The Cost Of Living In Korea

Let me share a little about my own experience budgeting in South Korea as well as some quick facts about the cost of living.

My Experience

I try to live by the 50/30/20 rule: 50% of my income going towards essential living costs, 30% going towards wants, and the last 20% going into savings. Do I manage this each month? Before I answer that question, let me give you a glimpse at my lifestyle here in Korea.


Picnic by the Han river in South Korea near Gangnam which has highest cost of living in South Korea.

I live in Gangnam, the richest neighborhood in Seoul, which means my rent is on the higher side for an individual living in Korea. It also means I have a really nice living space in one of the best locations in the city. I go out every weekend, eating and drinking at local and trendy restaurants, with my friends. I take public transit, but I never worry when I take taxis to work or elsewhere that I’m blowing my budget. At least once a month, I take a weekend trip to another part of Korea, which means my monthly budget includes train costs, additional accommodation costs, and miscellaneous travel expenses. I’ve gone on two international trips since moving here in August, which adds additional major costs to my budget.

To put simply, I’m living exactly how I hoped I would when I dreamed of living abroad: Spending money on travel when I’m not working, but still with enough money to enjoy my daily life with comfort and convenience.

But do I manage to put 20% of my income into savings each month? Emphatically, yes. I usually put about 20-30% of my income into savings each month, and to be frank, I haven’t been trying that hard. While that’s my personal choice, I think others who are more focused on their financial savings will find that they can save more than 30% if that’s a priority.


Quick Facts

Keep in mind, things are going to be different for everyone based on where you live, your salary, and what you like to spend money on. So far, I’ve just shared my personal experience, but here are some quick facts about the cost of living in South Korea to give you a better idea.

A meal at an inexpensive restaurant: ₩10,000

Domestic beer: ₩3,000

Phone plan: ₩60,000

Gym membership: ₩65,000

Rent: ₩700,000


These numbers are from a website that gives an overview of cost of living in different countries. Of course, it’s different for everybody (for example, my phone plan is significantly cheaper than the number they list out), but it’s a good place to start to get an idea of the cost breakdown for South Korea. Check it out here!

English teacher standing in front of a mountain and Han River in South Korea

Diana Richtman, Marketing Assistant

Diana Richtman is a writer and ESL teacher living in Seoul, South Korea. Originally from Savannah, Georgia in the United States, Diana holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia in English & Women’s Studies. After receiving her TEFL certification, Diana moved to South Korea where she works at one of Creverse’s April Institutes. When Diana isn’t working, she loves exploring Korea, drinking warm cups of tea, and scaring away her friends with her karaoke performances.