Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 115,000 (including my wife's salary)

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

I earn a relatively low salary for being a subject teacher in an international school in Bangkok, although the tuition-free education makes up for the measly 60,000 baht salary. On top of that, I earn about 9,000 to 12,000 for private IELTS classes, for which I charge a thousand baht an hour. The wife's salary helps a lot. She is Thai and works for a Thai insurance company so we get great health care from that and she earns a good salary with a pension at the end of it. We are both still young (32 and 34 respectively) so we have time.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

Nit much at the moment. in fact we barely make it through each month with so many expenses. However, in two or three years when the debts are paid off, things should look brighter.

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

The cost of the mortgage on our house gets deducted from my wife's salary and comes to about 19,000 baht a month. It feels like we're going to be paying that forever. I pay for utilities and other stuff.

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


Car payments 8,672 per month (18 months left)
Motorcycle payments 4,569 per month (10 months left)
Fuel 4,000 - 6,000.
Easypass 3,000 per month.
Occasional trips adds another couple of thousand.
Police traffic fines 1,000 a month.

Utility bills

Electricity 3,000
Water 150
Internet 1,200
Phones 2,500
True 899
Premier Sport 1,200
TV Subscriptions services 1,000

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

Supermarket bills come to around 10K per month and meals out for both of us plus a little one weigh in at around 12-15K.

Nightlife and drinking

Probably 3,000 - 4,000 baht a month. We don't go out all that often.

Books, computers

Audible books cost about 1,000 and PC subscriptions like Office, Adobe add another 2,000 baht.

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

We have a really good standard of living but the occasional curve-ball can create problems. We're not really saving as much as we did in the past.

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

Buying food at the market and avoiding the western fast food joints can save you thousands!

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

A family, especially an expat family, needs at least 150,000 baht a month to survive and thrive but you can do it for less. We don't really save much because we are riddled with credit card debt from setting up our house.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Joe. What's interesting about this survey is that although you're an international school teacher, not all international schools are created equal in terms of foreign teacher salaries. I'm guessing that you were perhaps a local hire? Also your Thai partner is making a significant contribution to the joint income. It certainly doesn't sound like you go without anything though and even strapped with a significant mortgage payment each month, 115,000 is not a bad income for a couple with one child right? 

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