Working in Phitsanaloke

Monthly Earnings 35,000

Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)

I work at a large government school in Phitsanaloke (which for those who have never heard of it, is about 5 hours north of Bangkok) My full-time salary is 35K and there is little chance to earn anything above that so 35K is what I need to survive on and budget for.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

I try to put away at least 5-10,000 baht a month, which in pre-Covid times was very doable. It hasn't happened for a number of months though.

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

Accommodation here can be very cheap and I live in a 3,500 baht a month studio apartment. The building owner is connected to the school I believe so it was the school who recommended this place to me when I arrived in Thailand several years ago. It's nothing special but it has hot water and the air-con is decent. The building itself is very old though and starting to crumble in places.

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


I bought my own second-hand motorcycle a couple of years ago so I spend just a few hundred baht a month on gas and maintenance. You need a motorcycle to get around in these rural Thai towns. Only a fool or someone with plenty of time on their hands, relies on the public transport system. Unless you live next door to the school of course. Having your own motorcycle makes life so much easier.

Utility bills

Never much more than a thousand baht for water, electricity and internet. I only turn on the AC for half an hour in the morning and a couple of hours in the evening to take the humidity out of the room.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I budget for around 300 baht a day on food and I find with that amount I can eat out twice a day ad make breakfast in the apartment. So let's call that 9-10K.

Nightlife and drinking

This is a quiet town and most of the nightlife is what I would call a Thai scene. That's not to say I don't go out with Thai staff from time to time (I'm only one of three foreign teachers at the school) but we all split the bill when we go out for a meal and a few drinks. My share never comes to more than about 700 baht so if I go out once a week, then that's 3,000 a month I guess.

Books, computers

Almost nothing. Although I did just buy a new desktop computer for around 30,000. This category tends to be the odd large purchase so difficult to give it a monthly figure.

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

I work through an agency and have a sort of misguided loyalty towards them because they found me this job and I love the school. However, I'm still waiting for last term's bonus and my 35K isn't always paid as promptly as it should be. I live a very month-to-month existence and it's not an idea situation. When my rent is due on the second of each month, and my salary gets paid into the bank a week late, I'm relying on savings to cover the rent.

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

Most things to be honest. I live a very Thai lifestyle and there are not that many Western temptations up here.

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

As ridiculous as it sounds, you could survive on 10,000 baht and not go hungry. That doesn't mean I would like to try it though.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Steve. Yes, I've known a few teachers in the same boat as you, where they stay loyal to a particular agent who found them a decent job. But at the end of the day, the employer has a responsibilty to make sure your well-earned paycheck goes into the bank on the same day every month. OK, sometimes one or two days late is acceptable but it shouldn't happen very often. I hope you manage to sort things out. 

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