PDA

View Full Version : Saving money on JET



par92186
December 3rd, 2013, 15:56
Short and sweet: Is it possible to payback student loans on a first year JET Salary?

Thanks for any help :)

Jiggit
December 3rd, 2013, 15:58
Where are you from?

Ini
December 3rd, 2013, 16:02
depends on how frugal you want to be. I couldn't but MJN seems to enjoy living like a character from angelas ashes.

par92186
December 3rd, 2013, 16:03
I'm from the U.S.

I know a lot of what I'm going to be able to save will be dependent upon my lifestyle, but just curious as to what other JET's were able to pocket.

therealwindycity
December 3rd, 2013, 16:03
Short answer: yes.

Long answer: there are a lot of factors, the biggest one being the cost of living in the area that you're placed, but it's unlikely that you wouldn't be able to send any money home at all. Even in a really expensive placement I imagine you'd be able to pay back a couple thousand dollars' worth. I paid my $5000 loan off completely in a year and still had enough to take a trip home and go to Korea.

Ini
December 3rd, 2013, 16:10
if you dont have a car and you end up not having to pay rent then you should be able to and still have some fun. If you do end up with those expenses then you will have to choose - wine and women but no repayments or long nights at home reading the bible by candlelight and a fat stash of cash to send home.

par92186
December 3rd, 2013, 16:13
Short answer: yes.

Long answer: there are a lot of factors, the biggest one being the cost of living in the area that you're placed, but it's unlikely that you wouldn't be able to send any money home at all. Even in a really expensive placement I imagine you'd be able to pay back a couple thousand dollars' worth. I paid my $5000 loan off completely in a year and still had enough to take a trip home and go to Korea.

Thanks for the response TRWC. Student loans aside, realistically how much do you think is possible to be saved each month? Assuming a frugal budget throughout the month.

Gizmotech
December 3rd, 2013, 16:16
Ini is spot on. I have sent quite a bit of money home. I have also drank myself stupid more than I would like to count recently. I lucked out in a position where I can avoid having a car and pay very little rent. I make money hand over fist over hooker.

Life is pretty good.

In theory, had I been particularly frugal I could've sent back atleast 30k by now by just sending back half my salary every month. That being said, I have also travelled most of Japan, been to hawaii, will go home again in August for a visit, paid off all my credit card debt back home along with some of my student loan (15k ish...) and live a very comfortable life for the past 2 years.

mrcharisma
December 3rd, 2013, 16:16
Depends on what kind of placement you get. I've got outgoings of around 45-50,000 a month and after 2 years have been able to send about 5000 GBP back home, mostly to pay off student debt.

I've eaten out almost every night in that time, plus done loads of travelling in Japan and abroad. Even with the weaker yen a tightarse could easily double what I managed, but if you go down the frugal route you'll regret it in 10 years time.

par92186
December 3rd, 2013, 16:20
great responses! thanks :)

therealwindycity
December 3rd, 2013, 17:05
Thanks for the response TRWC. Student loans aside, realistically how much do you think is possible to be saved each month? Assuming a frugal budget throughout the month.

I would say that most people should be able to save at least 400-500 dollars per month without a lot of difficulty, but then again I feel like if you can't save at least that much it has less to do with your living situation and more to do with your money managing skills. Really, though, I've seen everything from zero savings to a friend who has paid off 20000 in student loans in 2 1/2 years.

And don't forget about the pension refund - even with the weak yen it's a significant contribution to your savings when you get back.

MJN
December 3rd, 2013, 21:59
depends on how frugal you want to be. I couldn't but MJN seems to enjoy living like a character from angelas ashes.

I wasn't that frugal. I splurged a lot (well, a bit) and only managed to send 2x 7-digit transfers home. I was hoping for more before I finished the 2 years on JET, but couldn't make it in time thanks to a combination of new car and tax.

I did land with virtually no expenses though - no rent, no gas and electricity seemed cheap as fuck. My biggest expense was the weekly drive down to the city to see the girlfriend.

