The Cost of Living in Korea

Even though the United Nations reports the cost of living in Seoul as very high, that does not pertain to teachers who do not own a house or other property, pay rent or drive a car. Income taxes are virtually non-existent at a low 3% – 7%. The cost of daily necessities is also very low, and if teachers don’t go out on the town all the time and live moderately, they can easily save 40% – 60% of their salary a month or more. Here is a short list of some common everyday goods and services:

– 1 liter of milk: 2000 Won
– 10 eggs: 1000 Won
– bus fare: normal – 850 won, express – 1400 Won
– subway: 900 Won
– taxi basic fare: 1900 Won
– a movie ticket: 7000 Won
– a bottled beer in a bar: 5000 Won
– beer bottled from a store: 1300 Won
– dry cleaning a collared shirt: 2000 Won
– a standard load at the laundromat: 5000 Won
– basic Korean meal (rice, soup and side dish): 4000 Won
– Korean meat dinner (for one): 6000-25000 Won
– one month utilities in a small apartment: 15000-70000 Won


Though schools provide furnished apartments, the utilities are the responsibility of the teacher. Utilities include gas, water, electricity, landline and cell phone, cable and internet. Gas, water and electricity together range from a total of $40-$70 USD per month, depending on usage, the season (in winter the gas bill is higher because of heating) and the size of the apartment. Cell phone bills depend on usage of course, but the average monthly bill is about 40,000 won. While basic TV cable is very cheap, under $10 USD in most locations, high-speed cable internet varies by company, usually between $35 and $45 USD per month. Installation is free.