How to Save Money in Seoul

It’s no secret that life in Seoul is getting less affordable. For most of us, salaries have stayed the same but everything is getting more and more expensive. So, here are some tips that can help you cut back and save money in Seoul.

Saving Money in Seoul

With cute panda-shaped hand creams, peach-flavored jellies, shiny earrings, and mind-blowing coffee shops everywhere it’s almost impossible not to spend money in Seoul. So, what is the plan? 

Saving money while living in Seoul is not an easy task, for certain! But, you can do it. I find that the hardest thing to overcome is many temptations wherever I go. There are so many things I want to buy! Self-control is extremely important in a consumerist society – and your key to saving money in Seoul.

One of my favorite motivational quotes that empowers me to overcome the urge to buy everything I want is: Act like you can’t afford bread until they find out you own the bakery!

Save Money in Seoul on Food

Our first tip concerns saving money in Seoul on food. This will require A LOT of self-control. Korean food is delicious! And, for some making dietary changes to save money will be necessary.

Eat Traditional Korean Food

When eating out, traditional Korean dishes are much cheaper than more modern or western meals. Kimchi stew, some grilled, fish, or homemade kimbap will be about half the price of other foods.

Traditional Markets

You can save loads of money buying fruit and vegetables at traditional markets. Places like Emart or your local neighborhood grocery store are expensive! Visit places like Namdaemun Market where you can find seasonal produce for a fraction of the cost. Plus, local vendors will usually be happy to throw in a few extra items for free once you become a regular.


Always keep an eye out for 1+1 or 2+1 deals and price compare. If you are going to buy something in bulk, check online on sites like Coupang and at your local grocery store before making your final purchase.


Transportation fees add up quickly. If you want to save money in Seoul, your first step should be to stop using taxis and opt for cheaper options such as the subway or bus instead.

However, if you want an even cheaper option, Seoul’s public bikes are the way to go. For 5,000 won per month, or 30,000 won a year you can have unlimited access. This is definitely the cheapest transportation option in Seoul!

To learn more about Seoul’s public bikes, Click Here.

Underground Fashion

Are you thinking about buying clothes or make-up? Forget about shopping in malls where everything is overpriced. Instead, become a cool underground fashion icon. Inside subway stations, the underworld of shopping is much bigger and more glamorous than you may think. You will find nice clothes, dandy accessories, and quality shoes. 

Free Destinations

Free Museums

There are a few museums in Seoul that do not require any entry fee. They are; the Seoul Museum of History, the National Museum of Korea, and the National Palace Museum of Korea.  

Traditional Village

Interested in Korean traditional architecture, but still you need to save your money to pay for tuition or your plane ticket? Then I suggest you visit Bukchon Hanok Village or Namsan Hanok Village in Seoul. No entry fee. No worries. There are plenty of instagrammable places. 

Hiking, Trekking, & Biking

Seoul is a great city for those who love the outdoors. There are a number of mountains surrounding the city that are perfect for hiking and trekking. Plus, if you enjoy biking you can use Seoul’s public bikes to ride along the river or one of the city’s many streams.

Daiso First

Daiso is the cheapest store in Korea. Whenever you need something, check if it’s there first to save money. Do you need towels, bowls, a chair, or fabric softener but only 10,000 have won? Daiso is waiting for you! Once you get into the store, you won’t believe how many low-priced things you can find there. 

Save at Coffee Shops

Korea has a huge coffee culture. And, if you can’t cut them out completely, then at least you can take some steps to save some money while enjoying your iced americano.

At many chain coffee shops, if you bring your own cup or tumbler, you will get a discount. Isn’t that great? In addition, you can download various apps that will offer you plenty of coffee coupons you can use in the store.

To learn about Starbucks e-Frequency, Click Here.

You can also try switching from more expensive coffee chains such as Starbucks, to more affordable ones such as Megacoffee or Ediya.

Cheap Housing

If you are looking to save money in Seoul on housing, there are a few options. Mainly you can save money based on housing type or location.

Free Housing

There are a lot of guesthouses that offer free housing in Seoul in exchange for labor. Normally you will work as a language instructor, receptionist, or house cleaner. However, these normally aren’t long-term accommodations and don’t always have great conditions.


Goshiwons are the cheapest form of housing in Korea. Normally, they don’t require any deposit, and the monthly payments can be as low as 200,000 won. Goshiwons are small rooms, but they are a great option for people who need to live in Seoul on a budget


If you want to live in a larger apartment while saving money housing is generally cheaper just outside of Seoul. Nearby suburbs such as Goyang, Hanam, and Gimpo have larger and cheaper housing than what is found in Seoul.

For information on English-speaking realtors in Seoul, Click here.

Conclusion: Save money in Seoul

There are plenty of ways to save money wherever you go. What is your secret method to save money in Seoul? How do you manage to overcome temptations? We are looking forward to hearing your story.

Also, for more content related to Korean culture and daily life, don’t forget to subscribe to Koreabyme. If you want to drop me a message, feel free to DM me on Instagram.

🇷🇴 Emilia Bucsan

Teacher. Writer. Explorer. A.R.M.Y. Enchanted by the beauty of Korea.