Working in Bangkok
Monthly Earnings 50,000
Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)
My wife and I work together and have a combined salary of 50,000 per month. We both work Monday to Friday from 7:30 am till 4:30 pm. Sometimes on the weekend, my wife tutors children in both English and Thai. With the extra tutoring, we are able to maybe bring about 3,000 baht extra a month.
Q2. How much money can you save each month?
We are able to save between 15,000 - 20,000 per month. We have a 2-year-old daughter that will be starting school soon, so we might possibly save a little less. Also, we are going to have another baby in the next 7 months. After that baby is born, we have to put him or her in nursery till 5:00 p.m. or have a family member take care of him or her for about 5,000 a month.
Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?
The cost of our condo is 5,000 per month. It's roughly 25 sqm, with a small living room, kitchen, and medium-sized bedroom. Also, there is a balcony looking over the horizon of the Chao Phayra river.
Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?
I have been driving a car for the past two years. The roads are quite tricky to drive on in Thailand, therefore, you can constantly have to be aware of your surroundings. The cost of our car payment is roughly 8,500 per month. Each year, we have to pay car registration / tax of about 2,000 baht and 1st class car insurance of around 11,000 baht. The cost of fuel is 2,000 a month, because I constantly have to drive my family around.
Electricity cost 1,000 per month. I can't live without the air conditioner, because I always sweat a lot from the high amount of humidity. Water costs about 100 baht.
Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping
Each week, my wife and I go shopping at local Big C. We pay 4,000 each month. We cook meals each day and bring our own cooked food to work.
Nightlife and drinking
I don't have much of a night life, and usually just buy a beer or a bottle of wine sometimes. Sometimes I walk around a local Thai market.
We bought a used laptop for about 3,600 baht a few years ago. Throughout the week, we share it together.
Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?
The standard of living seems stable. My wife and I are able to have our needs met and are able to save. However, I would like to relocate to a rural area of Thailand. After years of living in a concrete jungle, it wears you down. There is always constant noise and the sound of ambulances racing around. The smell of the air has hints of oil and other toxic smells. Where I live, there is an oil refinery factory. Each day of the week, a mask has to be worn to try to block out some of the harmful smells.
Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?
The cost of rent is quite cheap in Thailand, compared to the U.S. By driving a car, I don't have to worry about a taxi fare, a shady tuktuk driver, or a hell-bent van driver. I like the freedom of driving and being able to go where I want. However, I can't throw caution to the wind and must be careful of other drivers' reckless behavior. Motorcycles seem to swap lanes a lot and get into my blind spots.
Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?
In order to survive and live a minimalist, barebones lifestyle and still have all needs met, a person would need to make between 30,000 to 40,000 a month.
Phil's analysis and comment
I think you do very well Tim to be raising two children (well, soon to be two children), run a car and still save a decent percentage each month on a joint income of 50,000. I would imagine it means keeping your food and accommodation bills as low as possible but I guess it can be done!