Living On A Teachers Salary

Some of my readers have requested more information on living in Thailand, especially if it is possible to live on the average teachers salary. In this post I will outline my average monthly expenditure. Please bear in mind that I am involved with a steady girlfriend and I don’t drink or smoke.

Thailand is, arguably, one of the cheapest places in the world to live. Your average teaching salary will ensure a very comfortable lifestyle, provided you don’t go bar and girl crazy. The average foreign teacher earns a very good salary, if you compare it to other Thai workers, and should be able to save quite a bit at the end of each month. I myself earn 35000 Baht a month and I am usually able to save about 10000 Baht of that, provided nothing extraordinary crops up. A person should not compare a local wage with what teachers are earning in other countries. Money goes much further here than say, for example, Korea or Japan.

Below is a breakdown of my average monthly expenditure:

Standard Month
Apartment 3600
Utilities (water, electricity, internet) 1000
Food 5000
Groceries (Detergent, clothing etc.) 5000
Transport 1000
Entertainment (DVD rental, outings etc.) 5000
Total: 20600

If I were single and just wanted to survive, my expenditure would be as follows:

Bad Month
Apartment 3600
Utilities (water, electricity, laundry) 1000
Food 3000
Transport 500
Total: 8100

Please note that this chart only covers the bare essentials, that a single guy would need, to survive. i.e. Work, eat and sleep.

When you first arrive in Thailand, your expenditure will probably be much higher. As you learn the local ways, you will notice that you are able to save thousands. People who say they could not live on less than 100000 Baht, a month, are the ones who have become too accustomed to their western lifestyles. Be flexible, follow the locals and you will never be stressed about money, even on a teachers salary.


No power in the 'verse can stop me.

17 thoughts on “Living On A Teachers Salary

  • July 5, 2007 at 8:52 am

    Very interesting. I was sure it would cost a lot more to live in Bangkok.

  • July 7, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Regular Monthly Expenditure for a family of three (father, mother and toddler)
    Food 6000
    Apartment 2400
    Utilities (water, electricity, phone, internet, laundry, appliances, etc.) 2500
    Clothing 1000
    Personal hygienic needs 2000
    Transport 2500
    Medical/Health 500
    Educational expenses 5000
    Recreation 2000
    Miscellaneous 1000
    Church Tithe (10% of salary) 3500
    Church Offering 500
    Immigration (visa and other expenses) 2000
    Deduction (Tax and other funds) 3500
    Total: 34,400

  • July 8, 2007 at 10:09 am

    Thanks for your input yllorco. Having a child can really push up your costs.

  • July 10, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    + decent internet connection (i consider it essential for survival 😉 )
    2.5 Mbps True : ~1,200 Baht

  • July 11, 2007 at 8:44 am

    Good point. I couldn’t live without internet either. I’m lucky that my 2 Mbps line was pre-installed in my room and only costs 500 Baht a month.

  • August 2, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    The thing about teaching and living in Bangkok is that you can live like a budget backpacker OR like a high-society Thai and everything in between; it all depends on what you’re into, how much you make and how much you’re willing to spend on yourself.

    My first two years, I was earning in the low 30,000 baht-range per month working at Thai bilingual schools and living quite budget. After realizing I could earn much more in Bangkok as a certified teacher teaching at one of the international schools, my lifestyle changed–I earned more and spent more.

    I disagree with the statement “People who say they could not live on less than 100000 Baht, a month, are the ones who have become too accustomed to their western lifestyles”. Thais who can afford to, spend A LOT of money doing some very Thai things. Thriftiness or over-indulging are not Eastern vs. Western tendencies but rather tendencies based on the way we grow up, dictated most likely by our socio-economic status at the time.

    From my experience, I spent less when I had mostly farang friends (who were all teachers, some of whom were VERY cheap) and spent much more as I became more integrated. There will be those out there who assume that this is because I paid for everything when out with Thais. There is nothing further from the truth. I have been treated to things (dinner, golf, drinks, etc.) by Thais more times than I am comfortable with admitting. I would try to reciprocate as best as I could but in my mind, it was not even close and they are by far the most generous people I have ever met, almost to a fault. Those who think Thais are only out to get foreigners to pay and provide for them are simply hanging with the wrong type of people.

