Mar 21, 2018

How tight this bare knuckled yenny pincher can pinch

Compared to Tokyo or any other metropolitan area in Japan, Gunma is pretty cheap. I mean, you would expect it to be what with the extra space to build things. Keeps rent money down for sure. But that little bit of extra space adds inconvenience to your daily life. Living in Tokyo, everything is right at your fingertips. You barely have to reach out to find people with the skills you need, products with the function you want, and services in the price range and quality you should expect. If you live in Gunma, unless you are located in Maebashi or Takasaki, the capital and commercial capital, not everything is within arm’s reach. If you happen to be a foreigner without a car, it can feel even further out of reach. But that doesn't mean it is inaccessible. If you are willing to pay the price, you can get your hands on anything. That price might be the 250 yen shipping fee and an extra 4 days for delivery. But living in the Kanto area means shipping is always in the lowest price range, unlike Hokkaido or Okinawa.

How tight this bare knuckled yenny pincher can pinch photo

So let's look at a break down of all our family’s monthly expenses. For a two bedroom apartment that doesn't make a fuss about renting out to foreigners (one of the only ones near my girls' school), I think we have a great deal on rent. Many places were between the 60,000 to 70,000 yen range the last time we looked around, but our monthly rent is only 52,000 yen. Add in water, gas, and electricity and it is about 80,000 a month just to exist in our apartment, cook, shower and watch a little TV. I am glad to be getting out of winter here soon so we won't be spending any more on the kerosene heater that kept us alive during the bitter months of January and February. But soon summer will come and the constant necessity to have the air conditioner on will balance and average the few months out of the year that are pleasant. Northern Gunma doesn't have it as good in the colder months which last longer and need more protection against the snow. But here in sunny east-side, summer is hot hot hot and winter is cold. Everything else is glorious.

The seasons also affect how much our grocery budget fluctuates. I still refuse to dish out 300 yen for a head of lettuce, but during winter I always expect the vegetables to go up in price. How tight this bare knuckled yenny pincher can pinch photo

I would say our family of five spends about 15,000 a week on food. How tight this bare knuckled yenny pincher can pinch photo

Tomatoes are probably the most expensive produce in our weekly grocery trip. 

This includes a few meals out for lunch because there wasn't anything in the fridge for the hubby’s bento, or a random night out if it is just my husband and son with me. We avoid places where we spend more than 1,000 yen on anyone of us. This cuts out 90 percent of the places to eat but makes choosing easier. All in all, we spend roughly 180,000 yen on all the things we wouldn’t be able to live or work without. For a family of 5, that is some pretty bare knuckles yenny pinching. It is not the smoothest way to survive, but we have to pay my student loans somehow, right?



American step mom with beautiful Brazilian babies. Raising them in Japan. I'm a crafter too


  • genkidesu

    on Mar 21

    We have very similar lifestyles right now! But in a weird way I enjoy living on a budget...it really makes me consider what I purchase and brings all the more enjoyment to the stuff we discover that doesn't cost any yen at all! Definitely think there's a lot of truth to the saying that money doesn't buy happiness!

  • edthethe

    on Mar 22

    @genkidesu to a degree I agree with you! There is a lovely little groove of having just enough money to buy everything you need and just enough stress about getting the bigger stuff that you begin to appreciate everything all the more. Fall below that groove and you are struggling to survive, to eat, pay rent, go to the doctor etc. Get above that groove and things being to lose value. I am so grateful to be where we are! With good planning, we can have all the things we need to live comfortably.