How much can a teacher save?

Is it more likely than not that with a fair effort I could end a 12 month contract with $10K saved? I have only a B.S… also will I only teach kids under 13? What is the oldest I could teach? I have one semester of mandarin. Last question is even though the teaching hours vary, what is the average amount of hours worked per week of an new ESL teacher?
Xie Xie

Hiya. Welcome aboard.

Teaching: without experience, there’s a good chance that none of your students would be over 6 years old.
What’s the oldest? First year, I had a student who was 88 years old.
Average number of hours? Varies. Could be just scraping double digits. Could be pushing 30. Depends where you end up.

Money: Depends. Could you save $10k after a year? Sure. That’s roughly NT$30,000/month.
But monthly salaries vary. For a noob learning the ropes, if you’re lucky enough to land a mediocre job right off the bat, you might start off making NT$55~60,000/month.
Can you live on NT$25~30,000?
Rents vary. I pay 17k for my place in downtown Taipei. If you find a roomie, or you’re living outside Taipei, it’s cheaper: maybe as cheap as 7k. But if you’re outside of downtown Taipei, Kaohsiung, or Taichung, traffic becomes an issue. Then you’ll need a bike or scooter (5~50k).
Food’s cheap if you’re willing to eat crap. Me? I should own stock in Subway. I spend NT$200 in there, maybe 5 times/ week. Spend maybe another NT$400/w in Starbucks. Figure another NT$1,000/week elsewhere. Not bad, but it adds up.
Utilities don’t cost much though.

Anyways, the budget I’ve outlined above is already running close to 30k/month. Add in travel, hockey, toys, clothes, and pretty quick you realize it’s a good thing I’m making twice what you should expect to start at… and I should still be cutting back.

You can do it. But it’s a better bet to come and expect to spend the first year learning the ropes, experiencing set backs, and getting your feet under you. The second year you could save some significant coin, again, if you’re serious about it.

Hope that helps.

I probably saved more my first year here than I have in later ones. Main reason being the first year I made a conscious effort to save because I didn’t know whether I’d be staying or going after that year, and spent most of my time off exploring the area where I live.

Now however (5 years later), having decided I love living here, and traveling almost weekend, I don’t save anywhere near as much. Although I am building my own business on the side, so a lot of money and travel goes toward that, so I should think of it as an investment rather than just spending.

Taiwan is fairly cheap and it’s possible to save $10K, however there’s also lots of cool things to do and buy that can easily eat into that.

Financially speaking, I have nothing to show for my time here, and I could make more back home. If you are careful, you can leave with a modest savings. To save any significant sum means you are either living like a monk hermit in a cave or working an excessive amount of hours. Either way, you’re probably not getting much out of your stay here. If you are coming to make money, you should think again. Unless your home region is in a severe economic depression, you are not going to come out ahead after you factor in travel, relocation, and assorted one off costs.

I haven’t really saved anything since I’ve been teaching in Taiwan - almost 3 and a half years now. I’ve bought lots of stuff though, and travelled quite a bit, and eaten expensive stuff, but I drive a nice car and a decent bike.

On the other hand, last year a friend of mine came out to teach. He worked at Hess, which is pretty much the lowest paying school out there that hires anyone who applies with a degree. He was doing about 32 hours a week(of teaching - prep work and homework grading brought it to a good 40) and making 62K a month after taxes. With almost no travelling in Taiwan and no travelling outside of the country at all, and by living cheaply and not having a girlfriend to buy stuff for, he managed to save 300K over the year. This translates to roughly 10K US right now - but that’s not much of a way to live.

My mate wanted to go travelling for a year. He had already been working here for 2 years and not saved a penny, but then he stopped going out, moved into a tiny apartment, and worked 35-40 hour weeks. Every payday he automatically sent 40k NT back to his home bank account so he couldn’t spend it. He would always run out of money before the end of the month. I think he managed to save $10k in less than a year. Unfortunately he spunked the lot within 4 months of travelling.

Of course a new teacher cannot expect a very high salary, but if that new teacher happened to make some, um, friends, who wanted to learn English, and those friends happened to regularly give that new teacher money in appreciation of his assistance in helping them to learn English…maybe while sitting in a tea shop or similar, on some sort of regular basis…but of COURSE not taking private students illegally!..anyway, that teacher might be able to save more money given that he would then have more cash on hand.


I tried for the goal of saving 75% of my earnings. Didn’t always make it but that was usually because of my failings.

It may take over one year to get yourself up to this point but try for having private students pay for your expenses and your school salary for saving.

Bust your ass when you can and play when you can. The most I taught was about 60 hours a week and was pulling in around 130,000 a month. Damn near killed me though. You can power out a 6 month or a year doing that if you are willing to sacrifice your weekends, sex life, friends, etc.

