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.

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Approximate Thai Baht (฿) conversion rates as of 22nd May 2019

฿32 to one US Dollar
฿41 to one Pound Sterling
฿36 to one Euro
฿22 to one Australian Dollar
฿0.60 THB to one Philippine Peso

Timothy

Working in Chonburi

Monthly Earnings 45,000

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

About 45,000 baht. I teach and live just outside Amphur Muang, Chonburi.

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

Not much. I have two daughters, a house loan, and a car payment that take my savings. Occasionally I'll manage to put 3000 baht in my savings account.

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

We just finished building a three bedroom two bathroom house. It's paid for with the exception of a small loan that runs us 3000 baht a month.

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

Transportation

15,000 baht. Car payment and gasoline.

Utility bills

5000 baht. Two phones, electricity, and water.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

10,000

Nightlife and drinking

Do you mean going to the zoo and buying ice cream? 1000 baht.

Books, computers

1000 baht (unless I go to Kinokuniya Bookshop in Bangkok then it might be a LOT)

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

We are middle class but we're not putting anything away for the future at this point.

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

Food and taxes. If I didn't buy western food our bill would be a lot lower.

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

A single teacher could get by on 20 grand here. I suppose I could get by on 30 with a family, but it would be tough.

Phil's analysis and comment

My father always had a saying - "running a car will keep you poor" and while that's not always the case of course, a whopping third of Tim's salary goes into keeping his four wheels on the road. On the other hand, he'll soon be in the position of not having to pay rent of any description. It's always nice when your accommodation overheads don't include a rent bill every month, despite the fact that property here doesn't have a great re-sale value unless your front door opens on to the beach or you're five minutes walk from an international school.

 


Jon

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 75-80,000

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

70-85k a month from both university work plus extra jobs. I teach 15 hrs a week at the university and another 15 to 18 at outside gigs.

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

I try to save 20k but mostly that goes towards traveling.

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

21,000 for a three-bedroom, three-bathroom house with maid's quarter' near The Emporium

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

Transportation

not much since I don’t need transport to work. I guess around 1000 a month just getting around.

Utility bills

4500 baht a month. I like air-con! There is also cable and ADSL plus 4500 for a maid

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

as little as 50bt a day with the weekly restaurant meal or two and monthly trips to Carrefour at around 2000bt. All in I’d say around 5000bt

Nightlife and drinking

around 2000-3000b

Books, computers

I like books and magazines, 1500 on books and computers

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

Middle class I guess. I buy toys constantly and take at least 2 serious trips a year. Favorite hobbies are golf and Scuba…both expensive.

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

Food and hotel rooms if you don’t mind staying in cheaper digs

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

In Bangkok I think 25,000 to scrape by and 40,000 to live comfortably.

Phil's analysis and comment

Interesting one. I'm presuming that Jon is a single guy. If that's the case, then 70-85K a month is a good amount of money. A single man can live very, very comfortably on that income in Bangkok. That said, Jon certainly works hard for it. 30-33 contact teaching hours a week and probably a fair bit of travelling is no picnic. Scuba, golf and boys toys don't come cheap and I'm not surprised Jon only manages to stash away 25% of his salary. I would be looking to save more than that but it's different strokes for different folks I guess. I don't think there's any need to pay 21K a month for rent and what on earth do you do with the two bathrooms you're not in? The Emporium by the way is one of Bangkok's premier shopping malls and certainly one of the swankier areas of town.


Richard

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 150,000

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

After tax? Around 150,000 which really is great for Bangkok, but well down on the comparative scale. I’m the principal of a small but well run international school in Bangkok.

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

I try to put at least 50-70,000 away and manage it most of the time

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

I have a nice condo in Bangkok and a house in Pattaya which together costs me around 30,000 a month

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

Transportation

5,000

Utility bills

5,000

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

10-20,000

Nightlife and drinking

20-30,000

Books, computers

Very little

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

Comfortable. I’ve been lucky to have spend most of the last decade in Thailand or the Middle East which has meant a nice, comfortable lifestyle; far better than I could afford in the UK although being single with no kids probably helps!

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

The whole lifestyle is a bargain. From Emporium to Tescos or from The Oriental to Nana, everything is fresh, cheap and available. Tailored clothing, live-in maids, affordable cigarettes, I love it all.

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

For a farang? At least 20,000 baht

Phil's analysis and comment

Richard has earning and saving potential that 99% of teachers in Thailand can only dream about. Thailand's your oyster on 150,000 baht a month and there should be plenty left over for a rainy day as well. What more can you say?


Zach

Working in Hat Yai

Monthly Earnings 33,000

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

33,000

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

10-12,000

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

5,000 baht for an apartment

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

Transportation

1,500

Utility bills

1,000

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

4,000

Nightlife and drinking

1,500

Books, computers

500

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

I live very comfortably. I don't feel like I'm missing anything.

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

Rent and food

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

I've talked to falangs who survive on 12,000 a month, I would hate that. But they survive.

Phil's analysis and comment

Zach saves a commendable 10-13,000 baht a month from his salary (150,000 baht a year is no small money), so that must please him. I'm not entirely sure what 5,000 baht a month would get you apartment-wise down in Hat Yai though. It is Thailand's third biggest city and it is a major economic center. I'd be interested in how much space Zach has for that amount of rental money. 33,000 is not bad at all though for The Hat.


Kirby

Working in Chiang Mai

Monthly Earnings 25,000

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

25,000 baht ( a government high school 30 minutes away from Chiang Mai) I have been married to a Thai with an 8 year old daughter for three years. My income from teaching supports my wife and daughter and goes directly into an account in her name.

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

Absolutely nothing! For two years we have been paying off a car, motorcycle, and other higher purchase items. During this month we are finalizing that debt.

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

5000 baht per month for a three bedroom house about 15 minutes away from Chiang Mai.

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

Transportation

Motorcycle 1200 baht per month if I take it to school during summer time. LPG 3000 baht especially when it is raining and my wife takes me to school. LPG is a life saver, for petrol if used all the time we would probably spend around 8 -9000 baht a month

Utility bills

2-3,000

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

5-6,000

Nightlife and drinking

No nightlife (I am married) Very little drinking (two times a year at Pattaya on a school trip with other teachers)

Books, computers

1,000

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

I've had to bring in 1000 dollars extra per month to counteract the debt payments, but by doing this, life is quite comfortable

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

DVD copy movies, I have millions of them. Most are pretty good but you get the odd few crap copies

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

25000 baht for a single person is quite comfortable outside of Bangkok.

Phil's analysis and comment

Bloody hell Kerb! Your wages go straight into your wife's bank account (I thought that practice died out when the second world war ended) You don't get let out for a night out with the lads and a couple of light ales. You're bringing in the dollar equivalent of 30,000 baht a month from your savings. And twice a year you have to go to Pattaya! I'm wringing my handkerchief out here boss.


Showing 5 Cost of Living surveys out of 287 total

Page 55 of 58


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