Shincantsen
December 3rd, 2013, 22:18
I didn't pay much attention to money when I was there and just lived normally, and I was easily able to send 50,000 yen home a month every mont. When I lived more frugally I could send home 100,000 yen. I saved about $12,000 over 2 years, not counting pension.

uthinkimlost?
December 4th, 2013, 06:22
Newbies get a lot less money these days.

Shincantsen
December 4th, 2013, 07:46
Newbies get a lot less money these days.

It's not that much less, is it? I thought they had the same salary as the old days by year two. The exchange rate has tanked, though. I think I remember looking up that I made something close to $45,000 a year with the exchange rate and current JETs are making closer to $32,000. It doesn't really affect your quality of life in Japan, but it has a huge affect on sending money home.

uthinkimlost?
December 4th, 2013, 08:14
Going from 3,600,000 to 3,360,000 is a sizeable loss. Combine that with the exchange rate and an unlucky placement and poverty could follow.

Antonath
December 4th, 2013, 08:38
Going from 3,600,000 to 3,360,000 is a sizeable loss. Combine that with the exchange rate and an unlucky placement and poverty could follow.
And the new salary is before taxes, isn't it? Americans are tax-exempt for two years, but for JETs from other countries, that's another hit to their pocket.

jwkelley
December 4th, 2013, 13:28
If you have a car you will also spend more money due purely to the fact more shit is available for you to do.

tedcase
December 5th, 2013, 16:30
While on JET I managed to save enough money to pay for a Masters Degree when I got back to the UK.
After two years I had saved ten grand. Most of that I saved in the second year.

This was possible because I was very frugal, I didn't own a car, my apartment was paid for, I lived in a relatively economically depressed rural area and the Yen was quite valuable at the time.

ESID.

Aurano
December 5th, 2013, 23:07
Man if I saved 10k, I would be tempted to bang it in some kind of world tour. Then again, with the inability to get statutory funding for most post-grad study these days, then I guess it would be a good move.

tedcase
December 6th, 2013, 04:43
That's 10k in GBP.
The pound was pretty weak at the time.

Gizmotech
December 6th, 2013, 06:35
At the current exchange I would be VERY impressed if someone could save 10k gbp in a year. That's well over half their salary, which would be impressive.

MJN
December 6th, 2013, 08:30
At the current exchange I would be VERY impressed if someone could save 10k gbp in a year. That's well over half their salary, which would be impressive.

Impressive, but I wouldn't say difficult: With a bit of luck regarding situation (No car, rent) and living a more frugal life than people here think I do; it should be quite possible.

Jiggit
December 6th, 2013, 08:32
living a more frugal life than people here think I do

Is that possible? Are you some kind of hermit or wildman?

MJN
December 6th, 2013, 08:36
I know I live a fairly frugal life. I do things like buy food in bulk so I don't have to pay the extortionate supermarket prices, and would rarely/ever buy something from a retail Japanese outlet because of the jacked-up prices. I do all my own (well, me and the girlfriend) cooking, washing, and never do things like eat out/use coin laundry.

But then again I do some things like go and drop a paycheck on a new phone/computer/TV/etc and live in a fairly pricey location, so I don't live that frugally in that regard.

Ini
December 6th, 2013, 08:41
you never eat out? so do you and your girlfriend just sit at home everynight like social pariahs?

Jiggit
December 6th, 2013, 08:43
I do things like buy food in bulk so I don't have to pay the extortionate supermarket prices

See joking aside stuff like this I could never be bothered to do but I get that it's sensible, whereas stuff like this:


never do things like eat out

Just seems kind of sad to me. Why come to Japan if you're never going to eat any of the food?

MJN
December 6th, 2013, 08:44
I don't see why we would eat out, frankly, and neither does she.

However that doesn't mean "we don't go out".

Jiggit
December 6th, 2013, 09:40
To eat food you can't make yourself? Or just to get out of the house? I mean you might as well ask "why do anything", it's just something that people do and enjoy as social beings.

