Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 60,000

Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?

I work at an international school and earn 50,000 per month. I can make 10,000 baht more if I work the after school program. I used to charge 2,000 baht an hour to tutor privately but quit that due to it still not being worth it.

Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?

Zero. I live paycheck to paycheck. The money I get from my YouTube videos every month has saved me many times since that money comes in five days before payday. The last week of the month is always when I'm down to the wire financially.

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

I pay 15,000 baht for a large, fully furnished, one-bedroom condo in Soi Thonglor. It has 3 balconies, a nice swimming pool, and a crappy gym. It's also pet-friendly, which is important because I have three cats. Purrr.

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


I'd say 3,000 if I take a lot of taxis because it's too hot to walk in this city.

Utility bills

The air-con gets blasted as soon as I get home and I only turn it off when I'm not home, so normally 3,100-4,500 baht a month. My internet bill is 747 baht.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

My biggest expense for sure! I'm a healthy vegan and prefer organic food but produce here is garbage and things marked ‘organic’ tend not to be. I seem to have expensive taste - avocados, mangoes, and the most decent tomatoes one can find here. I cook most of the week and eat at a vegan restaurant a couple of times. There are many excellent vegan restaurants in Bangkok but they're not cheap! I guess I spend about 10K a month in total.

Nightlife and drinking

Since I'm not drinking until I black out anymore, my nightlife spending has gotten much lower. So maybe 3,000 baht a month

Books, computers

Every salary day I buy a 1-2 kindle books off Amazon. I pirate most books so that helps save a lot. I would say I spend around 600 baht a month on books. I shoot and edit video so I spend 600 baht a month for Adobe Premiere Pro.

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

I can have a lot more fun making half of what I made in Los Angeles, but I'm still living paycheck to paycheck, and down to the last satang every payday.

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

Pampering and beauty treatments like hair, nails, Brazilian wax, facials, massages. Even Botox is cheap here but I haven't tried that yet.

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

I'd say 50K should be the minimum salary for Bangkok. Outside of Bangkok, people claim it's super cheap and they are happy with the 30K salaries on offer - so I'll just have to take their word for it.

Phil's analysis and comment

Although I've never met Vanity face-to-face, we often enjoy a chat on social media. She's one very interesting young lady.

Vanity has been working here for several years now and you could say she's 'done the Bangkok teaching thing' and got it out of her system. I think this shows up in her answers to the questions above. Vanity will be the first to admit that she's simply had enough and it's time to move on. The whole scene has become stale.

However, she's a very talented and creative person and I don't worry about her. I think she'll do well in the future at whatever she turns her hand to - but it certainly won't be teaching in Thailand. 

Two things stood out for me in Vanity's answers. Firstly, this must be the first teacher in these cost of living surveys to turn down 2,000 baht an hour for freelance tutoring. But at the end of the day only YOU know what your free time is worth. If a teacher considers 2,000 baht an hour not to be worth their while, then I'd be the last person to talk them out of it. Only last week I talked to a guy who was earning 1,000 baht an hour teaching kids for four hours on a Saturday and four on a Sunday. Weekends only were earning him 32-40K a month and leaving him with Monday to Friday free to manage an online business. A sweet deal for sure. Well, he's now given up the teaching! He valued his weekends too much.

Secondly, if I knew that today was going to be my last day on earth and was asked about any regrets, I would probably answer with 'I worried about money too much'. I've always had a fear of not being able to support myself financially. So when I read answers from teachers like Vanity, who are down to their last satang at the end of each month, I shudder. But there is also a begrudging admiration. Is it easier to live that way when you're young? I don't know. It always sounds a bit reckless to me.  

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