Low Cost of Living = High Disposable Income

The cost of living in China is substantially cheaper than what most will be used to at home, so although your monthly salary may be lower, it is likely that it will go a very long way in terms of purchasing power in China. English teachers in China generally earn up to 3 times more than that of a local Chinese teacher, and often more than a doctor! You’ll be able to afford a comfortable lifestyle in China and enjoy cinema trips, daily meals at restaurants, shopping trips, gym membership, massages….and the cash to go on weekend trips to other areas of China to really explore this beautiful country.

Opportunity China do not work with any schools that pay less that RMB7,000 per month, and many pay upwards of RMB10,000 per month. Most schools will also offer a good benefits package on top of your salary, which should include repayment for your return international flight, free accommodation shared with another teacher. Some will even offer an end of contract bonus, health insurance and even free Chinese lessons and lunches! With all of these costs covered, this leaves a lot more of your salary in your wallet at the end of the month. Monthly bills are surprisingly cheap at around 200 to 400 RMB (£20/$30 to £40/$60), plus a mobile phone bill of roughly 300 RMB (£30/$45)

Save, save, save!

In your home country, it’s likely that you may only be able to save only a small percentage of your monthly salary due to the high cost of living; we all know how monthly rent, bills, food and transport adds up. In China however, many of our teachers are able to save up to 50% of their salary!

Teachers who eat at local restaurants and prepare their own meals, do not go out partying too much and not live too ‘wild’ a lifestyle can still live a comfortable life in China while also accumulating substantial savings. It is certainly feasible to save 4,000 RMB per month which means at the end of a 12 month teaching contract you could have 48,000 RMB (£4,800) saved up.

Restaurants and Cafes

Inexpensive Chinese Meal £0.80/$1.20

Meal for 2 in a mid-range restaurant (3 courses) £7.50/$11.50

McDonald’s meal £3/$4.60

Domestic beer (draught) £0.70/$1.10

Coke £0.40/$0.60

Water (0.5 litre) £0.30/$0.45

Coffee £0.50/$0.80

Food Shopping:

Milk (1 litre) £0.85/$1.30

Loaf of Bread £1/$1.50

Eggs (12) £0.70/$1.10

Chicken Breasts (1kg) £2.20/$3.40

Apples (1kg) £0.75/$1.15

Potatoes (1kg) £0.60/$0.90

Lettuce £0.25/$0.40

Bottle of wine £6/$9.20

Domestic Beer (bottle) £0.50/$0.80


One way bus/ subway ticket £0.20/$0.30

Monthly transport pass £5.75/$8.80

Taxi 1km £0.25/$0.40

Fast train from Shanghai to Beijing £55/$85
* Please note that this information serves as a guide only.

Read more about your finances whilst working in China.

Read our blog post: The financial benefits of teaching in China

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