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 have a full time salary of about 80,000 at a mid-level international school with a bonus that averages out to another 10-15K a month. I currently don't have any additional private or online teaching but may add some extra hours in the near future.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

I can realistically save anywhere between 30-50K per month but it depends on how much I go out in any given month. I aim to save at least 40K.

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

I live in a new 35sqm 1-bedroom condo next to the MRT and that costs 12,000 per month.

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


Probably around 2,000-2,500. I average about 70 baht per day on workday MRT trips - so about 1,400 per month. I probably spend about 500-1000 more on taxis, again depending on how much I go out in any given month.

Utility bills

My utilities are quite cheap. I pay about 500 for electric and water per month and I run all my internet off my phone on a really good plan that an AIS rep set me up with for 200 baht per month that allows me to stream Netflix, talk on Skype etc in perfect quality. That being said, I will probably add a wired connection to do some online teaching. But all in 700 baht.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I try to cook healthy food a lot. At the supermarket I probably spend about 1,500 per week. I also like to go out for dinner occasionally and probably add another 500 baht per week there. Let's say 8,000 per month. This is probably one expense that I should track more closely, as I am having difficulty adding it up in my head haha.

Nightlife and drinking

I have lived in Thailand for a while and while it probably ate up a large percentage of my salary before, I don't go out that much anymore. I'd say I get out maybe once a week with friends, but I still usually don't spend that much. Let's say 5,000 per month.

Books, computers

I have a laptop and tablet at home and a laptop at school. I usually just download stuff that interests me to read on the tablet. Overall pretty much zero here.

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

My quality of life here is quite good. My workload isn't too large, and costs of living are quite low. My salary is probably lower than I earned in my home country, but the taxes are much lower so it works out to a relatively similar amount. Expats in Thailand generally like to enjoy life a little bit more, and that makes for a nice social environment. Dating is easy and relatively inexpensive as well. That being said, I've lived in Thailand for a few years and a certain amount of the initial shine has worn off. It's still a great place, but I think once a place becomes too familiar it can be easy to settle into more boring routines.

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

Accommodation is much cheaper here than back home.. For a similar one bedroom condo at home, it would cost about four times as much as I pay here. Taxis are also very cheap. Sometimes I wonder how the taxi drivers survive on those fares. Going out for drinks is also cheaper, but I've noticed that prices in the last few years have skyrocketed as all the areas gentrify and target the same hi-so and tourist money. This prices a lot of more interesting people (both Thais and foreigners) out of the market and has made a lot of scenes somewhat boring and pretentious. This perception may also stem somewhat from my own biases as the shine of the new environment that I arrived in 5 years ago has worn off.

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

Somebody could technically survive on about 30,000 but that would involve a lot of financial trade-offs. I arrived here in my 20s and earned not much more than that at a very relaxed job with low hours. It was very nice for the time, and I had some savings that allowed me a slight cushion on that salary. I spent most days partying with friends and meeting girls. I had a great time and that wouldn't have been possible with my current job. Long story short, I think it really depends where somebody is at in life and why they are here. I know another guy who survived on 20,000 although he wasn't partying or doing much of anything beyond surviving. Don't much see the point of that, but to each their own!

Phil's analysis and comment

Thank you Mike. This is the story of a man earning a decent salary and living well within his means. He doesn't go without and still manages to stash away 40,000 each month. A single guy can do those things on a 90K salary. 

One recurring theme we've seen in these surveys is how the longer term expat grows tired of the bar-hopping nights out and 'casual dating' scene, etc. Giving those things up or at the very least, cutting back on them, can save you a small fortune each month.   

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