I'm not a thrifty person but I do get why people are; aside from that I really don't see the point of denying yourself experiences from a desire to save money unless you absolutely have to. If you're going to come to Japan that holds especially true. For most people they will not have the chance to have these experiences again. I get that you're living here long term so perhaps the same doesn't hold true but really people who place saving money over doing things I think have missed the whole point of being alive.

MJN
December 6th, 2013, 09:49
ok, I should possible rephrase because I'm aware I'm sounding like a tard a bit in saying just that. I have egg allergies and I'm not a massive fan of seafood, whilst my girlfriend is a fairly picky eater, so we don't exactly make the best combination when it comes to eating out especially in Japan. We do eat out, not all the time and it is pretty rare or for an occasion rather than 'i can't be arsed cooking.' Both of us enjoy cooking to an extent and can cook pretty well, and what we can make is cheaper, tastier and less hassle than actually going out.

As for denying experiences, I don't exactly think I do that: I enjoy eating out, we go places that look interesting, when we're holidaying we always eat out and view that because it's a rarity I do still enjoy it rather than doing it every day and it just becoming another night's dinner.

Jiggit
December 6th, 2013, 09:58
Ah, gotcha. So you don't just go out to restaurants regularly just to get dinner, fair enough.

Teishou
December 6th, 2013, 11:41
I've paid off about half of my loan - originally an "outstanding" $30k. I've been here 1.5 years now.

par92186
December 6th, 2013, 14:29
On the topic of "eating out vs. cooking in", I currently live and work in Busan, South Korea and it is far cheaper for me to eat out than to actually purchase groceries. I know the cost of living in Japan vs. Korea is drastically different, but what are some cost-benefit analysis's of eating out (cheaply/on a budget) vs. buying groceries?

Antonath
December 6th, 2013, 15:20
Drinking out is very expensive, food is fairly cheap. But if you buy from the right places, you'll probably save money buying groceries (some places are good for cheap veg, others for meat, etc).

Gizmotech
December 6th, 2013, 15:36
On the topic of "eating out vs. cooking in", I currently live and work in Busan, South Korea and it is far cheaper for me to eat out than to actually purchase groceries. I know the cost of living in Japan vs. Korea is drastically different, but what are some cost-benefit analysis's of eating out (cheaply/on a budget) vs. buying groceries?

Uhh, I can eat for cheaper than home by eating from the combini (decent level of calories, not particularly good for you). I can eat out at most Japanese fast food for about the same as I can cook solo. If I go to an izakaya with decent food or a restaurant I can eat pretty well for slightly more than I spend at home (certainly more than I could buy for the same dollar value).

Now if you're a seasonal cooker and live in a production area, cooking at home can be much cheaper, especially if you're like MJN and buy in bulk at discount.

Like Antonath said, having multiple grocery stores around can reduce your price. One place near me is super cheap chicken and vegetables. The other place is cheap everything else. One place is great for beef. Unfortunately none of them are really enroute to the other as I kinda live in the centre of them all.

Jiggit
December 6th, 2013, 15:38
It can depend a lot on whether you insist on cooking food from your own country or not. I haven't bothered to learn any Japanese home dishes and spend quite a lot home cooking. I know I could do it cheaper but cooking Japanese food just seems like a whole bunch of faff for little gain.

coop52
December 6th, 2013, 16:49
I cook both food from home and Japanese food, and it's not so bad. Like Giz said, it comes out cheaper if you buy seasonally and in bulk. It also helps if you cut down on your beef and go for pork or chicken. If you do get meat, it's cheaper to get the bigger packages and portion them out yourself. Making friends with your local old people also usually means you'll get free fruit/veg/rice. It's harder to justify cooking for yourself though, if you get placed in JHS and have kyuushoku since it's hard to do just one portion of something. Planning menus is definitely easier if you do multiple portions since you don't have to worry about what you're going to go with half a potato or the rest of the head of cabbage.

