Related, but moving away from housekeepers, how much does an ex-pat couple need to live comfortably in Kunming?
I think we need a clearer definition of "comfortable" to answer that.
Dan, we share a similar character, we're both trouble makers. But it is a serious question. So, why not define 'comfortable' as an adequate standard of living ... your Chinese standard (Each persons individual standard).
Personally, I think that 3,000 yuan would be fine ... hoping that employers are not reading this.
that would depend on what you need... those who'd like a regular return ticket to the USA or Europe for example would surely need more than 3k and the same goes for those who expect a western lifestyle. then you have to consider saving for property purchase, retirement, to buy transport or whatever. it's a big question and surely it depends on the individual's circumstances. personally, i 'need' a bit more than whatever my employer is offering!
Is this a simple question, or what?
The question states; "... in Kunming". Flying back to the USA isn't living in Kunming. Even so, a couple of years at 3,000 yuan/month could easily produce two return air tickets.
The question states; "... Chinese standard (Meaning a Kunming version of your US standard).
Who buys a house? Well, some. But who expects to buy a house with their Chinese salary?
At retirement age, your government will send you a pension cheque, sufficient to live on.
It would be nice to have a car to travel around China but, again, it states, "... in Kunming". And my guess is that less than 10% of Kunming ex-pats have a car.
The question states; "need" - want has a different meaning.
Does that simplify the question somewhat?
flying 'home' to visit family or deal with business IS part of living in Kunming for many. Annual is not every 'couple of years'.
Chinese standard according to a top party official or the person who collects bottles on the street? ...and by the way, i'm not American so a US standard is irrelevant.
my boss, a British person, is currently buying a house... i'm sure he's not the only expat in kunming to buy property.
not every government/nation will send you a pension cheque. Some countries have a basic entitlement while others operate a contribution based scheme.
people don't only buy cars to travel outside kunming. i'm not saying that one is strictly needed, only that some would expect it (maybe because they drive in their home country). the level of car ownership is hardly the question here.
i accept that need and want have different meanings but surely that's open to interpretation. one man's NEED is another Man's WANT.
so, no... unfortunately it's still a big and rather vague question. thanks for trying though.
Let's start will real numbers
I need ~15 000: for my living with no privation, for a clean flat with good western standards, my cleaning lady, my commutation to work, books,DVD and other little things I may indulge myself with, but also for my regular trips to Beijing or Shanghai, which are part of my life in Kunming.
I want much more, for my twice yearly return to Europe, my retirement, my future property investment, my health insurance, my vacations, to give to charity, ....
~10k is ok for now.
Though I am not an expat but hope what my expat friends' talk with me will give you some reference.
I don't know for how long will you stay in Kunming, for short term or long.
If for short term the need might be around 6,000 - 10,000, depend on life style. 6,000 is more for very simple life style.
Some detailed reference:
3 bed room flat cost 2,000RMb to 5,000Rmb. Depend on the location and condition.
The western Cafes here according to the menu, main dish is around 25 - 65rmb; dessert is around 20rmb; coffee is around 25rmb. a simple Chinese meal in a small restraunt for 2 people can be around 60 rmb. will be 100 - 200 rmb in a very nice restraunt. If you cook for yourself will be cheaper.
Local bus cost 1-2RMB per trip and cab cost 20 - 60 (in city )depend on distance. a electronic scooter cost 2500. for car, you need to ask more reference.
These didn't cover travelling and other expenses but just for basic daily life need.
If you need to stay here for long term then the uper post have more insight about it.
Enjoy your new adventure,
I support a family of 3 on a budget of 5000 rmb/month comfortably not counting trips out of the country or extraneous expenditures. Granted, we own our home,which would rent for about 1200 rmb/month and we live and eat like locals,not like expats. That said, we pretty much have everything we desire.