Originally Posted by HomerJ
Do you mind elaborating on that 10k budget?
I looked at some cost of living websites (geared toward white collar expats I assume) and the figures started at 10k for a basic apartment..
I'm curious in the remote chance that I take a position in Beijing.
You'll find that the prices for apartments of similar standard varies VERY widely. The apartments that you refer to are in the typical expat areas, in the Central business district, close to all the large corporations and drinking areas. If Beijing would be New York, CBD would be Manhattan(in the very loosest sense). I spend 2k on rent for a room in a 2 bedroom (about 70sqm) for a decent apartment. I like to cook so I eat at home quite a lot so I guess food is another 2-3k and then I bike a lot(usually faster than taxi/subway) so I save cash on that. then you have entertainment, which is another 2-3k a month, but that's what screws most people over. They go out and party every night and then they run out of money.
I would also like to point out that ESL teachers here in China make quite a good living, compared to the white collar people here. Many of my friends are white collar workers and few people break 20k/month. Of course there are those that do, but they aren't the norm, and that's working 40-60h/week.
Originally Posted by Eason
You can find decent (by Chinese standards) apts for ~3k in Beijing, at least you could 3 years ago. I had a 80m2 in Si Tong Qiao right on the subway and bus routes in Hai Dian district for 3k, it was an old Chinese style apt which had no heating, but that's standard in China. My brother lived in Chao Yang district and had a somewhat smaller place for around 2.5k. It's all to your standards, of course. My apt had 1 water valve with manual gas so you had to turn it on and all the water would be that temperature. If you showered and someone tried to turn on the kitchen tap, you'd get scalded. It was fun and exciting! If you want new and nice, that will cost you anywhere from 5k-16k depending on size/location.
So, after your rent + utilities (3500 a month) you should be able to get by easily on 100 rmb a day assuming you're cooking at home or eating Chinese food. If you're eating at expat places you will be paying 5-10x higher prices for a meal. Then another 3k for going out and random expenses. You can live extremely comfortably on 10k, just don't expect to feel like you're living in a western or normal country, because you aren't. Including rent/bills I spent less than 6k a month for a majority of my time in Beijing and of course most Chinese live on less than 1k.
Eason, DAMN, you had bad luck with your apartment. Even 3 years ago, apartments where a lot better than that. Also, no heating is NOT standard in Beijing. Here is how it works. ALL apartments north of Shanghai have central heating(it's government controlled, so there is a set date when it turns on and off), and many of them have AC/s in addition to that. So most likely you got screwed by the landlord, who didn't want to fix the heating. Your water system also sounds horrible. Nothing like the apartments that I've experienced(I've moved 12 times here in China).
As for feeling like living in a western city, you'll never feel that unless you never leave your apartment/villa, but to me that's part of the charm.
To all the people indirectly calling me a looser for being a teacher,