One thing that may not have been in every person’s plan, is a well-maintained budget. Some people work only from check to check, while others tend to have a better grasp of their funds. One thing that will help if you move to Japan, is a clear and simple budget plan. This may seem like an obvious thing, but there are many who don’t have this particular part of their lives in their control. Here are a few things that can help make an effective budget, and give people some insight as to how you may spend your money before having fun.
City Tax and Insurance
The first thing that one would need to keep in mind, is their insurance and city tax. Once you have moved to your new place and have gotten all your papers in order, you will have a set amount of tax that will need to be paid every month to the city and the state. Your first year will be cheaper as you have no previous income for the government to tax you on. The first year tax is more of a set minimum that everyone will pay, and after the first year of working, you will be taxed according to the previous year’s earnings. This means that your taxes will change based on what you made before tax season came to an end. You can see prices go from 20,000 yen a month to 30,000 the next year. Health insurance, if your company does not provide a company version, will be like other taxes and increase as well. Your first year can be 5,000 yen, and the next year it could be close to 10,000. Get a good handle on what those taxes will be to set a firm baseline for your budget every month. Taxes must be paid unless you have filed for exemption through your local city hall.
Factoring your monthly bills
Next would be to set aside money for rent, and basic bills and necessities. On average, your apartment will cost anywhere between 40,000 to 70,000 yen a month. There are many places in the 60,000 yen average, and if you know where to look you can find places for much cheaper. You’ll need a place to live of course, to always putting that amount aside every month is essential. Your bills will fluctuate depending on how much of what resource you use on average, and what kind of appliances you have in your apartment. Gas is typically a cheap bill as only a few things in your apartment typically use them. As long as you don’t leave the stove on all day, or use large amounts of hot water during the month, it should stay around 1,500 yen a month. Water is paired with sewage and is generally 3,000 yen a month. Again, your use of water will determine how high or low the bill will be. Electricity is the one bill that will definitely fluctuate the most.
Bills Change Like the Seasons
Depending on the season, and your ability to tolerate the weather that comes with them, will have the largest impact on this bill. Summertime will usually be the most expensive months if you find yourself using the AC every day for long periods of time. The same is said for the winters, which do get very chilly. If you want to try to keep your bill low during these months it’s best to use a fan for most of the day in summer, and layer clothes in the winter. Your average electricity bill should be around 3,500 yen, but it can easily jump 7,000 or higher if you aren’t careful. This is will be entirely dependent on your use of the appliances in your place. These bills usually take a few months to get an idea for what your average consumption will be, so trying to keep a certain amount aside for them is good until you understand your usage.
Food would be the last thing to factor into your budget, and this is another one that will depend entirely on you. Going out to eat for every meal will begin to have a big impact on your bottom line every month, so making use of your small kitchen is the best solution. The supermarkets are always stocked with everything a person would need to keep themselves full-on very little. If you have trouble boiling water, then convenience stores and some bento shops can help you stay full on little money. It’s still beneficial to cook for yourself, but you can keep yourself fed on cheaper options for around 25,000 yen a month. You won’t be eating the best ramen bowls every day, but you will be eating somewhat healthy meals.
Compensate for Travel
One thing often overlooked is travel. You are living in a brand-new place, with lots of great new things to experience. This will require train fare, gas money if you are in a driving position, or bus fare to get around your new place. The only thing that determines the prices of them is distance and the amount of transfers involved. It is cheaper to ride one train for a longer distance than changing lines three or more times. You could end up spending anywhere from 150 to 1,000 yen one way depending on stops and transfers, so check your routes accordingly. This would impact your travel for work as well, but a lot of companies usually cover travel for work purposes, so you only worry about the initial travel costs. This particular part of your budget will be entirely dependent on you. Going out every night will take a hard toll on your budget, and can leave you in a bad place financially. Give yourself a set allowance, and stick to it as closely as possible to ensure you have money for whatever you need.
Budgeting can be a daunting task and can seem almost impossible to truly figure out. It takes time, and careful planning to ensure you can get all of the most important things paid on time and still have some left for fun. The best way to make this work for you is by laying out your basic needs and keeping that money aside for that. Only go out every now and then, try not to spend all your money on frivolous things. Simply be conscious of what you’re doing with your money, and you will find your stay to be far more comfortable, and enjoyable, in the long run.