Author Topic: Trying to think things through - moving back to the US in August  (Read 1733 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Location: Daegu, SK
Hi everyone! I'm Nikki.

Okay, here's the short version:

1. What's reasonable to pay for a new bicycle?

2. What's a reasonable percentage to sell said bike for after one year of use?

3. Should I try to continue paying on my student loans (about $250 a month) while making $1200 a month, paying for a licensure program (about $350 a month for 9 months), rent ($300 a month), and basic living stuff (food, allergy meds, etc.)? I do qualify for a deferment based on income, but I'm debating whether to take it.

Here are the details:

I'm currently living in China, moving back to the US temporarily in August.  I'm going back because I've decided to get my teaching license so I can make a LOT more money teaching in an international school (I currently teach English as a foreign language at a "cram" school). I have a part-time job lined up when I return, making about $15 an hour for 15-20 hours a week. I also plan to do some teaching online for about $8 an hour - not much, but I want to keep my experience current, and earn a little extra dough. I'm also looking at doing some tutoring in the states - my bachelor's degree is in English, and I went to one of those Ivy-covered debt traps (I escaped with "only" $25,000 in debt, but still...). I've made enough money here in China to pay about half of my teaching program up front, plus have some money to get set up, plus have some emergency savings. I've also been able to keep up my student loan payments during my time in China (due to personal idiocy in the past, I am STILL paying off my student loans) - thank goodness the cost of living here is so low!

My long-winded questions are:
1. Obviously it would be idiotic to get a car, even if I took my usual route of buying a decent junker, drive it until it dies, and sell it for 1/2 - 3/4 what I originally paid. I am looking at bicycles, and I've done some riding here in China - since that hasn't scared me off the road, I should be ok in the US.

How much is okay to pay for a decent bicycle? I'm talking a new one - I don't know enough about bikes to recognize a diamond in the rough, and I don't know anyone who does, so I don't want to buy a used one. However, I'm certainly not going to pay a ridiculous amount for something I'm only going to use for a year. I know I also have to factor in safety equipment, fix-it kit, etc.

2. How much (percentage-wise) should I sell the bike for when I leave - 50% of the purchase price? More? Less? This is assuming I don't take it with me to whatever country I go to next - if I end up in the same area of China (a mountainous region), it's not gonna happen. If I end up on the Marshall Islands, it's a definite possibility.

3. The big question - should I defer my student loan payments until I line up a job after getting my teaching license? As I said above, I owe about $25,000. I have been making payments (in the last several years), but my income will be low enough to qualify for a deferment. I estimate I will spend about 15 hours a week studying and doing coursework, another 15-20 hours a week at the part-time job, and another 10-15 hours a week teaching online. I will also be making payments to the teaching program - about $300 a month, plus the three different licensure examinations I need, plus books, etc. I will be paying a bit more for school than I have been on my student loans, while making less money (maybe $1200 a month after taxes, assuming I get 15 hours of teaching in).

The ONLY reason I am considering it is, from talking with several people already teaching at international schools, I can make enough money in the first two years to completely pay off ALL my student loans, WHILE saving another $500-1,000 a month. In honesty, the only reason I'm even doing the teaching program at all is to make 3-4 times more than I make now. A Western salary, while living in a country with 1/4 the cost of living as the US? I'd be crazy not to do it!

Thanks everyone!


  • Walrus Stache
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  • Location: Seattle
Re: Trying to think things through - moving back to the US in August
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2014, 06:19:05 PM »
Why insist on getting a new bicycle?  You will get a much better deal if you get a used one, and if for some reason you don't like the first one you get you can probably sell it for close to (if not more) than what you paid for it and get a new one.

Good luck with your plan.  If you can get a position in a reputable international school, you can indeed make/save a lot of money as long as you live a local and not an expat lifestyle, especially if you are single.  Here in Beijing the better international schools (ISB, WAB, Dulwich, BSB pay better wages than most US teaching jobs, and also provide a housing allowance, etc.


  • Stubble
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  • Location: DC
    • VarsityFinances
Re: Trying to think things through - moving back to the US in August
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2014, 06:35:30 PM »
I just picked up a nice used bike for about $250 at a local bike shop in the DC area. The store came highly recommended and they were super chill. They said they technically have a 30 day fix-anything guarantee, but they're happy to fix stuff for free after that time. They were a day late with repairs on my bike due to a family emergency by the mechanic and did all the work for free.

I guess if you're worried about getting screwed with a used bike just find a recommended non-trendy bike shop.