Just a few months ago, my wife and I left our posts as teachers in London to live and work in Sri Lanka.
We met at university studying completely different degrees, but once I got into teaching on the age of 21, I convinced her to follow me in the course of the pandemic when other jobs were hard to return by.
We each ended up teaching Maths in the identical school, and thankfully her parents lived inside a brief distance allowing us to avoid paying dreaded London rents.
In my last yr as a teacher I earned a pre-tax salary of around £40,000, which included a premium for running some extra-curricular initiatives for the college.
My wife was barely less experienced but still took home nearly £2,000 a month after taxes and deductions. Although teacher salaries were quite rightly the subject of much debate last yr, we managed to avoid wasting a good bit by having no housing costs.
Financially, this was very liberating, and whilst we were conscious of squirrelling as much as we could, we still treated ourselves (Pret subscriptions, holidays, meals out).
Nevertheless, the stress of our public sector jobs took their toll, and after my fifth yr in teaching, I needed a brand new adventure. We took the plunge and quit for Sri Lanka.
Having left aspiring to start our own educational initiative, we’ve agreed to assist launch a brand latest charitable centre for young people.
For this we’ve agreed to receive the wage of a typical Sri Lankan teacher – just 60,000lkr (£150) a month each.
It is a significant pay cut but affords us much greater personal and skilled freedom than we had in London, and matches our moral objectives.
Plus, Sri Lanka is super low cost, so those kilos go a great distance, and we each put aside around £3,000 of savings to fall back on.
Currently, we’re living in a difficult financial mirage whereby the whole lot seems insignificantly low cost around us, but we’re still getting used to our ultra-low wages. Our savings won’t last eternally, but you’ve got to benefit from it.
This was not an everyday week as we happened to be in Colombo getting documentation sorted moderately than in Jaffna where now we have been settling in. Nevertheless, no week is an everyday really and our overall spending worked out to around the identical.
Age(s): 30 (and 27)
Pre-tax salary: £1,800 each.
Monthly rent: £0 as now we have stayed with family and friends. This might change soon.
Monthly subscriptions: Spotify, £13.99 and travel insurance for each of us, £75
We even have a each day delivery of milk fresh from the cow. Day-after-day a person turns up with a repurposed 330ml soda bottle of unpasteurised milk that we boil and drink for 100lkr.
The exchange rate implies that £1 is about 420lkr.
We picked up a cream bun from the famous tuk-tuk mobile bakeries for 90lkr. A steal. We then went for some classic morning tea. If the locals are buying it then it is nice value, and this sets us back 180lkr.
I give 40lkr to a disabled beggar in Wellawatte. I don’t do that often, but sometimes you’re feeling compelled to.
We went out within the afternoon to satisfy one in all my wife’s friends. We did some work in a restaurant before meeting along with her.
We spent 800lkr – nearly £2 – on a comparatively expensive cup of tea. But on the Dilmah cafe at One Galle Face, they’ve the very best teas served in a elaborate flask with fresh cinnamon, jaggery, lime, and cardamom.
I spent 150lkr on a packet of homemade cassava chips from a seafront stall, which I ate people watching on the Galle face stretch.
A tuk-tuk home cost 500lkr, before we splashed out 200lkr on a slice of roast paan from a bakery plus a coconut and a few chilli from an area stall. This can make a straightforward dinner (which shouldn’t be the important meal here) of bread and sambol. A cost-effective option.
Total: 2,170lkr (£5.22)
We spent the day pent up at home, doing bits of labor and practising frugality. Did a modest shop within the afternoon amounting to 2,000lkr.
Total: 2,000lkr (£4.81)
We’d earmarked today as being an enormous hit. Our friend had invited us to go on an evening out, and we couldn’t really say no.
We managed to wedge in a meal at a bring your personal drink restaurant beforehand with the intention to reduce the expenditure on alcohol, which is sort of heavily taxed here.
We went to 3 different establishments, one in all which had an entrance fee.
The entire amount spent on food and drinks got here to 24,000lkr for the 2 of us. Although that is big money relative to what we’re earning, we felt we got good value for money – especially in the primary two places which had live music.
But I didn’t very like the third venue – it was not my style and was a bit expensive for my taste.
Total: 24,000lkr (£57.73)
We get bunnies (an umbrella term for sweet baked goods) for breakfast in an effort to cure our respective hangovers (280lkr). Our seek for decadent coffee took us to a bougie cafe within the backstreets, where we spent 1,100lkr.
We justified it as we would have liked a quiet and relaxed place to work (which this open air cafe definitely provided).
We went to a restaurant called Curry Pot, where you may pick from dozens of dishes stuffed with vegetable, fish and meat curries. We tried to be thrifty here and, knowing the scale of the portions, ordered one to share plus a bottle of soda water.
But after paying we realised we can have been charged a foreigners’ premium (2,500lkr).
Local customs mean that once we visit my wife’s family, we’re expected to take token gifts, corresponding to biscuits, chocolates and fruits, which cost us 3,000lkr.
We spent 1,250lkr on tuk-tuks in the course of the day. They’re the one approach to get around in Colombo if you happen to don’t have a automobile or a scooter.
They’re absolutely in all places meaning they’re so convenient and competition is high, making them pretty low cost. We made five journeys altogether today.
Total: 8,130lkr (£19.55)
We have now one other sweet treat for breakfast (280lkr) before buying one other biscuit box to take once we visit friends for 700lkr.
We spend 600lkr on the transport there and back, before heading home for a quiet evening. That is an inexpensive day, and is sort of typical for us normally.
Total: 1,580lkr (£3.76)