Mae

Working in Sattahip, Chonburi Province

Monthly Earnings 18,000 baht

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

18,000 baht. Yes, eighteen thousand baht.

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

I have saved around 5,000 per month for the last two months. I came to Thailand last October 2014 and have been teaching for two and a half months. I have managed to save but I know there is always something around the corner that I have to spend for in the future.

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

I live in a condominium owned by the school. It's free for their foreign teachers. I am very happy with the accommodation. It has a large balcony, it's air-conditioned, with hot shower and fridge. Our place is new, spacious and well-ventilated. That makes us save some consumption of electricity. "Us" because I share it with a co-teacher. It is the school policy to share (and I like it that way because I am afraid to sleep alone, haha!). Just no TV.

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

Transportation

About 500 baht a month. I can only go to Pattaya City every weekend and the means of transportation is van or sungtaew. Van costs only 30 baht while sungtaew is only 20 baht. Our condo is inside the school campus. Just need to walk to my classroom.

Utility bills

Our school charges 60 baht per teacher for water. Electricity costs me and my roommate between 500 to 800 baht a month, but then we split it equally. Cellphone load costs only 50 baht, I don't use it for international calling. My laundry is unbelievably 200 baht a month. Wifi is free.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

We have two free meals at school - breakfast and lunch. I just need to take care of my dinner and my foods on Sundays and holidays. For groceries I spend around 2,000 baht a month. I treat myself to western- style foods on weekends so restaurant bill is around 2,000 baht also.

Nightlife and drinking

I've already quit drinking and I'm done with nightlife. My money would go to healthy fruit shakes on the beachside with a relaxing massage and a nice manicure or pedicure. I spend around 2000 baht for these too.

Books, computers

I don't spend buying books as I already have everything that I need in teaching. I do most of the reading and research on line. I have my laptop I brought from back home. Other things to where my money would go is sending it to Philippines to pay my credit card which I don't use it here in Thailand. That's 4,000 baht monthly. Few more months and I'm done with it. Oh yes! Im a Filipina.

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

I am satisfied and comfortable with my life here.

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

The cost of food and clothes. It's cheap.

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

Hmmm, if you are single or you don't have a family to support and you eat Thai foods and you have what I am enjoying from my school, then that 18k baht will make you live and survive decently. But it still depends on the needs of every person.

Phil's analysis and comment

To quote Mae in her survey - "I am satisfied and comfortable with my life here". At the end of the day, isn't that all that matters? 

I'm sure there are going to be plenty of teachers reading this who are thinking 'Oh my god, 18,000 baht a month!, how is it possible to survive?' (and I'm probably one of them) but you have to delve a little deeper and factor in a few things. Firstly, Mae's accommodation is paid for by the school and her utility bills are quite low. She can also just walk to school so there are no daily home to school transportation costs. What else? She gets two free meals a day and only has the evening meal to pay for. I reckon we could easily put a figure of about 4,000 - 6,000 baht a month on that little package. So we're up to a more respectable 22K - 24K a month straight away. 

So we come up with a total of at least about 22,000 baht. Probably enough to survive on though you do have the temptations of Pattaya not too far away :)

I got some interesting feedback from Steve, who enjoys these cost of living surveys but felt that I was way out for once with my analysis of Mae's figures. Fair play Steve and thank you for taking the time to e-mail me with your thoughts. Steve felt that the shared accommodation was only worth 2,000 baht at most. He also felt the utility bill being low just meant that Mae never used the air-conditioning. Steve hardly saw that as a benefit and again that's a fair point. Steve also saw the free school meals + transportation saving as coming to only around 2,000 baht as well. So in conclusion, he feels Mae's total teaching package is worth around 22K I guess  

I'd love to get more surveys from Filipino teachers if you're out there reading this. Send your answers to me by e-mail please.


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