Posted in Everyday Life, Humor, Money, Shopping

Feed The Cat!: My Crazy Attempt to Save Money

I have never been good with saving money. I am good with numbers though. I can crunch the numbers, budget, and even balance books. But its seems that being good with numbers and actually saving money are two different skill sets.

I will admit that I like to shop. I use shopping to take my mind off of worrisome things, entertainment, and as a reward for working so hard. It gives me something to look forward to. I love going to the recycle shops to find bargains for things that I don`t even need. The high that I get from finding those bargains only last for a little while though and then I`m on to the next item I can find. I have tried to curve this need to shop by actually trying to budget. I use the Envelope Method to help me break down how and where I spend my money. This has helped me a lot since I am able to visually see my money and where it is going. But this has not helped with my shopping habit however. And I often find myself dipping into one envelope to save another or most often than not to buy something that I don`t need. And here is the catcher, if I make it to the end of the month and I actually have money left over, its SHOPPING TIME! I work so hard right? So I should reward myself with something nice. And there goes my savings. It truly is a vicious cycle.

So how do I combat this never ending cycle of this zero net savings? Enter the Cat!

“I demand tribute! “

Meet Nikki. She is a Maneki Neko (Lucky Cat) and the equivalent to a piggy bank in the west. Nikki is a very greedy cat who likes to be fed every time I make a little luxury purchase that doesn’t contribute to me being able to live. Yes, I might need things such as toothpaste, but do I really need that fully organic peach flavor Hello Kitty toothpaste? Here`s how she works:

  • When I buy a luxury item or go shopping I have to feed her 10% of whatever the total cost of ALL the items I purchased. This also includes any transportation fees attached to it. For example, if I get a manicure that cost 4,000¥ I have to feed Nikki 10% of that cost. Also, say I have to pay for parking that`s 800¥. Well that means that Nikki needs 10% of 4,800¥ which is 480¥. Mind you I have to pay this on top of the sales tax that I`m already paying to retailers which is 10%. So that means in total I pay 20% taxes! This is the NIKKI Tax!

Pretty harsh right? Maybe, but I`m hard headed and I love shopping. By adding on the NIKKI TAX I hope to curve my shopping habits because it leads me to a series of questions. (In my friend Emma`s voice of course because she`s usually the one asking me when we shop together)

  1. Do I really need the item or do I just want it?
  2. If I want it, do I really desire it or will the feeling pass?
  3. Is it worth spending a 20% tax on it?
  4. Can I afford to feed Nikki her 10% tribute? (She`s very demanding)
  5. Will I be financially OK after I spend the money?

So far I have had very positive results using the Nikki Tax system. It`s only been in place for about a month and I can already say that it has kept me from spending as much as I usually would. I`m sure other circumstances are part of the reason that I`ve been holding back on my shopping habit but having to pay the extra tax on top is the perfect extra layer. Here`s to saving money and my attempt to be a responsible adult.


Hello and welcome to my blog. I'm an American living and working in Japan. I'm married to a Japanese man and we live in a smaller city called Gifu in the middle of Japan. I'm writing this blog to share my thoughts and experiences with life in Japan. Thanks for stopping by!

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