Running Costs

Yesterday was the day on which we received our second paycheck in Korea. While our first few weeks had been paid for by money that we brought over with us, our first paycheck was able to get us through the last month. While we were able to take one trip and enjoy good food, we had to spend our money wisely. This was a good exercise in budgeting, but I had hoped that the coming month would be a little easier to get through. Alas, this is not to be the case.

There are two main reasons for this – our saving goals and our holiday to Japan in July. Both of these have taken up significant portions of our income.

Before we came to Korea, we calculated that if we put half of our salary away each month, we will be able to afford a deposit on a decent house upon our return to South Africa. We have committed to doing this, and regardless of our other expenses, nothing will deter us. Putting down a deposit is arguably the biggest reason that we came to Korea.

Nevertheless, it does make things significantly tighter – whereas someone coming to Korea for a year away, with no goals in mind, could live a fairly lavish life on a teacher’s salary, we make sacrifices for our future. And it surprisigly makes me quite proud that we can do so.

However, this is make even harder by our decision to go to Japan for a week over our July school holiday. We have booked all of the flights and accommodation, and need to pay back the kind person that allowed us to use their account to do so. But again, it will be worth the sacrifice in the end. I’d rather have an unforgettable experience in another country than a few more boxes of snacks.

If it sounds like I am very confused about all of this, it’s because I am. I was surprised by how many deductions there were on our payslips. I am happy that we will still be to live comfortably. I am disappointed that we will not be able to afford some of the things we would like. I am impressed at how disciplined we have been.

More than anything, I am relieved that I can plan our financial comings and goings from the comfort of our bed. We are revelling in our first long weekend since we have been here – it makes such an emotional difference to not have small humans emotionally draining you for one day. We cannot wait to enjoy the rest of it!


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