MJN
December 6th, 2013, 21:33
On the topic of "eating out vs. cooking in", I currently live and work in Busan, South Korea and it is far cheaper for me to eat out than to actually purchase groceries. I know the cost of living in Japan vs. Korea is drastically different, but what are some cost-benefit analysis's of eating out (cheaply/on a budget) vs. buying groceries?

On the topic of everyday stuff:

Fresh Fruit/Veg: Most places in rural Japan will have some kind of farmers market or stalls, use them. Ask staff at school where they are. Supermarket prices are extortionate. You can't rely on the old folk in the town giving you apples 100% of them time (though some can, I suppose)

Meat: Large boxes, the meat guy, costco. Buy in bulk, portion it yourself. Costco is outstanding for this, 2kg of mince will be about 1200 yen, a 2kg cut of beef you can cut yourself and do what you want with is about 2000yen. I'm guessing costco prices don't change much around the country, but the one I use is the new one near the airport. Pretty much if there's one within a couple of hours drive from you, use it and offer to drive friends (or steal a ride) there and you can easily split savings. Chicken and pork are cheap at the supermarket, but you again can get cheaper if you want to buy large quantities of it from the aforementioned places.

Dry goods: Pasta, rice, noodles and the likes can be got off amazon. There's 3kg variety bags of pasta that fluctuate in price constantly but generally remain under 2k, grab them when they're cheap. If you're a complete pauper that doesn't know the difference between kinds of pasta and thinks spaghetti is all you need, the same price will get you 5kg+ of the stuff. Rice likewise, you can buy 20kg for about a man, variety depending, but that volume will last you pretty much your entire stint in Japan unless you get a moth infestation or something.

Random Japanese cooking goods: Things like Soy, Mirin, Yuzu, Tsuyu, all your favourite sauces can be got at the supermarket best, I'd say. I'm sure there'd be savings going to Amazon but that'd be saving tens of ten at the best and not even I'm that picky.

Anything like bleach, washing detergent, that kind of stuff: pick your favourite brand and buy the bigger bottle humanly imaginable from your local home store, it'll be cheaper and bigger than the supermarket offering.

mothy
December 7th, 2013, 00:08
I paid off 20k US currency of debt in 3 years. During that time I made no friends and drunk myself into a stupor every night on cheap alcohol.

Or as I refer to them, the best years of my life.

Jiggit
December 13th, 2013, 08:37
Money is just experiences you haven't had yet.

JJarmuth07
December 13th, 2013, 10:04
I REALLY need to start saving money. I moved into an unfurnished, pricey (8-man/month), apartment in my city and had to spend quite a bit of money furnishing it. This month I just bought a new TV, and that cost me a pretty penny. Apart from rent, which the BoE subsidizies (around 3-man/month), I find myself with little to no cash at the end of the month. I think maybe this is due to the fact that (a) I am still spending money on furniture/apartment things and (b) I eat at konbini's/restaurants nearly every day. I went to Ikea and bought everything I need for a kitchen but I never got around to cooking anything, really. It's just a matter of getting the basic sauces (soy, mirin, etc) and then I'll be good to go, I just haven't gotten around to it.Anyone have suggestions (I know ESID) based on what I said above on how I can save money? I plan on being on JET for 2 or 3 years. Thanks!

MJN
December 13th, 2013, 10:10
I learned this lesson while playing the videogame Mother 3, incidentally.
I'd spent the whole first chapter carefully rationing my peculiar cheese, yams and nutbread, refining an ever more valuable and nutrient-dense inventory (which had like, idk 20 slots). I suffered death on many occasions fighting trash mobs because I was unwilling to deplete my stash in order to save myself.


