Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Rough Cost of Living Question
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
 
Post new topic   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Vietnam
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
douglas1969



Joined: 21 Sep 2012
Posts: 30
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:49 pm    Post subject: Rough Cost of Living Question Reply with quote

Hi, just trying to get some idea about true worth of a salary. Does anyone have cost of living comparison sheets.

What is the true value of 15 million VND. Can you afford to live in a one bedroom in a big city on that and save a little?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:59 pm    Post subject: No Reply with quote

If you were local, yes. But you are not, 15 million will get you by every month with no savings.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Tanker



Joined: 15 Jun 2005
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Rough Cost of Living Question Reply with quote

douglas1969 wrote:
Hi, just trying to get some idea about true worth of a salary. Does anyone have cost of living comparison sheets.

What is the true value of 15 million VND. Can you afford to live in a one bedroom in a big city on that and save a little?


A one bedroom can be had, but you would not have much money left for your expenses for the rest of the month.

I know a guy who lived on this budget (it was actually around 17 million.)

He rented one room, did not drink, and cooked at home. He would also eat at "binh dan" restaurants and some local places that cost 35K per meal.

As a poster noted, if you were a local you could do it, but you're a foreigner.

Unless your looking for a certain type of simple living experience (writing a lot), or into a sort of rustic lifestyle) I think it would be hard going.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
douglas1969



Joined: 21 Sep 2012
Posts: 30
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks. thats what i suspected.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 773

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=Vietnam&country2=United+States&city1=Ho+Chi+Minh+City&city2=Dallas%2C+TX

This is a comparison tool. I found it interesting, but not terribly accurate. There are so many "it depends" issues. I do find transportation and prepared food to be our huge savings, as well as relationships (though many of our guys go the opposite direction on that and overspend). The more that alcohol is part of your life, the higher your expenses, generally speaking.

Housing is another tricky one, it can and should be about half the cost of a normal western city, but we can overspend on that, and the market is such that it takes forever to find a decent place at a reasonable price. You have cheap low end stuff for the natives, expensive high end stuff for high rollers (and about 5 times as much as needed, with another 5 times as much sitting uncompleted) and not much in between for a normal guy who wants to spend 3 or 4 hundred bucks a month.

Food is dirt cheap, as the labor costs are so low. Anything with a large labor component is usually a bargain. Motorbike repair is laughably inexpensive, the parts are what costs. You probably spend 20 times as much for a similar repair in the west. But then you have to factor in a lot of other issues, cheap Chinese parts (without offering you an option on genuine parts), quick service while you wait, misunderstanding, lying about what they can do, some good, some bad. It is never a straight comparison, because you never get exactly the same thing.

It is a cheap enough life, once you get it figured out, even the boozers have a bargain, but they tend to blow money due to their lifestyles generally. However, I never recommend coming to this place for bettering yourself financially (unless you are from a very poor country and these wages are like an unobtainable dream to you). I think the best profile for VN (for a westerner) is someone who has already made his fortune, has financial stability, and just wants an enjoyable life that will not set him back financially. You can cover your expenses here and have a great time, but the goal of improving yourself financially beyond that is not that realistic for the average expat teacher, especially those who spend much time inebriated, which is likely the majority of our guys.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
VietCanada



Joined: 30 Nov 2010
Posts: 305

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMHO the expensive part of living here is accommodation. You can, with local help find a nice two or three story unfurnished house in a poor neighbourhood. Furnishings and utilities are extra. If you are not there when a utility rep comes for the money you may find that utility cut off. If you are their but don't happen to have the cash then you will have to get it and go to the utility HQ to pay the bill. Hopefully you speak VN and can make these arrangements with the rep. Your neighbour might pay OTOH which is nice.

Rent a furnished room in a multi floor house and follow the house rules. You probably won't have a key to the main door and will be SOL if you get home after the owners have gone to sleep. That costs around $250 a month as will a hotel room. You probably can't cook at home so meals are extra. You probably can't bring people home so companionship costs much extra.

You can rent a furnished western style apartment for about $4-500 a month and up. Not sure about utilities.

I rent a house and have furnished it but I like what I see when I visit friends who've rented a furnished apartment. I tried the room thing. That's just crazy. A bed, chair, a TV, shared bath, a single shared PC with a bad connection. Hotel dwellers I've met seem content and make it sound appealing.

Food is cheap if you like VN food. If you don't like soup everyday or very small portions of pork or chicken legs with rice and a boiled leaf of some sort then you're SOL. You'll love the single butt cheek, plastic, KG height stools and chairs. Difficult if you're tall.

If you can cook in your place then you have a larger choice of cuisine. Cheese and some western stuff like real pasta sauce, but it is limited. Import stores have more of course but they're quite expensive and rare. Very doable IMHO if you're getting paid well enough.

