Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 105,000

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

That is my full-time monthly wage (including a housing allowance) at an international school. Also inclusive of health insurance and return flights to the UK. I've had opportunities to do private lessons but I really appreciate my time off and it doesn't seem worth it.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

At the moment I'm not saving anything as I have a new born baby with all the extra costs that includes. Also my partner is not working full-time anymore. Before that I could easily have saved 10,000-30,000 depending on how luxurious a month it was.

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

I live in a large 1-bedroom condo for 25,000 downtown. It is an older building but for the huge 100 square metre space, it is a great deal. I used to live in smaller trendier condos but it just wasn't feasible once the baby came along.

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


About 8,000 a month on taxis to work and weekend trips to various places in the city.

Utility bills

Electric is around 3,000-4,000 per month. Internet and phone costs around 2,500 per month. I can't remember water charges but it is very low. Maybe 100 baht per month, possibly less.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I spend less than I used to on my own food. During the week I budget 300 baht per day. I get school lunch subsidised by the school. Some days I spend more and some days less. Weekends can be a lot more. Probably I average 1,000 per day on food at weekends by going to nicer restaurants and ordering in food.

Nightlife and drinking

I'll usually have a night in a pub at weekends with quite a few beers. Usually this will be about 1,500 baht. Depending on the place this could be a few hundred more or less. During the week I sometimes have a couple of beers in cheaper Thai places along with food. It's much better value costing only around 300 baht.

Books, computers

I wouldn't put anything here as a regular cost. Occasionally I will purchase a new phone, laptop, PC parts, repair a device etc. This can range anything from 1,000 to 30,000. But not regular expenditure.
I usually borrow books or download them but occasionally buy something in the bigger mall bookstores.

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

Before I had a baby I would have said I had a fantastic standard of living in Thailand, especially in comparison to my standard of living in the UK as a teacher. However, since having a baby and having just one income in the household, I am starting to feel the pinch financially as I can't really save money easily like before without cutting some luxuries from my life. It is still much better than how I would be living in the UK though.

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

Rent is a real bargain considering the central locations you can live in Bangkok and the comparative price in Western cities. Transport around Thailand and in Bangkok is extremely cheap also.

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

To just survive as a single person with no dependents I think 30,000 would probably be enough. It wouldn't be a great existence though! However it's all subjective. For me, after recently having a baby, my wage is not enough as I want save money and maintain a nice lifestyle. Most likely I will be moving on from Thailand to do that.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thank you Terry. I've always said that the decision of whether or not to have children is one of the biggest choices you make in life (if not THE biggest). My brother has two kids and with them comes a whole heap of financial responsibility. It simply means you have to cut your cloth accordingly. It's a shame in a way that you are feeling the pinch because 105K a month is a very decent salary - and it's not like you spend excessively in other areas. You could take on some extra work to earn more money, but like you say, you appreciate the time off. There's more to life than working all the hours godsend if your heart isn't really in it. Anyway, good luck to you mate!    

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