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Experience saving cost in Japan

When you go to work, study in Japan. At the beginning, you will face many difficulties such as management of money, work or study with your limited budget.

With my own experience, in this article we would like to introduce some of the experiences of saving money while living in Japan.



I. About Food and Drink

 You need to eat in order to survive, so food costs are also a significant money, but there are ways to reduce this.


1. Let cook by yourself:

It sounds pretty obvious, but there is still much to explain here. Knowing where you can buy raw materials for cooking can help cut down about a third of the money you should spend on food. With about 10,000 yen a month you can afford to cook three meals a day!

Cook two servings of food for dinner and leave half to the microwave for lunch the following day. This way can help you both save money on food and save other expenses such as electricity, water, gas ...

Or if you are lazy to cook the whole meal, even if you just cook and bring it for lunch (most students can do this), you can save money in the long time.




2. Shop Smart:

Most supermarkets are beginning to offer discounts on ready-to-eat meals near closing hours. In general, about 2 to 3 hours before closing time, 10% discount labels will begin to be posted. From then until closing time, the items will be gradually reduced to 50%. Therefore, you can buy a meal at an extremely reasonable price if you go to the supermarket late at 9pm. Or with food to cook for the next day.

Buy imported food, such as meat from the United States or Australia, or frozen items from China, bananas from the Philippines ... Never buy Japanese domestic products. Because of the fact that Japanese products tend to be more expensive.

Buy strawberry smothered to reduce costs. Strawberries are slightly crushed and damp, though it does not look good and ripe, but the taste is still pretty good. And of course they are much cheaper, as in Kyoto only 198 yen / blister, and can be found in any supermarket. It sounds reasonable, so it's better than being unnecessarily priced because strawberry boxes look betterprice.

If you like tea, skip the large pots sold outside the supermarket, including large 2-liter jugs. Instead, buy raw tea packages (and buy bottled water online if you do not like using tap water to make tea). Self-made tea is actually much cheaper than buying bottled tea. And bottled water purchased online is actually cheaper than buying outside the store.

At McDonald's stores, use a cell phone to check the coupons before buying anything. And buy about 2-3 100-yen burger and a small size 100-yen drink, it enough to make you as happy as buying a big set of expensive food in McDonald's stores

If you subscribe to LINE or subscribe to e-mails from stores like McDonald's, Sukiya ... you and other members will usually receive information for discounts (such as coupons) through these gadgets.

If you eat outside, consider the location. Often choose the family restaurant as Gasto if you just need somewhere cozy to be able to talk to everyone for a long time. They have a "drink bar", where you can pick yourself soft drinks, tea or coffee for an unlimited amount of time. You can also consider here if you need space to study. Or look around the shops around your house. Some stores may have special days each week or every month with great discounts on some items. Then go shopping follow sale discount schedules.

Pay attention to avoid convenience stores where you pay for the convenience, not the value of the item. If there is a convenience store, there may be a supermarket nearby. Go to the supermarket and shop there.

 II.  About other shopping

What are the ways to save money when shopping for other everyday items?


 1.  100-yen shop:

The first thing you need to know when you arrive in Japan is where the nearest 100 yen shop is located and buy the necessary items for daily life. Daiso and Seria are the two chain stores in this type. Visit their homepage, find the nearest store and shop.


 2. Point Cards:

Point cards can save you money in the long run, but having too many cards will keep your wallet full.

Normally, the point card of drug and cosmetic shops is not useful, because you hard to earn enough accumulative point. For example, you get 1 point for 100 yen purchase, and then get 500 yen when accumulating 500 points. This means that you will have to buy 50,000 yen to save 500 yen. From my personal point of view, this does not bring much benefit.

Instead, consider making a scorecard for major electronics stores like Yamada Denki or Yodobashi Camera. You may have to visit these stores regularly to buy ink or accessories if you do not shop online. They will refund 10% of your purchase amount so in the long run is quite useful.


 3. Always consider buying used items:

Always check out the old-item store as 2nd Steet, where they sell many used-item. Recycle-navi is website that lists out old stores in different provinces.

For clothing, such as Shimokitazawa (Tokyo), there are many shops selling old clothes. Look for retailers who sell secondhand clothes if you want to save money.

You can also hunt old items at Bookoff Super Bazaar stores or flea markets in Japan.



4. "hunt" the "special" souvenirs:

Want to buy some small gifts for your home visit? (Donkihote - Don Quijote) is a suitable place. If you come in a shop selling everything like this, it can not be mistaken, it is Don Quijote.


 III. About traffic, travel

Travel expenses can be quite cost. Subways, buses, taxis ... all expensive, so you may want to refer to some of the tips below:


1. Bicycle

If you stay in Japan longer than 6 months, bicycle will help save you money unless your location is extremely close to a convenient train station. Otherwise ...

- Bus costs about 200 yen/trip. A simple calculation, if you can bike to the nearest pier.

- Owning a bike means that the area you are going to shop for will be wider, and so you can buy less expensive items.

- Bicycle thieves or breakers are not common in Japan, so you will not have to pay extra fees in addition to vehicle purchases.



