Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 60,000

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

I take home 60,000 baht a month from my full-time job at a large Thai secondary school. I used to teach private students at the weekend and that added another 10-15K a month but I gave them up because I valued my free time and wanted my weekends free.

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

Usually between 10 and 15K a month and I mainly put that money towards the annual trip home to England and any unexpected expenses. There are always expenses around the corner. Only last week I had to fork out on a new laptop that cost me 20,000.

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

I know I go against what you are always preaching Phil but I was always brought up to believe that rent is 'dead money' so I don't splash out on accommodation. I live in a very basic studio apartment that costs me 5,000 baht a month. It's good enough for me. I'm a keen photographer so I actually like to spend a lot of time outside.

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


I take an air-conditioned bus to work and back every day and I get the odd taxi at the weekend. Probably a thousand baht a month at most.

Utility bills

I'm not at home that often but the air-con is always on when I'm there. My electricity bill is about 3,000 baht a month and I pay a couple of hundred baht for water.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

Food is something I have great trouble organising and do worry sometimes that I don't eat well enough. Breakfast is a bowl of cereal and a couple of slices of toast (if I have time) Lunch is provided at the school canteen (the quality isn't great but it fills a gap) and I'll normally stop off at a mid-range Thai restaurant for what I consider my main meal of the day in the evening. I grab a few things from 7-11 rather than do supermarkets. I bet I spend less than 5,000 baht a month on food in total.

Nightlife and drinking

With having weekends off, Friday night and Saturday night are my drinking nights. I probably burn through 10,000 a month on beers with the boys. I've got a good set of drinking pals and they keep me sane when the going gets tough and Thailand gets on top of me (as it can do with all of us)

Books, computers

Just a replacement laptop every few years. I know every coffee shop with free wi-fi for miles around and I can use the free internet at school. I'm not a great reader. I prefer to watch movies or play computer games.

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

Very good. I should probably save a lot more money than I do but at the moment as long as I've got enough to travel home once a year I'm happy.

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

I think eating out is a bargain if you know where to go. I can get a great evening meal with a soft drink for less than a hundred baht. Obviously beer will always push the costs up but I don't touch alcohol during the week.

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

If you're only spending 5,000 baht a month on accommodation as I do, then I think you could live OK on an income of 40K. I've got used to earning 60,000 a month though and wouldn't want to drop below that now.

Phil's analysis and comment

A 60K salary with only 10,000 baht a month going on the essentials (apartment, food and transportation) means there's 50,000 baht left over. A single guy is always going to live well with that sort of disposable income. No wonder Gareth gave up the private students at the weekends. Sometimes that extra effort and losing one of your precious days off just isn't worth it to add another 10,000 baht to the coffers. Not if you are doing well enough as it is. 

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