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What are my starting expenses? How much cash should I bring to China?

Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:23 am
by Derek
Moving to China is definitely going to be a cheaper move than most people would pay to move to another city. There are going to be small fees for things like bedding, pillows, dishware, etc. for your apartment, and living expenses are comparatively low with most teachers eating every meal out and traveling most weekends and still having enough to line some of the halls with online Taobao purchases :).

You have two main starting expenses:

But the two things to remember are that there is usually a real estate fee and usually three months to be paid in advance and the salary payment timing in Asia.

3 Months in Advance

3 months is generally cheaper than many people pay for one month in their countries
Some teachers are lucky to avoid this payment and take over an apartment that was rented by another teacher
Some teachers also want to share (or come as a couple) in which case it would be half this amount..

Apartment costs in each city are a little different but let's say you pay 2000 RMB per month
This means they will want 1 month real estate fee + 3 months advanced payment = 8000 RMB (approximately $1,100 USD)

From this M.E.F. pays you 3,000 RMB (with the 1000 per month apartment allowance), and also remember that you do not need to pay rent for the 3 months after that..

Salary Note:

The standard company payment system in China is monthly by the 15th of the month. This means that you will receive money for the first week of month-end training (if your training period is the last week of the month), by the 15th of the following month.  If you start on the first of the month, it means that you would not receive your salary until the 15th of the following month, so it is good to have some money for this 6 week period.  How much depends on the teacher and the area you are in. Some teachers could make it with 2000 RMB for this time, but most would want to have at least 5000 RMB for the 6 week period.


Check that your bank card works with the Chinese ATM machines.  Most of them do.
We recommend bringing like 3000 RMB. (If your plan is to buy a Chinese phone more than that).
Then if you need cash you can withdraw from the ATM.


We have yet to have a teacher not able to get through the starting regardless of how much they brought and we are able to lend money as needed (this also means that you need to receive less later as you pay it back over a few months).

It is not the smartest thing to try to move to a new city, let alone a new country, without a penny but in the case that you are seriously short on funds, you would not be the first one. I am sure everyone will help to make this experience a reality for you.