Matthew

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 120,000 - 165,000 baht

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

I work at a fairly decent international school and also give regular private lessons. 120K is my regular, after tax salary (including housing allowance). I usually receive an extra 45K per month for one day per week of exam preparation classes (either Saturday or Sunday). The 45K is sometimes less as classes can be cancelled on special days, such as Mother's Day.

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

It varies, but over the last year I've averaged 85K a month.

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

I live in a one-bedroom, partially furnished condo close to the BTS & MRT. It costs 15K per month. The building is newish and has a nice pool & views. No complaints!

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

Transportation

Not a lot really. I used to take a BTS / taxi combo to work, but now I've bought a decent motorbike and transport is cheap. Whilst I realise I may one day die on Thailand's crazy roads, I love the bike and am not giving it up! I'd guess 400 baht a month in petrol and the occasional taxi. Total about 1,000.

Utility bills

The condo isn't huge (60sqm) so doesn't cost too much to cool (especially since I'm never there). Luckily the building doesn't pad the electricity bill, which I pay at 7-11. I do the cleaning myself so no maid bill (is a maid a utility?). Total for electricity & water is usually about 1,000 baht, plus another 1,000 for mobile phone and internet.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

Food at school is free, decent, and relatively healthy, so I fill my belly at lunchtime. Dinner is rarely more than a couple of hundred baht unless I'm treating a friend. Whilst I've never actually added up all the receipts, I'd guess I go through about 10K a month (and more during school holidays)

Nightlife and drinking

I'm a keen footballer and play or train most days. This means that I'm usually tired in the evenings and in bed before 10.00pm. Once or twice a month I go out with the boys, and when I do I generally drink a lot and don't care what I spend. Probably 5 - 10K a month.

Books, computers

This is covered by school. All the international schools seem to have libraries that are better than most of Bangkok's bookshops and mine is free for teachers to use (they even let me take a stack of books to read in the holidays). I have an aging CPU at home which will need replacing soon but it's not a priority as my school provides all teachers with laptops.

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

It's great. A combination of work (6 days during term time), sport and socialising means I'm never at a loose end. I've lived in Bangkok for 5 years now and love the place. When I think about the prospect of moving home (Birmingham, England), I cringe! The real kickers here are the holidays (two weeks more than UK schools) and the savings (in England I saved about 200 GBP a month but here I save almost 10 times as much).

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

Rent & bills - in Birmingham approximately 40% of my salary went in direct debits. Here it is more like 10%. I also like the happy 'hours' in Bangkok British pubs that are generally about 8 hours long.

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

I think I'd be OK on 50K a month. But would that cover trips home and big purchases like computers or motorbikes? I see a lot of jobs on your website offering salaries of 30 to 40K a month and wonder what kind of life that entails. To be honest I'm not sure why people apply for these jobs. If you are qualified then you can do SO much better... and if you aren't qualified, you shouldn't be teaching.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Matt - and great to hear from a fellow Brummie! Do you get to go back home every year to see what you're most definitely NOT missing?

What can I say? Matt describes his standard of living as 'great'. 

85,000 a month being stashed away in the bank. Free meals and laptops from the school. Plenty of books on offer at the school library. Well-paid overtime. Life sounds a damn sight better than 'great'. It sure beats going back to a bedsit in Edgbaston after a hard day's work in a Birmingham school. Right, Matt?


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