Working in Shanghai

Monthly Earnings 116,000

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

I earn the equivalent of 116,000 Thai baht a month. This includes working full-time at an international school and 4,000 baht/week is from doing two hours of private tutoring a week.

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

I save approximately 45,000 baht a month.

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

Rents are quite high in Shanghai. I get 35,000 baht a month on top of my salary I quoted for housing. I use all of that rent subsidy to rent a one-bedroom apartment and that isn't downtown Shanghai.

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


I bicycle to my job and choose to live 20 minutes away. The subway is very cost efficient (20 baht on average) and goes everywhere as well

Utility bills

I have to pay approximately 4,000 baht for utilities (electricity, water, gas). Internet is cheap and you usually pay a fee for the entire year which is about 10,000 Thai baht a year. Electricity, water and gas are relatively inexpensive (800-1000 baht per month).

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

My school pays for my lunch, which saves me some money. I eat out two to three times a week and mostly eat Western food. I spend quite a bit on Western food, about 2000 baht a week. I don't eat much Chinese food but it is cheaper than Western food. Food at the market can be costly for meat and imported food. Easily spend about 4-5000 baht a month on food from the market.

Nightlife and drinking

I go out a few times a month. Beer can be expensive (175 for local beer and up to 300 baht for imported beer)

Books, computers

I don't really buy English books in China as they are hard to find.

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

My standard of living is pretty good as I don't worry too much about spending. I don't go partying every weekend but spend money on travelling on holidays. I can still afford to save and travel some. I travel once or twice a year out of country. I do think the cost of living in Shanghai is high and it is very easy to overspend on entertainment and nightlife if you wanted to. You can easily spend money on drinks and food as well. Rents are high especially if you live closer to the center of the city.

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

Jo did not answer this question.

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

You need at least 75,000 baht a month to live a decent life in my opinion, but I'm sure people live on less.

Phil's analysis and comment

Always good to hear from a teacher in China because it's quite often a popular next destination for those who have grown tired of Thailand.

You've suprised me with your 'at least 75,000 baht' figure Jo. I would have thought about 55-60k might be enough but you're the expert. 

It sounds like you live a very comfortable life there. Not much more I can add.

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