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‘Kakeibo’: The 116 Years Old Japanese System Of Saving Money

 The word Kakeibo is pronounced “kah-keh-boh,” and it translates to “household financial journal.” The universally adopted system was invented in 1904 by a woman named Hani Motoko, who was also Japan’s first female journalist. The kakeibo saving system is a simple, no-fluff approach to home finance management. 

While it is a fact of life, that some people just somehow, don’t struggle with overspending and are able to live satisfying lives, getting by with only essentials, many others struggle endlessly. Though I was thrifty for most of my life, being the son of a cop, with limited income, I had a habit, in later life of shopping for just the essentials and seldom went beyond my means, stocking up on occasional flash sales of essentials.

 I guess I was one of the lucky ones to understand about buying only what is needed. Many people who don’t follow this concept and who might be victims to emotional and binge shopping, etc would agree, changing bad financial habits is hard to do — I think, that this is partly because our spending habits are so deeply rooted into our day to day routines, and as I mentioned above, the act of spending often includes an emotional aspect that is difficult to break away from. Kakeibo has for the past 116 years, been effective in helping many millions of people make better financial decisions.


The idea behind kakeibo, just like all budgeting plans, is to keep a journal of every bit of cash that comes in and goes out, all of which, is ultimately, to help you understand your relationship with money. 

So, what makes kakeibo different, is that it does not require apps, budgeting software or Excel sheets, however, just like a bullet journal, it highlights the importance of actually, physically writing things down. This is a meditative way to closely observe and process your spending habits. In using the kakeibo method, before purchasing any non-essential items, or stuff you buy on impulse, you have to ask yourself these questions: 

* Am I able to live without this item? 

* In my current financial situation, can I afford it? 

* Will it actually be used?

 * Do I have room for it? 

* How did I end up finding it in the first place? (Was it in a magazine? Did I see it while wandering around in a gift shop out of boredom?) 

* What is my emotional state today? (Stressed, Calm? feeling bad about myself?Celebratory?)

 * How am I feeling about buying it? (Indifferent? Happy? Excited? And is this feeling likely to last?)


While kakeibo is effective in helping people stay on top of their finances, what it really does which other systems do not — is force people to think about their purchases and what motivates you to buy them. In other words, it forces you to conquer your fear of being blatantly honest with yourself about your “needs” and “wants.” If you decide to use the system, you will get better at making smart or logical decisions faster. about spending money on particular items.

  • Are you a thrifty spender?

    • Yes
    • No


What do you think?

14 Points


  1. His seems like a good way of spending money, but I doubt if it will work for me as I have the habit of not following things through.

    • Hello Muobo, don’t sell yourself short, in you is a hero that’s waiting to come out. You are taking a big picture of yourself and hanging a label on yourself. Set small goals of changing your pattern of spending then write it down with a date. Then make the next change and do the same, baby steps.

      Finally, don’t tell everyone about it, that is setting yourself up for failure. A friend of mine once wanted to stop smoking so he told everyone that he had stopped. He even gave me his cigarettes and lighter, but by the end of that day, he was back for them. He never stopped. Just do it quietly and succeed.

    • Believe me, Witty, the moment you pick up a pen and start writing out a buying list, you get a second chance to see if you really have to get the product. ask yourself these questions and if you still need it, get it. It’s all about seeing the difference between what you want and what you really NEED to live.

    • It sure is Sandra, you have moved a few times and have seen how much stuff you could throw out and we look at certain folks and call them hoarders while to a lesser degree we all are the same. Just 8 months ago, a successful SouthAfrican engineer of 50 gave all his possessions to his parents including his bank cards, for all intents and purposes, he is quite penniless. Before giving all his possessions away, he bought a good quality backpack, a pair of trousers, a pair of shoes a jacket, some teeshirts, 6 boxer shorts, and a sleeping bag, a flint firestick, a water bottle, belt, and a pocket knife. He has been surviving ever since and was being interviewed by a passing motorist who found him walking, next to the road, 800 miles away from the nearest town. I’m not saying we need to go to such lengths, but when we make a conscious decision to live according to our income, I can testify that it is possible. When I lost my leg, I went completely blind at the same time, the operations cleaned out my medical insurance and my wife’s as well. My eye ops restored my sight but we were down, and pretty much, out. That was 9 years ago. we, my dearest, and I know how to survive on a total of $200 per month and are living proof that God provides, maybe not what we would like to have, but whatever we need, he gives us. All he asks of us, is that we trust him. It’s the one thing mankind finds the hardest to do…

  2. Good show, You have already won a huge battle against yourself, Ellie, just by being willing to change. Should you adopt it, I promise you will benefit from the system ultimately. In our journey, having less stuff is more.