing up for a second year. I'll need to make a decision about whether to move to another country in SE Asia or return home. Neither option fills me with much enthusiasm but then again neither does staying here longer than 12 months.

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

Street-food. I'm not sure I'd describe it as a 'real bargain' but it's cheap enough.

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

Well, I'm surviving on 32,000 but for how many years can you 'just survive'? I think if you are going to build a future here, you need at least 60,000 for a single guy and I ain't anywhere near that. I'm probably not qualified to earn that sort of money either.

Phil's analysis and comment

You don't sound too happy with your lot, Colin.  I'm wondering if you could use some of that free time you have to generate another income stream or two. I bet with a bit of effort you could add another 10-15K a month on to that 32,000 and it would make a big difference to your lifestyle. 

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