Japan is one of those countries to which history has not made it easy. The atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on August 6 and 9, 1945, put an end to the Second World War and marked a before and after in the history of the Asian country and the Japanese.
Today Japan is the third largest economy in the world and the fourth by purchasing power parity , according to the International Monetary Fund. We have much to learn from them.
Much of Japan’s economic success lies in the ability of its inhabitants to work hard, manage their money well and save well above what we are used to in the West . The average rate of savings in Japan is around 25%, while in the US we reach 6% with hard penalties. How do they get it?
Savings are strongly rooted in Japanese culture. Spending at the end of the month everything you earn working is something that a Japanese does not understand, and more if we take into account that the cost of living in Japan is quite high . Housing, food, transport or leisure are not exactly cheap in this country, especially in Tokyo, its capital.
HOW DO THE JAPANESE SAVE?
Precisely for these reasons we have so much to learn about Japanese saving techniques. For example, to save on food , Japanese people tend to eat a lot at home and little at restaurants. Another of his hobbies is to buy super in local supermarkets, cheaper than the big chains.
With regard to transport , the heavy pollution in some of its cities has helped that the bicycle journeys are fully normalized. It is rare for Japanese people who do not have a home bike that they use daily at short distances. For buses between cities, night buses are very popular, very safe, comfortable and economical. Also the transport vouchers that allow repeating a journey on a daily basis.
The average Japanese usually also saves in leisure and sport (looking for free and outdoor activities), in cinemas, in karaokes, with the popular matsuri (free local parties) or by resorting to the strong market for the sale of second-hand products in the country.
KAKEBO: THE NATIONAL BOOK TO PROMOTE SAVINGS
If we talk about savings and Japan inevitably we have to talk about Kakebo, an adaptation of Kakeibo , considered by many the national book to promote savings in this Asian country . It was developed by Motoko Hani in 1904 with the aim of helping to manage household finances for women and its success is such that its use has crossed borders.
The Japanese usually buy the Kakeibo at the beginning of the year. With it they make a monthly forecast of their fixed expenses and control the rest of expenses through categories such as survival, leisure and vice, culture and extras. The trick is to have discipline and do the daily accounts to know where the money is leaking and how to control it.
If you want to learn from the Japanese and save as they start by buying this book and by taking your personal finances very seriously. We warn you that it is very addictive and that maybe it will reduce your consumer habits.