jiny maeng, influencer and VMA ambassador on holidays, using her money to create memories through experiences.

Jiny Maeng on travel, friendship, and food

Jiny Maeng’s sense of humour and authenticity have made her a social media favourite since she made her TikTok debut in April 2020.

She’s since won a legion of fans around the globe with her energetic and funny food and travel content. We caught up with Jiny to chat about her current money mindset, why she won’t splash out on business class, and why her bestie Bridey Drake is like 10 friends in one.

VM: Can you share a little bit about your background. You were born in South Korea, right?

JM: Yes. It was my parents’ choice to come to Australia in 2008 because they thought it would be a better educational environment for me here. I think it was a very good decision as I don’t think I would have thrived in an educational system in Korea. It is a very difficult environment as everyone studies for six to eight hours or more in a day and I can’t imagine doing that myself as a child.

VM: Travel is a big part of your life. What do you love most about it?

JM: The food! I am a food content creator and I love experiencing other cultures through food. You don’t have to like it but the fact you’re immersed in their environment and eating their food is the most respectful way to experience another culture.

Travelling a lot was my goal for this year because I finished my university degree in product design at UTS [University of Technology Sydney].

VM: Can you share a memorable travel foodie experience?

JM: My best friend, Bridey, and I went to Singapore for a job with Visit Singapore.

My Dad used to travel a lot for work and he gave me the tip to eat where the locals eat when I travel and not to line up where the tourists are lining up.

We were exploring Singapore, which is amazing and so diverse with so many cultures, and visited Little India. We took my Dad’s advice and went where the locals eat and ended up eating banana leaf cuisine, which is a platter of rice, vegetables, pickles and curry. Everyone was eating with their hands, which I hadn’t done before.

Here I was in a foreign country, and I had no idea what we’d ordered or what we were eating, but it was a memorable experience.

VM: Your best friend, Bridey, features in a lot of your content. What does your friendship mean to you?

JM: My friendship with my best friend is unique. We do life together, so we are co-workers, friends and sisters. I have never met anyone who has a best friend in this industry that they’ve known before social media. My best friend is 10 friends in one.

My other friends are also my foundation when I come back home. I do travelling and crazy stuff and come back and they are always the same people doing their own thing and living their own lives.

VM: What motivates you to save?

JM: The number one motivation is family. I was so blessed to live in a comfortable house growing up and having everything I needed. With my parents getting older, I want to make sure they are comfortable too.

VM: What do you splurge on?

JM: Not plane tickets (yet). I always get tempted and think, ‘This time, I can go business, film it and make it into content’ but I always back out and think, ‘I’m still young and I can fit fine in an economy seat’.

That being said, I don’t have a strict budget on hotels, especially if I am going to many places. I want to come back to a hotel that I know is clean, nice, has all of the facilities and, as I said, good food.

I recently went on an opera trip with my Mum. I paid for Mum as well.

VM: Have you set any financial goals?

JM: I want to see $100,000 in my bank. That is a big milestone to have for someone who just graduated uni.

VM: Any money lessons you’ve learnt the hard way?

JM: Yes: free trials and subscriptions get me. Usually, if you do a free trial, it’s set on the annual plan, so if you forget about it after the free trial period, you get charged for the whole year. This happened to me with an online editing tool.

I freaked out when I looked at my notification and thought I was hacked. They were really nice, though, and ended up refunding me.

Also, I feel like little earnings don’t add up much, but little spendings do. I don’t necessarily buy many new clothes anymore unless I am travelling or I absolutely need the piece. As a design student, I have never been a fan of fast fashion.

VM: What are some of your favourite features of the Virgin Money app?

JM: So far, I’ve been really liking the UI/UX [user interface/user experience] design and layout of the app. I think it’s very clean and easy to navigate.

My favourite part right now is the rewards page. To make a comparison with another bank, the rewards page is more direct and it’s literally just on the main page.

The Virgin Money app rewards page makes it more interesting and easier to explore and it doesn’t require too much digging in the app to find it. I am excited to see how far I can go with the perks and money points and how much money I can actually save.

Saving for your next travel adventure? Try the Virgin Money app

The Virgin Money app has plenty of features to keep you on track. Use the app to track your spending, set budgets, stay on top of your bills and lock down your long-term savings so you can get to the boarding gate faster.

Sign up for a Virgin Money Go account