In Korea, English teachers are often giving housing as part of their employment package. Except at my university, everyone just gets a housing allowance and you’re responsible for finding your own, which means that you can basically live anywhere that you want. Although the neighborhood I live in isn’t the most luxurious (far from the beach, no expat bars and few restaurant/shopping choices), my house is only a 20 minute walk from work, and it’s even quicker if I drive. Most of my coworkers live in better areas of town, but I’m really happy that I chose the place I did and I think it really helps me to live frugally and happily. Here’s why:
1. I spend less time on “work-stuff” than a lot of my coworkers. Some of them commute for 2-2.5 hours/day. I spend about 15 minutes, or less. This leaves me plenty of time and energy for cooking at home, exercising and my online ventures. It’s super easy to just eat junk food when you’re pressed for time and stressed out. Plus, it just saves money by traveling a shorter distance.
2. I have to go to work 4-5 days/week. I don’t have to go out to the beach or the nice areas of town, unless I want to. If I feel tired, or sick or burnt-out, I can just cut down on my social activities and rest. Work is impossible to cut down on when there are classes to teach.
3. Housing prices are cheaper away from the nicer areas. I have quite a large apartment (for Korea!) and I basically pay the same amount that some of my friends pay for a small loft in a nice area.
4. For me, living away from all the nice restaurants and bars is a good thing. Like I have to purposely choose to go there and travel to get to them instead of just stopping by on my way home from work.
How about you? How long is your commute?