It also isn’t so much how much you make but rather how you manage it. Self restraint and dedicated saving will most often help you save more than if you make a lot a of money but piss it away by ALWAYS eating nice and partying.

It’s easily doable. Just takes a little discipline.

Here’s my two cents and maybe the OP will learn from my lesson.

My first year in Taiwan I taught with no experience and managed in a year through hard work and committment to easily save 10K, probably could’ve done a lot more, and the job was picked up off the internet and was at a reputable chain school. Also, this job was in Kaohsiung.

I thought I’d only do a year in Taiwan, but I decided to come back again this time to Taipei as I was under the assumption that I would easily find another better pay being that it was the area of Taiwan with the most English schools as well as I could network myself better (my Chinese is pretty good). Moreover, I really feel whether I like it or not teaching is a talent of mine because I performed very well at my last school and figured it’s always good to capitalize on your talents. Unfortunately, when I got to Taipei sent my resume to multiple schools in Taipei yet only a few replied back. The school’s that did reply (or I called and got an interview from) had to spend around 1 to 2 minutes searching through stacks of resumes in order to get mine. Consequently, I think I did about 10 interviews with schools all over the Taipei area from Wugu to Sanxia to Taipei city and none of them hired me-I should note that I also dressed very nice semi-formal for the interviews and conducted most professional manner I could. Finally, I managed to find a job through a recruiter that at least gave me an ARC, but only provided 15 hours a week. So I still had to do more interviewing at schools so I could actually make the same money hopefully more than what I did the year before. Finally, I was getting about 27 hours a week working at 3 different schools (note 1 was in yunghe, another in zhonghe, another in zhongxiao fuxing area-a lot of travelling and time). However, my original goal was to find work at one single school and through just pure luck and timing I finally got it a few months ago.

My advice is simply this-if you want to make money teaching here as well as have less stress-stay out of Taipei. It’s funny me and a friend of mine were talking and we discussed why so many people come to Taipei to teach english since (1) jobs are harder to get here than the rest of Taiwan (2) pay is less and (3) more, often times much more, expensive than the rest of Taiwan. Though in Taipei there is a lot more going on up here, locals are more willing to speak Chinese with you (imo) and the police and social foundations are much stronger here than the rest of Taiwan.

Just my advice…

So taipei means more than likely means less jobs and less money saved?!
I live in a very rural area and have wanted to live in a “big city” so I always thought taipei would be the most fun and intersting including jobs perks. Are things much different just outside of the city?

Off topic Q: If I work as a teacher anywhere will I be singing and dancing all day long with sub 13 year olds for teaching?
How could I get a job teaching high school kids.

If you can get cheap rent then you can manage to save, that’s my own personal experience. I only started to start saving once I left Taipei and moved to Kaohsiung. The main reason being my rent was half of what I was paying in Taipei for the same size apartment. I constantly check job ads and I see Taipei has more high paying jobs than I can find in Kaohsiung, but there obviously would be more competition and the cost of living much higher.

Hi everyone,

I’m looking at teaching in Taipei starting next year, and was wondering about the situation with regard to savings. Now, I do realize this depends entirely on the situation of the individual, so assuming I will be:

  1. working in Taipei
  2. receiving a newbie’s salary of NT$60,000/month
  3. living a reasonable, but not overly crazy lifestyle (hard to gauge, I know)

could I expect to be able to save, say, US$750/month?

I only ask because I’ve been reading a lot of conflicting information about the increase in living expenses etc, and what is/isn’t possible regarding savings these days.

Would appreciate any advice!


Taipei is the last place you should go if you want to save cash. Are you living alone? Will you send money home for bill payments?

It’s ambicious, doable but a bit tight. That is about 25 thousand NTs, and I save monthly 10 thousand, but I have high pet expenses.

I would aim for a ballpark figure between 10 and 20 thousand nts = 300 to 600 nts. That can be done without that much pain.

He hasn’t read the all the “Why I XXX Taiwanese women” threads,yet, has he? (translation: if you find a nice gf, you’re gonna be on a tight budget…)

But if you marry one, she’ll make you rich

But if you marry one, she’ll make you rich[/quote]

So that’s where I went wrong while I was there…darn

But if you marry one, she’ll make you rich[/quote]
Don’t you mean “work?”

But if you marry one, she’ll make you rich[/quote]
Don’t you mean “work?”[/quote]

Well, I meant in the soul :yay:

Anyway OP… you can easily save that In Taipei… You could even save 1000US a month but you be really going for it, just no more lighting cigs on 1st edition Action comics or condor egg omlettes