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How much money can you save teaching English in Korea?

With the high cost of an education, most of us finish University with a hefty debt for our troubles. After four years of studying hard it would be nice to travel, but how could you possibly afford it when you are in so much debt? South Korea offers a unique chance to travel, see the world and experience a new culture, all while earning a competitive salary.

Now it really depends on how you want to live your life, what you do on weekends and how much you travel to other countries on vacation, but most people tend to put away $500-$1000 per month.

Personally, I ate out 4-5 times a week, went to the bars 2-3 times a week and travelled to other countries on all of my vacations. I enjoyed life to the fullest in Korea and saved about $500 per month.  The great thing about the salary in Korea is that on your last day you get your last month pay, plus a bonus month pay in addition to your pension (if you are from North America). This all adds up to around $6000 in your pocket the day you leave Korea. This could all be used to save, pay off debt, or go on one amazing vacation!

I will break down things assuming that everyone makes, or will make $2000 per month. Many people make much more than this with extra classes and private lessons, but none of those things are a sure thing to have.

Here are your typical mandatory monthly expenses while living in Korea so you can figure out how much you might save based on how you want to live. These bills are estimates based on what I spent, as well as what my friends spent.



Phone Bill- $50

Utilities- $100 (sometimes much lower when not using AC or heat)


Groceries- $300


With a typical salary around $2000 a month, minus these basic necessities, you have $1500. Theoretically you could save this much per month, but everyone needs to have some extras.  After what you spend on eating out, drinking, and other entertainment, you can save the rest.

Things like transportation are much cheaper in Korea as well, so this does not add much to your budget. A 30 minute taxi might cost you $20, while the city bus costs $1 and a 1-2 hour bus or train trip to another city costs as little as $5.

You can also save a considerable amount by shopping at local markets rather than big grocery stores. Eating out can also be inexpensive if you go to the right places, especially in University areas. A meal with meat, rice, soup and some side dishes can cost as little as $4.

Drinking alcohol and going out for the night can also range in price depending on where you go. Most western style bars will charge up to $5 for a bottle of beer, while you can go to other more Korean style places and get pitchers of draft for $10 and other Korean alcohol at much cheaper prices. These Korean style bars are everywhere and can be great fun with the right group of people.

Post Credit: Mitch Benvie