The Numbers: A Summary of Month 5

Month 5. It has been a REALLY busy month. Week 18 a friend came to stay with us for the weekend and we paid for most things (reflected in the eating out number for Week 18!), Week 19 saw us travel to Seoul to see family friends and do touristy things and Week 20 was Chuseok. It was a tight month (and my jacket didn’t help!) but I’m very pleasantly surprised it wasn’t tighter given how much we did. (Also, I’m trying out a new thing where I bold the week we spent the most money in each category, just to see if it highlights any more patterns in our spending):    Continue reading


Week 21

This was a short week because the month ended, or rather we were paid, on Friday. However, I’m still expecting it to be an expensive week because experience has taught me that the bills really knock us at the end of each month. We really tried to live super cheaply though (still compensating for the jacket!) and to be honest, it really wasn’t that hard 🙂   Continue reading

Week 20

I feel like we didn’t do too well this week. Mainly because of my jacket. But also because it was Chuseok (Korean thanksgiving) and so we had five glorious days off work. Which meant of course that we went on a little holiday 🙂 But we did make friends with the most lovely tourist information lady who hooked us up with SUPER cheap accommodation, which really helped our budget a lot. Also, before I start reporting can we just celebrate that this is our TWENTIETH WEEK of Our Brat Experiment, dear Reader?!?!

Continue reading

My Beginner’s Understanding of Investing – Part 6: My Choices

FINALLY we are at the good bit – our choices within our besties investment class: equities 🙂 If you haven’t read parts 1 to 5 of this series and are feeling a little lost/over-whelmed then please check them out in The Numbers section, dear Reader.

Because everyone shouts the benefits of passive investing (index tracking funds) that’s where I started in my investing-self-education quest. I wrote “passive investing” on a piece of paper and then started reading around it, adding to my piece of paper as I learnt. I wanted to understand how passive investing fitted into the investing world and what my alternative options were. Continue reading

Week 19

I feel like we did quite well last week. Like during the actual week. During the weekend we spent a lot of money for sure but it was worth it. We went to Seoul for the weekend to meet up with family friends who are visiting Korea from South Africa. It was great to see them and surprisingly fun to play tourist-tourist with them 🙂 It confirmed that I shouldn’t wait for visitors to be a tourist.


Walking from Myeongdong to near Insadong


Samgypsal in Insadong (the tourist pozzie in Seoul)


The toilet from the top of Seoul Tower (over looking the lights of Seoul). Talk about a loo with a view! Was just brilliant 🙂 🙂

So the week’s spend went like this:

To new readers of The Brat Experiment: I basically report on our weekly spending and then write up a summary of our spending for each month. You can check out other weekly spends and the monthly summaries in The Numbers section.


11 120 won

10 120 won Groceries Necessary
1 000 won Gum Necessary
Eat Out

60 500 won

49 000 won Dinner and drinks with work Necessary but we did indulge in beer tastings etc 🙂
11 500 won Order in Indulgence but cheap
Clothes n/a

12 750 won

3 000 won CU beer Indulgence
3 750 won CU beer Indulgence
6 000 won Drinks before dinner Indulgence but lekker (South African for “really nice”)
Once-off n/a
Bills & Fees n/a


10 200 won

5 300 won Taxi to work dinner Necessary. It was super far.
4 900 won Taxi home after dinner Necessary
Gifts n/a
Medical n/a
Travel n/a

 Day to day total: 94 570 won

So basically, I was right and we were amazing with how little we spent during the week last week. Now for the tiny matter of Seoul…


95 200 won

4 400 won Taxi to bus station Necessary
43 000 won Bus to Seoul Necessary
43 000 won Bus home Necessary
4 800 won Taxi home Necessary

60 000 won

60 000 won Motel Necessary

116 830 won

5 600 won Bus snacks Necessary
73 000 won Lunch out for 5 Necessary
2 500 won Cool drinks Necessary
5 000 won Gimbap Necessary
13 000 won Breakfast Necessary
17 730 won Lunch out Necessary. AND it involved steak – a REAL treat here

3 500 won

3 500 won Beer after Seoul Tower Indulgence
Tourist Activities

36 000 won

16 000 won Palace secret garden Necessary.
20 000 won Seoul Tower Necessary and awesome

49 600 won

3 500 won Socks Necessary. Been looking for ages
5 000 won Scarf Indulgence but so pretty 🙂
41 100 won Harry Potter book and a puzzle Indulgence

5 200 won

5 200 won Postcards sent from Seoul Tower Necessary

 Seoul travel: 366 330 won


Check how pretty my scarf is! AND it’s practical colours that I will use often – at least I felt responsible in my indulgence 🙂

We did Seoul a little differently to usual in that we only travelled up on the Saturday morning and so didn’t to pay for accommodation on Friday night – this was a big saver. Accommodation really does nail the travel budget… so long term we definitely need a camper van or something…

Week’s total: 460 900 won

Necessary: 387 050 won (84%)

Indulgence: 73 850 won (16%)

Overall I am very pleasantly surprised by our spending last week. We only have one more weekend before payday and we feel like we are actually going to make it without having to eat nothing but ramien (Korean noodles) for a week 🙂 And this is even with this weekend coming lasting FIVE days. Yip, it’s Chusok (Korean thanksgiving) and so today is the last day of work for the week (yaaaaaaaay!). And I’m very excited because we are going to play tourist-tourist again 🙂


My Beginner’s Understanding of Investing – Part 5: The Equity Risk Continuum

I have to admit, dear Reader, that this investing series has taken MUCH longer than I thought that it would. And I cannot help but feel bad for it coming out so slowly. I keep reminding myself that you’re all grown-ups and so are perfectly capable of researching this on your own if you’re desperate enough. I also remind myself that I’m trying to make this blog one of the few areas of my life where I am more focused on pleasing myself than others. But definitely a big part of this slowness is that I have been teaching myself while I go, which of course takes time. And then when I start writing up a post I have this annoying academic need to reference… but I have read so much now that I couldn’t ever find the references I was looking for when I was looking for them! So in desperation I spent the whole of last week cataloging everything that I thought was good enough to email to myself… and I was shocked to see how much I have actually read! I knew that I had learnt a LOT but I had no idea it was that much 🙂 Made me feel quite warm and fuzzy 🙂 And also built my confidence that I can actually make an informed decision with our money (and not fall victim to the Dunning-Kruger Effect!)

So let’s recap (so my pattern thinking brain can know exactly how everything is fitting together so far!):

We’ve already established that the investing is the tricky part. But hopefully now that we have the big picture about the different kinds of assets and how portfolios work we can start making some better-informed investing choices.

But before we go any further we need to speak some more about equities/shares/stocks and their continuum of risk. Based on here, here, here, here and here this is how I see the equity risk continuum:


We have all heard the saying not to place your eggs all in one basket, yes? Well that’s the logic behind making sure you buy equities in a range of companies – that way if one goes bust you don’t also necessarily go bust 🙂 Buying into companies that are established and have a history to prove that they work is also less risky than buying into a new or smaller company. Let’s be honest, even the people starting the new, smaller companies aren’t sure it’s going to work! The reason that regular, smaller payments are safer than one lump sum is because of dollar cost averaging. Basically, if you are buying regularly then sometimes you will buy high and sometimes you will buy low but over the long term it will all even out 🙂 It will also get you into the habit of regularly investing which is even more fantastic 🙂 Lastly, equities are for the long term. Equities do go up and down but from everything I have read (for example, here) over the long term they cannot help but go up 🙂

What this all means is that I can invest in equities (and so get the magic reward of compound interest and the much needed security of keeping up with inflation) and STILL choose a level of risk (and reward!) that I am comfortable with 🙂 Yay me 🙂


Week 18: A long week


One of the school dinners. Needless to say I had no idea what I was eating for most of the meal! You just take a bite and hope it’s cooked!

