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 June 2019

฿31 to one US Dollar
฿39 to one Pound Sterling
฿35 to one Euro
฿22 to one Australian Dollar
฿0.60 THB to one Philippine Peso

Bob and Lom

Working in Chiang Rai

Monthly Earnings 58,000

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

29000 baht times TWO.

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

Not sure, maybe 25 000 baht

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

8000 Baht 1 bedroom furnished condo including internet and all ancillaries

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

Transportation

2000-3000 baht fuel for motorcycle depending on the number of week end out of town trips we take.

Utility bills

1000 baht (electricity, phone, internet) included in 8000 above

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

7000 baht, maybe 6000 shopping, 1000 restaurants, more if away for the weekend.

Nightlife and drinking

0 nightlife 400 for beer in the fridge

Books, computers

the 500 Baht included above for net access

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

Good, two people happy together with really no worries.

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

The ability to buy a great motorcycle for 20 000 baht and travel two up every weekend as far as 500 km away, or closer, along fantastic uncrowded roads through beautiful scenery and stay in nice guesthouses and eat good food for almost no cost. All factors considered, North Thailand has to be the best place in the world for someone who appreciates that lifestyle.

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

If we didn't travel weekends we would be 'just surviving' and that would cost maybe 20 000 baht for both of us.

Phil's analysis and comment

Nice to hear from a teacher living in Chiang Rai because it's quite possibly my favorite place in the whole of Thailand. I certainly have an idea in the back of my mind to move there one day, in fact I sat down with my wife not long ago and we worked out how much it would cost to maintain a decent lifestyle, living in Chiang Rai, not working, and still enjoying a holiday or two abroad every year. We got the figure to about 85,000 baht a month but I can certainly see how Bob and Lom manage on about 60K - without the holidays abroad. Take care on those roads though Bob.


Martin

Working in Nakhom Phanom

Monthly Earnings 28,000

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

28,000

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)?

Nothing. I live in a school house.

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

Transportation

100 baht gas for a motorcycle

Utility bills

About 200 baht (no air-con)

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

7,000

Nightlife and drinking

2,000 - 4,000

Books, computers

1,000 (I have internet connection at home)

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

Comfortable, but I miss socialising with farang.

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?

In Nakhon Phanom, 20,000bt to survive. I have satellite TV and play golf. Not a lot to spend your money on here, but it's nice and quiet and friendly. (by the way, native speaking science teacher required!)

Phil's analysis and comment

Martin enjoys his life out there in the rurals - but it certainly isn't for everyone. You surely wouldn't want to live in school digs forever and eventually the lack of things to do is going to wear you down ( I know plenty of teachers in that boat) But for now it sounds reasonable enough. He's saving a third of his salary and manages to get out on the golf course from time to time. It doesn't sound as though he goes hungry either. I'm sure 7,000 baht buys you plenty of grub in that part of the world. I bet Martin sinks his teeth into a nice Joe Blake whenever he feels like it


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.


Showing 5 Cost of Living surveys out of 289 total

Page 57 of 58


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