VN has a very low cost of living. Saigon has or had one the lowest in the world. (look for Mercer reports on line) but you get what you pay for. The real trick here is whether or not you are a hustling type who can find enough work to meet basic needs consistently. Holidays, school closings for exams, the summer, TET all put big dents in pay. Women if you're inclined and drinking really add up. Especially if you like nightclubs with dancing. Bia Hoi offers a beer for 50 cents but a night club can run 5-10 dollars.

This place is a dichotomy. Wealthy and poor and not really any in between. If you're comfortable settling in to the poor with occasional forays in to the wealthy when the money is there (better to save) then you can survive or better here.

I'd say $2000 and up a month allows one to enjoy the wealthy side more often than not. If it's a salary. But even then schools lay off salaried workers for the summer and just expect to have enough teachers again for the fall. $40 million is good. 15m is pretty bad considering that that would likely be from an unreliable hourly wage and not a salary. I think you'd have serious troubles here on that as an hourly wage. A third to housing and then living on $500 for a whole month while trying to save for holidays is quite precarious. The cheapest meals are about a $1 to $1.50 from what I've seen. Forget groceries. Three a day times 30 seems to be about $150 a month. Clothes, drinks through the day, fresh water, toiletries, savings (essential here) all extra. Doable I suppose but very, very precarious IMHO.

Did I mention that if you are foreign or otherwise unknown to locals then you will be expected to pay 10-20 % more?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:58 pm    Post subject: This should be made a sticky Reply with quote

VietCanada wrote:
IMHO the expensive part of living here is accommodation. You can, with local help find a nice two or three story unfurnished house in a poor neighbourhood. Furnishings and utilities are extra. If you are not there when a utility rep comes for the money you may find that utility cut off. If you are their but don't happen to have the cash then you will have to get it and go to the utility HQ to pay the bill. Hopefully you speak VN and can make these arrangements with the rep. Your neighbour might pay OTOH which is nice.

Rent a furnished room in a multi floor house and follow the house rules. You probably won't have a key to the main door and will be SOL if you get home after the owners have gone to sleep. That costs around $250 a month as will a hotel room. You probably can't cook at home so meals are extra. You probably can't bring people home so companionship costs much extra.

You can rent a furnished western style apartment for about $4-500 a month and up. Not sure about utilities.

I rent a house and have furnished it but I like what I see when I visit friends who've rented a furnished apartment. I tried the room thing. That's just crazy. A bed, chair, a TV, shared bath, a single shared PC with a bad connection. Hotel dwellers I've met seem content and make it sound appealing.

Food is cheap if you like VN food. If you don't like soup everyday or very small portions of pork or chicken legs with rice and a boiled leaf of some sort then you're SOL. You'll love the single butt cheek, plastic, KG height stools and chairs. Difficult if you're tall.

If you can cook in your place then you have a larger choice of cuisine. Cheese and some western stuff like real pasta sauce, but it is limited. Import stores have more of course but they're quite expensive and rare. Very doable IMHO if you're getting paid well enough.

VN has a very low cost of living. Saigon has or had one the lowest in the world. (look for Mercer reports on line) but you get what you pay for. The real trick here is whether or not you are a hustling type who can find enough work to meet basic needs consistently. Holidays, school closings for exams, the summer, TET all put big dents in pay. Women if you're inclined and drinking really add up. Especially if you like nightclubs with dancing. Bia Hoi offers a beer for 50 cents but a night club can run 5-10 dollars.

This place is a dichotomy. Wealthy and poor and not really any in between. If you're comfortable settling in to the poor with occasional forays in to the wealthy when the money is there (better to save) then you can survive or better here.

I'd say $2000 and up a month allows one to enjoy the wealthy side more often than not. If it's a salary. But even then schools lay off salaried workers for the summer and just expect to have enough teachers again for the fall. $40 million is good. 15m is pretty bad considering that that would likely be from an unreliable hourly wage and not a salary. I think you'd have serious troubles here on that as an hourly wage. A third to housing and then living on $500 for a whole month while trying to save for holidays is quite precarious. The cheapest meals are about a $1 to $1.50 from what I've seen. Forget groceries. Three a day times 30 seems to be about $150 a month. Clothes, drinks through the day, fresh water, toiletries, savings (essential here) all extra. Doable I suppose but very, very precarious IMHO.

Did I mention that if you are foreign or otherwise unknown to locals then you will be expected to pay 10-20 % more?


For anybody reading the above, I think this post gives one of the best descriptions of life and its pitfalls as an ESL teacher here and it has certainly been my experience - I couldn't believe it when I was locked out at night after 21.30. I had paid 3 month's up front too! Your place of abode will determine the quality of stay here. Appearances can be deceiving, so remember to ask zany questions like, 'do you go in and out of my room?', 'Do you lock me out at night?' and, 'are women allowed to visit?'. Never, and I mean never believe the pitch that sells you a place that is empty now, will magically have materialised into a fully furnished apartment with a flat screen tv, sofas, beds, and if there was no toilet, that too will appear. Walk away.

