The transition to 'family financial advisor' wasn't that big of a deal for me, recently I have been quite good with money and although Ryota forking over his salary to me seemed a little strange at first, it does make sense that one person deals with the money and knows exactly where they're up to with it.
Of course if I ever develop a cocaine/internet shopping/pachinko/insert any fun, addictive activity here habit, Ryota might be a bit screwed. He literally has noooo idea where our money goes and lucky for him I'm super organised about our budget.
It wasn't always this way, before I came to Japan I lived at home and really had no idea about budgets or how much those 1 hour showers were costing in water bills.
When I came to Japan, I was all like 'hell yeah! Look at all this money in my account, I'm going to spend it all on vodka in the first week! WoooooHooooo!' I never had a budget, I just lived from paycheck to paycheck and would find myself riding my bike to work and living from the 99 yen store in the week before I got paid.
When I unexpectantly lost my job and had no savings, it was a huge shock for me, and I quickly got my arse into gear about being better with money. I amazed myself with how much money I was wasting and made it my mission to not only pay off my debts but to save for that rainy day, which turned out to be me getting knocked up! Helllooo, less of a rainy day and more of a freakin downpour!
So I thought I'd share with you the ways we try and save money, living on one salary can be very tight but we still manage to have a good time with what we have. If anyone has other things they do to save money I'd love to hear them!
#1- Keep track of everything you buy. I write down all our estimated expenses at the start of the month, then all our actual expenses at the end of the month, and adjust the budget or our spending habits accordingly.
#2- Don't use credit cards. Japanese credit card companies make the deals look all sweet. Never works, the bill is always a shock and the miles never get you anywhere. (In my experience anyway.)
#3- Have a strict budget, and stick to it. I divide all our money into cute lil envelopes so I know how much I have left, this is how I divide our money; Rent, food, car, house, Ashton, bills, phones, internet/cable. I also have an envelope where any left over money goes at the end of the month to put in the bank to save or pay off anything Ryota might have snuck onto the credit card.
#4- Don't keep big amounts of cash on you. I never have more than I need in my wallet, otherwise I spend it.
#5- Keep small notes. I get all our money changed into 5000 yen notes, if I have big notes I tend to spend it all.
#6- Never go to the supermarket hungry. Because you will buy loads of unneccessary crap. :)
#7- Cook at home. Or more importantly, dont get fast food. I'm all for going out for dinner, I love it, but getting fast food is such a waste of money and bad for you anyway.
#8- Have a goal to save for. At the moment, I'm saving for a new snazzy 100,000 yen (about $1000) oven.
#9- Shop at the 100 yen store. (sorry for those not in Japan!) Some of the stuff there is crap but a lot of it you can get in other stores for triple the price. I get all my tupperware and stuff like that from the 100 yen.
#10- While you're at the 100 yen store, pick up one of those 500 yen piggy bank thingies. My last 3 trips overseas, I saved my spending money in 500 yen coins, because it's just a coin you don't feel like you're saving that much but it really adds up! We've got a massive 300,000 yen one at the moment which will go towards our wedding (if it ever happens!)
#11- Make gifts instead of buying them. OK I'm not talking crappy macaroni necklaces or whatever, but for example, this mother's day we had just moved into our house and money was really tight, so I bought a cheap(ish) photo album, printed photos at home, got some cute stickers, and made an album with little notes and photos of Ashton for my mum. She really loved it, much more than anything I could have bought.
#12- Fill up the freezer at the start of the month. If we have nothing planned for dinner we can always grab something from the freezer rather than go to the supermarket or get take away food.
#13- Use everything in your fridge/freezer. I usually make Ryota's bento with leftovers and try to use everything in the freezer at the end of the month.
#14- Keep clothes/kitchen stuff/ everything in general organised. I find if all our stuff is organised, it looks like we have more, when everything is in a mess it's hard to find things and I'm more likely to buy new things.
#15- Wash don't buy. haha This sounds obvious but there was a time when I would buy new socks rather than wash them, so bad!!!
#16- Plan cheap, fun things to do on your/hubby's day off. I find if we have nothing planned we'll do something expensive like get movies or go random shopping where I'm bound to buy something.
These are all I can think of at the moment, let me know if you have any more tips for me!