Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 65,000

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

65,000 is my full-time salary from a junior and secondary school in Central Bangkok (although I only teach older students) I have been working here about five years and I started on 30K a month, so the pay raises have not been too bad. There are ample opportunities to pick up extra work but I don't bother. I'm perfectly happy with 65K plus my partner's salary (I'll go into more detail on that in a later answer)

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

I try to save at least 20K a month but it doesn't always work out that way. Neither my girlfriend or I are really savers. We both like to live for the moment while we're still relatively young (late twenties) It's probably a strategy that will come back and bite us in the bum one day.

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

My girlfriend is a real estate agent so she has her ear to the ground where great value rentals are concerned. It's amazing what you can pick up as a one-year rental if you are prepared to be able to move out at a moment's notice with just a couple of suitcases. We are in a new-build condo with swimming pool, gym, etc and pay 10,000 baht a month to the unit owner, but I've seen the same size rooms advertised for almost double that in the same building.

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


I'm a couple of stops on the skytrain to school and back each day so probably under a thousand baht a month. I'll spend a couple of thousand on Grab cars each month as well.

Utility bills

Electricity, water and telephone bills etc come to around 5,000 baht a month. I pay for all that.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

We eat out probably four or five times a week at mid-range places and that easily comes to 10-12K a month. You can add another 10K for supermarket shopping. I pay the restaurant bills 66% of the time when we eat out and I also pay for the supermarket shopping.

Nightlife and drinking

We like our pubs and if I'm out with the girlfriend, we buy round for round. We can easily drop 3,000 on alcoholic drinks on a good night out. I occasionally go out with the teachers from work and will spend about the same. I would say 15-20K a month in total. This is all mounting up isn't it?

Books, computers

Nothing much. I'm not one for gadgets or computer games.

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

As I mentioned earlier, my girlfriend is a real estate agent and although her base salary is only 25K, she can bump that up to 45-50K with commission. So that gives us a joint income of over 100K I would say.
It's more than enough for the two of us but I'm aware we're probably not putting enough away for a rainy day.

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

Nothing ever strikes me as being an absolute bargain anymore but nothing is outrageously expensive either.

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

I survived in Bangkok on 30K and I survive well on enough on 65K. If you gave me more money, I'd just find other ways to spend it. On a completely separate note, I like reading these cost of living surveys but I always feel that there's not enough mention of what a Thai partner (if applicable) brings to the table. My girlfriend and I pool our incomes and while I pay the lion's share of the bills, she pays her way too. We're both on the same team, pulling in the same direction. I've worked with teachers who have come into work in the morning and kicked doors, screaming 'the b*tch has sent 10K to her idle parents again!' This is what's called a partner working against you and proving to be a drain on your finances. I can never understand why teachers get saddled with those kind of women.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Jonathon. You make an interesting observation about 'Thai partner income' and whether it makes life easier or harder. I too have worked with the door-kickers who are shacked up with partners whose idea of a full-time job is spread out on the sofa watching Korean soaps. Perhaps I need to think about incorporating a few 'partner' questions in these surveys?  

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