A few Simple Tips to Save Money in Tokyo
Tokyo is a great city; lots of parks, museums, nightlife, shopping, eating.. and it can be very expensive to call it your home. There are ways to cut costs and to save your money to use it on things you really want to spend money on.
# 1. 100 Yen Stores
"Hia-ku-en Shop-pu" are stores where everything is 100 yen (roughly $1). They range in size and in what they offer with some of the best selections in the larger commercial zones like Harajuku and Shibuya. The range of items is truly impressive; toothpaste, eggs, winter gloves, fruit, make-up...
#2. Evening Grocery Store Discounts
Grocery stores in Tokyo offer perfect strawberries, deli snacks that belong in restaurant menus, and lots of other high quality items. As a result of this demand for perfection most grocery stores do not sell "day old products" and at the end of the day there is a great "everything must go" atmosphere. This is the perfect time to go grocery shopping, many items get reduced to 50% of their price (especially sushi, yummy!!).
#3. Ride Your Bicycle
The first thing you should buy in Tokyo is a bicycle. While the trains are very efficient and clean they are also somewhat expensive. Most Tokyo residents are accustomed to people on bicycles and you won't have any trouble navigating the streets. Also, if you are not sure of the route, you can always follow the train tracks! It is also a great way to save money on the incredibly expensive gym memberships that Tokyo has to offer.
#4. Find "Free to the Public" Days at Museums
This is true for any city, but especially true for Tokyo. Museums in Tokyo typically cost more than $20 to enter and while they are worth a visit, can be very hard on your finances. Most museums offer one day a week when entrance is "free to the public" and it is wise to plan your museum trips ahead of time so that you can take advantage of these days.
#5. Shared accommodations
One of the most highest costs of living in Tokyo is the cost of housing. It is possible to find that a truly great apartment for a good price, but will take you a lot of work and will most likely be far from any central attractions or activities you are likely to frequent while living in Tokyo. A way to cut costs and live in a central area is to find a shared accommodation of some kind. There are two choices - guest house or shared apartment. Both include free utilities and in most cases internet and neither ask for huge deposits. (see my post about 10 things to know about living in Tokyo for more information.).