Faced with rising costs but falling wages, young Koreans have come together to take on the challenge of “no spending”; ”don’t spend money” to the extreme.
Two weeks have passed, and Kim Ji-yeon, a 29-year-old elementary school teacher, has not spent a single penny on weekdays. She gave up eating out on weekdays and started eating lunch at the school canteen. Instead of going to a coffee shop after lunch, she drinks instant coffee available in the office.
“I found out about the ‘don’t spend money challenge’ through Instagram and thought it was a good way to save money. I’ve saved about 200,000 won ($153) in the past two weeks,” she said.
Kim Ji-yeon is one of many South Koreans, especially Millennials and Gen Zers (those born between the 1980s and 2010s), trying to tighten spending amid rising inflation. .
On Instagram, there are currently 3,290 hashtags that start with keywords like “no spend”, “no spend challenge” and “no spend day”. Attached to the posts are notebooks or lists of daily expenses of young individuals or households. Youtubers also share tips to significantly cut down on daily living expenses and ways to change spending habits.
Kim, a nurse and vlogger, recently posted videos that teach you how to cook simple, low-cost meals, such as curry. Kim set the challenge to live on only 50,000 won/week (nearly 900,000 VND) and showed viewers how that can be done.
“One day I checked my bank account and it was completely empty. I thought if I don’t start saving now, soon I will be homeless and have no money. “, Kim said in her YouTube video.
And He9rang, a startup marketer in his 20s, shows ways to save 80% of his income and earn 100 million won in a few years. She also recommends easy-to-read books about saving money.
Kim Min-jae, 35, doesn’t eat restaurants or buy expensive clothes and tries to save as much as possible to achieve her goal of early retirement. Kim Min-jae has a net worth of about 1.8 billion won ($1.4 million), accumulated by saving as much monthly salary as possible, sometimes up to 90% of salary.
To achieve this, he utilizes his company credit card, eats out almost every meal at the company canteen, avoids spending on luxuries like designer clothes or expensive coffee, and keeps his spending steady. less than 200 USD per month. He is currently living with his girlfriend, a former colleague at the same company. The couple currently spends about $1,600 a month on living expenses and don’t plan to get married until at least 55, when they can apply for a government-sponsored reverse mortgage (homeowners get receive monthly payments by mortgaging their home).
“Our ultimate goal is to live the rest of our lives with the money we have accumulated. We also decided not to have children ,” Kim said.
However, as the “don’t spend money challenge” spreads, experts warn excessive savings can be harmful.
“Saving isn’t bad. But cutting ties with friends and colleagues and isolating yourself is not a healthy way to save money,” said Lee Eun-hee, a professor of consumer science at Inha University.
According to data from Statistics Korea, the consumer price index rose 6% to 108.22 as of June, the highest level in more than 23 years and 7 months. The misery index, which measures how hard the economy is, by unemployment and inflation, rose to 10.6, the highest level in seven years.
Source: Korea Herald