Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 60-65K

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

I make 52K from my basic salary working in a nice private school in Ladpro and up to 7K for after school classes plus approximately 5,600 baht a month with a private adult student once per week for two hours.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

Realistically 10K a month. I've only just started earning this amount. If there are no cancellations from private work or the after school work, then maybe 15K. Unfortunately the after school work and private work isn't consistent and doesn't run all year round.

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

I pay 6K a month for a two-bedroom apartment in an older apartment building. It's a steal for 52 square metres and only a 5-10 minute walk from the BTS. It's one of those places that can only be found through word of mouth and if you don't mind it being a bit dated and not having amenities that you would find in a more modern condo, then it's a great deal.

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


I walk the five minutes to work so only maybe the BTS and taxis on the weekend. I would say 500 to 1000 baht maximum.

Utility bills

Water and electricity normally sets me back 1200 to 1500 baht a month.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

Food is expensive here. A fortnightly shop for my girlfriend and I will set me back around 2K. I get free lunch at school but I do eat out in restaurants a few times a week with my girlfriend. So in total I would say 8K a month or maybe 10k at a push.

Nightlife and drinking

Once or twice a week. Probably 10-15K a month for two people.

Books, computers

I have a second hand Dell that works great that I got for 5K and I only buy second hand books when needed.

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

It's a reasonable life. I go out a fair bit and can afford to treat myself and my girlfriend from time to time. I go to a nice gym and live in a spacious condo. By the way, my girlfriend works five days a week in a salon but only has a typical thai wage. She shares the bills sometimes when we go out and uses the rest for things she needs. I've heard of Thais making loads of money selling stuff online but in my opinion it's pretty hit or miss.

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

Rent and hotels.

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

I would say 40K for a single person in Bangkok, 60K for a couple and 80-100K for a family.

Phil's analysis and comment

TJ's survey brings up a very important point that I've made before but haven't mentioned for a while. Never consider private students as part of your monthly income when you are doing any financial planning or budgeting. It's your regulary salary that counts; the income from private students is only ever the icing on the cake, and icing that isn't always there. December is a prime example of a month when many students cancel to go travelling or attend functions, etc, and by and large a teacher is just left with their basic salary.  

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