Working in Near Seoul, South Korea

Monthly Earnings 124,000-140,000

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

I have a permanent position with the public sector in Korea that pays around 125,000 baht a month, plus I do freelance assignments (when I get them) that can net me just a few thousand to 27,643 baht or more.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

I'm not saving money at all because I have a family with a special needs child. I'm also short sometimes per month.

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

I live in a what they call a villa and I started off by putting a big lump sum down that required no rent. As the sum went up over the years, I opted to pay the difference in rent. So I put down 1,935,068 baht and pay 4,146 in monthly rent.

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


I pay around 1,935 baht for the subway and bus, plus a few taxi rides.

Utility bills

Korea has winter, so my gas bill can be as high as 7,000 baht when it's cold and far less at 1,100 baht in summer. Electricity is OK, as I pay around 1,200 baht except in summer, when it can get higher because of the humidity.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

We usually get groceries online and I spend a fair amount of money on them, around 30,000-40,000 baht since I have a wife and child. We also eat out and that can be costly in Korea, though bargains are there.

Nightlife and drinking

I occasionally hang with people but don't really go out as I spend most of my free time with my family, so this cost is negligible.

Books, computers

I stopped buying books given the big backlog I have, and I pay around 1,100 baht a month for uber-fast broadband that Korea is famous for.

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

Honestly, I'm just getting by and seeking more methods of earning money. Inflation in Korea is bad and I'm worried about my future.

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

I'd say public transit and bargain places to eat, if you know where to look. Oh, and the health care system is good and not going to ruin you financially if you get sick.

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

If you're single with no dependents, a salary of 70,000 baht is the minimum. I have heard of people who live on less but that would be really scrimping and not enjoying life. I don't teach English but Korea has drastically waned as an ESL destination despite the boom in Korean content worldwide, and you must be a native speaker of English from one of seven designated countries to teach English here.

Phil's analysis and comment

No disrespect but I'm not really sure what value a cost of living survey brings to the party when the person is not a teacher, either in Thailand or further afield. However, your comments on foreign teacher salaries and the current job market in South Korea are interesting.  

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