Our Financial Year of Living in South Korea

So dear Reader, here we are. Reviewing how our year in Korea went financially – with 10 months of that being Our Brat Experiment where we were trying to reduce our expenses so we could increase our savings as much as possible. Regular readers of this blog will know that soon after beginning Our Brat Experiment we realized that we were going to reach our dream savings amount for the year and so we started pushing for our dream-dream savings number…. So let’s see if we got there 🙂 Continue reading


I’m back! :)

Hello, dear Reader! I know. I haven’t posted for aaaaaaaaaaaages. Over 3 months to be exact. I’m really sorry. Especially since I had just started to get a regular readership and then I went and effectively abandoned you with my silence. Not ideal. And no way at all to treat a dear Reader like you.

As you recall, dear Reader, we were in South Africa for a 6 week road trip visiting family and friends.

We then flew to Auckland, New Zealand, spent 4 nights sleeping in a caravan (to save money of course!) and then drove to our new home town.

We had two weeks to settle in (find a house to rent, learn our way around etc) and then I started work. I have now been working for 3 full weeks. So there has been a LOT going on for us in my months of silence, which I fully plan to catch you up on dear Reader.

BUT in the meantime we have learnt some noteworthy lessons:

  • Just like Thailand, it was clear that we struggle to keep track of our expenses when we are on holiday. Maybe we must just make peace with that going forward and rather just track the big picture (what we take with us and how much we bring back)… Though my ideal would be to feel like we on holiday AND track our expenses….
  • Despite the best of intentions, I’m not very good at blogging when I’m on holiday. Even if the holiday is 6 weeks long.
  • I’m also not very good at blogging when I move to another country. Or start a new job.
  • But we are better at tracking our expenses when we move to another country so yay for that small(?) win 🙂

IMG_4573Well it’s Sunday night here and The Hobbit is being shown on TV so I am going to end this post here. Neither Husband nor I can believe that all the INCREDIBLE scenery in The Hobbit is actually the beautiful country that we now get to call home ❤ ‘Till we chat again, dear Reader! Next up, looking at our finances (how much we spent and how much we saved) for our entire year in Korea.



A last post from Korea

As I write this I am sitting at my strangely empty desk at work, next to my bags that are stuffed with the last remaining bits (mainly clothes!) that I will take with me out of Korea. It is officially our last contracted day. We have handed over the keys to our apartment, are wrapping up final things at work and then getting on a bus to Seoul to spend the weekend with friends ❤  I will do a post on this week’s spending and a big wrap up of our financial year in Korea but that will probably only happen once we have left. But before we leave I just wanted to do one more post from Korea. It’s a bit different for this blog – it’s an extract from a book (the most wonderful, beautiful book set in South Africa pre-Apartheid) that I have just finished reading. But I thought this extract offered so many themes that speak to the values and ideas behind early retirement, financial independence, self-sufficiency and worth that I thought I should share it with you, dear Reader:

[Mid-1920s on a Karoo Farm]

“In the dim pantry, their mother… notices the sorting that her fingers are busy with and it comes to her that this inessential work with the fruit is all that is left in this hour of the day to hands that once smoothed the clay, dung and blood of the very floor of this room. Her strong pale legs and feet, bared to the thigh, had tramped and mixed the mud for this room’s bricks. The food her children ate, and the clothes they wore, and the letters they learned to recognize, and the shelter over their heads, all had come at least in part, and often in large part, from her, but in the course of her lifetime this great round of work, the labour that had placed her at the core of her family, had been shared out to a hundred or more men, men she will never know, whose goods arrive in trucks in the town to be fetched by the farm – butchered beef and ground meal and packaged coffee, milled soap, loomed cloth, sewn shirts, machined boots and stamped tin. In her imagination the factories radiate from her home, busy as they are on her behalf (and that of a thousand thousand other women) with the tasks she once did.

And at the core of this system of energy and product are not her body and capable mind, not the skills, from honing a needle to building a house, that live in her, but the cash box in the farm safe. The flimsy pounds, the coins and half coins, these are at the centre now, and where is she? And if she, a woman on a working farm, knows her labour to have been usurped – sees her daughter and daughters-in-law cast about for occupation, for value in their days, sees the mothers among them turn from their own lives to fold themselves around their children and draw from them more meaning than motherhood can bear – how much less valued must be the women of the cities?”  (p. 97 – 98)

  • The Magistrate of Gower by Claire Robertson (2015)

Chat soon, dear Reader! Much love,



My 2016 Dilemma

To my dear Reader,IMG_2492

With New Year this weekend I can’t help but think back on 2016 and try to evaluate how it all went. 2015 was a very personally challenging year for me and I was relieved when it was over. But 2016 has been different. Personally I have felt like it has been a good one with lots of growth and adventure but without all the pain that 2015 seemed to think was necessary. Yay 2016! Globally or humanity wise though… Continue reading


One of my favourite lecturers ever, Francis, was an apparent walking set of contradictions: a philosopher while simultaneously being a deeply devout Catholic (to the extent that he and his wife even practiced the rhythm method – I know this because one seminar we debated the philosophical implications of birth control). Anyway. He stood out in the philosophy department as one of the few lecturers who was religious and he seemed to get some sort of mischievous kick out it. He LOVED to debate his beliefs with us, and in return we loved it too (what a revelation for our young minds to be debating religion based on logic instead of the usual “blind faith” argument). The last semester of 3rd year he invited our seminar (a group of 12 students) to his house for dinner. Continue reading

Our (Current) Plan

One of the most surprising lessons for me on this early retirement/financial independence journey is that it isn’t only about money. While being focused on the money, we have unintentionally also become focused on the quality of our lives, living intentionally, self-sufficiency, the environment, health and just generally leaving the world in a better place. The early retirement/financial independence blogs talk about all these things of course but I initially (and swiftly!) wrote them off. I told myself that I didn’t need these extra lessons (or was already doing what I thought was enough) and focused instead only on the money.

However, to my surprise all that other stuff snuck its way into my life anyway. Continue reading

Pretty graphs of our SIX MONTHS of Brat Experiment

img_3353I’m still in complete disbelief that we have officially been on this journey for SIX MONTHS. I remember the first day the concept of us actually trying to do this thing took hold in my head. I prepared myself to go home and break the news to Husband that I had had another hair-brained idea… I fully expected him to tell me that I was crazy (especially with him not having read everything that I had been reading about Early Retirement) but to my COMPLETE shock he was fully supportive of the idea. Thinking back on it now I really shouldn’t have been surprised given his natural tendency to frugality… However, since then though it doesn’t really feel like the surprises have stopped:

Continue reading

Small Steps Make a Big Difference

When we first decided to come to Korea we worked out that we could save in one year in Korea more than we could earn in total in one year in South Africa:


At the time we knew nothing about Early Retirement or the realistic possibility of Financial Independence but we did know that we wanted to save for a house deposit. And the magic number of what we thought we could save in Korea was an absolute dream. And I mean dream: Continue reading