Thrifty Woman Spends Just $7 per Month on Food, Saves Up $80,000 in 4 Years

A 24-year-old woman became the talk of South Korean social media this month after it was revealed that she managed to save up 100 million won ($79,400) in 4 years by being extremely thrifty.

Ji-hyeon Kwak started working when she was 19-year-old and quickly realized that she needed to save money if she was ever going to get her own place to live. Despite earning an average of 2 million won per month (after tax), the young woman managed to put enough aside every month to save over 100 million won in the last four years. That was enough for her to win an apartment subscription, which means she will soon get her own place to live. But, as you can imagine, saving that much money on such a small salary wasn’t easy. She had to take her thriftiness to an extreme level, which included spending just 8,400 won ($6.7) on food per month.

Photo: SBS Master of Living

In case you’re wondering, no, Ji-hyeon Kwak doesn’t live exclusively on instant ramen. In fact, she is generally able to eat a balanced diet on a very thin budget, thanks to a coupon and discount system she perfected over the years. This allows her to get the products she needs virtually for free, or for very small amounts of money, allowing her to save the bulk of her salary.

In a recent appearance on SBS’ Master of Living program, the 24-year-old woman said that she uses various apps and surveys to receive points and coupon codes that can then be spent on a variety of products. She scans receipts of whatever purchases she does make and earns a few hundred won each time. It sounds like a waste of time and personal data, but when you’re trying to save as much money as possible, every little bit counts.


Photo: SBS Master of Living

One of the main factors by which house subscriptions are awarded in South Korea is the subscription savings account. It’s a unique system that acts as a strong incentive for candidates to save money in order to obtain a house and pay for it. Some people spend much of their lives hoping to be selected for a subscription, but Ji-hyeon Kwak managed in just four years.

Relying on apps and coupon codes alone wasn’t enough for the young South Korean thrift queen. In order to cut her expenses to a minimum, she walks for about 2 hours a day, thus spending nothing on transportation, only drinks tap water and homemade tea, and basically eats whatever she can buy for extremely cheap or win via her apps. If that happens to be bottled water, she’ll sell it online and save the money, since she drinks free tap water.


In the four years since she started her thrifty journey, Ji-hyeon Kwak has learned a bunch of ways to save money while maintaining a balanced diet. She is now sharing these tricks with the world via YouTube and Instagram.

After Ji-hyeon Kwak’s Master of Living episode went viral this month, the public’s general reaction to her story was positive, with many people applauding her for being so calculated and savings-oriented, but there were also those who told her that she was too young to be so thrifty and that she should enjoy life a bit more.


Interestingly, in her interview with SBS, the 24-year-old said that she was motivated to save up as much money as she could by her family situation, which was not good at all. She wanted an escape and this seemed like her best option.

Ji-hyeon Kwak’s story reminded us of another woman we featured a couple of years ago, who managed to buy 2 homes by saving up 90% oof her salary.

Posted in News        Tags: , , , , ,