Living on a Budget in South Korea

Although once considered extremely inexpensive by Western standards, South Korea’s prices have risen dramatically over the last 10-20 years. Don’t be surprised if things in Seoul seem as expensive as those in the States; however, you can save a significant amount of money if you avoid tourist traps and budget carefully. It’s easy to live in Seoul for US$900 a month. By doing this, you should be able to save more than $1,000 per month. Here are a few suggestions:

If You Keep Track of Your Spending, You can Save a good Amount of Money
  • Limit your meals out or eat at local restaurants. Alternatively, ramen can be purchased at the grocery store and is much cheaper than eating out – you only have to add water!
  • Set up a savings plan once you’ve established yourself. After you find a job and pay your initial expenses, figure out your monthly income and your fixed expenses – rent, transportation, food, etc. Depositing half or more of the remainder in a savings account will quickly result in substantial savings.
  • Limit going out to once or twice a week. Most bars insist on customers at least ordering hors d’oeuvres, which can make for a very expensive evening.
  • Take the bus or subway whenever you can rather than catching a taxi. Bus and subway fare cost much less than any taxi far to the same destination.


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