Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 90,000

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

I work at a reputable international school (a proper international school) and although my full-time salary is a decent 90K, I'm classed as a 'local hire' rather than an overseas one, so I don't receive the higher salary and benefits package that they do.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

I try to save between 40-50,000 a month, which leaves me around 40-50K to live on. I've never been one of life's great savers so I'm frantically trying to put away as much as possible for the future. My parents recently passed away (less than a year apart) so I received a share of around £200,000 from the sale of a property and some savings they had. I appreciate this is a massive financial leg up but I won't let it affect my saving strategy.

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

I've always been very frugal when it comes to accommodation and I live in a small studio apartment in a no-frills building for 5,000 baht a month. I've never had any interest in socializing with other tenants around swimming pools or in lobbies and gyms. I like to get home from work, go straight to my room, lock the door, and escape into my own quiet little world.

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


I live relatively close to work so depending on my mood, I either take a 10 baht songthaew or ride several stops on the MRT. Throw in a few Grab taxis every month and I bet this expense still barely breaks a thousand baht.

Utility bills

I pay around 2,000 baht for my electricity and 300 for water. Internet and Netflix, etc probably push this category to around 4K a month.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

A bowl of Cornflakes and a couple of slices of toast is my morning ritual. I get a free lunch (and it's a very decent lunch) at school, which just leaves me with an evening meal to find. I never splash out more than a 100 baht on this. At weekends, I never fall for the lure of western food either. You could say I'm not a great eater so I keep this bill down to around 6K I guess. What's that? 200 baht a day on average. Yes, that sounds about right.

Nightlife and drinking

I'll go out once a week with several of my teaching colleagues and we'll do a nice pub and maybe end up with a Thai meal and more beers at somewhere cheap and cheerful to end the night. I'll happily sip a beer by the side of the railway tracks. It's the good company that matters. Let's say 6,000 baht a month.

Books, computers

I do enjoy my computer gaming so this could come in at around 2,000 a month.

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

I'm a bit of a loner, by choice. I've got a string of failed relationships with Thai women behind me. I just find trying to forge relationships exhausting and too demanding of my time. I've lived in Thailand for six years and still find that western-Thai culture gap way too wide to negotiate on a daily basis. Living a very quiet, solitary lifestyle makes me happy. I enjoy being with colleagues at work but my time alone is far more important. Sorry, that's a rather indirect answer to the question isn't it?

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

You can still eat out and eat well for under a hundred baht if you're not too fussy about laminated menus that are slightly sticky to the touch and you don't risk poking your head into the kitchen or food prep area.

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

I could be the wrong person to ask because my material needs are so few. I could easily 'survive' in Bangkok on 40K a month but a lot of people might analyze my lifestyle and say that I go without or miss out on a lot of things.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thank you Marcus for a very honest survey and a glimpse into your lifestyle. There's nothing wrong with a being a loner. I look back on some of those mammoth bedsit Playstation sessions I had back in the mid-90s (before I met my wife) and they were most enjoyable. You do whatever works for you. Saving over half of a 90K salary and I'm sure resisting many temptations is pretty impressive though. 

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