financial reflections

i just spent about an hour or 2 going through my notebook where i write down practically everything i spend, keying the numbers into a spreadsheet so i could figure out just how much i spent last month.

thailand is cheap to live in. like, ridiculously cheap. and as native, foreign english teachers, we get paid a lot compared to the thai teachers.  it doesn’t seem much compared to the rest of the world, but believe me, baht goes a long way here.

from what i’ve heard, thai teachers make 8000 baht a month. farang (westerners) make anywhere an average of 30,000 baht a month.  right now, the conversion rate is maybe 30 baht to a dollar; so i guess i make around $1000 a month: actually pretty typical making 30,000 baht a month doesn’t seem like a lot for the rest of the world (especially compared to places like japan and south korea and the united arab emirates where you can make double or triple that amount), but believe me, it goes a long way here.  (it is, however, depressing to think about “returning” to the real world and getting a plane ticket home. mobility is a little more limited)

when i got hired with super english, i decided that i would own up to my financial past and get rid of my credit card debt that’s been accumulating over the past year as i’ve traveled the world.  i regret getting into debt in the first place — although, some of it was from my surgery; some of it was also sheer stupidity — but i don’t regret traveling and experiencing SE Asia on a budget. it forced me into unique situations, like volunteering and finding cheap accommodation.  and i’ve been pretty good about living with less; i don’t see spending money on things as valuable as i do on spending money on experiences.

so in july i got paid 32000 baht for the month of june.  a little over $1000 – more money than i’ve made in a long, long time. maybe in a year. it’s weird to think about that. $1000 goes a really long way here, though. 

this paycheck included 4000 baht that i got for doing a redesign of our language school’s website @  when i teach regular classes at Thida and teach at super english, i get 250 baht an hour.  for IEP classes, i get 300 baht an hour.

my job, like every job, has its positives and negatives.
positive 1: we don’t have to pay for housing, which is nice.  apartments and houses and shared housing normally costs between 2000 and 4000 baht.
positive 2: getting paid by the hour at Thida (as opposed to Suratpittaya) means that I don’t have to stay in school the entire day.   those who work on salary get paid a lot more but have to stay at school the entire day
positive 3: thailand has many official holidays and other random cancellations of classes. last month, i had 2 four day weekends! and a few other classes moved around. …BUT…
negative 1 : because of those holidays, i only got paid 22000 baht – $300 less! eek.
negative 2: because i work at the language school itself, we’re open 5 days a week and so i usually have to go to work at SE in the evenings even if my normal school day is cancelled
negative 3: it’s nice that i get to go to school late and leave school early, but at the same time, i work a split day and it ends up being very long; often i’ll be gone from the house from 7:30 am to 8 pm because of the time it takes to eat breakfast and then eat dinner afterwards (even though we end at 6:30).

going to post my actual july financial results tomorrow; this got too long for one post.


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