Working in Pattaya
Monthly Earnings 54,000 baht
Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?
I get 35,000 per month from my full-time job at a government school and I charge private students 400 baht per hour. I have ten privates at the moment, all an hour long in the evening except Thursdays, which is two hours. I charge privates monthly to reduce flakiness or to avoid losing money for cancellations but sometimes give refunds if students cancel ahead of time. So salary is 35K and privates 19K.
Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?
At the start of each month, I put 20,000 directly into savings at the bank and various secret piggy banks. This goes towards an annual trip back to England, other travel plans and for the general future. I rarely dip into that as I try to live within my means and budget accordingly. Some teachers might save more than that but I enjoy my lifestyle and it's enough for me to feel safe. Anything I don't spend by the end of the month, I also put into savings.
Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?
I spend 10,000 baht a month on a small but very modern condo just a very short distance from Jomtien Beach. The building also has a gym so there are no additional expenses for keeping fit.
Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?
My motorbike is 3,000 per month (bought on monthly payments) plus roughly another 600-800 baht (give or take) on petrol. So lets say transport costs 3,800.
b) Utility bills
About 1,500, going up to about 1,800 during hotter months.
c) Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping
My condo doesn't have a kitchen so I have to eat out. I'm not a massive fan of a lot of Thai food so I alternate between market food / Lotus food court and international so occasional trips to Yayoi, Shabushi, Indian places, Sizzler and Carls Jr eat up a chunk of my pay. I'll say give or take 8,000-10,000 per month.
d) Nightlife and drinking
My philosophy is work hard in the week and enjoy weekends, particularly as I live in Pattaya. I go out to bars or clubs on Walking Street with friends every 2 weeks and chill on Jomtien beach (free) on other weekends. How much I spend when I go out varies from around 500 to sometimes 3000 or more. I sometimes go on dates to cafes, bars or restaurants. I'll put nightlife at 6,000-10,000 per month roughly. I'll say a rough figure as I also like to occasionally go to Koh Samet/Bangkok but not every month.
e) Books, computers
I've had a trusty computer for a long time and use the printer/photocopier at school for preparing my private class materials, plus my school provides books which I occasionally "borrow" too so I don't tend to spend anything on these unless I need laptop/phone repairs.
Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?
I work hard in the week and enjoy my weekends. Anything else is a bonus.
Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?
Street food, clothes from the market, getting around.
Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?
See in comment section below.
Phil's analysis and comment
James had the following to say on how much you need to survive.
"It depends on you, your lifestyle, needs, food preferences and how much you're prepared to work. You could "survive" on 25,000 a month or less but the key word there is surviving. You'd be living in a grubby, Thai style apartment, far from the coolest parts of town and living like a monk. You'll eat rice three times a day, every day. Your neighbours will be a pot-bellied, chain-smoking, drug addict from Germany who doesn't look at you, and a vendor who starts making banging and clanging noises at 6am every day. Not really the life you want in Sin City. To have a halfway decent life, live in ok apartment and occasionally go out, I'd say you should be looking at 35,000 baht per month or more"
Thanks James. The fact that you clearly make a very good go of living and working in Pattaya will come as great encouragement to some folks, especially those who like to work hard during the week and party hard at the weekends (and there ain't nothing wrong with that). I haven't been to Jomtien Beach for almost twenty years. I bet it's changed beyond all recognition.