Working in Lopburi
Monthly Earnings About 40,000 baht
Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?
I work at a local secondary school and my salary is just shy of 30,000 baht a month but I also do a corporate gig at a local manufacturing company. I meet with them twice a week in the evenings and they pay me 1,000 baht an hour. In a good month, this corporate job alone can add 16,000 baht to my salary but the company will usually cancel classes here a couple of times a month so it's closer to 12,000 baht.
Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?
I can usually save between 10-15,000 baht a month easily. It's probably important to mention at this point that I have a Thai partner who earns 25,000 baht a month at a local manufacturing company (are you beginning to see the connection?) and we have that classic arrangement of my money is mine and your money is yours.
Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?
We rent an amazing house with a large garden for just 5,000 baht a month (it's worth far more than that I'm sure) It belongs to the father of one of the Thai teachers at my school, in fact I think he has several properties in the area that he just sits on and I guess he'll sell when the time is right. It's a beautiful house though. Sometimes I stand in the garden early in the morning with a cup of tea and think 'wow! I'm a lucky man to live in this place for such a low rent'
Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?
I have my own motorcycle but rarely ever use it. The school is about a 20-minute walk away and I enjoy the exercise. So transportation is almost zero.
There is just one air-conditioner in the whole house (in the bedroom) and that gets a fair bashing - but our electricity bill is rarely over 2,000 baht a month. Water and mobile phones add up to another 1,500 baht I guess.
Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping
We tend to either cook at home or buy prepared food from the local market. I would say about 7-8,000 baht a month at the most. We'll sometimes have a McDonalds or KFC at the weekend as a treat.
Nightlife and drinking
Well, my partying days are over and there isn't a great deal to do in Lopburi so it's not really an expense worth considering. I would rather stay in and watch downloaded movies on the big TV.
Again not much. I'll buy a few books if I'm travelling around the north and see a second-hand bookshop. We both have laptops and wi-fi costs us about 700 baht a month.
Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?
Very comfortable indeed. Between my Thai partner and I, there's 70,000 baht a month coming into the household. Rent is low, we've no children and we are 'savers' rather than 'spenders'. But that's the way we like it. I enjoy the simple life of living and teaching in Lopburi.
Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?
Food. We can buy a huge evening meal for two of us at the market for about 100 baht. Now that's a bargain!
Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?
I think 30,000 baht a month in rural areas and quiet towns is enough. Everyone is different. Someone might read this survey and think my life is a bit 'boring' but I prefer the simple life as I've already said.
Phil's analysis and comment
Thailand can be all about making connections and Paul's survey highlights it perfectly. Through a teacher at his school, he's made a contact with someone who's renting him a great property for a great price. In addition, Paul's Thai partner has managed to get him a nice corporate gig at her company that can net him a very useful extra 16K a month. And there's a huge difference between earning about 30K a month and 45K a month (factoring in the corporate gig) But as Paul infers, always view part-time corporate gigs as the icing on the cake. Some months the class will study every week and the cash is rolling in but in other months (like April for example) classes will get cancelled as staff take time off to enjoy the holiday season.
The 'cost of living' section is one of the most popular parts of the ajarn.com website. Let's face it, we all love to know what other teachers earn and how they spend their money. Not only that, but the figures help those who are thinking of coming to Thailand to teach. Why not put yourself up for the cost of living survey? Simply e-mail your answers to the above questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll take care of the rest.