Sunday, November 11, 2012

Saving Money in Japan: Tips for Cheaper Living

Japan is expensive. If I will just live just like how the Japanese live I would be just living from paycheck to paycheck. And this is exactly the situation I don’t want to fall into because this is the very same reason why I left home and tried to find “greener pastures.” For the few months that I’ve been here, I found some ways to save and get cheap deals.

Here are some ways:

1. For household items, take a look at 100 Yen Stores. I so love the 100 Yen shops here in Japan. Almost every household item and office supply can be bought here. My house is filled with items from 100 Yen shops. The good thing is they don’t look cheap and they don’t easily break. Also, 100 Yen stores are almost everywhere even in far-flung areas in Japan.

2. For furniture and appliances, consider recycle shops. Just like the 100 Yen stores, recycle shops are just about everywhere in Japan. There are recycle shops dedicated to selling second-hand appliances and furniture. In one of the shops I’ve been to, a couch was priced 0 Yen. In short it’s free you just have to pay the delivery. I bought a heater in Seikatsu Recycle Store for only 900 Yen.

my 980 Yen heater from Seikatsu Recycle Shop
3. For seasonal clothes, shop at recycle shops. I have lived in a tropical country for the longest time so most of my clothes are fit for warmer climate. But there’s autumn and bone-chilling winter in Japan so I have to shop for clothes. Thank to recycle shops, I can buy coats, jackets and windbreakers for only 500 to 700 Yen. Seriously, I couldn’t care less if they are second-hand clothes. They still look good and some are still brand new. I just wash them before wearing them. Some recycle shops also have shoes and bags. It’s easy to find branded items with super-slashed prices.

my 500 Yen coat!
4. For meat, fruits, veggies and fish, go to groceries after 6 pm. Grocery stores in Japan cut the prices of these perishable goods after 6 pm. The nearer the expiration date, the cheaper the price of these goods. What I do is buy goods which will expire that day or the next day then preserve them at home. I get to save almost 20 to 30 percent in groceries than when I buy them in the morning. Prices of bento boxes and bread are also cut in half after 6 pm.

5. For transportation, invest in a bike and be ready to walk. I spend most in commuting here in Japan. Transportation fares are just so expensive I am just so thankful that my company reimburses my expenses. I think this is the reason why Japanese people walk a lot and ride bikes just about anywhere. Even old people with not-so-clear eyesights ride their bikes.

6. For health and beauty products, find a Super Drug Store.  Super Drug Store is a chain of drug stores in Japan. They sell products for health and beauty in lower prices than other stores. They also have a wide range of products which make this shop a one-stop shop. I find shopping here very convenient.

Just like living in any other country, it’s easy to spend money than earn it here in Japan. It’s always  a good thing to cut back on things where it’s possible to cut back. After all, I am here to earn as much money as I can. 
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