The cost of living is easily half of what it costs in most western countries, plus you don’t have any car expenses.
One teacher in Hangzhou was explaining that he was living off of 3000 RMB per month for spending money and Hangzhou is comparatively more expensive. Many teachers are able to send a 1/4 to 1/3 of their salary home and still eat most meals out, travel and enjoy themselves.
While other teachers will find ways to spend everything regardless. There are a few online shopping addicts :)
Many of the teachers will say that they don’t cook at all and eat out for all of their meals or have free meals from the kindergarten.
As accommodations are provided, Chinese locals live off an average 2500 to 3000 RMB per month, which means eating local food (rice, noodles, vegetables, fruit), western food once and a while, a foot massage here and there, taking a taxi when you need it, etc. The average foreigner can live a basic life with 6000 RMB (all of our teacher make at least double that).
If you are into designer shopping or want to drive a nice car, send your children to international schools, etc. then you would need a lot more.