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A fabulous blog about frugal living

April 11, 2014
Blog snob?

There are few blogs that I find interesting enough to bookmark and actually visit regularly, so it's always a treat to find something that catches my attention.

Money talks!

I've never been particularly motivated by money, but planning for life post global nomadism has put finances firmly on my agenda. I made a decent start to 2014 by actually applying for a tax refund. It was worth trading some of my sanity to battle with several Korean websites to get a little cash back from the government.

One of the ways to reduce your tax bill here is to spend with a Korean credit card. (The balance is cleared each month unless you choose otherwise, so there's no interest added.) You do have to spend a third of your income this way to benefit, but charging nearly everything you buy can easily blow your weekly budget. To avoid this I now withdraw my weekly allowance in cash and then deposit it in my credit card account each time I use it.

That's about as far as I got with being money conscious until I saw a link on Facebook to a new blog 'Freedom through passive income'. I know the author, Jackie Bolen, as we worked together for six months a while back, but I had no idea she'd branched out from blogging about ESL teaching

Squeeeeeee! (As my book blogger friend Susan likes to say.)

Jackie's blog appeals because it's:

*useful  - most people are keen to make more money.
*sensible - she covers topics and ideas that are within reach of a large majority.
*well written - no frills, no waffle, just engaging and straightforward information.
*unique - and that's not easy to find on the web these days.

The section on frugal living has really got into my head, and just this week alone I've saved cash by getting creative with the food I have in the house. (My bad habit is to keep buying more and wasting a lot of it.)

I can't wait to put some more of the tips into practice. Jackie really is an inspiration,

Are you frugal? Share your weak spots and success stories in the comment section, or this post if you feel generous.

Weeks 7 - 12

March 23, 2014

Weeks 7 – 12

I haven't updated the staycation section for several reasons.

1.    I was really busy from weeks 7-10 as my good friend Rebecca got ready to leave Korea. Every day seemed to be a whirl of running around doing chores, or making memories.

2.    After she left I felt too sad to write about it. (Miss you Beckster.)

3.    I started my M.A. in Professional Writing. (Which will definitely get its own blog post or section.)

4.    The weather was wonderful, actually warmer in February than ...

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Where there's smoke watch out for fire!

February 3, 2014
For the last couple of days I had noticed a faint whiff of warm plastic in the air when I was using the toaster oven. I stuck my nose  all around it but nothing. Felt it up a bit, nothing. Plug seemed fine. Keep calm and carry on toasting.

Tonight my omelette was about done, tomatoes sliced, just the bagel to finish toasting and I'd be good to go with a late dinner. (The washer hadn't spun properly, causing a 30 minutes wrestling match that I barely won.) Anyone who knows me well is aware of m...

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Important message for foreign drivers in South Korea

January 27, 2014
If you are:
  • foreign
  • drive in South Korea
  • have exchanged your home country licence for a Korean license
you need to read this.

You did what to my driving license?

One of the chores on your 'to do before leaving'list is to get your home country driving licence back. This involves a trek to the Driving Licence Agency centre where you originally exchanged it for the Korean version. Sounds simple, right?

So what if you get there and your licence isn't there anymore?

What if they tell you they threw it awa...

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Weeks 3 -6: a short report

January 26, 2014

Apart from two separate days when the snow came and went within 24 hours we continue to enjoy spring like weather for the most part. It's fabulous of course, but leaves me bereft of anything much to say. So here's a very short collection of highlights from the last four weeks.

  • I quit playing Candy Crush!!! I have wanted to stop for a while but the addiction was pretty strong. In the end the app made the decision for me. I just couldn't take the new level with shimmering candies for more than t...

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Weeks 1-2 of my strange staycation

December 29, 2013
I was expecting to have many tales to tell by now. Stories of drawing on previously unknown inner strengths as I battled cabin fever, surrounded by tons of that nasty white stuff that blights the winter season. Wrong!

Ironically, we are having the mildest winter I can remember in the 6 years I've been in South Korea. Not that I'm complaining, mind. I can live with see-ing the sun most days, especially as it quickly melts the odd bit of snow that has dared to fall.

Of course this means I have mu...

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My strangest winter holiday plan - ever!

December 8, 2013
The problem
It's not much of a secret that I dislike the cold, ice and snow that winter in South Korea brings. The problem for me is that in the last couple of years this has morphed from a pet hate into an aversion, and it's now pretty close to being a phobia. (This started when a friend here slipped on the ice and broke a bone.)

