I often hear the question in my classes about how I feel about how expensive Japan is. Well, ya, Japan has it's expensive points- a lot of food and materials need to be imported to Japan with no native natural resources readily available. And in a city like Tokyo, shops and landlords can get away with charging a premium because the customer base (and love for shopping there) is very strong.
But now that I have lived here for a bit of time- there are some tips that you can bear in mind to maybe help you get through the first month or so here.
1. Buy food late. This could apply anywhere I guess, but I never thought of it before living here. If you are the kind of person that likes to buy ready-made dinners- you have lots of options out there. If you want the better prices- go to Supermarkets rather than convenience stores. And go on your shopping runs an hour or so before closing (closing time here is early- basically 8PM- 10PM) when the discount stickers are out... usually from 10- 50 percent off. Ex. 3割引- would be 30 percent off.Big savings to be had. Also some meats in the not-prepared area can be discounted later in the day.
2. GyuDon. Gyu don. Beef Donburi. It's beef, it's rice and it's onions. At 2 big chains in Japan it's also cheap. At Yoshinoya and Sukiya there has been a price battle and it hovers somewhere around the 280 yen mark- about 3 bucks. Cheap and should be enough food to get you buy.
I will try to report back with more saving money in Japan ideas in future posts.....