Working in Beijing, China

Monthly Earnings 193,000 baht after tax

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

I receive 139,000 baht a month after tax for my salary. I work at a near top tier international school in Beijing. I don't privates or any other work. I also get a 37,000 baht a month accommodation allowance paid by the school for single teachers (teaching couples get more) plus a 325,000 baht end of (two year) contract bonus and a 46,000 baht yearly travel allowance.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

It depends, as at an international school we enjoy around 13 weeks a year holiday including a long summer break, Christmas and Chinese New Year holiday, and a Spring break. So for the months I'm on holiday, I probably don't save much since I enjoy nice hotels and flying short haul business class. I usually holiday in Thailand. I aim to save between 70,000 and 90,000 baht a month.

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

I have a duplex 3-bedroom modern apartment in an expat district of Beijing. The school gives me 37,000 baht a month for accommodation and this is the full cost of my apartment. I could find cheaper and smaller but I like the extra space even though I live alone.

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


I don't do buses or the metro. Most of my trips are short Uber rides away (in China it is called DiDi). This equates to around 3,000 to 4,000 baht a month. I also have an electric scooter that I use for short journeys when I am not drinking.

Utility bills

Around 2,000 to 3,000 baht a month for electric, water, mobile phone and internet.
I also pay 5,000 baht a month for a cleaner to come twice a week.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I like my imported groceries and spend around 3,000 to 4,000 baht a week on shopping. I am a single person so I don't need much. I eat at home mostly during the week but sometimes order in, spending up to 1,000 to 2,000 baht a week in restaurants.

Nightlife and drinking

I am a huge craft beer monster (but I am trying to cut down). This can be quite expensive but local Chinese places are cheaper and more reasonable. I probably spend around 5,000 baht a month in bars on beer and food because I try to limit going out to once a week.

Books, computers

I have a MacBook Pro, iPhone 12 and an older iPad, I don't buy many books. I bought these over the last three years so hard to say how much I've spent monthly on these. Probably around 3,500 baht a month over the last three years.

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

I feel like I live quite a privileged life compared to friends back home and a lot of locals.

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

I think the local Uber cars are really cheap and comfortable which is why I don't use public transport at all.

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

'Survive' is a difficult word to use. I have earned less in China and still lived a good life by eating and drinking at local places. I have decent medical insurance but medical bills can be expensive without it. I would say for a decent standard of living, 90,000 baht a month would be ok and you could even save a little and take regular holidays.

Phil's analysis and comment

There's not much I can add to this by way of comments. When you fly around business class, live in a luxury apartment, take Uber taxis everywhere, etc and still manage to save 70-90K a month, life must be pretty amazing. 

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