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What is the cost of living in China and can I make enough to save?

By January 24, 2018 No Comments

It really comes down to your location. There are parts of Shanghai and Beijing that have a similar cost of living as say a large city in Japan or South Korea, while rural areas are closer to parts of Thailand or Vietnam. If you are in a rural area or a smaller city, you are probably looking at$200 per month in rent. Expect to pay around $500 to $600 per month in center of large metropolitan areas. Below if sample budget for an English teaching living in a larger Urban area of China. You will notice the remaining disposable income at the bottom. What you do with the rest of your money is up to and will ultimately determine whether you save or not. During my first year teaching in Japan, I didn’t save a dime, mostly because I was out every night. But I did manage to save and travel during the second, third and fourth years. Another trick you should remember is the ability to do private lessons as a side hustle in China. Actually, you can do private lessons on the side in any country where they will pay you to teach English. You could easily make an extra $100 or $200 per month doing private lessons in China. Even better, you could also find non-teaching side gigs, which would give you a much-needed break from the daily grind of teaching.

Sample Monthly Budget:

  • Gross Income (Salary) : $2,000
  • Rent : $440
  • Utilities (electricity, gas, water) : $30
  • Phone & Internet : $45
  • Food : $220
  • Insurance : $40
  • Remaining Disposable Income : $1.200

Sample of Food Cost:

  • Milk (1L) : $1
  • Eggs (12) : $1
  • Carrots (1kg) : 80 cents
  • Chicken breast (1kg) : $2.20
  • Rice (1kg) : $1.20
  • Bottle of water (1.5L) : 50 cents
  • Bottle of Chinese beer (.5L) : 75 cents

Sample of Transportation Cost:

  • Metro Ride : 50 cents
  • Taxi rate per km :  35 cents (start fare ~ $1.30)
  • 20-min taxi ride across town : $4
  • City bus : 35 cents
  • 3-hour bicycle rental : $1.25
  • Ferry crossing : 25 cents
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