Nice one VietCanada.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Tigerstyleone



Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 181

PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:04 am    Post subject: Re: Rough Cost of Living Question Reply with quote

douglas1969 wrote:


What is the true value of 15 million VND. Can you afford to live in a one bedroom in a big city on that and save a little?


No I cannot. Need a lot more to get a one bedroom and save a little.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BenE



Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 277

PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I look on newhanoian I can still see many places that offer 1 bedroom in a shared house for under 200 USD. I personally stayed in a place that was acceptable and I had a house key. I wasn't the best place but fine for my first few years. I think with 15 million you'd struggle a little but it's certainly possible if you don't use taxis (the buses do work here!), shop in markets, learn Vietnamese and haggle prices.

If you were in the provinces and in a small city further out I'd say it'd be perfectly possible as prices are even cheaper. I doubt though you would be able to save much from 15 million unless you manage to get free accommodation or something similar.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
I'm With Stupid



Joined: 03 Sep 2010
Posts: 367

PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where the hell do all of you live that you're getting locked out? Why would you sign a contract on a house you don't even have a front door key to? I've never heard of anyone in that situation.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 538
Location: Salalah, Oman

PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm With Stupid wrote:
Where the hell do all of you live that you're getting locked out? Why would you sign a contract on a house you don't even have a front door key to? I've never heard of anyone in that situation.


I have, but for only one case. Back when I was living in Hanoi, there was a middle-aged teacher there who was pretty well known in the expat community for being something of an eccentric. I only knew him slightly but we had quite a few mutual friends. Anyway, whenever my friends and him were out on the town drinking, he was always mindful to be back home before the ten o'clock 'curfew' his landlady had set. If he was late, he got locked out for the night Rolling Eyes.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
kurtz



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 397
Location: off the radar

PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm With Stupid wrote:
Where the hell do all of you live that you're getting locked out? Why would you sign a contract on a house you don't even have a front door key to? I've never heard of anyone in that situation.


Some people don't want to sign contracts so they live in a serviced room or apartment. The maids let you in and out and the door is locked from the inside. If you come back after 11pm you have to wake someone up and they let you in. A small price to pay for 24 hour security.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Tigerstyleone



Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Posts: 181

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Except for the revenge they get by letting the air out of my tires because I woke them up.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Prof.Gringo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 2011
Location: Paradise, Paradise, Paradise!

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:17 am    Post subject: Re: Rough Cost of Living Question Reply with quote

douglas1969 wrote:
Hi, just trying to get some idea about true worth of a salary. Does anyone have cost of living comparison sheets.

What is the true value of 15 million VND. Can you afford to live in a one bedroom in a big city on that and save a little?


Not sure where other people live in VN...

I rent an A/C hotel room with WiFi, cable TV, balcony etc- $250USD per month or about $5,000,000VND... I had same hotel set-up with NO A/C and I paid $3.5M VND month...

Food: A bowl of beef Pho can easily be had for $20,000VND.

I eat a LOT of COM CHAY (VN vegeterian food) which includes RICE, about 5 diff veggie based foods (Amazing what they can do with tofu here, things like lil tofu vienna sausages and spring rolls), SOUP, and all the iced tea you can drink, COST: $15-25,000 VND per meal. I ate this yesterday, and paid $15,000 VND ($0.75 CENTS US) and then I went to the Pagoda and the monks insisted I eat again for free...

A Saigon Sandwich can be had for as cheap as $8,000 VND if you KNOW the LOCAL price and even at a cost of $15,000VND it's a good deal.

A 333 BEER is $9,000 VND or about $0.45 CENTS

A bottle of COKE is $6,000 VND ($0.30 US CENTS)

A bus ride in HCMC costs $6,000 VND (again just THIRTY US CENTS!)

You can eat fast-food cheaply at LOTTERIA, a burger combo is about $60-70,000VND. Or you can get the burger Bulgogi, 2 for 1 $36,000 VND or a cheeseburger with an egg on it for $20,000VND along with a Pepsi for $10,000VND and an Ice Cream cone for $3,000VND.

If you get the HELL out of D-1, and STOP getting RIPPED-OFF, if YOU learn a FEW words of VIETNAMESE and LEARN the REAL prices, VN is VERY cheap. And if you LEARN TO JUST WALK-AWAY! I won't be overcharged or ripped-off, I can always buy the same crap at the next store up the street. And once you know some local spots that give you the REAL LOCAL VN price, you KEEP going BACK there!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 402

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup... you can live insanely cheap here if you want. I haven't spent more than $20,000,000 VND in a month in as long as I can remember. The rest is all savings. So I think 15 million is doable, especially if you don't go out to drink a lot.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Vietnam All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
Page 1 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC