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

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Week 42 (our last week) & Month 10 (our last month) in Korea!

To new readers of The Brat Experiment: Husband and I track every single Korean won that we spend (we’re currently living in South Korea) on a fantastic app called Money Lover. The app is synched to both of our phones and means that it’s very easy to see where all of our money goes (which is not always pleasant!). I then report on our weekly spending here and 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.

Total Explained…
Week 42 957 721 won  
Groceries 36 740 won Not much because we were eating out and having food bought for us a lot with it being our last week in Korea.
Eat Out 130 450 won And then we returned the favour…
Clothes 0 won
Alcohol 0 won
Once-Off 364 001 won 293 101 won on posting 5 boxes to New Zealand. The rest on polaroid film, batteries and earnings (Husband’s).
Bills & Fees 235 910 won The usual except we didn’t have to pay the building management fee and actually even got 44 000 won back from them! J Also it was basically double our normal cell phone fees to close out contracts… still not sure why!
Transport 12 900 won 4 taxis…
Gifts 55 220 won For people in Korea but mainly for people in South Africa…
Medical 25 600 won The dentist for Husband and I
Local Travel 62 900 won Heading to Seoul our last weekend in Korea… so low because we stayed with our wonderful friends in Seoul
Overseas Travel 34 000 won This was the taxi and bus to the airport from our friends’ house
Christmas 0 won

Week 42 total: 957 751 won

Necessary: 874 921 won (91%)

Indulgence: 82 800 won (9%)

So we spent a LOT more than usual… Let’s see how it all fitted into our plan for the month:

Week 42

So basically, we overspent by a significant amount. Thank goodness that we got another salary out of Korea PLUS our flights home PLUS a bonus – so all is not lost yet, dear Reader 🙂

Xxx

 

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.

Xxx

 

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,

Xxx

 

Week 41

I GOT THE JOB!!!! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!! Ah, dear Reader, I cannot explain how wonderful this job is. It is exactly what I want to do (working in the public health sector with children and adolescents) and they are already treating me so well – even offering to keep an ear out for jobs for Husband. Have you ever?? Continue reading

Thailand in 10 Days (12 days with travel time)

We made this a VERY different trip to our Malaysian trip last year, or in fact to any trip that we have ever taken. The impetus for this was Husband’s instance that it is possible to travel to another country, not see ALL the things, and just have a wonderful, relaxing holiday instead. He also insisted that it would be possible to do all this without feeling wracked with guilt for choosing to relax and revive rather than choosing to mission to learn and see everything we possibly can. Continue reading

Week 39 & Week 40

We arrived back in Korea on Friday the 3rd and so I thought that I would just do my usual thing and join that weekend with the following week, making it a longer than usual week. But when I started doing the numbers I realized that we spent so much during that weekend that it really deserves its own write-up. Plus, I think it’s interesting to see our spending in more detail for this last month of Korea because, as I said in Month 9, it has definitely changed. This last month we have gone from “we live here” spending brains to “we’re leaving soon and so must experience everything one last time” spending brains. Continue reading

The Numbers: A Summary of Month 9

And here we are, dear Reader, NINE MONTHS into Our Brat Experiment. An entire whole baby if we had been pregnant (which gives me new found respect for pregnancy – shows in concrete terms for an outsider how long it really is!!) It was also our second to last month in Korea and so we are now into the final push of saving as much as we possibly can while still having the amazing benefits Korea gives us (namely: very cheap health care, no tax and living rent free). Continue reading

Week 38

Hello, dear Reader! It has been SO long since I wrote! The main reason for this is that we have just spent 10 glorious days in Thailand ❤ (But more on this in a future post in my brat travel section). I had fully intended to this Week 38 post and the end of the month post before we left, as well as give you a heads up that things would be quiet on here for a while… but then a wonderful and terrifying thing occurred: I got a job interview 😀 Continue reading

Week 37

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Coffee at the beach

Hello, dear Reader! I so hope that you are happy and had a great weekend 🙂 We had such an awesome weekend with wonderful friends staying with us Friday night and Saturday day and then being lazy blobs (complete with a Sunday afternoon nap!) on Sunday – the perfect weekend balance 🙂 We now find ourselves back at work (with NO students), doing nothing but keeping our desks warm for 3 days and then we’re on holiday – yay! 🙂 We’re having friends to stay this weekend and then we fly to Thailand on Monday – happy, happy days ahead 🙂 So let’s take a look at how our spending went last week…

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Also, as a side note, it has been kak cold this week!! 

Continue reading