Richard

Working in Hat Yai

Monthly Earnings 30,000 - 40,000

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

I work at a private school in Hat Yai that pays a salary of 28,000 baht but on a very good month, I can boost that salary to about 40,000 baht with a mix of overtime and private teaching. It means I'm in for an exhausting month though with very little free time for myself.

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

Very little. Possibly about 5,000 baht. Any spare money I have gets put towards a flight home to see the family - and thankfully they look after me financially when I'm there.

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

I share a house with two other teachers. It's a very nice three-bedroom place which costs 6,000 baht a month plus bills. So just 2,000 each in rent.

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

Transportation

Fortunately I can take a local songthaew to near the school and then walk the final five minutes. So transportation is probably 500 baht a month. If that.

Utility bills

We have three aircon units in the house but we're all pretty frugal when it comes to turning them on LOL. I think our last electricity bill was about 3,000 baht. Again, shared three ways, it's not too bad.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I tend to eat out almost all the time whether it be on the streets or in a medium-standard restaurant. I hate the whole communal fridge idea. It reminds me of my student days. "which one of you bastards stole my last yoghurt?" I couldn't deal with that so I avoid the hassle by eating out. I guess I spend mabe 8,000 a month of filling my stomach up.

Nightlife and drinking

Very, very little. I got tired of the bars and the pub scene very quickly. I prefer to stay at home and watch a movie on my notebook. I bet I don't spend a thousand baht a month on entertainment. In fact I only venture out when a group of teachers is having a little get-together.

Books, computers

I'm not a great reader so very little on books and I have an internet package that costs around 700 baht a month.

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

It's not bad. I eat well and I have a nice roof over my head. It's really that annual trip home that eats into any savings.

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

Streetfood is still reasonable, although I have noticed the size of the portions are going down. Local transportation is also very cheap. Just a few baht to go miles!

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

To survive? I would say in a big city like Hat Yai, at least 30,000 baht a month. I couldn't survive on my basic salary so it's quite stressful to go from month to month having to rely on the extra teaching hours or wondering whether they will even be there, especially if it's a quiet month like December or April.

Phil's analysis and comment

Richard's story is quite an interesting one I think because it hilights the financial 'burden' that can be put on you if there is a need to return home to see the family every year. With flights currently running at 40-50,000 baht for a flight back to England (more to the USA I would imagine) then you are talking a fair chunk of your annual salary just to get on the plane. Then you have to factor in spending money when you return home. As I think I've said before in these 'cost of living' comments, you don't want to return home and start pleading poverty and come across as desperate. You want to be able to take your friends and family out for drinks or a meal and cut the Mr Big once in a while. But financially it all adds up. I suppose this whole scenario is one of the great downsides of moving to teach on the other side of the world - at least for some folks. 


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