Money Diary: A Fall Weekend in Seoul

Starting something new and sharing a money diary of the past weekend. Every once in a while, I see an article by one of the publications I follow titled A Week in NYC on a $60,000 Salary, or something to that effect, which is my style of clickbait--I'm so interested in how people save and spend money and how that depends on location, budget, and what other factors have you. On a personal level, I think this will be insightful and just fun to read back on. So, here's a money diary on a fall weekend in Seoul!

Friday: We're let out of work early and three of my colleagues and I rush off to our shopping and dinner plans. One of my colleagues drives us to the Shinsegae Department Store and Express Bus Terminal, a seemingly never-ending underground shopping center, and I get to enjoy a shotgun view of Seoul (usually, I'm on public transportation). We listen to Korean music and chat about our partners, ideal partners, and past and future dates.

We browse the department store side first, and I deliberate and decide against a unique pair of asymmetrical earrings at a small stand that I still can't stop thinking about. We wander into Chicor, Korea's response to Sephora, and share our favorite beauty products and tips. I recommend Living Proof's dry shampoo to my colleague who snags it for 30% off on sale. In Uniqlo, I pick up the softest sweats in the world and this equally soft dress shirt that I might need in every color (I also take note of this vest in a gorgeous pink shade). 59,800 KRW

For dinner, we stop by a well-known hambagu steak joint and split a set of three dishes and a drink. I charge the meal to my card and my colleagues pay me back in cash. 7,500 KRW They get coffee and gelato for dessert and I try a spoonful of the raspberry, lemon, and rice flavors.

We work our way through the row of shops in the Express Bus Terminal and I dissuade myself from picking up a couple of cream sweaters. We somehow make our way back to the luxury beauty department (one of my colleagues is more of a beauty junkie than I am) and try on lip products at Dior. We spend most of our time alternating input on the two shades one of the girls is deliberating over. She ends up not purchasing either. 

We end the night with refreshments at Dean & DeLuca. It reminds me of New York and I get my first bout of 'homesickness.' I split a peppermint tea with one of the girls, who treats me, and my birthday is brought up as we chat. I'm excited about my first birthday abroad. On our way out, we stop by a convenience store to see if we can find any pirate-themed items for our school's fall festival. We can't, but I pick up a dumb cat-shaped thingamabob that makes me smile and reminds me of Luna, that wraps around and protects the ends of cables, as a gift for A for his headphones. 5,500 KRW We say goodbye to one colleague, then hop on the train. The other two transfer lines at the next stop and I get off a couple stops later to catch a bus home (I use my prepaid transit card, the commute costs between 1,200 and 2,400 KRW). I Snapchat the dumb cat-shaped thingamabob on the way. 

Daily Total: 78,000 KRW

Saturday: A isn't feeling well, so we order in for lunch from a local 'Chinese-style' restaurant. There's no delivery fee and no such thing as tips. The side of spicy jjambbong soup that we get with the jjajangmyun and fried rice is my favorite part. 11,000 KRW In the late afternoon, we walk to the new Hanaro Mart across the street that opened the day before. It's a disappointment, but we pick up some goods, including my new favorite ice cream bar. ~49,000 KRW At the exit, they're selling steamed buns/dumplings and we take ten. 10,000 KRW Our kind and diligent security guard stops us at the entrance of our building and gives us two loaves of bread from a well-known bakery as a gift. We spend our evening listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on my Bose headphones while playing the whisper challenge. 

Daily Total: 70,000 KRW

Sunday: I spend the morning video-chatting with my parents. We take the bus a few stops to Yangjae Citizen's Forest and have lunch at my favorite little Italian shop. We order a green salad, aglio olio, gorgonzola pizza, garlic bread, soda for A, and grapefruit 'ade' for me. Everything apart from the salad is glorious, and the grapefruit ade is particularly glorious. ~22,000 KRW We take a walk through the forest and enjoy the foliage (see this post). We hop on the bus again to Garosu-gil where we treat ourselves to a massive bottle of hand soap from Aesop. 50,000 KRW We walk around Gangnam Station, then stop at a cafe for an expensive hot chocolate. 6,000 KRW The hot chocolate was worth it. We walk to dinner, on an upper floor of a building and more difficult to find than it should be. My Fitbit celebrates 10,000 steps (we end up with 11,000+). We order noodle soup, fresh soup dumplings, and two sides of veg, and wash that down with tea. ~37,000 KRW Stuffed, we take the bus home and call it a night.

Daily Total: ~115,000 KRW

Weekend Total: ~263,000 KRW (~$235.00 USD)


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