Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 60,000

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

I work at a private Thai school, fairly close to central Bangkok, and my full-time salary is 60,000. At the moment, due to the Covid situation, all lessons are being taught on-line so I'm working from home (and that's certainly been a steep learning curve)

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

Well, at the moment, after deducting money for rent, I feel as though I'm saving almost all of the rest. There's very little to spend my money on and it's been that way for quite some time. I guess in a normal month (pre-Covid) I would be happy to save 20,000 a month but it's certainly more than that right now.

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

I've got a very nice studio apartment just a couple of skytrain stops from the school. Although it's technically only a bedroom and a bathroom, the living space is designed in a way to give the feel of being a bit more spacious than a 'bedsit'. I love living there and I'm so glad I chose somewhere a little more upmarket now that I have to spend so much time at home. The rent is 15,000 per month.

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


About 500 baht a month on skytrain fares. I'll even walk the 10 minutes to work if the weather is not too hot and because I leave the house around 7.00 am each morning, that's often the case.

Utility bills

Electricity, water and internet barely break a couple of thousand. I'm obviously using the air-con a bit more now I'm teaching from home but only for 2-3 hours more each day.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I live entirely on Thai food and have most of my meals delivered by a restaurant next door, where the average dish is around 50-70 baht for a lovely big portion. Bit of toast or cereal for breakfast and my monthly food bill rarely exceeds 5-6,000 baht. I get school lunches for free when I'm actually on the school premises.

You often talk about Western food fixes in your comments section, Phil, but actually not only do I never eat Western food, I never get a craving for it either. Once I eat Asian food for a decent length of time, I find Western food is too heavy. It makes me feel too bloated and sluggish. There's always a feeling of 'I wish I hadn't done that' after woofing down a pizza or burger.

Nightlife and drinking

I've never been much of a drinker or a party animal so this category is hardly worth a discussion. I might join colleagues for a beer or two on the occasional Friday night and that's about it. Even on Saturdays, I'd rather stay in and watch a good movie. I'm just happy with my own company and I've always been this way. It's a useful character trait to have during partial lockdowns as well!

Books, computers

I enjoy reading and I download about 3-4 books a month to read on my Kindle so this might be around 1,000 baht a month.

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

I'm perfectly satisfied with it. 60K is only an average salary in Bangkok I guess, but it's more than enough to do what I want and save a bit into the bargain. The big worry at the moment is how long the Covid situation will go on for, especially in Bangkok. I have no desire to stay here for any great length of time and teach online so I'm monitoring the situation day-by-day and trying to formulate a plan B. If things haven't improved by March of next year, I'll head back home to sunny Derbyshire just in time for Spring.

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

Thai food from the small restaurant next to my apartment building.

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

I wouldn't entertain living in Bangkok on less than 50,000 a month unless you are willing to seriously downgrade your accommodation. I just couldn't do that personally. My living environment is so important to me!

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Don, good survey. It's good to get the opinions of a teacher having to adjust his lifestyle due to Covid but in your case, it sounds like you're thriving! As someone who enjoys being at home in his own company, it hasn't really made a big difference has it? And of course, you're saving a lot more money to boot. 

Spending money on nice accommodation is something I've banged on about for years. The nicer the living environment you create, the less time you'll need to spend 'outside' in search of entertainment and pleasure.

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