Working in Lopburi
Monthly Earnings 36,500 baht
Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)
My full-time salary per month is 37,000 baht but after tax it comes to 36,500.
Q2. How much money can you save each month?
I started this job in September 2020 and at first, I didn’t really save too much, maybe 5,000 baht a month until February 2021 - and if I had any other money left over that was a bonus. From February to now, I have been able to save 15,000 - 20,000 baht a month, which is a big difference.
Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?
Accommodation is 3,300 baht a month and with water and electric it works out to no more than 4,200 a month including using the AC. The room is basic, I have a bathroom, a large balcony and a lovely view of the school when I open my door. I live in an apartment opposite school so it's easy to walk to.
Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?
Transport here is so cheap. if I venture into the old town, it costs me 8 baht using the songthaew. I don’t have a scooter but it would help so much as the public transport in Lopburi seems to stop running after 7-8pm but you still see the odd songthaew driving around so you can flag them down. Motorbike taxis from the old town back to my room cost about 50-60 baht.
Electric and water come to around 900 baht, phone, AIS unlimited internet with fast speeds adds another 450 baht. I use my hot spot mostly as the wifi is very poor at the apartment. A True premier league package is another 299 baht per month and it’s great watching the football in HD. I use Netflix but that payment comes from my English bank account so not sure about the price - maybe 500 baht a month.
Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping
Food is cheap here like most places in Thailand but sometimes it’s so easy to buy Western food using delivery services like Food Panda. I live on krapow, which costs 55 baht and Thai tea. I don’t really eat much and that’s surprising as most people like to spend a lot of money on food. Supermarkets are the same, I don’t really buy a lot of things. I try to do a 'big shop' after every pay day and if I see anything else I need I will buy it. I think I could spend about 5,000-6,000 a month on both restaurant food and supermarket shopping.
Nightlife and drinking
If I could add up all the money I have spent on beer and whiskey since being here, I could cry. In Lopburi there weren't many places to drink even before Covid came along and most places are hard to reach if you don’t have a motorbike or car. It’s easy to go to 7/11 and Big C to buy beers and while the price is cheap, it adds up fast. I like to drink beer so I don’t mind spending money on it but I always know when to stop. Since Covid, everywhere is closed so I have managed to save so much money and slowly starting to ease off on the drinking sessions - but I don’t mind drinking in my room while watching a TV series or playing on the PlayStation.
I don’t pay for either. I brought my laptop and an iPad from home. I don’t use books much, only the books I get from school to write lesson plans.
Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?
My life is good in Lopburi. I never have to worry about money each month as I am good at saving and since Covid, I have saved a lot for when the country slowly opens again.
Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?
Food and public transport
Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?
I see this question a lot but I don’t think there is a correct answer because it depends on your lifestyle. I would like more money as would everyone else, but I think in this province, 36,000 is enough to live a good life.
Phil's analysis and comment
Thank you Sean. It's always good to hear from teachers living and working in rural towns and cities, where according to many, money goes much further than it would in a big city like Bangkok. It certainly sounds like you do OK on 36,000 a month and manage to save a reasonable amount as well. Living opposite the school saves you money and more importantly, time. Are there any downsides to living so close though?