Every new arrival wants to know if they can survive or live well in Thailand on X thousand baht a month?

It's a difficult question because each person has different needs. However, the following surveys and figures are from teachers actually working here! How much do they earn and what do they spend their money on?. And after each case study, I've added comments of my own.

Submit your own Cost of Living survey

Approximate Thai Baht (฿) conversion rates as of 17th December 2018

฿33 to one US Dollar
฿41 to one Pound Sterling
฿37 to one Euro
฿24 to one Australian Dollar
฿0.62 THB to one Philippine Peso

Christopher

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 70,000 - 75,000

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

70-75,000 per month (two jobs)

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

15,000 or more.

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

12,000 + 4,000 utilities & DSL. I rent a two bedroom townhouse about 1 km from a subway station.

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

Transportation

2-3,000 for work, plus more on the weekends.

Utility bills

1,500 (I rarely use AC)

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

10 - 15,000

Nightlife and drinking

2-3,000

Books, computers

2-3,000

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

I'm comfortable

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

Dining out.

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

It really depends on your lifestyle. If you are single and eat Thai food, as little as 25,000 would be OK. If you are married, I'd say 40K would be your minimum. If you have kids, your costs will skyrocket!

Phil's analysis and comment

70-75,000 baht a month means a very comfortable standard of living in Bangkok but Chris did contact me to tell me that he was married with one stepson. I'm glad he said that because I would be surprised if a single guy earning 70,000+ was only putting 15,000 a month in the bottom drawer. Chris' other job by the way, is a proofreading and editing position that pays 25K a month on top of the 50K he gets from teaching. Sounds like there might be a lot of hours to work there but when you're married with children, those are the sacrifices you make I guess.


Darren

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings

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

40,000 - 50,000 Baht

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

About 5,000

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

8,000 Baht for a 1 bedroom apartment (living room and seperate bedroom) on the river.

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

Transportation

2000

Utility bills

1500

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

6000

Nightlife and drinking

0

Books, computers

1000

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

We do pretty well, we are not living in luxury but we are not struggling either.

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

Definitely the food, we can eat out everyday for under 200 Baht.

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

If you are single, 25,000. Married I would not want to live on less than 35,000

Phil's analysis and comment

I think Darren would probably fall into the category of 'typical western teacher' in terms of lifestyle (apart from the fact he doesn't spend money on nightlife and the demon drink) He earns 40-50K a month, which is enough to get him a decent apartment and he seems to be doing OK. Saving 5,000 baht a month is better than nothing, but stuffing 60,000 baht a year under the mattress is never going to give you a golden retirement. One trip home every year and that little nest egg is wiped out in an instant. I don't know of Darren's plans but perhaps teaching in Thailand is something he only wants to do for a few years and that's perfectly OK.


Joe

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 71,000

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

41,000 from a school and 30,000 from a centre.

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

10,000

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

7,000 for a fully furnished condo

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

Transportation

13,000

Utility bills

5,000

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

15,000

Nightlife and drinking

2,000

Books, computers

2-3,000

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

Comfortable by local standards, but not able to convert this internationally.

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

Food

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

30,000 a month

Phil's analysis and comment

Joe is married with two children, so although he earns a relatively whopping 71,000 baht a month, his outgoings are high. I'm sure Joe would be the first to admit that if he were single, he'd be living the life of Riley on that sort of income. Although he didn't say in his e-mail to me, I bet holding down two jobs means teaching a lot of hours, but you do these things when you've a wife and kiddies to support.
Oh, the 13,000 baht for transportation includes Joe's car payments.


James

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 75,000

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

About 75,000 – 80,000 baht a month (before tax)

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

If I actually try I can save about 20-25,000. Though I spend most of my savings on big holidays and recently furnishing my house.

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

I pay 20,000 for a 2 bedroom duplex (condo) , comes with all the mod cons and facilities.

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

Transportation

About 2,000

Utility bills

6,000 including UBC but the girlfriend pays all the utility bills anyway

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

6,000 on supermarket – maybe 6 - 8,000 elsewhere

Nightlife and drinking

Don’t go out that much but enjoy a beer in the English pubs – 4-6000

Books, computers

500

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

Excellent, I buy what I want when I want and go on holiday when I have time, always have pennies to treat myself and the g/f whenever we go out.

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

Good Thai food, beer, cigarettes, taxis, train fares and beach life on my little getaways.

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

I can’t understand how you can live on anything under 40,000. I would say you need 45,000 in reality.

Phil's analysis and comment

75-80,000 baht a month is a very nice salary, especially when you've got someone else paying your utility bills! I also agree with James that 40,000 is the absolute minimum for Bangkok, and you'll certainly need more than that if you're looking to fund a nice annual holiday or two.


Jason

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 50-70,000

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

50,000 to 70,000 Baht, depending upon the hours worked.

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

Zilch in practice, but about 20k in theory.

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

19k/month. I have a two-bedroom condo on Sukhumwit soi 23

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

Transportation

1,500

Utility bills

5,000 (includes a part-time maid)

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

10,000

Nightlife and drinking

8,000

Books, computers

500

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

Comfortable, but could be better.

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

Food, especially good quality proper food (not street rubbish

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

If they are happy living in a shoebox, about 40,000.

Phil's analysis and comment

Jason is an interesting case study. He earns 50-70,000 baht a month, which is a decent income for a Bangkok teacher, but lives (or tries to live) the life of someone on double that amount. 19,000 baht a month for an apartment! a part-time maid to rinse out his smalls! 18,000 baht a month on food and entertainment! Leave me out. You have to live within your means as a teacher. If Jason has a nice nest egg behind him then who can blame him for lording it up til the wee small hours. If he doesn't have a bit of floorboard money stashed away, then I'd sure hate to be his bank manager. I think I'd hate to be his liver as well.


Showing 5 Cost of Living surveys out of 272 total

Page 54 of 55


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