My coping mechanism has been to suffer it for the unavoidable week or two at the end of semester, then escape the day after we finish work. California, Sri Lanka, Mal...
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Reflecting on my unusual mid term test assignment

November 6, 2013
In semester 1 of this academic year my students had loved the opportunity to go outside and use their phones to shoot a 1 minute sketch based on some dialogue we'd just studied. In fact this was so successful that I decided to adapt the exercise and use it for this semester's mid term assignment: making a 10 minute movie.

Was it fun? Overall, yes.

Would I do it again? Probably not!

I've reflected on the entire experience for a week or two and decided that in the end the hassles outweigh the (man...
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Auschwitz: it should never happen again

September 18, 2013
Culture and the way it impacts different societies has always interested me. That's probably why I chose to study social anthropology for my post graduate degree, and why I have spent more than a decade living abroad. Although the ways in which people think, interact and generally live their lives are mostly fascinating in a positive sense it's not always that way.

The plain truth is I struggle in a big way with hatred, any kind of -ism, ignorance, malice and anything else that fuels misery an...

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How Candy Crush Saga can boost your resume!

August 20, 2013
If you've never heard of the time sucking blight that is known as Candy Crush be thankful. If you are curious then a simple Google search will throw up gazillions of hilarious accounts relating how it has taken over innocent lives. But it's not all bad, is it?

Ever the optimist I thought it was time someone looked at all the positive things us addicts can glean from those hours spent matching candies and revelling in the sexy voice that tells us we are both sweet and divine!.

In a nutshell then...

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About Me

Valerie Ann Hamer Global nomad, writer, teacher


"bary inn kuala lumpar 'shopping confusion" 'teaching english in asia" 1970s music 50 shades of grey 50th a korean village abba abba tribute affiliate marketing apartment in korea asia auschwitz authentic teachers be a better teacher beijing beijing sideways being a writer birthday birthday. blind dates blog blog notes book stores in asia books books and expats bread british culture budget airlines budget travel busan busan dog cafe candy crush candy crush saga cargo ship passenger cargo ship travel charity china chris backe chuseok comfort food comments communication complimentary medicine concierge travel coronation street costco cultural identity culture currency confusion dictionary definitions of expat dina porell dirty dancing drinking at convenience stores driving in korea driving in the uk e-books efl efl activities efl and esl activities efl game efl games efl job applications efl teacher resources efl teaching tips egyptian food egyptian street culture emotional spring cleaning english engrade esl jobseeking essential efl classroom tips exceed driver training exchanging driving licence in korea expat expat friends expat friendships expat medical care expat writers expatriate expats expats in asia facebook facebook fan falmouth university filters fire risks foreign food shopping foreigner foreigners driving in korea free esl teaching aid friends friendship frugal living fun efl activity fundraising getting a korean driving licence gift giving in south korea gift sets girl scout cookies goukon great wall of china group dates guest blogging gypsies habarana hanjin brussels help korean kids hepatitis a in korea hi tech japanese toilets hite hoarding home how to engage efl students hygiene in korea identity theft inequality insurance for foreigners in korea interaction jackie bolen japan japanese apartments jeffrey miller jeongnamjin group home kindle konglish korea korean korean apartments korean convenience stores korean culture korean education korean education system korean thanksgiving korean toilets korean wedding halls ktx language language learning mistakes language learning. japanese learning japanese lee min ho little house on the prairie living in tokyo lost in translation ma professional writing manu fieldel marketing massage chair medical treatment in asia mid term test motivating teenagers in efl class motorbike motorbike and sidecar muslims naked without books nanowrimo national coffee day national novel writing month negombo new year resolutions nina davalun noise noise sensitivity noisy neighbours nomad nomadic lifestyle nomads nonsense english on the buses online food ordering onsen page paid forum posting patriate patriot pepero picky sticky or just plain icky? poland possessions prejudice private students in japan pyeongtaek questions racism readathon reading reading and expats recording student grades relationships relocation self publishing in korea sento sidecar sigiriya. smashwords smoking plug social media social media marketing society songtan south korea south korean hospitals spa resort malaysia spam sri lanka stereotypes tb in korea teach efl in korea teaching at a university in south korea teaching efl teaching efl at a korean university teaching english in a south korean university teaching in korea the power of words tokyo tokyo coffee shops top websites travel by freight ship travel by freighter travel insurance travellers treasure hunt turning points twitter uk uk travel university apartment south korea university grading efl university jobs in south korea us visa waiver usa to korea by ship used book stores in korea used bookstores in tokyo vacation plans virtual book tour want to write a novel what is an expat? what the book wholegrain bread winter in korea words writer's block writing writing articles
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