Working in Pathum Thani, near Bangkok
Monthly Earnings 75,000
Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)
Let's begin by saying I work extremely hard and I work long hours. I have a full-time job at a Thai secondary school that pays me a salary of 45K a month but on top of that I do some corporate work for a couple of local Thai companies and charge 1,500 an hour, and also some private weekend teaching on nearby housing estates and charge anything from 800-1,500 an hour depending on whether it's one-to-one or a group of four.
Q2. How much money can you save each month?
Not enough is probably the simple, straightforward answer to that one but I try to stash around 20-30,000 away.
Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?
I rent a small three-story townhouse for 8,000 baht a month. It was originally my plan to turn one of the upstairs rooms into a classroom and invite students to study at my home but it just feels like less hassle to get on my motorcycle and go to their place.
Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?
I have my own motorcycle (I was something of a bike enthusiast back in the UK) and I zip around on that. I do sometimes use taxis in the rainy season but averaged out over a year, this isn't really a figure worth even mentioning.
I'm hardly ever at home LOL so bills are quite low. I think my electricity bill comes to around 1,000 a month and water another couple of hundred. I don't have internet or Netflix or any of that stuff.
Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping
I grab food on the go and wherever I am. I rarely even need to do a supermarket shop. I'm fortunate that my school provides lunch and I generally skip breakfast. I try to eat a substantial meal around six in the evening but it's only at a very simple Thai restaurant. I don't do fast food or take-aways, I never even get a craving for them. This monthly expense probably comes to around 6,000 a month. 200 baht a day, yes that sounds about right.
Nightlife and drinking
I have a night out with friends a couple of times a month but very often I have such a busy teaching schedule at the weekend that it would be foolish for me to go out pouring ale down my throat the night before. Even when I go out, I always drink in moderation and I'm not afraid to call it a night when the party is getting into full swing. It's one of the sacrifices I have to make to hit my monthly income target.
Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?
I don't go short of anything but I certainly don't have much free time either. While I've got the energy and motivation to teach 30 hours a week (sometimes more) I'll keep going. Hopefully in a few years' time, I will have saved enough to take life a little easier.
Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?
Thai food at small family-run restaurants. I rarely pay more than 60 baht for a decent meal.
Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?
If you're in Bangkok, you need at least 75K, and that's why I set that as my target. I turn down an awful lot of work simply because I just don't have the time to take on new jobs. There is so much work out there in Pathum Thani, it's unreal. I would like to take on more corporate work because it pays better, but it's more difficult to find and getting the HR or training manager to commit to a course and sign on the dotted line can take an awful long time.
Phil's analysis and comment
I've been in this situation Peter, working all the hours that you can get in order to reach a monthly 'target' and then you're left with no time to spend or enjoy your money. Whilst your motivation and energy are both commendable, be very careful of teacher burnout is all I can say.
Submit your own Cost of Living survey