Working in Shanghai, China

Monthly Earnings 188,000

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

I earn 94,000 a month from my full-time ESL job and another 94,000 a month from private students. I only take one day off a week and teach around 13 hours extra for private classes. The full-time job is around 15 hours a week, but requires a lot of traveling around the city to class locations. My wife’s not working at the moment, but we could add another 47k a month later on when she does.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

We save about half our income most months when we don’t have any large expenses.

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

I pay 35,000 for a two-bedroom flat in a nice area of Shanghai, which has very high property prices.

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


Nothing. I get transport cards from my school and that covers all my subway fees.

Utility bills

About 4,700 a month including mobile and WiFi.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

1,400 on food. Mainly order food from supermarkets online. A mix of home cooking and restaurant deliveries.

Nightlife and drinking

Only beer and wine at home.

Books, computers

A new phone, or iPad every few years.

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

My wife and I have a really good standard of living. We don’t travel enough though, but we're quite satisfied.

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

Anything online! It is China after all.

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

In Shanghai, as a single person you need at least 70,000 baht a month for a basic lifestyle.

Phil's analysis and comment

There's good money to be made in China by the sound of it, Joe but you work hard for it. Apart from the travelling around the city doing your full-time job, you've got 50+ hours of private lessons to organise and prepare for.  I'm guessing the 1,400 baht on food was a typo. Should that perhaps be 14,000?   

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