Martin

Working in Saudi Arabia

Monthly Earnings 364,000 baht

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

My monthly salary was 364,000 baht and that included a 65% transportation and rent allowance.

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

My target was to save 300,000 each month.

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

I shared a 3-bedroom villa with one other person. Each of us had an en-suite bedroom and we shared the kitchen. The rent was 18,000 baht per month so my share was 9,000 baht.

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

a) Transportation

I chose to live near my school so my only transportation cost was the price of a nice bicycle. Over three years, this worked out at around 1,000 baht per month. If I wanted to travel further afield, I would hire a car for the weekend so maybe another 3,000 baht per month on average.

b) Utility bills

Electricity and water are subsidied by the government so even with 50+ degree summers, my AC never caused a bill of more than 500 baht. Usually, it was closer to 350 baht. Water was 100 baht, which is not bad for living in a desert!

c) Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

Western food was imported (therefore expensive) and this was my one big indulgence - so around 30,000 baht per month.

d) Nightlife and drinking

Nightlife in KSA! That would be ZERO baht per month. There are no clubs, bars, cinemas, bowling alleys or any kind of public entertainment.

e) Books, computers

The internet was a lifeline for downloading TV programmes and books and cost 500 baht (1,000 baht split with my house mate).

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

I don't drink or smoke so the heavy restrictions were not as big a concern for me as they can be for some. You have to prepare yourself both mentally and physically before taking the plunge and moving to the KSA. You are there to earn and save with a big sacrifice in terms of having a social life.

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

Petrol is subsidised so works out at around 6 baht per litre. Water and electricity are also a bargain.

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

Most (all?) people go to Saudi Arabia for the earning potential. I always considered 30% of my salary was for the work that I did and the other 70% was for having to endure being there. I survived and lived very well on around 50K baht per month but you would not want to work there for anything less than 250,000 per month.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thank you Martin for a very honest survey from the dunes.

Martin also had this to say - "my goal was to be able to return to Thailand without any money worries. My use of the past tense during the cost breakdown is an indication that this ' Saudi adventure' is now over and I have made it back to Thailand as of last month somewhat healthier, wealthier but maybe not so wiser"

I've heard it said many times Martin - you only go to teach in The Middle East for the money. But you did it and it sounds like it worked out well. 

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