[Korea] Life in Korea - What to do with the gift certificates you receive (온누리상품권 Edition)

Do your employers also give you bonuses in the form of 온누리상품권 (onnuri gift certificates)?
One of my previous employers gave each worker a stack of these on various holidays to show appreciation.

I ended up collecting about 500,000 KRW of these certificates and being stuck with the burning question WHAT THE HECK DO I DO WITH THESE?

There are instructions on how to use the certificates on the back of the certificate, but it's kind of complicated, especially if you don't know Korean well.

First off, if your Korean is good/you're not lazy, you can use them online. My coworkers kept telling me to just use them to buy meat off the website: http://www.sijangtong.or.kr/nation.do. But, I lived alone and my apartment had a fridge with limited freezer capacity, so the idea of buying a ton of meat was quite daunting.

If, you too, do not want to have a freezer full of random meat products, you can also use them at most of the markets in your city. (Map here - to use the map, navigate to your province --> city --> gu and then look for the nearest market)

I often used them at the outdoor vegetable market behind my house, but many mom and pop-style markets also accept them. If you are unsure, you can ask the shopkeeper if they accept it, otherwise the stores and market vendors typically have a sign out front with a picture of the certificates on it, which indicates you can use the certificate there. This Korean blog has a picture of the sign at the bottom.

If you are looking for an alternative and would prefer to buy things other than clothing with your gift certificates, you can also use them at some of the underground shopping centers. For example, I often used them at the Jamshil underground station shopping area to buy gifts and other items.

If you are hosting visitors or haven't checked out Gwangjang Market for yourself (previous posts here), you can also use the certificates like cash at almost all of the stalls!

The nice thing is that if you use 60% or more of the value of the certificate, you can get change back in cash, which is quite handy.

One of my friends who was an English teacher also sold a lot of her certificates and gift cards that she had collected throughout the year to a vendor. I can ask her if she can provide me with more details if you're interested in learning more about that process. Leave a comment below if that is something you're interested in learning about!

*FTC Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through the links provided and make a purchase.*