Michael

Working in Bangkok

Monthly Earnings 120-130,000

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

Approximately 120-130,000 baht per month. I make around 60,000 from my job teaching to adults in a language school and 60-70,000 baht as an IELTS examiner.

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

30-40,000

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

I pay 17,000 baht for a one-bedroom apartment in Sathorn.

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

a) Transportation

I probably spend around 1500 - 2000 baht on BTS, MRT and taxis.

b) Utility bills

My utility bills are around 1,500, my phone bill is around 500 and wi-fi around 900.

c) Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

My girlfriend and I enjoy eating out, probably two or three times a week at mid-range places, and once or twice a month at higher end. Probably about 20,000 baht in total a month combined with food shopping.

d) Nightlife and drinking

I love the nightlife in Bangkok and lead a healthy social life. I'm out two or three times a week and probably spend 20,000 a month or more.

e) Books, computers

I read avidly, but my father sends me a mountain of books every birthday and Christmas so I rarely spend much on books. I bought a new laptop last year for about 20,000 and hope it'll last a few years.

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

I have a great standard of living here, I have 2 or 3 decent holidays a year as well as a trip back home. I'm able to stay in 5-star hotels over Christmas / New Year and my birthday every year, something I wouldn't be able to do in the UK on a £3,000 a month salary.

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

Hotels without a doubt, especially the high-end options during the low-season.

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

There are clearly different definitions of surviving. I wouldn't personally recommend anyone to earn less than 40,000 baht a month but I appreciate people here for the short-term aren't too concerned about that. I've been here for almost 10 years now, this is my life and I need to earn a decent income and put some away for the future.

Phil's analysis and comment

Michael also said "my main reason for completing this survey is to try and remove the stigma of all or most private language school teachers being paupers; if you do a good job and work hard, and try hard to meet the right people, you'll succeed and earn a good living"

Fair comment Michael. I would have also said that 60,000 is possible for a private language school teacher who is valued by the school, gets plenty of student requests (as I'm sure you do) and gets plenty of hours.

But let's not brush over the extra 60K you make as an IELTS examiner. Way back in the 90's, I used to hear of teachers making crazy money as IELTS examiners but I never really investigated further. However, I did know one teacher who regularly flew to Hong Kong to do a weekend of IELTS testing. Even with the cost of flights and hotel, the hourly IELTS rate made it all worthwhile.

All in all, it sounds like you're doing very nicely indeed.

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