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


Week 7: An experiment in no Husbands

I’m feeling optimistic about this week 🙂 Husband was away the whole week so the budget was only 100 000 won (instead of 200 000 won) but I think I came in under that 🙂

500 won ATM withdrawal fee Necessary
14 600 won Groceries Necessary
15 000 won Haircut Necessary. Last had one in February. That’s 4 months ago. Also Husband refused to cut my hair for me to save money.
10 000 won Coffee out Indulgent. But socially appropriate. Friends paid for dinner. I bought coffee.
540 won SMS fee from bank Necessary
30 000 won Deposit to join a health shop Indulgence. But we like to be healthy. And we will get the money back when we leave Korea so technically doesn’t count as an expense at all 🙂
3000 won Fee to join the health shop Necessary
8800 won Groceries Necessary
2650 won Milk Necessary
7500 won Medicine Necessary. I battled a cold all week.
3000 won Sweets Indulgence

Week’s total: 95 590 won

Necessary: 52 590 won (55%)

Indulgence: 43 000 won (45%)

 Under budget for the first time ever I think – whohooooooooooo! I’m just going to ignore the necessary vs. indulgence ratio though. Especially given that I will be getting the 30 000 won deposit back in 8 months.

I did feel like it was easier not to spend money with Husband not being here though… I was happier to make a plan with weird combinations of food for dinner (simply because that was what was in our fridge), not a single beer was bought all week and I didn’t pay for a meal out once. What’s strange about this though is that Husband is actually far happier and willing than me to eat weird combinations of food for dinner… and at default he’s much better at not spending money than I am… The only conclusion is that the already-noted phenomenon of spending more money when we’re in a social situation appears to play out even between just the two of us… Didn’t see that coming at all, dear Reader!


Money and relationships are cooooomplicated…

6:08pm last night Husband phones me:

 Husband: I hate you.

Me: Why?

Husband: I have been looking for cheap running shorts for half an hour and have spent the entire time feeling like shit for wanting to spend money.

Me: I’m sorry Love…

Husband: You and this bloody money stuff hey…


This brings up two concerns:

  • I don’t want to do this if long term we constantly feel guilty every time that we spend money (I can see the benefits of guilt in the short term though as a way to initially reduce spending)
  • Money and relationships are cooooooooooooooomplicated…


I’ll be honest, dear Reader, my initial response to this phone call was triumphant glee. You see traditionally it has usually been the other way around: Husband the saver and me the spender (although I prefer to use the term “liver of life!”) and so it felt really good to have things swopped around a little bit 🙂


When we first started dating it took us a while to figure out why grocery shopping usually involved arguments: basically, we both approach money in very different ways. See the beautiful illustration below:



Years later and I think that we have both moved a little towards the other’s money culture and so shopping has become much more pleasant. But since starting this process I’ve started to wonder if that’s not just because we have both been, unwittingly, assuming the elephant position (if this reference confuses you please check Stop assuming the elephant position out)….


Back to that phone call last night: Husband is definitely as on board with this Brat Experiment as I am. Similarly to me, he’s desperate to have our own house, travel and (this you don’t know yet about me, dear Reader) would LOVE to be able to study for the rest of his days – and the Brat Experiment suddenly makes these things tantalizingly close to reality. Also trying to spend as little money as possible is right in line with Husband’s money culture. However, at the moment, I am definitely the driving force (read: constant reminder) that we are trying to spend less money… and this subtle power dynamic makes me nervous. Or maybe it shouldn’t? Maybe with something as lifestyle challenging as this it’s more about team work. We have both decided that we want to give this Brat Experiment a try and we both REALLY want the things that this lifestyle can potentially afford us i.e. we want the same end result and are on the same team. So maybe it’s more about us taking turns being the “driving force” and I just happen to be first?