Ways To Save Money Teaching In Korea:
Ways to save money teaching in Korea is the topic on most minds when they make the decision to live and teach in South Korea. You may be suffering under the weight of student loans or you might be planning a year-long backpacking trip but whatever the reason, if you’re hoping to watch your bank account grow while you’re here then use the tips in this post to help you.
I go over all the benefits of teaching English in Korea with the EPIK program in this post. You may not go with EPIK but even with another public school program, you should make between 1,700 to 2,200 USD a month depending on your qualifications. You should also be offered an apartment rent-free. This is a good starting out point, but what else can you do to save money while in Korea?
Public school teachers coming in from the following countries:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- South Africa
- New Zealand
Don’t have to pay Korean Income Tax as long as they provide proof of Residency. You submit your Residency Certificate to your school and you’re granted a two-year exemption. This is just one way you can keep a little more money in your pocket. This is the application form for US Citizens:
Make A Budget
After about a month in Korea, everything should be set up. You’ll know your exact monthly salary and the cost of food and transport in your area. This means you’ll be ready to make a budget. And make a budget you should so you can reach whatever savings goal you have. It may look something like this:
Monthly Salary: 2,000,000 won
Internet: 50,000 won
Phone: 60,000 won
Food: 200,000 won
Transport: 40,000 won
Utilities: 30,000 won
After all that you will still have 1,620,000 won (1, 428 USD) a month left. So if you want to save a 1,000 USD a month (12,000 USD a year) you know that it is perfectly doable and you’ll know how much wiggle room you have in your budget to go out and have fun and splurge every now and then.
For a small monthly fee, teachers can eat the school lunches provided by their schools. This takes care of one daily meal for you and gives you the chance to get to know your students and coworkers outside the classroom.
Learning to cook and making meals at home is a great way to save money. Going out every night starts to add up but replacing one, two, or three nights a week with home cooking instead of take-out will make a difference to your bank account.
To take a taxi to my school would cost me 30,000 won for one trip. That’s just to get there, I haven’t even gotten my behind home yet. But to take a bus to my school cost 1,250 won.
Public transport is very affordable in Korea. It’s also simple, on-time and reliable. Taking the bus, riding a bike or simply walking is a great way to save money.
Track Flight Prices
You’re in Korea. China and Japan are your neighbors. Hawaii is only a ten-hour flight away. Jeju-do is calling you.
You’re going to want to explore the beautiful region you’ve found yourself in and take advantage of the lower flight costs but my advice is to watch and track flights closely. Holidays like Chuseok are a really popular time for people in Korea to travel and airlines know that.
I got the shock of my life when I went to book a trip to Japan and found the prices three times what they usually are. Track flights and book them as far in advance as you can.
Buy A Sim Card
Bring your unlocked phone from home and buy a Sim Card when you arrive. This will save a good chunk because if you buy a phone in Korea you’ll end up paying for the plan and the cost of the phone itself. I could have saved myself 30,000 won a month if I had followed my own advice.
Have Fun In Korea!
There’s a reason so many people come here to pay off their students loans and save up some money for grad school. Korea is a great place to live, teach and save and I hope you’re able to come here and find out for yourself. If you need anymore more advice or ways to save money teaching in Korea, don’t be afraid to ask. Or if you already decided to make the leap then check out this post on What To Pack for Living in Korea.