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Is it cheap to live in Korea?


Living expenses are a significant aspect to consider before moving to any country. It is essential to have knowledge about the cost of living, especially when it comes to a foreign country like Korea. The purpose of this article is to provide an in-depth analysis of the cost of living in Korea.

Housing Costs

Housing is usually the most significant expense for anyone. In Korea, the price of housing varies depending on the location and size of the apartment. Generally, apartments in Seoul are expensive compared to other parts of the country. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Seoul is around 800,000 KRW ($700). However, if you move to smaller cities or towns in Korea, apartments’ rental price drops significantly.

Food and Groceries Costs

Korea’s food and groceries are relatively cheap compared to other developed countries. Korean cuisine is known for its delicious and affordable street food, which costs between 2,000 KRW ($1.7) to 6,000 KRW ($5) per meal. Grocery shopping also tends to be cheaper than eating out. If you cook at home, a week’s worth of groceries would cost about 50,000 KRW ($45).

Transportation Costs

Transportation is another aspect to consider when calculating your cost of living in Korea. Public transportation in Korea is extensive and affordable. The transportation system includes buses, subways, and taxis. The cost of a standard subway ride starts from 1,350 KRW ($1.20), while a bus ride can cost up to 1,850 KRW ($1.60). Taxis are also relatively inexpensive.

Utility Costs

Utilities such as gas, electricity, and water are relatively cheap in Korea compared to other developed countries. The average monthly utility bill is around 100,000 KRW ($90) per month. However, the cost of utilities also depends on your usage and location.

Communication Costs

Communication costs in Korea are reasonable compared to other countries. The cost of a mobile phone plan starts from 30,000 KRW ($27) per month, including unlimited data. Internet services are also affordable and widely available.

Education Costs

Education is highly valued in Korea, and the country has a well-established education system. Public schools in Korea are free, but private schools can be expensive. The average cost of private school fees is around 1,000,000 KRW ($900) per month.

Healthcare Costs

The healthcare system in Korea is excellent and affordable for both locals and foreigners. The national health insurance system covers most medical expenses. The average cost for a doctor’s consultation is around 10,000 KRW ($9) per visit.

Entertainment Costs

Korea is known for its vibrant entertainment industry, including music, movies, and sports. Entertainment costs vary depending on the type of activity you prefer. A movie ticket costs around 10,000 KRW ($9), while attending a football game can cost up to 50,000 KRW ($45).

Clothing Costs

Korean fashion is trendy and affordable. Clothing costs depend on the type of clothing and brand you purchase. You can find affordable clothing at local markets or department stores like Lotte Mart or E-mart.


Taxes in Korea are relatively low compared to other developed countries. Income tax ranges from 6% to 45%, depending on your income bracket. The VAT rate is 10%, and there are various tax deductions available for specific expenses.


The cost of living in Korea varies depending on your lifestyle and location. However, overall, Korea is a relatively affordable country to live in compared to other developed countries. It provides excellent quality of life, with affordable housing, food, transportation, communication, education, healthcare, entertainment, and clothing costs.

Is it easy to live in Korea as a foreigner?

Expats who choose to relocate to South Korea can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle with good salaries and a reasonable cost of living. The locals and other expats are welcoming and hospitable, making it an easy transition.

How expensive is it to live in South Korea?

For a family of four, the estimated monthly expenses in South Korea are $3,609.5 (₩4,685,404.3) without including rent, while for a single person, it is estimated to be $997.6 (₩1,294,952.2) without rent. On average, the cost of living in South Korea is 5.3% cheaper than in the United States, and rent is 60.9% cheaper in South Korea compared to the United States.

Is it expensive to live in Korea from US?

South Korea is a country that is known for being expensive, with its capital city, Seoul, often being listed as one of the most expensive cities in the world. According to the 2022 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Seoul ranked 14th out of 227 cities.

Is rent expensive in Korea?

Rent prices for studio or one-bedroom apartments outside of major cities can range from $300-$600 per month. In Seoul’s city center, you can expect to pay around $800-$1,000 or more, with larger and more desirable locations being more expensive. This information was last updated on March 4th, 2023.

How long can Americans stay in South Korea?

With a valid passport, American citizens are able to visit South Korea for up to 90 days using a K-ETA for the purposes of tourism or visiting. To learn more about the entry requirements for foreigners using K-ETA, please click the provided link.

Can I move to Korea with no job?

To relocate to Korea without a job, you can obtain a D-10 Job Seeker Visa.

Additional Costs to Consider

While the above categories cover most of the essential expenses, there are additional costs to consider. These include travel expenses, such as flights and visas, which can be costly depending on your home country. Additionally, if you own a car or require a driver’s license, there may be fees associated with obtaining one in Korea. Other costs to consider include pet expenses, such as veterinary bills and pet food, and personal expenses such as gym memberships and hobbies.

Ways to Save Money

There are several ways to save money while living in Korea. One of the best ways to save is by choosing a smaller apartment or living outside of Seoul. If you cook at home and buy groceries in bulk, you can also save money. Taking public transportation instead of taxis is another way to save money on transportation costs. Additionally, many entertainment activities can be enjoyed for free or at a low cost, such as visiting parks or attending free concerts.


Overall, the cost of living in Korea is relatively affordable compared to other developed countries. While housing costs in Seoul can be expensive, other essential expenses such as food, transportation, and utilities are affordable. Additionally, the education and healthcare systems are excellent and accessible for both locals and foreigners. By budgeting wisely and finding ways to save money, living in Korea can be an enjoyable and affordable experience.

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