Japan is notoriously expensive, but there are cheap things in Japan. You just have to know where to look for them!
When I came here I was blown away, just by how much I was spending on FOOD. I couldn’t believe it. It was more than I’d ever spent living in the US. But that was before I discovered the secrets! The grocery store near my house has a special sale day every Tuesday and Saturday. This is pretty common. Supermarkets usually have sale days like this, you just have to know when they are.
Of course, like back home, you can get coupons to use at the store. Unfortunately, these coupons are usually in Japanese. If you know a little Japanese, there are some basic kanji and words you can learn, so that you can read the coupons and tell, for example, where it’s good and when the expiration date is.
Every evening, around 7:30 or 8, the store by my house starts marking down prices for all the bentos and deli-type foods like korokkes and chicken. They also mark down some of the bread and vegetables every night. They put a little tag, that either says 10″, 30″ or 50″. If you look for stuff like this that’s on sale, you can save big-time on your weekly grocery bill.
If you live in Japan, hopefully you know about the “hyaku-en stores.” These are like the dollar shops back home. Man, you can find everything you need in these places. They’re great places to buy house things, silverware, office stuff like file folders and notebooks, and just about everything you could need. If I need to buy anything, I always check the hyaku-en store first. I’ve bought Christmas presents at the hyaku-en store, they have great stuff for everybody back home!
I recently discovered a vintage store near my house. “Vintage” stores are basically like thrift stores. I’d never seen one before, but I discovered one by my house. They have used clothes, but they have tons of other stuff as well. You can buy movies and cds there and little cheap things you need for your apartment. It’s kind of a funky little place to check out.
If your a drinker, you can drink cheaply at lots of places that offer a “nomihoudai”. This means you play a flat rate and drink all you want for a certain length of time! No kidding! And if you’re looking for a cheap outing with friends, go to an izakaya where you can get a nomihoudai service and cheap food. When going out in Japan, the more the merrier.. and cheaper!