Working in Bangkok
Monthly Earnings About 53,000 baht
Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?
My salary at a Thai school is 38,000 baht a month but I supplement this with on average 15,000 baht a month doing private teaching at a large Thai export company. It's actually the company my Thai girlfriend works for and she got me a foot in the door to do some one-to-one conversation stuff with several of the bosses. Now I do one-day workshops, proofreading, etc. I've become their English go-to guy.
Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?
The answer to that question is not as much as I should but I try to save 100,000 a year to pay for the annual trip back home to see the family.
Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?
I live in a one-bedroom apartment in The Victory Monument area of Bangkok and pay 10,000 baht a month. I really should look into buying my own place some day though.
Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?
I'm five minutes walk from the skytrain and my school is five minutes walk from the station at the other end. I take the odd taxi at the weekend but I don't think transportation comes to more than a couple of thousand a month.
About 2-3,000 baht a month. I use the air-conditioning a lot. The water bill is peanuts but I do take showers every day. Honest.
Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping
I tend to alternate between cooking at home and eating out and probably spend about 8,000 baht a month on food. Lunch is provided free at the school where I work. It's not the greatest quality food as you would expect but I actually prefer a light lunch. If I have something too heavy, I tend to suffer from the dreaded post-lunch slump.
Nightlife and drinking
I never go out during the week, but I'll have a night out with the lads on either Friday or Saturday. 4,000 baht a month I would say. I'm not a huge drinker so two or three beers and a meal in a medium-price is a decent night out for me.
I download a couple of new books every month to my kindle and I buy the odd computer game. All this comes to no more than a couple of thousand baht.
Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?
Very comfortable indeed. I feel like I want for nothing. OK, I could be saving a bit more I suppose but I'm just not into working all the hours under the sun just to make an extra 10,000 or so.
Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?
Most things really. Certainly food (if you know where to shop) and taxi fares. But I do notice the cost of travelling in Thailand has crept up over the several years I've been here. It's probably why I hardly ever leave Bangkok. Funny but I begrudge spending money on trips in Thailand.
Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?
It's a tough question because everyone is different. I've been earning 50K+ for some time now and while I could certainly survive on less, I really wouldn't want to. You get 'used to' a certain lifestyle and no one wants to go backwards.
Phil's analysis and comment
"It's not what you know, it's who you know". It's a saying that's as applicable to Thailand as it is to any country in the world. Gazza's partner has got him involved with her company doing some part-time, freelance work and that extra 15,000 baht a month makes all the difference. If Gazza had even more free time, I bet the company could give him more work than he could handle. But he's a sensible guy for keeping a full-time job at a Thai school and guaranteeing a monthly salary.
Interestingly, my wife works for a very large Japanese multi-national company and they are always looking for someone to help them with conversational English, presentation and e-mail writing skills, etc. - stuff that I could deliver standing on my head.
I even know many of the staff (the Japanese bosses included) from attending company functions and outings to the beach, etc.
But they can't use me!
Simply because many Japanese companies have a very strict rule when it comes to outsourcing work. The contracts cannot be given to family members belonging to a company employee, especially a company employee in a management position.
It's refreshing to see that Gazza doesn't have that problem.
If you would like to submit your own cost of living survey, then please e-mail me your answers.