Where do Thai people get the money
Every time a see some uni student with an Iphone I shake my head with amazement at how they can afford it. Honestly where do Thai people get the money to buy things and even get by day to day is an utter amazement and achievement on their part. Think about it, the average salary here is what 7000 baht a month? Maybe, in Chiang Mai it's more like 5-6000 baht a month. An Iphone costs 15,000 baht so that's like 2 a half months salary. Imagine an Iphone cost you 2.5 months salary there is no way on earth a westerner would pay that for a damn phone!
Take for example a girl I know works for reception at a 5 star hotel down the road from me. Her salary is about 7500 baht a month. She has to live with her mom who takes care of her 2 year old baby. Mom doesn't work so really she's supporting 3 people on the one salary of a measly 7500 baht a month. I've never been to her place probably because it's basically a shack in the Nong Hoi area which is probably the cheapest areas near the city. But she does drive a motorbike and carry an Iphone. How does she do it? How do any of them do it?
Obviously if you are living on a paltry sum of 7500 baht a month you are just living day to day. A sickness breaks out and pretty much you go into debt. Actually your probably already living in debt, you can get one of those damn Iphones on credit and pay something like 1000 baht a month to pay it off, what a joke. There's no way i'd pay 2 months salary for a bloody phone. The only thing you should get credit for is a car and a house.
So is everything you see in Thailand on credit? Sure is, houses, apartments, cars, motorbikes, cell phones are just what you know about but there are so many other types of credit too. It's very common to get credit from the place you work advances on your salary when you need it, people borrow from friends and family, in fact borrowing of co-workers is so chronic in Thailand people actually lend to coworkers they have only known for a week if that in the hope that when they need to borrow in return they are able to. You can get credit on food down at the markets even the guy who sells me chicken and rick for 25 baht gives credit to customers!
In every single shopping mall in Thailand there is a payday loan shop where people go to get an advance on their pay. Sure these places are everywhere in America but here in Thailand they are so busy you have to take a number and wait half an hour before you can talk to someone.
If you take a look at newspapers telegraph poles magazines pretty much any publication and website you'll see advertisements like the one above advertising loan sharking services. While traditionally you'd go to the bank and get a mortgage on your house Thai's frequently seek more affluent Thai's whom they have relationship of trust with to hold the deed to their house in exchange for a cash advance. Many times this can go wrong especially if that person of trust dies and their family inherit the deed and has no relationship with that person. I've seen it time and time again Farang arn't the only ones who get cheated in Thailand more often it's Thai's cheating Thai's.
There is no way to measure the amount of borrowing that goes on in Thailand or how much Thais are really in debt. I would have to say it's more than 4 times what the government and banks estimate. But one thing is for sure, ask most working class Thai people and they would have borrowed money more than 5 times in the past 6 months.
So now we know that Thai's are using credit, loan sharks, friends and family to get money they don't have and most times can't even pay back what are they spending it on? Well normally when a Thai person borrows money it's because they need it to buy essentials typically rent, food, health etc. But the reason why they need it is because they have spent the money on frivolous things like Iphones laptops or too many bottles at the local nightclub!
Now i'm definitely not the person to be giving advice on saving money and spending wisely but one thing is for sure, there is no way in hell I would spend 2-3 months salary on a damn phone!