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Living expenses Vs saving in Korea
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Rob Hyde



Joined: 19 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2003 3:41 am    Post subject: Living expenses Vs saving in Korea Reply with quote

Dear ESL Cafe,

Please could you help me with a question. I am from Britain and applying for teaching jobs in Korea and have had offers for around 2 million Won per month.

After years of studying, finances are not in good shape and as I have not been to Korea before and therefore have no idea of the cost of living and how the price of every day goods compare with prices in Britain.

Before I accept a position in Korea I need to establish how much I can realistically expect to save each month. Obviously, this depends on my lifestyle - how much I go out / drink etc, but what would really help me work out a rough figure would be a breakdown of living expenses from a variety of people. I can then apply this to my own lifestyle and work out what I need to know.

For example, what might be the average cost of a week's shoppping (food, toiletries), an hour in an internet cafe, a meal out, a beer, a book, Korean lessons, a scooter, a flight home, a trip to the dentist, a haircut, a monthly tube ticket etc.

Above all, from around 2 million Won per month - how much do you end up spending, or have you ended up spending in Korea on the above-mentioned items. Better still - how much have you managed to save each month.

Again, I understand that it depends entirely on your lifestyle, but any information you can provide would be really helpful and very much appreciated.

All the best

Rob Hyde.
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sid



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Location: Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2003 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I first arrived in Korea (from England) I think I saved a million or more a month from a 1.7 salary for the first 2-3 months. However it was the middle of winter, I lived out of town, and didn't know many people. Once the social life got going I was probably spending about a million a month and saving the rest. Unless you fill your apartment with consumer electronics and go out every single night, you will save money.

Eating out, internet, renting videos, catching bus or subway and general everyday stuff are really cheap compared to England. There is no need to set any kind of budget for those things. The higher prices come if you want to do something a bit different, like buy a book in English(!), or take a trip out of the country. When I went to Japan for the World Cup the plane ticket Seoul-Osaka was 300,000+won. Not good compared to EasyJet 50 quid to Barcelona.

Looking again at your list I would give the dentist a miss altogether unless its an emergency, and get a mate to cut your hair! There are some gorgeous hairdressers but once they get their hands on your barnet then you're going to end up looking like a muppet. Wouldn't recommend a scooter either unless you have eyes in the back of your head and particularly strong bones.
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bucheon bum



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: DC area

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2003 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beer: anything from 2,500 won (Korean draft beer) to 8,000 won (high quality imports) in a bar. Think a domestic can of beer costs a little over 1,000 won in a market, while a big bottle costs a few hundred won more. A 6-pack of American beer costs around 6,000 won at E-mart while Heinekin is closer to 10,000 won (yes, a rip-off). Other imports are more expensive.

internet cafe: 1,000 won/hour at nearly every PC Room (korea's version of internet cafe) I've been to.

meal out: 3,000-5,000 for something like fried rice, bibimbap, and basic soups. Basic korean BBQ is a bit more (5,000-8,000/serving). Seafood is more expensive, but still reasonable. If you want western food, it is the around the same price you'd find in the West.

Haircut: The most i've paid is 8,000 won. The cheapest cut I got was 7,000 won.

Books: for your basic John Grisham/Steven King paperback, I think it costs around 10-12,000 won at Kyobo. I haven't bought a book here in Korea for a while, so I'm not certain.

Korean lesson: I pay 1,000 won/lesson but it is really informal. If you want to learn Korean quickly, it'll cost you a couple million won/semester I think at a Korean university. Some hogwons also offer courses but no idea how much they charge.

dentist: I would avoid the dentist if I were you.

I spend around 15,000-20,000 a week on groceries (excluding toilteries). I only have about 5 meals at home/week. Food is so reasonably priced at restaurants I really find it easier to eat out.

