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Korean Salaries/Cost of Living

 
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Corey Walker



Joined: 24 May 2003

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 8:06 pm    Post subject: Korean Salaries/Cost of Living Reply with quote

Hello:

I have a question for you all veterans of ESL in Korea?

First, why does Korea pay so low ($20 000.00 CDN a year roughly) when many other countries (such as Kuwait) pay so much higher (over $40 000 to $50 000 USD tax free a year)? Is it because Korea is not a wealthy country?

Second, I have heard various opinions on the cost of living subject. If I am making 1.8 million Korean won in the 10 or 12 months that my contract is, how much will I honestly be able to save, if I still want to have a good time. Note that I don't drink alcohol, don't smoke, don't gamble and don't mess with women. That should probably help some. But in all seriousness, if I want to be able to eat out sometimes, be able to take the bus, subway to/from places regularly, have to buy reasonably priced prescriptions and want to be able to buy some mementos (i.e. I want to enjoy myself), am I going to save enough to make it worth my while? Note, that I may very well only be there one year, as I plan to come back and get my BC Teaching Cert. in the very near future.
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weatherman



Joined: 14 Jan 2003
Location: Korea

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't worry you will save. Don't drink, don't smoke, what do you do? (isn't that a song?)
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Corey Walker



Joined: 24 May 2003

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 8:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Korean Salaries/Cost of Living Reply with quote

Thanks weatherman for the information. Could I expect to save 40 to 50% of my gross earnings, or even of my net earnings, since the tax isn't very high.

To answer your question about what do I do: I love to eat, go to concerts, cultural events or anything that has something to do with history. And I think I might find the beach attractive. Should be able to do some of all of that when in Korea, hey?
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kimcheeking
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can reasonably be expected to save 1mil a month. More if you dont' drink or smoke or travel alot.

check this thread for advice about how to save money in korea.
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Canuck



Joined: 05 Apr 2003

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You really shouldnt have problems saving a million a month. Subway is cheap, so are buses, the food is cheap.

You dont like women? Um, whats wrong with you?
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chi-chi



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow.
If you don't drink, gamble, smoke, or mess with women, I would say you could save 60-75% of your paycheck.
Just be careful with anything Western (food, clothing, whatever) and try to do it only every once in a while. The Korean equivalent will always be cheaper.
Yeah, if you do that, 60-75%.
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kangnamdragon



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Location: Kangnam, Seoul, Korea

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you don't drink you'll also have to learn how to act in a social situation when you are being pressured to drink.

Yes, you can easily save 1 million won per month. (more outside of Seoul).
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kimcheeking
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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kangnamdragon wrote:
If you don't drink you'll also have to learn how to act in a social situation when you are being pressured to drink.


Dont' worry about that so much. being a foreigner it's easier to get away without drinking as much as everyone else. If you tell them why, it usually goes over pretty well. medical condition, Christian, or other.
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weatherman



Joined: 14 Jan 2003
Location: Korea

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 1:06 am    Post subject: Re: Korean Salaries/Cost of Living Reply with quote

Corey Walker wrote:
To answer your question about what do I do: I love to eat, go to concerts, cultural events or anything that has something to do with history. And I think I might find the beach attractive. Should be able to do some of all of that when in Korea, hey?


Of course. There is a lot to do here without spending big bucks. Even traveling around the countryside will not set you back much if you go cheap, such as yogwons and Korean food. I wish you the best.
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desultude



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Location: Dangling my toes in the Persian Gulf

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am netting 2,100,000 per month. I am saving around 1,200,000 (about $1,000 U.S.) per month. That was my goal, but I didn't really expect to reach it. I have traveled around the south of Korea, I take busses, and taxis, whenever I want.

I have bought all of the things I need for my apartment, including light appliances, etc.. My one serious vice is that I like decent wine, and don't deny myself that indulgence. I like comfort- pretty plants and cut flowers, a good designer fan, good books, decent food that I mostly cook myself at home, including fresh salmon at least weekly.

Oh, and I send $150 U.S. home to my father every month.

I will be spending about 1/4 to 1/3 of my savings for travel on my vacations.

The best advice for saving on a daily basis is to not eat at western restaurants- they are generally expensive and quite disappointing. Once you get used to Korean food, you may find that you don't really want to go back to the heavy western stuff. I think that a full baked potato and steak dinner would send me round the bend for a week.

Some things here are as expensive as in the States- things like electronics are actually expensive. I have the good fortune of having a university provided computer. My travel budget takes into account buying a digital camera, binoculars and good scanner/printer in Australia. (They may not be cheaper, but I will have the advice of a computer nerd friend there.) Bring electronic devices with you if you have them. Of course you will need to buy a converter for the electric outlets here- not the simple plugs, but a current converter. I tried the plug converter, and found that the stuff that I brought with me would overheat quickly.

Spend wisely, live, as much as possible, like a local, and the money will accumulate.
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Canuck



Joined: 05 Apr 2003

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went to Technomart on the weekend and man, they have a huge selection of electronics. Now, I didnt make it to the international floor, but the korean made digital camcorders look sweet and the prices are way better than at department stores. You could get a really good one for 600-800 thousand, which is cheap. I got a laptop at Yongsan for a million.It was used but I had them replace a lot of the components fore free so essentially its a new laptop. Anyway, the point is that Korea is really affordable. Just dont buy things at Lotte or the other expensive department stores too often.
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desultude



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Location: Dangling my toes in the Persian Gulf

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have heard that deals can be had with electronics in Seoul. I am in Daegu, and though they are probably here, I haven't found them.

I used to think that in general electronics would be cheap here, in general they aren't. Being a non-techie, actually being marginally a Luddite about electronics, I haven't braved the big tech marts. Between my lack of language skills and lack of tech skills, I won't try.

Unless you have good tech knowledge and some Korean, I still advise to find your best value in the States or bring what you already have.
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