Richard

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 40,000 - 50,000 baht

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

I only teach students on-line so earnings tend to be up and down depending on student cancellations and my own availability, but in an average month I can earn about 50K.

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

I'm not much of a saver to be honest so I tend to spend most of what I earn. I have some funds in the UK which I dip into whenever the need arises such as a flight back home to see family and friends.

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

I rent a two-bedroom town-house (with garden) for a bargain 6,000 baht a month. Firstly, it's in a very Thai area of Bangkok and quite a fair distance from the mass transit systems. Secondly, the house belongs to a very good Thai friend. He doesn't need or use the house so he gives me a nice break with the rent.

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

Transportation

Because I teach on-line at home, the only time I venture out is to walk to the local market or convenience store or to take a bus into Bangkok at the weekends. So my transportation costs are almost nothing.

Utility bills

I use one bedroom to sleep in and one bedroom as my 'classroom' or work-room. The air-con is always blasting away in my work-room so my electricity bill is about 4,000 baht a month - possibly because it's quite an old machine.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I tend to cook at home almost all the time. I would say about 8,000 baht a month on food shopping and the occasional meal out.

Nightlife and drinking

Nothing at all. I'm a good old clean-living lad.

Books, computers

Probably about 500-1,000 baht a month because I like to keep my computer upgraded as much as I can.

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

I used to work for private language schools making about 300-500 an hour, which is OK but far too much time was wasted going to and from school or hanging around between lessons. On-line teaching is just a far easier way to earn the same money in a shorter space of time. So as regards standard of living, I earn enough to keep me happy and I have lots of free time as well.

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

Fresh food shopping and transportation.

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

In my opinion, you need a minimum of 50,000 baht a month in Bangkok. I know many teachers survive on a lot less but I'm really not sure how. I used to earn 30K a month and life was always a struggle. 40K allows you a few treats but it's still not a great salary for Bangkok/

Phil's analysis and comment

I think this is the first cost of living survey we've had from an on-line teacher. A while back I would have said "make a living by teaching on-line? No chance!" But I'm slowly beginning to change my tune as I hear from more and more teachers who are making a go of teaching students via computer. And why shouldn't it be successful? Neither teacher nor student has to waste time battling heat and traffic; it's all done from the comfort of your own homes. And there seems to be plenty of willing students out there. I wonder if this is the future of English teaching? Enjoy Thailand's relatively low cost of living but pick and choose from a pool of students all over the world. Sounds like a winner to me.  

Fancy doing a cost of living survey? E-mail your answers to the above questions to me (philip@ajarn.com)


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