Working in Lampang
Monthly Earnings 40,000
Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)
I teach full time at an international kindergarten. Unfortunately the salary is not up to international standards as I do not have a postgraduate in education but schools up here don't pay the big bucks anyway.
Q2. How much money can you save each month?
I guess 10,000 baht a month would be easy. I just moved up here last month and had some moving expenses but I think this figure would be possible. I live with my Thai partner who sells beauty products on-line. Sometimes she does OK and does contribute a fair amount but she is currently setting up her own laundry business and cleaning service as well so I should be able to save at least 10K when that takes off.
Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?
We have a 38 square metred condo in the centre of Lampang for 4,000 a month. It's very nice and compact. We will move into a 2-bedroom house for 6,000 a month in a few months time.
Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?
I drive a motorbike which is an automatic. I spend about 70 baht a week on petrol.
I don't like air-con because it interferes with my asthma and allergies so electricity is around 300 to 400 baht a month and the water was 240 baht last month and my girlfriend and I shower at least twice a day.
Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping
Lampang actually is a hidden gem. There are some amazing restaurants here at much cheaper prices than Chang Mai and Bangkok. We are foodies also so it's great.
There are also several markets. One is open every evening and has a great selection of food. The weekend market on Walking Street is fantastic. I would say 15,000 a month for two people.
Nightlife and drinking
The Hangout Cafe in Lampang is where all the expats hang out. We go eating and drinking there in the middle of the week and at weekends twice a month we will go to Chang Mai and twice a month we will hang out in Lampang so I would say around 10,000 baht for two people.
I just bought a Dell laptop which is great for just under 16,000 and Chang Mai has many cheap second hand bookstores.
Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?
Comfortable but I need to start saving more. Once my girl has a steady income it will be easier. She's not lazy but Thai people who don't have a degree struggle to find fair and decent work (at least in my opinion) and I don't want her working so hard that I never see her ( and for what - 300 baht a day?)
Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?
I would say rent and hotel rooms. And also gyms in Lampang are 50 baht anytime!
Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?
If you are single with no family and have a partner with a steady income I would say 25,000 to 30,000 a month - but no teacher should work for that. Life is a lot easier and cheaper here than in Bangkok though. I lived in Bangkok on and off for six years and hated it despite earning decent money.
Phil's analysis and comment
Thanks a lot Jay. First off, you've picked a nice part of Thailand to live in. I was very impressed with Lampang when I went a few years ago. I thought it was a lovely town with a very laid-back atmosphere (I'm sure it's a lot busier now though) - plus you have always got the option of going into big city Chiang Mai if you fancy a change of scenery and a different vibe.
We're getting reports down here that the pollution situation in the north is not too good at the moment though so please be careful with your asthma and allergies. Make sure you've got a proper mask on!
What interested me most about your survey was your Thai partner's story. She's clearly someone who despite a lack of qualifications, is more than determined to make up for it with hard work. Running a laundry and doing some online selling sounds like an ideal combo and as you say - why go out and slave away in some office or factory for 300 baht a day and work such long hours that you never see her. That's no life for either of you!
Actually, down here in Bangkok, there are more and more young people (both qualified and unqualified) who are trying their hands at online commerce and turning their backs on the daily grind of a 9 to 5. Many of them have been very successful because Thais can make great online customers once your name gets out there.