Why do people want to teach English abroad?
If you ask any who is interested in teaching English abroad what are their main reasons for going, you will probably find for most people that the answer, - "To make money", will be amongst the top 5 answers.
Some people want to travel and see the world and so one of the best ways to do this is by living, working and earning money in the country that you want to see.
At the same time, whilst you are living in the country of your choice and doing all the sight seeing your earnings can allow you to, you are also thinking - "Where next?". And this means you will need money for flights, set up costs and money for the first month before you get paid.
So, one of the things people look for when searching for a teaching job is - Which country pays the mosty and can i save money there?
I've read that Japan as one of the highest wages for English Teachers. Is this true?
Here in Japan the average wage for an ALT is ￥230000-￥250000 (gross monthly earnings)...if your lucky enough to land a possition with JET then its ￥300000 (per month). (Note: For some positions the wages are under ￥180000 but there are also position over ￥250000 for private companies)
For Asia this is a very good wage with the current exchange rates and for most of the jobs out there for the TEFL market it is a high wage.
Great! But whats that in English?
But to give you an idea - ￥250000 is about GBP1700 or USD2700
So, how much can I save?
Well, this depends on you as an individual...No matter where you go, if you want to continue eating western foods, such as your favourite chocolate from home, McDonalds, KFCs whilst wanting all your luxuries, such as branded clothing, branded make-up, the best laptop, tv etc - Well you can see where i am going with this, if this is like you then you wont be able to save in any country.
However, eating out at a western restaurant every now and then isnt going to do damage to the pocket lining...my advice would be to try local food, which will be cheaper, and it would hurt to do cooking yourself - if you cant cook get a group of friends together, split the cost for the ingredients and have a meal together...that way you are with friends and its a cheap meal.
If you are buying a TV, PS3, Wii etc then you may need to ask yourself "Why am I here?"...Join some clubs at school, get involved with the community...basically go out and see where you live. There are many things you can do for free - go shopping and browse/window shop (you dont have to buy)...look for local listings of free events (in japan there are always festivals happening)
In the summer - open a window and leave the aircon off - buying a cheap fan will save you more money then using aircon...Or, again, go shopping - most shops have aircon...in the winter get a blanket, go to a friends house - that way you dont have to put the heating on
When sight seeing avoid certain times of the year when lots of people travel (new year, Obon, etc) trains are expensive - summer is the best time because you can get discounts on rail passes.
Finally - dont get a house phone...get a cheap, no thrills cell phone...if you use the internet for emails then have you considered mobile internet (you might be able to get an offer if you sign up when you get your phone)...most of the time the data is capped - im on Docomo and i pay no more then ￥4500 a month (normal internet is fast but more expensive)
But can i save money?
Hold on! I'm getting to it.
Before i can answer there are also a few other things to take into consideration.
Each month you will have rent, gas, water, electricity, internet, cellphone and car/petrol costs
Oh! how much are these?
Again it varies from person to person, where you live etc.
The rural areas, such as small towns and villages are cheaper to live. They are also full of character, friendly and have small festivals - downside, very few people speak enlgish and you might be further away from big cities.
So, costs -
Cell phone: There are a few cell phone companies (Softbank, Docomo and AU) being the most common ones. You can either buy the phone up front or pay a monthly fee - the cheapest phone is around ￥100000 (very basic: call call, text, email, maybe internet, camera). Then you have the monthly fees for what you use which can be anything from ￥5000 upwards
Rent: in rural location it might be about ￥40000 but in bigger cities it can be double or tripple this. (also bare in mind when you first move in you have keymoney (1 months rent), deposit (1-2months rent) and the rent (1-2months up front) - so sometimes about 5months worth of rent before you move in) - some companies will offer loans to cover this that you pay back each month.
Gas: usually about ￥2000 a month
Water: usually about ￥1500
Electricity: usually about ￥2-3000 a month
Internet： for fast fiber optic its about ￥6000 a month depending on location etc
Petrol: currently about ￥130-140 a litre (i use about ￥12000 a month - but my company covers some of this for school)
Car: I pay about ￥18000 a month towards car rental but i dont pay for the maintanence cost etc
So, all in all, i pay about ￥90,000 in bills a month but i am also paying ￥33000 a month for my loan (its for 6months and was for a ￥165000 loan). There is food on top which is about ￥40000 a month (this includes eating out on a regular basis with a few times going to McD)
Normally i am left with about ￥100000 for the month but i send money home for my student loans and credit card.
Great! SOOOO CAN I SAVE???
OK.OK. Yes and no!
If like me you have loans and credit cards to pay back, eat out regularly, go sight seeing when possible then the answer is NO!...im usually left with about ￥10000 at the end of each month.
However, Once my credit card is paid off and im no longer paying for my loan then i will have an extra ￥70000 a month...I am also planning on moving to the nearby town where most of the ALTs live so that i dont have to eat out as often and can invite people round instead for food. Ive also recently been buying furnishing for my place because it was unfurnished...If you live in the cities then look for semi-furnished flats...such as LeoPalace, which also include basic internet in the cost
So it is possible to save if youre not in debt before you come...
One last thing...if you live here for a second year you have to start paying a local ward tax which can be about ￥40000 every 3 months, you also will pay more for Health insurance in the second year (first year is about ￥3000 a month), you also now have to pay employment insurance
Now dont let this all put you off because you will still have to money to go out and do stuff. Ive spent a week in Tokyo for the summer hols, ive visited local temples, shrines etc, ive been to nearby cities for shopping and site seeing...most of my spending has actually been in game arcades - the UFO machine are addictive -
So my questions to you is: What is you weakness? What do you spend most of your money on?