The easy Japanese money trick that promises to cut your spending by up to 35 per cent.

Chances are there’s a finance related goal on your New Year’s Resolutions list this year.

Maybe it’s to save up for a house deposit. Perhaps you’re eyeing off a new car or a holiday. Or maybe you just want to pay off some debt or simply stop living paycheck to paycheck.

A Japanese money trick may help you get there.

Called Kakeibo, the money saving technique has been around for over 100 years and it’s surprisingly simple which is probably why more and more financially savvy people are swearing by it. Used properly, users claim it can cut your spending by up to 35 per cent.


Reknowned for their minimalist approach, the Kakeibo is a staple in many Japanese households. It literally translates to ‘household finance ledger’ and is a budgeting journal that helps you keep tabs on where you’d like your money to go and where it’s actually disappearing to.

It’s perfectly summed up in the book’s slogan; “Memory can be fuzzy, but the books are accurate.”

There’s no hiding it with a Kakeibo. At the start of each month, you have to write your fixed expenses and incomes, and when you know the difference it prompts you to think mindfully about the amount you’d like to save.

It encourages you to forget about your savings to discourage you from spending it. Throughout the month you then have to record your monthly expenses among four different categories. These are Survival (think food, children, transport, medical bills), Optional (drinks, takeaway, shopping), Culture (books, movies, shows) and Extra (these are irregular and unexpected costs you might have incurred).

LISTEN: The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss the 5:2 diet for your money.

It then asks you a series of questions which coupled with the above allows to you to very easily identify any areas in which you are overspending or can cut down on. These are:

  1. How much money do you have?
  2. How much would you like to put away?
  3. How much are you actually spending?
  4. How can you improve on that?

It’s not just your financial health it improves though. The Kakeibo also instructs you to establish goals of the month (such as start to save for new car) and promises of the month (e.g I will only have takeaway once a month).


You then evaluate your progress at the end of each month and eventually year. While it does sound simple (we did warn you) it is effective, helping make saving an everyday part of your life.

The special journals are now available in English translations for about $20 or you can create your own.

You’ve done your wardrobe and your friendships. Make 2018 the year you declutter your finances.