Cost of living (or “what cost?”)

I didn’t feel like I’d properly arrived till I got my Thai bank account sorted out – no more currency conversion charges every time I wanted to withdraw money and no more getting paid in cash. Winner. It also makes me realise just how cheap it is to live here as most of the ATMs insist on flashing your balance at you when you make a withdrawal, something I used to avoid like the plague back home. I figured that if you couldn’t see your balance then it wasn’t real or something like that…

This month has included a trip to Koh Lanta and one to Khanom so far yet I’m still pretty damn flush with only a week left till pay day. With this in mind I decided to try and figure out just how much  it does cost to live a reasonable kind of life over here. I’ll be doing this as I type so hopefully it’ll be a pleasant surprise by then end of it…

I reckon the easiest way to do it is figure out typical expenses for a day, then add in weeklies and monthlies before looking at the paycheck.

Breakfast at my favourite place – rice soup, four dumplings, coffee, tea – is 32 baht. hat fills me up nicely till lunchtime. Lunch can run from 25 baht to 50 so we’ll say 40 for the sake of argument. Dinner is a similar price but I’ll often go for something a bit bigger so lets settle on 50 for that one. That’s 122 baht so far (just over two quid for three meals out, not bad).

On top of food there’s the odd drink – I’ll not include booze yet, just coffee, etc – so let’s say 50 baht per day for a coffee of a smoothie. I get free coffees at both my workplaces so don’t actually spend much money on them. I don’t have to pay for water as it’s provided at my schools but even if I did it would only be about 15 baht a day so let’s include that. We’re now on 187 baht per day, or 5,610 per month.

There are weekly costs too – I reckon I go through 100 baht of petrol and a similar amount on my phone every week. Let’s say 900 per month.

Monthly outgoings? Well there’s only really electricity to cover, that has never been more than 180 baht. Going to say 150 though as it’s always getting lower as my roomies get better at turning off lights and fans when they leave the place…

Running total for necessities then? 6,660 baht. What a cool number, I swear I didn’t try to rig that, just noticed it as I typed! UCC is telling me that’s about 125 quid, not too shabby at all. Oh, and it seems the pound sign has disappeared from my computer, how annoying…

To be fair I don’t have to pay rent, that’s included in my contract. If I did it would be in the region of 2,000 baht, or a shade under 40 pounds.

Now for the earnings. Us teachers make a LOT compared to your average Thai, even though it seems like peanuts compared to back home. My monthly paypacket is 23,000 baht, compared to 7,000 for a full time Muay Thai trainer or 5-6,000 for waiting staff. I have to deduct a whopping 700 baht for tax so that takes me down to 22,300. Get rid of my monthly costs and that leaves 15,640 baht to spend on beers (50-100 baht for a  large bottle), whiskey (220 baht for a bottle), and holidays (weekend in Khanom was less than 1,500 baht, four days in Koh Lanta maybe 3,500 including all travel costs). I’ll have to take another 500 per month off when I join the gym but that’s still hardly denting the balance. As an added bonus I’m renting out my flat back home, adding an extra 5,500 baht to my balance each month should I need to dip into it.

Fuck me. That’s awesome.

Recession? Money troubles? My friends, I demand you all join me and move to paradise.

(PS – apologies for saying ‘roomies’ instead of ‘flatmates’. Been hanging around Yanks and Canadians too long…)

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2 responses to “Cost of living (or “what cost?”)

  1. Up buy rice soup, four dumplings, coffee, tea = 32 bath ? Where are u ?

    In Pattaya rice soup 37 Baht, four dumplings = one is 7 or 15 Baht, coffee 28, tea 28 = 153 Baht.

    So in Pattaya u pay 153 baht. And u HAVE to give a tip !! Or low service the next day.

    Lunch can run from 25 baht to 50 ? Yes, is possible. How long u want eat thai food until your body says: I am falang and now i make u get sick ?

    U get free coffees and free water ? Lucky man !

    pay rent, would be in the region of 2,000 baht ?

    Good joking, in Pattaya Region u pay much more, perhaps 5000 or 10.000 – Nobody gives a falang room for 2.000 baht, this is a THAI price !

    I hope for u u have a nice work permit. If not they can “Fuck me. That’s awesome.” But in the prison they have even free rice !

    In Pattaya they pay a price for those who work without work permission.

    OK Mr lucky teacher, I wish u the very best, have a nice time in Thailand but please not try to tell me Thailand is cheap.

    But English is important for the girls, most even talk about her teacher when they proudly work bar or gogo !

    My friends, I demand you all join me and move to paradise.
    Yes, your friends here already, Pattaya is crasy full. U can not cross the street any more. Prices going up and up …

  2. Well that’s exactly what I said – if you want to stay in a tourist area like Pattaya you’ll pay tourist prices. Your choice. I’ll stick with Surat Thani where you pay Thai prices but are right next to all the islands and best holiday spots.

    You see, MOST of Thailand is priced like this, therefore Thailand IS cheap. It’s only certain places where you pay stupid prices. Avoid those places and you avoid the charge. Simple!

    As for food, I can eat Thai non-stop, it’s one of the reasons I came here! I have been sick once but that was when I first arrived, I hardly ever here of other teachers getting sick either. Maybe they just don’t pay as much attention to hygiene in tourist-land…

    And of course I have a work permit. Not a good idea to work without one really. The risk of being thrown out of the country and barred from returning is too much for me.

    Finally, my accommodation is provided as part off my contract, same as almost all teaching jobs. If I don’t take the provided accommodation I’m given 2,000 baht a month towards rent which is plenty to find a good-sized (i.e. European sized) flat or house.

    (PS – for friends reading this from back home, Pattaya is the epicentre of the child prostitution industry in Thailand. Not a nice place, you’ll never catch me there…)

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