Is It Easy To Pay Off Student Loans While Teaching English In China?
The simple answer to this question is yes.
It’s very easy to pay off student loans while teaching Engish in China. I’ll tell you from my personal experience from how I started my life in China as a teacher.
When I first arrived in China, I had a huge amount of debt, in different forms. Although a little too embarrassed to say, I came to China to Teach English when I was 32 years old with a debt of $20,000 US. For a 32-year-old, that’s a lot of debt to have. Also, what was more embarrassing was that my debt wasn’t even student loans.
Anyhow- just to my luck, without knowing any better, I accepted a teaching position referred by a friend, and it happened to be the lowest paying teaching job I could possibly get. Lucky for you readers, if you are thinking of a teaching job in Shenzhen, we will help you get a much better paying job than the one I had to start with. So my salary was a meager 13,667 RMB per month for a teaching job that had a weekly maximum teaching hour of 20 hours a week. I quickly learned that there are many jobs that you can teach around 10-12 hours a week and earn much more. But back to the topic- even with a measly salary of 13,667 RMB per month, I was able to use around 5,000 RMB per month to pay off my debts. Yes, I was living on 7,000 RMB per month. For the first year, I lived very frugally.
In addition, because I wanted to accelerate my debt paying off goals, I covered classes and earned an additional 2000-3000 RMB per month. Unfortunately, because I am Asian American, I wasn’t able to get those lucrative private teaching gigs, because, for the private tutoring jobs, the moms strongly preferred a non-Asian foreign teacher. Even non-native teachers from Russia, India, and Eastern Europe had more opportunities than did I. Regardless, extra money-making opportunities are plentiful in China. If you did the math, I was able to pay off my debt at a rate of 8,000 RMB per month. Within 18 months, I became debt free and from month 19, I started enjoying good food and took my first vacation.
Do you have lots of student loans/debts you need to pay off?
I have good news for you. I have many jobs in Shenzhen and other areas of China that pay significantly more than the job I had. Also, the work hours are much lower, so you will have much more time and energy to pick up side gigs if you needed to earn extra income. Many of the teachers we place in China are easily able to get enough lucrative part-time gigs and I’ve seen teachers pay off their debt at a rate of 15,000 RMB per month! That’s over $2000 US a month.
How is it possible to put so much money aside in paying off debts?
There is no place in the western world where you can save this much money. Firstly, you do not need to own a car to get around. That alone will save you anywhere between $700 to $1000 US a month. No insurance payments, no car payments, and best of all, no more going to the gas station paying $50-$100 per tank. An average teacher will spend around $20-$30 US per month on public transportation.
Also, cost of food in China is extremely low. You can get a meal between $1-$3. Need to pay off debt but still need to get drunk on a regular basis? In China, 500 ml bottle of local beer will only cost you 4RMB, or 70 cents, while a 100 ml bottle of baijiu, which is Chinese white wine, will only cost you $1 per bottle. Even the strongest alcoholics will get drunk with 3-4 bottles of Baijiu.
Is smoking putting a big dent in your wallet back home? In China, there are many smokers, and smoking is a big culture in the brother’s world. A cheap pack of cigarettes will cost you as low as $1 per pack! However, we are not encouraging this bad habit, but if you must, it will cost you less to nothing.
Fast and Easy Ways to Maximize Savings in China
* Rent a room in shared apartments. Average room in a Tier 1 city will be between 2000-3000 RMB per month.
* Don’t eat too much western food. Enjoy the local food while you are in China, and you will save more money that way.
* Buy fruits and vegetables from street vendors, they cost a fraction of what the major supermarkets sell for.
* When ordering food from a delivery app, look for delivery restaurants that offer big discount for ordering in bulk, and order with 3-4 co-workers.
* Purchase household items on Taobao. It’s much cheaper than buying it from the store.
* Join an outdoor activity social network and hang out with friends without spending any money. Remember, hiking or bike riding won’t cost you anything.
* Network with local people. Best way to get lucrative private tutoring gigs is via referrals.
* Teach English online on one of the biggest platforms- you can work from home, then get paid into your bank account in your home country. That way, you can save money on international transfer costs by having a steady stream of income into your bank account back home.
If you have any questions send us a message or write a comment below.