Technically, this is not a click-bait post because it’s true! I DID become a millionaire while teaching English in South Korea!…. MILLIONAIRE IN WON!!! What! What! Haha Okay, don’t be mad. Please keep reading!
The Low Down On Teaching English to Become A Millionaire
When anyone comes to South Korea to teach English they will officially become a member of “The South Korea Millionaires Club.”(So what if I made that up! Sue me, I can afford it!) Okay, so maybe they wouldn’t be accepted into the millionaires clubs in the U.S., but who says we can’t make our own here in SK? Your first paycheck will make you an instant millionaire. Yes, you read that right! The days of you sitting in your room, curled up under the covers with your boyfriend pillow in between your legs, crying, sucking your thumb, singing “I wanna be a millionaire so freakin’ bad, buy all of the things I never had” are long gone! I think the song says “billionaire,” but you get my point!
There are three types of people who arrive in Korea with the goal of teaching English: the ones that arrive with the suggested amount of money, the ones that arrive with mommy/daddy/granny/grandpa-we’ve been saving for you ever since your mom peed on a stick kind of money, and then there are those who come with their bank account looking like one of strip club cocktail waitress that just got audited by the IRS and had to pay two years of back taxes (no shade boo boo, no shade)! No matter which category you fall under, that first check will feel down right amazing.
It’s not like the U.S., when you get paid on a Friday, and by Sunday you’re broke again. No, not in Korea. In Korea, you can receive that check, have a blast, go drinking, out to eat, shopping, and help out a family member and still be a millionaire by your next paycheck. Money just last a lot longer here. (If you’re smart of course) Now, I wouldn’t recommend blowing your first check on all the things mentioned above, I’m just saying, your money will stretch a little further than it did back home.
If you are the “frugal” type you could even leave Korea with 20 million won in your pocket after just one year! Now, I know you’re thinking “how is that possible?” Well when you are teaching English for the public schools here, you don’t just receive your base salary in your first pay check. The government gives you your settlement allowance (300k), your entrance allowance (1.3Million), and extra money for teaching at more than one school. In addition to that, you will also receive a severance check, pension reimbursement, exit allowance, and any overtime pay at the end of your contract! So, it is very possible to leave Korea after a year with a serious amount of cash. I discuss this in detail here.
Here’s what I am doing to make sure I remain a millionaire by the time I leave Korea:
- I chose to teach in a rural area! That was my first step in the right direction.
- I eat eggs for breakfast every morning which is really cheap.
- I eat a huge lunch at the school since the meals are really cheap, and automatically deducted from my check.
- If I eat out for dinner, I stick to traditional Korean restaurants as opposed to western style restaurants. A full meal cost less than $6. Once a week, I do treat myself to a more expensive, western style dish.
- When I drink with friends I stick to Soju and Bokbunjajoo (Korean raspeberry wine) instead of imported spirits.
- If I go shopping, I stick to the sale racks, and I only buy what I need.
- When I go out, I try to find the free clubs first.
- When eating on the weekends I stick to kimbap (Korean sushi rolls), street food, ramen, and other traditional cheap Korean dishes, unless I’m in Seoul. If I’m in Seoul, I indulge in American style brunch and mimosas (don’t you dare judge me)!
- I save money on rent and utilities because my school pays for everything. Yes, I lucked out!
- I could have saved money by getting a used phone and purchasing a sim card, but I didn’t.
- Instead of staying in hotels or motels, I stay in Jimjilbangs (public bath house and sauna) at $10-$12/night or hostels at $18-$20/night when I travel to other cities.
These are just some things I do to keep my millionaire status. There are people out there making the whole minimalist lifestyle look EASY. I’m still a newbie. My point is this: you can have fun and enjoy your life and still leave Korea with a decent amount of money saved. It’s more than possible.
So who’s a member of the “South Korea Millionaires Club?” Are any of you considering teaching English in South Korea? Let me know in the comments. Please don’t hesitate to share this post. Sharing is caring Passionate Gypsies!