being one of the most expensive places to live in in the world, Seoul is actually quite affordable provided if you do not shop or splurge too much. so let me break down my expenses as a poor student studying in Seoul.

I pay 350,000won for a tiny room with shared kitchen and bathroom. and it is considered really “cheap”. most university dorms in Seoul costs around this price. for normal rents, it costs around 450,000-700,000won on average. depends on how much comfort you’ll sacrifice for cheap rent. also, for places with key moneys (deposits), the higher deposits you pay, the lower your rent! my other Malaysian friend here pays 500,000won with 5million key money for a one room. pretty big, own kitchen and toilet.

included in my rent! if not, bills in the winter can go up to 200,000won if you use the ondol (floor heating system) frequently but it’s normally around 30,000-50,000won in general including gas, water and electricity. most places provide internet, and for those who don’t, I don’t think it will cost too much. probably around 30,000won.

I am a huge cheapskate because I don’t want to chip out 35,000won to 70,000won a month for a phone with data. it is quite inconvenient at times but I bought a wifi transmitter device for 80,000won (lasts up to 10 hours) and it only costs around 12,000won per month for super fast internet and 10GB worth of data. otherwise, I only spend 5,000won for my sim card. one thing is because I barely call. I use kakaotalk most of the time so..

I use around 50,000won per month as I go out pretty often in Seoul. but because I live near my university, I normally take the bus to school and walk back home. and my total expenses would be 300won because my school does not provide free bus like Yonsei. if you live further, you’d spend probably around 60,000-80,000won depending on how often you travel around. since now the base transportation fees raised from 1,050 to 1,250, you’ll have to expect to spend a little more.

according to my app, I spend around 150,000won per month on food. it costs around 5-6,000won per meal on average and I normally eat out once per day on a schooling day and I’d cook at home most of the time. for groceries, they didn’t cost too much for me because I try to eat as little as I can when I’m eating at home. I’d normally buy buns for breakfast and eat random stuff for dinner. I have spaghetti really often haha. so I’d say my total budget will be 150,000won for survival. but I have friends who spend 600,000won just for food because they eat a lot. not because they dine out at nice places. BUT, if you dine out at nicer places like Itaewon or Sinsadong, a normal meal will cost around 20,000won. and for me, I only dine in a nice place probably once or twice a month. other than that, it’s because my nice friends visit from abroad and they pamper me to a nice meal =D. well I get pampered even by friends haha. lucky me I guess?

monthly, I spend around 700,000won on average. I am very very thrifty and I definitely live like a pauper. I do a lot of free activities like hiking up the mountain or strolling by Hangang. plus I spend most of my time in the library. but an average student spends around 800,000won to 1,000,000won per month.

hope this helps? =D.

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8 years ago

Expensive living hehehehehe.. I have converted it to philippine peso, and its a month’s salary hahahahaha. I wonder how you survived that? hehehehehe..

8 years ago

I guess living in Seoul does not come cheap after all. =P

8 years ago

Hi Jamie! 🙂

I noticed you said you went strolling in Hangang. I’ll be going to Seoul in 2 weeks and my friend really wants to go strolling at Hangang in the morning. Can you recommend a nice part of Hangang for morning/evening strolls? My friend really wants to see what Koreans do in the morning & evenings in Hangang 🙂

Thanks in advance! 🙂

8 years ago

hey jamie, can you please write specifically about your tiny room? it’s goshiwon, isn’t it? i really want to know how goshiwon looks like. thank you so much

8 years ago

Hi Jamie! I came across your blog while searching some information about Yonsei KLI. Next semester I will attend KLI and will be living in the dorms. However, I found online that Yonsei dorms do not provide wifi, so I was wondering which wifi transmitter you use, so I can also buy one and use it in the dorm for my iPad and phone. Hope you can help me out! Thanks a lot in advance=D