Darren

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 59,000

Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?

59,000 baht a month total. Salary of 46,000 baht per month, plus additional 13,000 per month for after school private tutoring 2 days a week (3:30-5:00).

Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?

I save on average 30,000 baht a month.

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

I stay in a studio apartment with my Thai girlfriend, 300 meters from BTS station. Rent is 7500 per month, and my girlfriend pays half of all bills. My cost : 3,750 / month.

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

Transportation

1000 per month on BTS, and maybe 2000 per month on taxis. I take a combo of taxi and BTS to work everyday. Add in a few trips on weekends for shopping or going out, I would estimate about 3000 baht a month.

Utility bills

Electricity: 800 / month. Water: 100 / month. Internet: 600 / month. These are split with my girlfriend. My share would be about 750 per month. Also I spend about 500 - 700 per month on cellphone. Total cost utilities : 1,500 / month.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

My lunch is provided by the school and weeknight meals are picked up by my girlfriend on her way home. I buy meals when we go out on weekends usually (or if the bill comes to more than 300-400 baht if we go out during the week). We go to the supermarket twice a month and my girlfriend will go to the fresh market once a week. About 10,000 baht a month total, of which I pay the lion’s share.

Nightlife and drinking

I spend most of my time at home or at friends' homes. I do have an occasional (5 - 10 drinks a month) beer or drink, usually with dinner. Let's say 1,000 - 2,000 / month.

Books, computers

I just bought a new laptop at fortune town for about 20,000 baht. I have a kindle, but mostly read free books available through Amazon. Budget about 500 / month for replacement costs.

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

One word – Simple! I live on about 25,000 baht a month, and save the rest (about 30,000 per month). I do have a safety net of income from home, but since I have been teaching, I have not touched that money except to invest it in the stock market via online.

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

I think transportation is a bargain here and also the fresh fruit / vegetables and meats at market. Rents are starting to creep up in Bangkok, especially in expat areas. My advice is to get out and walk around the sois close to where you want to live. The newer developments may rent a studio for 20,000 baht, but there will be a building close by that is about 10-12 years old offering the same thing for half the price.

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

In Bangkok, you should be able to find employment with a school paying over 40,000 no problem. I think the minimum one needs to survive is 20-25,000 for a simple life, and 35,000 plus if you go out often and enjoy the night life. If you do not have obligations at home (student loans, etc) one should be able to save enough for a trip home every year (think 5,000 baht a month) or more.

Phil's analysis and comment

Nice one! Here's something else that Darren said about his cost of living and lifestyle in Bangkok - and it struck a chord with me.

"I have had the cars, house, boat, toys, electronics, etc. when I lived in the USA. I used to spend all my time working to pay for my toys and trying to keep up with the Joneses. Now I work to pay for experiences. I enjoy the walk to the market and temples, the 15-20 baht train ride to Ayutthaya and finding a new restaurant near my condo. Since I have shifted my priorities, I have never been happier"

I think a lot more of us are starting to adopt this mindset in today's complex world aren't we? I know that I am and I applaud Darren for his attitude. It's funny but the more technology we surround ourselves with, it seems like the less time we have. We spend too much time trying to be everything to everyone instead of looking after number one first. There's nothing wrong at all with trying to keep life simple.

What about the other aspects of this survey I liked? Well, it's always nice to have a Thai partner who pays his or her way (and that's clearly the case here) and I also love that Darren adds a nice 13,000 baht to his slary for some after school tutoring but is still done and dusted by 5 pm and has the rest of the evening to enjoy. 

Good survey! I don't know Darren's age but this sounds like a wiser, older head. 


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