Living in Japan can bring with it many great experiences, but it can also be taxing on your wallet. Check out our article for cheap living in Japan.
Japan is a country that has many great aspects of living there. The beautiful seasons, the great cities, and the outstanding culture. If you decide to live in Japan you will find that the countryside and the city will come with different price standards.
Living in the city will have more expenses and it will also have the most opportunities. If you find yourself living in the city limits of a major city you may find your bank account gets drained faster than the living in the countryside. You can offset the increase in price by shopping smart and knowing where to get the best deals.
You have a large number of places to choose from when you want to save a few dollars. Here are some of the main places you can use to try and cut down your overall costs.
One of the main living costs in Japan is food. You can end up paying large amounts of money if you don’t look for the right foods at the right time. The number one rule is to stay away from import foods. It may be difficult since everyone wants to have a taste of home from time to time, but it would be best to keep those purchases as few as possible.
The best way to find the best priced vegetables and fruits is to shop locally. Many places have small farms or people will take small plots of land and grow various vegetables. They usually set a small stand and put the produce in baskets and other containers for people to purchase. It is usually on the honor system so there won’t be a person sitting in the booth or shack. Just drop the appropriate amount of money in the change basket to cover anything you decided to take.
Eating out regularly can put a strain on your budget as well, and it may not be factored into your cost of living in Japan. The best option is to try to cook at home as much as possible, but if you have a small kitchen, or in some instances no kitchen, there are places you can go to get a reasonably priced, filling meal.
There are some stores that make bentos that are inexpensive and can fill the emptiest of stomachs. They sell some boxes for as little as 400 yen. Limit yourself to going out only once or twice a week and it should leave you with some extra cash at the end of the month.
Supermarkets will usually run specials on their produce and meals in the bakery section at later parts of the day. As the day goes on they will begin to mark down the price of meat, vegetable, and other fresh foods that can’t be held for more than one day. You can find discounts as steep as 50 percent or more. You can find some pre-made meals at discounted prices as well.
Be warned that the locals also know this and they wait for the best time of the day to clean out as much food as possible. You will need to learn the best times and try to get it before they do.
Second Hand Stores
When it comes to furnishing your apartment or house, you don’t have to get all new top of the line products. The basic price of appliances in Japan tend to be higher than normal, and you may think that you won’t be able to fund your basic needs.
Second-hand stores are perfect for those looking for appliances and machines that are in moderately good condition and go for a cheap price. Some of the notable places for everyday appliances are Hard Off. Hard Off carries all types of small to medium-sized appliances like washing machines and vacuum cleaners. You will even find some that are almost like new. The same goes for electronics as well.
For other furnishing needs, you can go to Home Off and find furniture and bedding. Some dent and scratch stores sell new items that received some punishment during shipping too. They can be hard to find but they are worth the time investment.
The same can be said for clothing as there are a large amount of second-hand clothing stores. You can find many fashions and styles that can fit your specific needs. The problem will be finding things that are in your size. General Japanese clothing sizes are smaller than western versions and if your size runs larger than the Japanese average you may find it harder to find your size. This is the same for shoes, and if your size goes above a US size 10 you will have a hard time in general finding shoes that fit anywhere.
These shops are also great if you find yourself in a pinch and need some quick money. They will buy almost everything you may want to sell. You will get less than you may have expected, but when you need the cash it can be a lifesaver.
If you have some machines or appliances that have become broken or junked you can still sell them for parts. There are entire sections of the second-hand stores that have all broken devices that people can use for parts or tinker with.
The Convenience of Konbinis
Convenience stores have all the small things you could need in one place at generally low prices. The snacks and drinks stay around 100 yen and some of the stores make and sell their own versions of products which makes them even cheaper.
You can find some basic freezer foods and produce there as well, but the vegetables and fruits tend to be a little more expensive and in smaller supply. The freezer items will be in smaller amounts as well and there will be fewer choices, but they are helpful when you need something fast.
The ready-made meals are the best part of the convenience store since they are inexpensive and can be heated in the store. Getting a hot meal is simple and at any will save you money at any store you can find.
Buy, Sell, and Trade
Many social media websites and groups are built around people selling and giving away unwanted items. Facebook alone has groups that you can track and get your entire house finished for only a few thousand yen. These sites aren’t always reliable, though, and you need to be extremely careful when using them. It is recommended to set up meetings in public places and try to get as much information as possible about the items in question.
These are some basic things you can do to try and bring down your cost of living in Japan. It won’t be the same for everyone, some people will have an easier time dealing with cutting costs than others. Look carefully at where your money is going, create a budget and stick to it as much as possible. This will give you the best chance at keeping your wallet full.