Let's start with my first year in Korea. Did I go on crazy shopping sprees? No, because I lived in Pohang. Did I spend a ridiculous amount of money on foreign food? No, because I lived in Pohang. Did I go out every weekend to awesome places? No, because I lived in Pohang. Ok, you get it now: I LIVED IN POHANG! So what happened to all that money I was making? One word: weddings. Not just any weddings but my best friend's and my sister's. Listen, I'm no complaining, nor in any way regret having gone back TWICE back home to support these two wonderful ladies. I'd probably do it again for one more *cough Johnny cough*, but that's it. Of course going back was not just a matter of being part of the weddings, but it also meant shopping for clothes that would actually fit me, eat out as much as possible because I had been deprived of yummy food in Korea, and go out with friends. All this meant of course I was going to need money ....and flight tickets aren't cheaper either. So I saved most of what I earned here and used it to go back home ...not a single won went to making loan payments ... yes, I am as shocked as you.
But again, I don't regret it at all. Nor do I think that my first year here was a total waste of time since it allowed me to find a better job eventually, I made great friends, and I did some pretty awesome things.
So now here's my goal. If I save a little bit more than half from every paycheck for the next two years, I'll be able to pay off my loans completely. Hooray!! Well not so fast because this means I cannot travel outside Korea or go on shopping sprees in Seoul. Yes, I now live in Seoul where I can actually go shopping, find lots of foreign food, and go out every weekend. Not that I'll turn into a total hermit and stay in all the time; I'll still have plenty of cash to eat healthy food and go out every once in a while, I just can't over do it.
It's obvious why everybody who has loans wants to pay them off, so of course I want to be debt free as soon as possible. But there's another reason why I want to pay them off more than anything: so that in case I get a job somewhere in Europe, where the pay is crappy, I'll be ok with JUST living there and not have to worry about the damn payments. Or in case I decide to stay in Korea a little longer, I'll be able to actually travel around Asia since I'm already here.
...damn you education, why you so expensive!?!