Working in Shanghai

Monthly Earnings 182,500 (including a housing allowance)

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

My full-time salary is 140,200 baht and I get a housing allowance of 42,700.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

I usually send 80,000 baht out of China every month.

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

The housing allowance covers the rent, so I pay zero. Rent in Shanghai is comparable to places like London and New York. I wouldn't take a job here without the school/company providing housing. I live in a modern ground floor 3-bedroom apartment in a beautiful compound full of trees.

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


The school bus takes me to and from work. The subway never costs more than 5 RMB (23 baht) a trip. It's cheaper than the BTS!

Utility bills

Electric 200 RMB (950 baht)
Gas 200 RMB (950 baht)
Water 100 RMB (475 baht)

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

We live on 10,000 RMB (47,500 baht) a month in China. That covers all shopping, restaurants and other purchases.

Nightlife and drinking

Taobao provides all the craft beer I require. There is a huge selection of great beer and depending on what you buy, it is cheaper than buying the same stuff in places like Tops Supermarket.

A Brewdog opened here recently! We also have Stone brewery and other local craft breweries.

About 1000 - 1500 RMB goes on this, but it if we do visit one of these places it comes out of the 10,000 rmb we live on here.

Books, computers

I have a Kindle so got all my books for free, but more recently have got back into hard copy books. Once again Taobao is the place to go, never more than 200 - 300 RMB a month.

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


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

Taxis, online shopping events (11/11 is a huge sales day), craft beer, subway, little import mom and pop shops where you can find gems like Cadburys chocolate, Walkers crisps, etc. and the biggest of all NO IMPORT TAX! Bottles of Ribena don't cost £7!

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

I know people here on 20,000 RMB (94,000 baht) and they get by and perhaps save some, but I would say you need to hit the 27-30,000 rmb a month mark with a housing allowance to save for your future here.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thank you James. Always good to hear from teachers in China and by your references to Thailand, I'm guessing you worked here for a while as well. That sure is a tasty housing allowance by the way. 

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