Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 135,000 baht after tax

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

I work at a top international school in the centre of Bangkok so 100% of my income is from my full-time job.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

Around 70,000-80,000 a month

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

I pay 30,000 for a 2-bedroom, 100 sqm condo.

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


I have a motorbike which is fully paid off and I live reasonably close to school so I'd say around 200 baht a month for fuel. First class insurance for the bike is around 8K a year plus the annual tax is around 1K so that broken down monthly is 750 baht. Sometimes I'll use taxis/Grab taxi but that varies. I use the BTS mostly at weekend and spend around 300 baht a month. My total for transportation I would say is around 2,000 a month.

Utility bills

My electricity bill is around 1,500 baht a month.
Water is cheap as chips at around 50 baht a month.
Internet/TV/Phone is another 1,200.
Currently I'm running/swimming/cycling outdoors so my gym membership is zero. Before it was around 2,000 baht a month.
Total around 2,750 baht,

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I often eat out at the weekends but I'm not particularly into fine dining or anything like that. A standard pizza restaurant, Lebanese, Indian, Thai or British pub and I'm more than happy. I'd say I spend around 5,000 a month on eating out. I really enjoy cooking and cook most of my evening meals at home. I'd say I probably spend 2,000 a week on food. Total monthly food spend around 15,000 baht.

Nightlife and drinking

If you asked me this a few years ago then the numbers would have been far higher! Having lived in Thailand for around 10 years now, I've done the partying scene and although I sometimes miss it, I enjoy waking up feeling fresh on a weekend far more these days! That said, before Covid ruled everything we do, I'd enjoy a few Friday night beers with friends so I'd say pre-covid, perhaps 1,500 a week.
Total around 5K a month on beer watching football/socialising.

Books, computers

I have a Kindle but I'm more of a holiday reader than a book-a-week type person. More like a book a month or two so I'd say 200 baht a month.

My real spend per year is on travel. I love to travel and I love scuba diving. Pre covid I'd do up to 70 dives per year and spend all of my vacations travelling either abroad or diving in Thailand. If I had to average it out, I'd probably be spending around 8,000 a month on travel and diving.

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

Excellent! I have a life that I've worked hard for and I thoroughly enjoy. I'm able to buy most things that I want without looking at my bank account but at the same time I'm able to save a good amount. I take regular breaks away from Bangkok on the weekends and always head somewhere during my school holidays.

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

Rent is cheap for what you get compared to other cities.
Taxis are incredibly cheap
Food can be very good value and delicious if you know where to look.
Utility bills

This definitely depends on where you're living though. Bangkok is becoming an expensive city, especially to eat and drink in restaurants/bars. A bottle of beer in a generic bar in Sukhumvit is more expensive than a pint in my local at home!

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

I think the key part of this question is 'in order to survive'. I've lived as a TEFL teacher on 30K a month so I know how far that money can go when you're outside of Bangkok. Back when I first moved to Thailand 30K could go a long way as long as you were not stupid with your money. I'm not sure that would have been the case in Bangkok. I'd say outside of Bangkok/major cities 30K a month is enough to have a frugal yet very enjoyable life but to enjoy the same standard of living in Bangkok, you're likely to need 40K a month.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thank you Max. So looking at the numbers, you actually live well on about 60K of your salary and save about 50% of it in the process. That's a nice situation to be in. OK, you spend 45,000 baht a month on food and accommodation (usually the two biggest expenses) but you're not a drinker or a bar-hopper and that can save you a lot.  

"Bangkok is becoming an expensive city, especially to eat and drink in restaurants/bars" - I certainly agree with you on that one! 

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