Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 141,000 (Including wife's income)

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

I did a cost of living survey back in April. Back then I was making 64K teaching full-time at large Thai private primary/secondary school and had to send about 20K back home to my wife every month. Since then, I managed to get a great job in an international school and things have improved considerably. My full-time salary is now 98K. My wife finally finished her B.Ed, moved here permanently, and quickly found a teaching job where she makes 43K a month. So put together, our total income is 141,000 per month. I decided to send this new survey because I thought it would be interesting to compare my lifestyle then and now.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

We have been able to save around 60-65K every month.

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

We pay 18K a month for a very comfortable 1-bedroom apartment in the center of Bangkok, right outside an MRT station. It's way more than our old 7K-a-month studio apartment, but we love the new place. Our quality of life there has vastly improved (big kitchen, nice living room, bedroom, and bathroom). All things considered, we're spending only 13% of our income on housing, which is not bad at all.

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


My wife and I each take a taxi to work in the morning and then we both take the BTS/MRT back home. We each spend about 4K a month on transportation, so 8K in total. We could save more by taking the MRT/BTS to go to work in the morning, but a taxi is faster and more convenient/less hassle.

Utility bills

Electricity: 1,700
Water: 350
Wifi: 750
Mobile internet: 800

The electricity bill is almost double now in our new place, but it's still much cheaper than in our home country.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

This is our biggest expense: Around 25K a month. We are not big fans of Thai food so we cook during the week and buying western ingredients can be expensive in Bangkok. We also like to treat ourselves on the weekends (Indian food, Mexican, Italian, pizza etc).

Nightlife and drinking

We don't like to party and we drink very little. It's usually a beer or two on the weekends and a couple of bottles of wine every month. All in all, not more than a thousand baht.

Books, computers

We love staying in and watching movies and TV shows, so we spend about 1,200 on streaming services. We also enjoy going to the cinema and probably spend another 1,000 a month there.

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

Very comfortable. We live in a spacious, comfortable, well-located apartment, eat well, travel, and save a large chunk of our incomes. My wife and I both worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to achieve our professional goals, including being apart for almost three years during the pandemic, while she finished her undergraduate degree and teaching qualification in our home country. During that time, I also studied towards a higher-level qualification while teaching full-time here in Thailand. But it all worked out in the end. We are both teaching abroad and enjoying a quality of life that would be virtually impossible for teachers in our home country.

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

I continue to find rent here very affordable. Here, it's only 13% of our income. Back home it's usually 40-50%, if not more. Transportation here is also a bargain, taxis, MRT/BTS, buses, they're all affordable.

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

To live a relatively comfortable life in Bangkok, I'm still convinced that a single person needs at least 50K a month (after taxes). If you're not into partying and drinking too much and don't mind eating Thai food or cooking during the week, you can find a decent apartment, travel, and save a bit every month on that income. For surviving only (no savings, not much traveling, just making ends meet) I'd say 30-35K.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Daemon. That sounds like a great success story you have there. An extra 34,000 baht a month is always going to make a hell of a difference but you throw your wife's 40K+ into the mix and your standard of living has obviously skyrocketed. As you say, you and your wife sacrificed a lot and are now deservedly reaping the rewards. Well done!  

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