Working in Pathum Thani
Monthly Earnings At least 50,000
Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)
I work at a medium-sized government school in Pathum Thani, which is about an hour or less from central Bangkok. My take-home salary is just 42,000 a month but I can boost that to at least 50,000 with private students depending on how motivated I am or how many students want lessons in any given month. You cannot rely on private students for guaranteed income though. The numbers fluctuate especially during holiday periods like Songkran and Christmas / New Year.
Q2. How much money can you save each month?
That varies depending on if I do any travelling or I have a 'larger' purchase to make, but I always like to save in the region of 10,000-20,000 if I can. I'm saving for a trip back to England at the moment because I haven't been home for several years.
Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?
I share a very large four-bedroom house with two other teachers (one guy works at the same school and the other one doesn't) I know that house-sharing is often a disaster and I've got horrible memories of doing it in my student days back in England, but the three of us get on really well and we all have similar characters. The rent is 12,000 baht a month (but looking at the price of other properties in the area, I think it's worth a lot more) - and we split the rent three ways, so 4,000 baht each.
Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?
My journey to and from school involves a 10 baht motorcycle taxi to the main road (our house is a long way up a quiet soi) and then either a short taxi ride or a 12 baht bus fare. Probably no more than 3,000 a month for work-related travel but of course there will be taxi fares at the weekend on top. Taxis are so cheap here that I can just never be bothered to wait around at bus-stops.
Water and electricity come to about a thousand baht a month each. I suppose we're fortunate that all three of us like to have the air-con on when we are at home.
Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping
It's a crying shame that we share a lovely, big kitchen and just don't make any use of it other than a place to make coffee or get a cold beer from the fridge. Food is one area where I could really save money on if I wanted to but I'm a hopeless cook. So I'm a real fiend for home deliveries and when you are ordering Western food, this can get quite expensive. I reckon I spend 10,000 a month on food and probably more.
Nightlife and drinking
I don't go out much but do enjoy a beer and whisky at home, especially if I'm on the computer games console and the three of us are having a session well into the early hours (only at weekends of course) Probably 5,000 a month I guess if you include a couple of nights out.
I spend a decent amount of money on computer gaming and I do like my gadgets. This could be well in excess of 5,000 a month if you tot it up over a year. Actually by doing this survey I'm beginning to understand why I only save 10,000 a month.
Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?
Very happy with it. I could work harder, have less free time and make more money but for me that's not what life is about.
Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?
Taxi fares without a doubt. And if there are two of you to share the ride, so much the better. In a few year's time, I'll be able to use the sky-train more when the latest extension is completed.
Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?
Obviously it depends on your lifestyle but Pathum Thani is not Bangkok and there are fewer temptations here. I could get by on 30,000 a month at a push but wouldn't really want to. 50-60,000 is a nice amount of income because it allows to put some away for a rainy day.
Phil's analysis and comment
Thank you Trevor. I always break into a wry smile when I hear of friends or colleagues sharing a house or apartment in Thailand. It goes without saying that it's so important you get along.
I remember many years ago sharing a studio apartment on Sukhumwit (yes, crazy I know) with my best friend from school. We entered into the agreement as best friends but after six months, we were ready to kill each other and one bone of contention was always the air-conditioning. I wanted it turned on whenever I was in the room, but he liked it off purely to save money. I'm amazed we lasted six months in all honesty.
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