Question from a reader: utility bills

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A reader named S.Y. writes in:
I’m thinking of going to korea and was just curious about what your monthly utilities (internet/electricty/gas) end up being.

For most teachers, utilities will comprise a pretty small portion of the money leaving your bank account. The set up on how to pay them depends on the school – some schools will automatically pay your bills and deduct the amounts from your paycheck. Others will take a hands-off role, and the bills will come to you.

Although the exact amount of a utility bill obviously varies with usage, you can expect the following (assuming one-person, smallish-sized housing as is typical for apartments provided by schools):

Electric: 15,000 – 20,000 won / month (peak: 30,000 / month)
Water: 10,000 – 20,000 won / month (peak: 25,000 / month)

A reader named S.Y. writes in:
I’m thinking of going to korea and was just curious about what your monthly utilities (internet/electricty/gas) end up being.

For most teachers, utilities will comprise a pretty small portion of the money leaving your bank account. The set up on how to pay them depends on the school – some schools will automatically pay your bills and deduct the amounts from your paycheck. Others will take a hands-off role, and the bills will come to you.

Although the exact amount of a utility bill obviously varies with usage, you can expect the following (assuming one-person, smallish-sized housing as is typical for apartments provided by schools):

Electric: 15,000 – 20,000 won / month (peak: 30,000 / month)
Water: 10,000 – 20,000 won / month (peak: 25,000 / month)
Gas: (if you have a gas stove / heating) 10,000 – 20,000 won / month during summer; 40,000 – 60,000 won / month during winter.
Internet: 15,000 – 25,000 / month
Cell phones are tricky to predict. Budget 50,000 won a month to start, whether you have a monthly plan or go pre-paid. Tailor according to your plan or needs.

Rough grand total for winter (assuming middle-of-the-road averages): 152,500 won / month
Rough grand total for summer (assuming middle-of-the-road averages): 112,500 won / month

Other monthly things to consider are groceries, partying / drinking, snacks, entertainment, and so on. I touched on budgets in a previous post, so that’s worth checking out as well. It’s worth mentioning that if your employer pay your bills on your behalf, ask for an itemized list if anything seems abnormally high.

Finally, your utilities don’t usually require a deposit – and they’ll be turned on from the moment you move in. The only exception I’ve seen / heard after 1 1/2+ years is an internet company in the Gangnam area. They wanted a deposit of 60,000 won, which I think was used to secure the router.

Any questions about Korea, life in Korea, or life as a teacher? Feel free to send an e-mail at chrisinsouthkorea AT gmail DOT com. I’ll respond personally – but if your question might help other readers I’ll ask to post here as well.

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe – 2009



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