Stop throwing away money…

For some reason, I haven’t been saving as much as I used to. What’s up with that? I decided that it was time to pay more attention to my finances and stop buying everything that I see.

In general, it is cheaper to live in Seoul. The rent is lower, the food is by far cheaper, and I definitely don’t need a car. I am paying around $700 in rent (although with the current exchange rate it’s more like $650) for a place that is equivalent to a one room apartment in the US. It is a loft style, but the loft itself is too low. It’s a good thing I’m short. My other bills (utilities, gas, electricity, cable/internet, and cell phone coverage) add up to about $250 a month. That means I spend about $950 a month on rent and all the bills. That is something I can’t change at the moment. I know that is what I will have to spend in order to maintain this current lifestyle. The trick is trying to figure out how else I throw away my hard earned cash. Transportation is also an important factor here. If I take the subway to work everyday, I would be spending about $40-50 a month. Now if I throw in an occasional cab ride (which is still dirt cheap in Korea), I could spend another $40-50 a month.

Besides the usual bills and transportation, food has to be at the top of the list. You can get a nice lunch for about $5 (and some people are able to find places for even less). Dinner can also be about the same, although if you decide to eat meat (Korean barbecue), it could cost up $15. So overall it really doesn’t cost much to survive in Seoul.

I went back a couple of months to see how much I actually spent on crap. Between May and June, I spent close to $4500. Now let’s deduct rent and the bills for the two months. That means I spent $2600 on food, transportation, alcohol, and god knows what else ($1300 a month). That’s just crazy. I can’t imagine spending that kind of money on anything. Of course eating out every meal and going out quite often with friends definitely do not help.

Now let’s look at some of the changes I have been making, which started in June. I stopped drinking. I decided to cook more. I take the subway back and forth to work most of the time, rather than taking. I’ve been eating breakfast everyday and jogging regularly. And since I started eating breakfast, I’ve been smaller meals the rest of the day. So far in July (as of the 23rd), I have spent $500 on food and such. Compare that to the $1300 I was spending the last couple of months. I can’t believe how much money I was throwing away on booze and eating out and taxi rides. I’m just baffled right now. I feel like I should have started this a while ago. Anyway, I feel healthier, I have more energy, and I am saving a lot more. This is definitely a step in the right direction.

So if you want to try to save money, cut off the booze, cook more at home, and just be more conscious of what you buy. It’s something that has definitely opened my eyes.

Posted on July 24, 2010 at 12:39 am by Lee · Permalink
In: Culture, Korea, My Life · Tagged with: , , , ,

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