I like you. I do that in RE games. I spend the entire thing using the Pistol and knife, using the shotgun *only* where I've been dying repeatedly and never anything else - always saving it for a bigger fish. A friend called me out for going jewmode in RE5 when we played together because even at the final boss I didn't use the magnum.

dialogue
December 13th, 2013, 14:57
I REALLY need to start saving money. I moved into an unfurnished, pricey (8-man/month), apartment in my city and had to spend quite a bit of money furnishing it. This month I just bought a new TV, and that cost me a pretty penny. Apart from rent, which the BoE subsidizies (around 3-man/month), I find myself with little to no cash at the end of the month. I think maybe this is due to the fact that (a) I am still spending money on furniture/apartment things and (b) I eat at konbini's/restaurants nearly every day. I went to Ikea and bought everything I need for a kitchen but I never got around to cooking anything, really. It's just a matter of getting the basic sauces (soy, mirin, etc) and then I'll be good to go, I just haven't gotten around to it.Anyone have suggestions (I know ESID) based on what I said above on how I can save money? I plan on being on JET for 2 or 3 years. Thanks!

You have a kitchen you don't use despite knowing that doing so will save you money. I'm afraid no one can save you from your own laziness.

uthinkimlost?
December 13th, 2013, 15:09
You have a kitchen you don't use despite knowing that doing so will save you money. I'm afraid no one can save you from your own laziness.

Don't talk to it. Don't reason with it. Just look away until it leaves.

JJarmuth07
December 13th, 2013, 19:27
Don't talk to it. Don't reason with it. Just look away until it leaves.

Great - the guy who hates Saitama. It may be worth noting that I eat with my neighbors often and I've started to cook a little.

uthinkimlost?
December 13th, 2013, 20:32
Nope, not me.

Glad to hear you're a conscienceless mooch.

JJarmuth07
December 19th, 2013, 10:42
Nope, not me. Glad to hear you're a conscienceless mooch.Conscienceless mooch? If by that you mean someone who invites them to my parties, and gives them food and alcohol, then yes. You assume too much but then again you're on this forum so I don't expect you to function like a normal human being. Get a life.

ihatefall
January 6th, 2014, 12:33
ESID

I was really lucky in that I came over without a school loan thanks to going to school close to home, the helpfulness of my parents and working a full time work while in school. (This route did take longer than 4 years, but it spend it out for me in smaller payments. I didn't want to get a loan if I didn't have to.)

But as you can tell I am a bit frugal.
I got lucky my first year I saved at least 10 man a month, but usually saved more. I was based in Ibaraki, I had no rent and no car (although at times I wish I had gotten one.) I had to pay utilities (all in all about 2-3man a month. Including cell phone and internet.) During that year I went to Sapporo to the Yuki Matsuri, Korea, Osaka, back home to the States, to Sadogashima in Nigata and a few other not to far from home places in Kanto.

The second year I had to move Apartments and BOEs, from JHS to SHS. This apartment wasn't as nice and I had pay for 9000 in rent (but I shared the internet with my neighbor. So monthly was 2.5-3.5man.) That year I went to Thailand/Cambodia, Singapore/Malaysia, Hong Kong. I also went to Fukui-ken and Osaka a bunch. This year I ate out everyday for 2 months, because they were fixing the gas lines to my apartment. I also was able to get a Yahoo auction account that could bit over 5000 yen and I bought a lot of bike stuff....like a lot. (I spend maybe 30-40man on bikes that year, but I took most of them to states and turned a huge profit, no loss. 2 of them I still ride regularly.) That year I was in Tokyo every weekend I wasn't somewhere else, get out of work take a nap, pack up the backpack, the bike and grab the train down. I would stay Friday night to Sunday night, staying in internet cafes. (4000 yen RT on the train and another 4000 on the cafes, plus breakfast, lunch and dinner.)
As you guessed I didn't save as much my second year. I ended JET with a lot of great experiences, a fitter body from riding all the time and about $18.5~19K USD (and the exchange rate was 120en to the dollar then).

What I have done since then is I use my debit card as little as possible. I determine what I need to live in a week including going out modestly, lets say $100 USD. I withdraw a small amount more than that, say $120 a week and never withdraw unless its an emergency or I need it for something like a birthday present. If there is anything leftover at the end of the week, I put it in an envelope that I deposit in a separate account at the end of the month. That is my vacation or get myself something special fund. When you ration yourself out like that you'd be shocked how much money piles up in your account.

If you put your mind to it would can pay of a lot if not all of your debit.