Working in South Korea

Monthly Earnings A little over 60,000 baht

Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)

This is my full salary before taxes or any deductions. All of it is coming from my one and only job at a public middle school. It's also noteworthy that in Korea you're not allowed to make money elsewhere. You're only allowed to be in Korea for what your visa allows.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

At least 25,000 baht without even trying, which I regularly don't. If I was frugal that month about 35,000 baht. The two months out of the year I'm on vacation I save a little over 15,000 baht.

Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?

I had the option of getting free housing or taking housing allowance of about 10,000 baht. I chose the former so I didn't have to deal directly with the landlord who doesn't speak English or have to put a hefty deposit down which my school took care of.

The place itself is a studio apartment but with proper compartments, not like the room and washroom you get in Thailand.

Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?


I live close enough to walk to work. The subway and bus costs about 32 baht which is my main form of transportation. The only time I use taxis are on the weekends when I'm out late past operating subway hours. It's about 400 baht getting to my place from the bars/clubs.

A month sets me back about 2,000 baht

Utility bills

Korea is seasonal so on average 500 baht for the power (air-con or heating) bill and only 130 baht for water. So 630 baht I guess.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

A monthly deduction of about 2,000 baht covers breakfast and lunch at school. I eat out the rest of the time because it costs just as much to cook it at home. A refrigerated meal at a convenience store costs 90 baht. Eating out at the weekends with friends is 250 per meal. So a total of about 6,000 baht.

Nightlife and drinking

I'm honestly out almost every weekend to socialize. Most clubs are cover free, the few that have fees will set you back no more than 200-300 baht. I mainly drink beer and the occasional cocktail. Domestic beers are 90 baht, imported beer 170 baht and cocktails 130-180 baht. In a month I spend about 7,000 baht.

Books, computers

I'd say nothing. My computer works fine and I only bought one text book to learn Korean that cost 460 baht.

Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?

I'd say good. I don't pay rent and my utility bills are cheap. I can eat out everyday if I want and I can go out every weekend if I want. The weekends I don't go out is because I may want to sleep in and not because of money.

Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?

I guess rent. Although not as cheap as Thailand, still half the price of back home.

Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?

Assuming your employer does not cover the 10,000 baht housing for you, I'd say 40,000 baht for all your basic needs met plus spoiling yourself on the weekend.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks Jardel. I'm quite surprised you could survive in South Korea on the equivalent of 40,000 baht a month. But the 60,000 a month you are earning certainly sounds like enough to meet your needs. We'll also be having a 'great escape' interview with Jardel in the coming week so look out for that one. 

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