Your best tips for saving money
Some people say I am a bit too much of a bargain hunter. I have been known to ride my bicycle to 3 different supermarkets just to save 20 yen on a carton of eggs, 50 yen on yogurt and 300 yen on grapes. One of my friends will never forgive me when we went to Thailand and I bartered with different taxi drivers for about 30 minutes until I got the price down to what I wanted it to be. More than most, I think I get a thrill out of it much like if I won the lottery. I know I definitely take after my mother.
When I was a child I would be bored out of my mind shopping with my mom as she drove from shop to shop. She’d almost always grab bags of items with discount stickers on them. I used to be embarrassed and wondered why she would spend all that time just for a few cents. It wasn’t until I started making my own money and seeing how quickly my wallet can empty that I started to embrace her shopping habits.
I’m not expecting everyone to turn into a coupon hungry person like myself. But there are many other ways we can save money. The first is to figure out how the point cards work in the shops you frequently visit the most. I don’t recommend getting every point card you see; I’ve almost done that and my wallet is stuffed, making it almost impossible to manage. I remember my first time registering for Nanaco, I didn’t speak or read much Japanese back then and I couldn’t figure out why I had to pay 200 yen to register. Since then, though, I’ve saved quite a bit of money.
Another way to save is to learn more about the special prices in restaurants or shops. They can be monthly, like Meat Day, or during certain seasons. Supermarkets often have special days of the week for certain items. At my local supermarket called Taiyo I found out that cheap eggs day is on Thursdays and as that’s a regular grocery item for me I usually try to shop then. Some of my favorite shops and restaurants have even started a point system on LINE so when I shop there after a certain number of times I get a discount. That one is great because I don’t have to go searching through my wallet for it.
As for transit, if you are going somewhere outside of your commuter pass and you use the Tokyo Metro system I recommend getting the 24 hour pass. It’s only 600 yen and since it carries over to the next day I can save a bit of money if I know I’ll be traveling around the city for those two days.
Lastly, I try to go to a supermarket instead of a convenience store to buy snacks or everyday items. A simple Google Maps search shows me that one is usually not that far away or if I plan ahead I go to the supermarket before work to grab my lunch for the day. The quality can sometimes be a bit better as well.
bargain (n) – something on sale at a lower price then its true value
barter (v) – to discuss and come to an agreement about the price of something; to negotiate
out of my mind (idiom) – suffering from a particular condition to a very high degree
hungry (adj.) – feeling a strong desire or need for something or to do something