Working in Songkhla
Monthly Earnings 47,000
Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)
I work at a medium-sized Thai school in Songkhla, southern Thailand. My full-time salary is only 32,000 baht a month (I say 'only' because it's more than enough to live on down here) but I add another 15,000 baht a month by taking on axtra after-school lessons and the odd bit of corporate work (which pays in the region of 600 baht an hour)
Q2. How much money can you save each month?
On a good month, when I'm teaching more hours, I can save 25,000 easily but I would say it averages out at closer to 20K. It's a statement of the obvious but you don't have time to spend money if you're busy working.
Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?
I share a one-bedroom apartment with my Thai partner for 6,000 baht a month and we split the rent right down the middle. It's a very good-size apartment and we've made it really homely but it's in a fairly old building. I bet it would cost at least 50% more if it was in a newer build. Most of our neighbors are professional, office people types so thankfully we aren't kept awake at night by noisy parties.
Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?
I have my own scooter, which I rent for 2,000 baht a month and gas costs me an extra few hundred. As many teachers have said in these cost of living surveys, when you live outside the major cities and tourist areas, you need a motorcycle to get around. I would be lost without mine!
About 2,000 baht a month covers everything - electricity, water, internet, etc. We don't run the air-con all that often and it's always the air-con that jacks up the 'leccy' bills.
Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping
I'm almost entirely vegetarian these days so actually I'd rather cook at home than eat at restaurants. To be honest, I've been in Songkhla for three years already so get tired of the choice of eateries. When I go out with a group of Thai friends, they always insist on treating me despite my best efforts to pay my share. I would say my monthly food bill barely breaks 7,000 baht.
Nightlife and drinking
Songkhla's not a particularly lively town at night and what's available is more of a Thai scene anyway. I'm usually so tired from my day at work that I prefer to curl up on the sofa with a good book or a Netflix series. I might go out with a group of Thai friends once a week and chip in a few hundred baht towards the total bill.
Probably about 1,000 a month. I'm an avid reader and get through a lot of books, but you can download a lot of stuff for free and teachers often swap paperbacks with each other at school.
Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?
Brilliant. As I said earlier, I can save 20-25K a month easily and that 400K a year allows me to travel home once a year (although I haven't been back to England for several years due to Covid) and allows me plenty of opportunity to travel around gorgeous southern Thailand. I also put a little bit away into a pension plan. I'm sure it'll be nowhere near enough to secure a nice retirement but it's better than nothing.
Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?
Fruit and vegetables at the local market. I have my regular market stalls that I go to and I can come home with two bulging shopping bags for 300 baht.
Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?
You could survive here, even 'live quite comfortably' down here on 25,000 baht but that extra 20,000+ really does make a difference. I love working in one of Thailand's more out-of-the-way towns. I did six months in Bangkok when I first arrived in Thailand and it just wasn't for me.
Phil's analysis and comment
Thanks Deb. It sounds like a fairly simple life (probably far to simple for some) but you seem extremely happy with your lot and that's what matters. As you say, that extra 20,000 a month means you can comfortable travel home for a holiday each year and enjoy a few extra luxuries. Well done!
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