If you go out only on Friday and Saturdays and don't get totally wasted, you can save a million won. If you aren't a big drinker, you could save more than that. I personally have saved 1.2 million the last couple months but I haven't been socializing as much as before either.
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eamo



Joined: 08 Mar 2003
Location: Shepherd's Bush, 1964.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2003 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should save 1,000,000 (500quid) per month. Some months I save more, some months less. I'm going back to Northern Ireland next month with about 5000 pounds. Not bad for 25 hours per week.
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Rob Hyde



Joined: 19 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2003 7:09 am    Post subject: Response for feedback on savings Reply with quote

Just to say thank you very much to the four people who replied to my posted question about savings / finances.

Their feedback was really very helpful and insightful indeed and as a result I think it is now highly likely that I will accept job offers to Korea now that I have a far clearer idea about how to organise finances.


Thanks very much once again,

All the best

Rob.
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Tiger Beer



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2003 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bucheon bum wrote:
Haircut: The most i've paid is 8,000 won. The cheapest cut I got was 7,000 won.


Just curiuos.. do you ever 'tip' your haircutter? I don't think its expected.. but for whatever reason I have.. and once in the habit of.. its hard to break.

anyhow..
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KuroBara



Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Location: Goyang-Si with a bit of Paju mixed in

PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:08 am    Post subject: Bump!! Reply with quote

I'm coming to Korea, hopefully soon, but I need to know how the cost of living has changed. The previous forums addressing this are a year old at best. I will make 2.1 million, if I read my GEPIK contract right. Currently I need to send $1135 USD/ mo back to cover bills, though that can be adjusted. At the current exchange rate, that leaves me with about 562,000 Won to live on. Is this possible, after utilities, internet, maybe a cell phone, and eating? I want to try the local cuisine, but can also cook for myself. Any help would be appreciated.
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sojourner1



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Location: Where meggi swim and 2 wheeled tractors go sput put chug alugg pug pug

PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How silly Mr. Hyde. You've been registered on here for 6 years! LMAO! Very funny.
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oldtactics



Joined: 18 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

... This post is 6 years old.
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sojourner1



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Location: Where meggi swim and 2 wheeled tractors go sput put chug alugg pug pug

PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oldtactics wrote:
... This post is 6 years old.
It certainly is. Thanks or pointing that out! LMAO! Ah, a newbie probably didn't realize like me that it's 6 years old.
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KuroBara



Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Location: Goyang-Si with a bit of Paju mixed in

PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was just trying to bring the topic back from the dead for some updated info. Still hoping someone will help me, though my sister told me I shouldn't think in USD until I've figured out Korean taxes, pension and insurance.
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bucheon bum



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: DC area

PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tiger Beer wrote:
bucheon bum wrote:
Haircut: The most i've paid is 8,000 won. The cheapest cut I got was 7,000 won.


Just curiuos.. do you ever 'tip' your haircutter? I don't think its expected.. but for whatever reason I have.. and once in the habit of.. its hard to break.

anyhow..


Nope, never tipped anyone in Korea. Took me nearly 6 years to answer that question. I'm efficient like that.
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AliNZ



Joined: 11 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:29 pm    Post subject: A good rule of thumb for me is... Reply with quote

10,000 won a day -

without trips

if you budget for between 100-125,000 you can do it if you live in a small town
living in bigger cities and needing bus/taxi fares to get around might dip into that too much tho

but think 10,000 per day and you're close
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NYC_Seoul



Joined: 11 Dec 2008
Location: Seoul, R.O.K.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:29 pm    Post subject: Re: A good rule of thumb for me is... Reply with quote

AliNZ wrote:
10,000 won a day -

without trips

if you budget for between 100-125,000 you can do it if you live in a small town
living in bigger cities and needing bus/taxi fares to get around might dip into that too much tho

but think 10,000 per day and you're close


Alinz

This sounds sublime, could you tell me how it's done??
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rookieglobetrotter



Joined: 19 Dec 2008

PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:37 pm    Post subject: dentist Reply with quote

bucheon bum wrote:

dentist: I would avoid the dentist if I were you.


I was thinking about getting some dentist work done (wisdom teeth extraction maybe clear braces) in Korea because its much cheaper than the states.

Is there something wrong with Korea dentistry I should know about! Rolling Eyes
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