Easy Way to Save Money While Living in Japan

So If you know me personally you may know I'm a sliiight shopaholic, but when I want to save for something specific I do a great job keeping up with my goals. Today I wanted to share with you my easy tip on how I save money without even really thinking about it so lets dip our toes in shall we?

Keep a Coin Jar

This is an old trick but today I’m adding a few things to the simple coin jar technique along with a bit of “Japan Flair”.  So, in Japan, you can find jars at various 100 yen stores (basically dollar stores) in a few different sizes with set saving amounts written on them. I imagine this is to help you keep track of how much you’re actually saving since with a regular jar…you really have no idea how much is actually in there unless you count it, which takes far too much time in my opinion.

This is my coin jar.  I bought it almost a full year ago and since have filled it up once already.  I used the 1,000 dollars I had saved to pay for my tatami flooring when I moved last July and then used the leftovers to pay for other moving costs. Yes, if you live in an old Japanese apartment you'll have to pay for tatami.   I’m on my second time using this jar and absolutely love it. I’ve currently saved a bit over 400 dollars since October! This is not even including my regular savings in my bank!  Sorry haha I’m bragging 
The secret to these jars is that they are only for 500 yen coins.  500 yen roughly translates to about 5 dollars.  Just putting one coin in the jar is actually a big chunk of money especially when it adds up over time.  I love the 500 yen coin.  It’s pretty, I can buy a lot with it, and I often save them just because I like keeping them in my wallet (maybe for reassurance? I’m not exactly sure why haha).
Am I the only one who does this?  I’m sure it’s the same for those of you in the US when you come across a 2 dollar bill or a half dollar or even a gold dollar (remember those!!?). You just want to save it because well, its unique.  The 500 yen coin isn’t entirely unique in Japan, but the fact that it is worth so much makes me want to keep it for as long as possible.

How To Use The 500 yen Jar

-Save every 500 yen coin you get!
 I usually put my coins in a separate place other than my coin purse so I wont get the urge to spend it (like a wallet side pocket or a pocket in my purse). Once I get home, I relish in the moments I can slip the coins in the jar.  The “clink clink” sound is music to my ears.
-If you have some extra cash on you, throw that in the jar too!
This is how I easily increase the savings amount I have in the jar.  If I had just recently withdrawn a large sum of money, I’ll usually throw in 10 to 20 bucks of that chunk just because I know I have enough already to get me through the week.
-Keep it in a safe place and don’t open it!
This one pretty much speaks for itself.
-If you take from the jar leave an IOU and replenish double what you took out.
So for example, if I got a COD (cash on delivery) order at my door and I don’t have the exact change sometimes I’ll run to my jar and take out a coin or two.  The problem with this is if you get in the habit of taking out coins you’ll never end up saving.  To tackle this issue, I make sure I pay back double what I took out.  That way, I’m saving more in the long run plus I’ll probably be less inclined to take coins out of the jar in the future.
And that’s it!  If you’re not in Japan you can possibly do this with five dollar bills, but honestly it’s probably not going to be as satisfying as dropping a huge golden 500 yen coin into your jar.
Thanks for reading!
 Questions? Comments?  Concerns?  Leave a comment below!

Michele Tanabe