When it comes to budgeting in Vietnam you must first decide what you value most. Is it a high-standard of living? Is it travelling? Are you trying to save money to pay off loans? The earnings you make as a English teacher in Vietnam go a long way which allows you access to a lifestyle you might not have been able to afford in the states. The earnings you make is way higher that the cost of living in Vietnam which is one of the primary reasons I decided to teach here. In this blog, I will give insight on how to budget and spend your money during your time abroad.
The typical salary of an English teacher in Hanoi is around $1,500 which might not sound like a huge amount back home, but trust me it is in Vietnam. Your hourly wage should be around $20 which currently equates to 465,000VND. Compare that to the 40,000VND mininum wage should give you an accurate picture of you how far your earnings will go here.
As far as housing goes I’ve lived in the full range of pricing and quality. I’ve living in a deluxe luxury apartment, a nice studio, and a low-budget room. Your salary will allow you to live in some of the nicest apartments in Hanoi if that is something you value from this experience. If the quality of housing isn’t a necessity you can find a room in a shared house for around $200. If you take the cheap route that gives you about $1,300 still to play with. You haven’t even made a dent in your budget!
Do you value quality food and eating out? If so, you’re coming to a fantastic place. The food scene in Hanoi will blow you away. You have your cheap eats but also have a wide range of amazing restaurants to grub at. Mexican, French, Italian, American, Japanese, Chinese, Indian...you name it Hanoi has it. There are even a couple health conscious restaurants in the Tay Ho District. Te price for a nice meal is about $10 which allows you to eat out every night if you like.
Are you here to save money for travelling or loans? You can stash away quite a bit of money very fast if you budget accordingly. Once again, the cost of living here is ridiculously cheap so if you know the “ins and outs” you can save most of your earnings. For the last 4 months I’ve gone on an extreme budget to save up for travelling for when my contract ends. Here’s what I’ve done to maximize my earnings.
Get the budget room in a shared house (shoot for around $200). Do not eat at restaurants or buy drinks at fancy bars. There’s a wide variety of good Vietnamese to choose from. My diet has revolved around 3 main types of food; Pho (Hanoi’s famous beef soup), Bahn Mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwich), and the classic meat and fried-rice. All cost about 20,000-35,000VND. That’s equates to about $1! Beer at you local Beer Hoi’s cost about the same price.
Housing, food, and drink accounted for that just leaves transportation. I rent my motorbike for $35 per month which is the cheapest you’ll find. You should plan on spending anywhere from $35-$60 on your monthly motorbike. Not comfortable with riding a motorbike? No problem Grab (the uber of Southeast Asia) costs around $3 for a 15 mins ride. Additionally a gym membership should be around $15-$40 a month. Budget well and you have the chance to save close to $1,000 a month! However, that’s an extremely tight budget.
Make sure to enjoy yourself and spend your earnings on what you value. Don’t miss the experience by being too cheap, simply spend your money wisely.