2. Coupon ticket (Kaisuuken):

If you have a route that you often have to go but your train ticket or student card does not include that route, you can refer to a few coupon ticket (kaisuuken). Management systems vary depending on the service provider, but some companies (such as JR East or Hankyuu) may have some special modes such as buying 11 tickets paying for 10 tickets. Other companies may sell off-peak tickets at lower rates.

Coupon ticket is limited to 3 months, so buy only the routes you travel with regular calculations. And it is also not convenient compared to IC cards because you will have to keep tickets in your wallet if you buy coupon ticket.


3. Special Ticket Types (eg Seishun):

Travelers to Japan may know a lot about the JR Pass, allowing them to comfortably use JR or Shinkansen trains for a fixed period of time (typically two weeks). Unfortunately, this offer applies only to tourist visas. But even if you are a permanent resident of Japan, there are several other options you can refer to:

Train tickets are not limited to a certain area. For example, people in Kyoto will be able to use a 500 yen ticket to travel freely throughout the day on the inner city bus. JR East offers comfortable travel cards in 23 districts of Tokyo for just 730 yen a day. These types of tickets can be very helpful if you have to visit many locations in one day.

Seishun tickets 18 - extremely beneficial if you want to see the suburbs or wander in idle.


4.Bus is also a not bad option:

Especially when you need to travel long distances. For example, the cheapest bus between Osaka and Tokyo is about 3500 yen for one way; If you use JR (except Seishun 18), it will cost more than 8000 yen and 9 hours if you only ride on local train. Also, when you get on the bus you will always have a seat.

Willer Express is a good choice if you are not confident in your Japanese ability. Otherwise, there are a number of other shipping companies you can search for in Rakuten's Travel section.


5. By air if the travel distance is too long:

If you move a long distance, the number of bus to choose from will decrease. Moreover, sitting in the bus continuously for 14 hours will cause extreme tiredness.

The cost of moving by train will increase drastically and also take a lot of time.

If the distance is short, planes will be excluded because airports not as many as bus station and they are more expensive (and longer waiting times ...)

Reliable low cost airlines are Peach and Jet Star.

And avoid using Shinkansen. It is true that it reduces the travel time between Tokyo and Osaka to 2 hours and a half, but the content of this article is aimed at minimizing the cost of living in Japan rather than surfing the country. Moreover, a bus ticket with a comfortable space of only 2 seats /row will cost about 10,000 yen for the Tokyo-Kansai cruise, much cheaper if you go by Shinkansen.


IV. Rent a house, stay

1. Rent a house:

Rent a house is essential, but there are several ways to minimize the cost of this:

- Looking for rental apartments without shikikin (like deposit) and reikin (the money you pay for thanksgiving, listen to myths, but it does exist). Also, make sure that shikikin and reikin are not accrued together with your monthly rent.

- Japanese people often focus on having a bathtub, so if you find an apartment with a shower, the rent will probably be cheaper.




2. Temporary accommodation

If you looking for a place to stay (for example, if you travel somewhere in Japan), you may want to consider the following options:

- Capsule Hotel: Can be found in the main cities. This type of room is cheap but I sincerely advise you (in my experience) that you should buy some 100 yen ear plugs when the noise around bother you.

- Popular guest house: Affordable price but still noisy.


V. Other facilities

In general, you can not do anything to spend the summer savings, unless you can use a fan instead of air conditioning, you can save quite a bit of money. However, in winter there are many ways to keep warm outside the use of heating appliances.

Let's take a look at the initiatives of international students:

- "The electric price is cheaper from 11pm to 7am, so please charging your computer, washing clothes and use the maximum necessary  power supply in this time."

- Buy a blanket that can be worn on the person (can be found in Donkihote). It is very soft, smooth, and completely substitutes the use of external heating devices.

- Combine the blanket above with 100 yen slippers in the house to keep your feet warm.

- "Hang wet clothes in the room and you can save money on humidifiers." (This also saves money on dryers. You can hang clothesline in your room or buy Nitori's clothes rack).


VI. Entertainment

Unless you enjoy all day playing in the dorm room or playing with electronic entertainment, you can not avoid spending money on outdoor activities. Here are a few ways you can do to spend the savings, thoroughly the costs:


1. The promotion of Karaoke

Karaoke is a cultural essence you should experience if you live in Japan (and also a good way to remove your embarrassment).

- Freetime package (フリータイム ) is very useful, especially if you are a student and do not wake up early the next morning. In general, choosing a freetime package is even more economical than spending more than 2-3 hours on this type of entertainment.

- Some karaoke bars offer weekend deals such as Men's Night or Ladies' Night or something like that. The promotions may vary, for example, a free 2-hour song when you call a drink.

Please register as a member, often the members will be automatically discounted.


2. Entertainment areas:

- Round 1 has every device that plays the sports and arcade game genres, you can play with a constant floor price.

- People in Kansai can also play in Beaver World including Karaoke and Bowling at the same price.

- And take note of free drinks in Izakaya.

- When enjoying alcoholic beverages provided free of charge, do not forget to be wary of cheating or trickery.

Most Izakaya playgrounds require you to call an additional item with the available appetizer menu. For example, ''800 yen for 2 hours of unlimitted drink'' set can be as high as 1500 yen when added with appetizers and another dish (perhaps 500 yen). Also the beverages are often diluted quite a lot.


Wish you success in the country of sunrise!