Photo Credit: Espsos.de
**Above image credit: Alter
So if you’ve read my post What’s the actual cost of Moving Abroad to teach English in Thailand, then you have a pretty good idea as to what it takes financially to move to the land of smiles and begin a career in education.
But now it’s time to tackle another important question–
Is it possible to save money while teaching abroad in Thailand?
Well in order to answer this question as accurately as possible we are going to have to treat each area of Thailand differently.
This article is going to deal exclusively with Bangkok. So, is it possible to save money while teaching English in Bangkok?
Well the salary of a foreign English teacher in Bangkok is going to vary greatly depending on what kind of school you work at.
Check out this article here for a good breakdown of the different types of schools in Bangkok, and the salaries that come with them.
General Salary Range
About 30,000 to 80,000 baht a month, with some unicorn jobs at international schools and bilingual schools going 100K and over.
Now Let’s take a look at some basic Bangkok costs of living...
**All of the costs below are figured at a monthly rate.
Accommodations: 6,000- 12,000 baht, with the current 2016 average resting at 8,771.43 baht.
BTS Monthly Pass:– 1,200 baht. This is pretty much a guaranteed necessity in Bangkok.
Inexpensive Thai Restaurant Meal:- 60-100 baht.
Reasonably priced foreign food in Bangkok:– 200-500 baht.
Street Stall Coffee: 20-40 baht
Price of a latte from a coffee shop (real coffee, not Thai instant): 50-60 Baht
Average price of a domestic beer: 60 baht
Basic Utilities cost: 2,000- 3,200 baht
So there you have some of the basic Bangkok costs of living.
If you want to see a more inclusive catalog, click this link to see a much larger, and more detailed list of the average cost of living in Bangkok.
Now because I wanted to give you guys a cost representation that was as accurate as I could get, I knew I couldn’t just look at numbers, and crunch a figure out.
So I decided to talk to two of my friends who have been teaching in Bangkok for over a year, and find out what their experience has been like, and what their budget looks like each month.
I’ve changed each person’s names for privacy.
If you’re looking to get an accurate picture of what it’s like to teach, spend, and save in Bangkok, well I couldn’t think of a better way than hearing it from people who are actually living there now.
For the sake of space and readability I have compacted the personal accounts each person people gave me into simple price lists.
To read the full account each friend gave me about their personal experiences teaching, and budgeting in Bangkok, click this link.
I highly recommend reading about their experiences because each person has a unique perspective that sheds some light and what its like to teach and save in Bangkok.
Personal Cost Breakdowns: A Bangkok Monthly Budget
Person 1: Ajarn Gina Grammargood
Transport: Daily bus to school and back: 40 baht x 20 working days = 800 baht
Occasional cab on rainy days: 100 baht x 8 days a month= 800 baht
Scooter taxis when you’re too tired/drunk to walk: 50 baht per journey x 10 journeys = 500 baht
BTS/MRT: 1,500 baht
Transportation Total: 3,600 baht
Food: 8,000 baht
Toiletries/cleaning products: 2,000 baht
Home internet and mobile phone charges: 1,100 baht
Total Cost: 22,700 baht
Leftover sum/ Savings: 12,300 baht.
So there you have one example of what it’s like to budget in Bangkok.
Now let’s look at my other friend’s monthly budget breakdown.
Kru Steven Spellingwell
Starting Salary: 38,000 baht
After two raises salary: 48,000 baht
Student Loans: $500 USD
Condo with a pool and Gym: 7,500 baht
Transport Costs (busses & BTS): 1,500 baht
Electric & Water: 1,300 baht
Wifi/ Internet: 650 baht
Telephone (7/11 top-up minutes): 400 baht
Food: 8,800 baht
A night out (twice a month): 1,800 Baht
Leftover Sum/ Savings: 11,050 Baht
Leftover sum not including student loan cost: 26,050 Baht
So now that we have each person’s left over monthly sum, lets multiply them by twelve to see what each person can save in a year.
Ajarn Gina Grammargood
Salary 35,000 baht
Leftover Monthly 12,300 baht
Yearly Savings 147,600 baht = $4,100 USD
Kru Steven Spellingwell
Salary: 48,000 baht
Leftover Monthly: 11,050 baht
Yearly Savings: 132,600 Baht = 3,683.00 USD
Now, what if Spellingwell didn’t have to pay for American student loans?
Well the leftover monthly sum would go up 15,000 baht, which would make his yearly savings 8,683.33 USD.
These figures are assuming no surprise emergency costs such as new clothes for work, a trip to the hospital, losing your phone, or going to the dentist etc.
Unfortunately though, as we all know, these costs do pop up.
So it possible to save money as a foreign English teacher in Bangkok?
I think the answer is yes! With a good job and careful planning, I’d say it’s possible to put away $3,000 USD a year, and more if you don’t have any student loans.
Aiming to teach at a school with a 45,000 baht or more salary will put you in the bracket for success. Student loans will make saving money a lot more difficult, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
As always, please comment below if you have anything to add! I’d love to hear from you.
By the way… Bangkok is an awesome capital city, but have you ever been to Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia? Check out my post on things to do in Phnom Penh, and learn more about this amazing city.
Thanks for reading and happy travels!