I decided instead of doing a weekly report for 4 days (the first week of this new month) to rather combine it with this week into a week of 11 days. So this is a long week. And it was a busy week. Between us we had three school dinners (for those of you dear Readers who aren’t familiar with Korean culture work dinners are a BIG thing here) and then then our friend came to visit us for the weekend. It was sooooooo good to see her 🙂 The low point was that we suddenly realized (only towards the end of the week!) that we have managed to commit ourselves to something (which requires money!) every single weekend of this month 😦 So we panicked. And since then have been even more frugal during the week in the hopes that our cash will last until the end of the month (which it has to because we have already sent our money to savings and the only way to get it out is for both of us to fly to New Zealand – while they will let you set up a NZ bank account from overseas, they won’t let you touch your money until you activate your account in person).


137 720 won

700 won Water Necessary
40 080 won Groceries Necessary. I made as close to a roast chicken and veges as we can get over here using our tiny oven 🙂
3 650 won Milk Necessary. Not sure why it was so expensive though…
17 220 won Groceries Necessary
2 600 won Milk Necessary
38 220 won Groceries Necessary
35 250 won Groceries Necessary. Even the wine 😉

Eat Out

157 250 won

11 400 won Coffee at the beach Indulgence
11 500 won Kimbap shop Indulgence but cheap
12 500 won Kimbap ordered in Indulgence. It was cold and rainy and we couldn’t face cooking…
17 850 won My school lunches I’ve decided this is actually an indulgence because I could have lunch for cheaper…
20 000 won School dinner Necessary
7 300 won Pizza Husband treated himself to some pizza while I was out with my school
17 300 won Coffee out for 3 of us Necessary. It was raining and this was a lovely outing to the beach with our friend 🙂
2 100 won Cool drinks for 3 Indulgence
34 000 won Kamjatang for 3 Necessary. And SO good 🙂
12 600 won Coffee for 3 Necessary.
10 700 won Mom’s Touch out Indulgence




18 000 won

5 000 won Stout beer Indulgence
13 000 won Beers for 3 in a bar Indulgence. But haven’t done this in AGES and our friend was visiting us 🙂


54 900 won

42 000 won Phone battery for Husband Necessary. Turns out the cheap second-hand phone we got Husband had a kaka battery…
12 900 won Tools for changing the battery Necessary. I thought I had ordered this with the phone battery… but lost in translation had other plans! Haha! The joys of doing things not in your first language and with a different alphabet!

Bills & Fees

500 won

500 won ATM withdrawal fee Necessary


17 400 won

3 900 won Taxi to school Necessary. My lift fell through and I obviously had to get to work.
3 700 won Taxi home from E-Mart Indulgence. We walked from the beach to e-mart and then caught a taxi. Totally worth it.
4 800 won Taxi to bus terminal Necessary. Took our friend to the bus terminal and had coffee while we waited for her bus 🙂
5 000 won Taxi home from bus terminal Necessary.
Gifts n/a
Medical n/a
Travel n/a

 Week’s total: 385 770 won

Necessary: 290 720 won (75%)

Indulgence: 95 050 won (25%)

You may have noticed that we bought quite a lot of food and drinks for 3 (i.e. for our friend who came to visit us too). Yes, technically it means we spent more money. But our friend has JUST arrived in Korea, is busy setting up her life here (e.g. paying for her registration card, sorting out her house etc) and hasn’t had her first pay cheque yet. We on the other hand have been here 6 months and are pretty much as set up as we’re ever going to be. It was a no brainer for us to pay for everything while she was with us. People first. Then money. Easy-peasy.

In terms of our spending it is actually less than I expected 🙂 Granted the ratio of necessary vs indulgence is not quite as good as usual (we tend to hover around 80:20) but that’s ok. I’m especially stoked with our spend given that this week was 11 days long. So here’s to this coming week and a trip to Seoul! 🙂