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Frugal Living: lifestyle creep

I’ve lived in South Korea, working as an English teacher for almost 10 years. For the first 7 years or so, I lived extremely frugally. Like, I always rode public transport and tried to avoid taxis, didn’t have a smart-phone, stayed in the school provided housing and had no pets. And like I would really consider it seriously any time that I spent more than about $5. My weakness was travel, but I almost always did it on a budget, staying in really cheap places or with friends and eating street food.

However, in the past 3 years or so, I’ve acquired a car, bicycle, surfboard,a set of scuba gear, 2 cats, a nice apartment (that I rent), a new Macbookand an Iphone. I’m kind of okay with this though. My salary has gone up considerably; if I compare this month to the same month maybe 7 years ago, I probably make double what I did then. So, even if I spend more money, I’m still able to save approximately the same amount I did years ago. The other reason I’m okay with it is that I’m reasonably financially secure. I have no debt and a significant amount of money invested in dividend paying stocks, as well as a few other sources of passive income streams up and running. Even Dave Ramsey advocates loosening up and enjoying life a bit more when you’re out of debt.

I know there are plenty of people who hate their jobs and are extremely frugal in order to retire early, to the extreme (ie: Early Retirement Extreme). I however, am not one of those people and actually like my job. Some days it gets me down a little bit, but probably 80% of the time, I’m actually quite happy about going to work and that’s a percentage I can definitely live with. So, another few years, or 10 is most definitely okay with me. If there’s one thing to be said for working at a Korean uni, it’s the vacation time, so it’s almost like I already live in a state of semi-retirement.

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