    I do, however, appreciate the statement for the fact that it underlines how ridiculous it is to say one can’t live on less than 100,000/month in Bangkok. They must have Fabio as their chauffeur and Gary Coleman as their gardener…Which wouldn’t surprise me because there’s everything for everyone in Bangkok!

    Canadian, taught in Bangkok from 1999-2004. Been back twice to visit in 2005 and 2007.

  • August 2, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    Very well thought out comment JJL. I have to agree with the generosity point you mentioned. I cannot count the times I have been treated by my Thai colleagues.

  • August 9, 2007 at 11:28 am

    We Thais can live off a lot less. I earn 7000 Baht each month. I save almost 2000 each month.

  • August 9, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    This blogsite is good . . . could be spiced up more though or else boredom would creep in. I would blog here myself but I don\’t have the time.

    a) FOOD FOOD FOOD. Add your own own \’farang\’ ranking or \’stars\’, to affordable food/noodle/thai restaurants checked out by you, or by the bloggers or guests.

    b) Rural sights, accomodations – – same style, \’stars\’ ranking, invite commentaries.

  • August 9, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    Great Idea about the ranking, I’m going to work on it right now. I’m trying attract some more authors. We offer a ad revenue sharing option to all our guest bloggers.

  • May 30, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    Hi, just popped in here through a random link. Hi, firstly I’d like to say your site is great and very impressive. Enjoyed the reading. ,

  • June 11, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Mine is a bit different 41k a month teaching in bangkok

    Apartment 4000
    Utilities (water, electricity, internet) 1000
    100 a month for internet 🙂

    on working days about 100 bahts a day ( free lunch at school )
    around 300 a day on WE

    so around 5k too

    Groceries,clothes and random 4000

    Transport 1000

    That’s 15 000 for normal days + WE food

    Now you add the WEs
    money spent on the GF : 6000
    money spend on the mia noi (mistress)(hotels and so on ) 10000

    savings 10K, 2k a month are saved for visa costs.

    I’m doing ok.

  • June 13, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    Jeepers fellers what are you guys thinking. I knew teaching English was a poorly paid job but I had no idea. I’m horrified how low some of these numbers are and worse than that you guys seem to be proud of how little you can live on. Where is your self respect? Do you have no ambition?

  • June 13, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    I don’t know much about salaries for falangs teaching English. But I’ve talked to a few who said they were making 60.000 bath a month. Maybe they were lying!?

  • August 8, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    3600 baht a month for an apartment?!!

    are you sure you can even call that an apartment? more like a concrete hole in a wall. dear oh dear, why would anyone choose to live in such shite conditions?

    english teachers only get paid such terrible salaries because there are people willing and stupid enough to accept it.

  • August 11, 2008 at 4:07 am

    Giacomo: The salaries for English teachers vary widely, with most teachers earning around 35K, but salaries in international schools topping 100K per month.

    Union Hill: I don’t think that being an English Teacher in Bangkok is a job that is driven by ambition.

    Personally, I don’t find anything horrifying about the numbers quoted… it’s a decent (albeit basic) lifestyle in Bangkok. For myself, my basic living expenses total in the 20 to 25K per month range as well, and I don’t think I live badly at all. I can afford to spend a great deal more (I earn about 100K per month) but it just isn’t necessary.

    bongo: I have no idea where Norrad’s place is, or the quality of his accommodation, but 3,600 per month is very do-able for a pleasant and comfortable studio apartment in Bangkok — especially if it is unfurnished. I have a good friend who lives in Prakhanong on a rent of 2,800 per month in a studio that is bright, new and clean. I currently pay 10K per month for my place, but until 4 months ago I was paying 7K per month for a new furnished studio apartment in the middle of Sukhumvit.

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