The state of the economy has made me reexamine my budget. I realize that food in Japan is expensive, but I would like to reduce the amount of money I spend on it. Do you have any ideas how I can save money at the supermarket?
First, check whether or not your local supermarket has any special discount days. At a certain local supermarket chain, there are different discounts on different days. Wednesday, for example, frozen foods are discounted thirty percent. Don’t forget to check the circulars that are in the supermarket or posted online.
Second, see if your local supermarket has a rewards program. One supermarket chain gives its customers one stamp for every 100 yen spent. Once you have collected 500 stamps, you will receive a 1,000 yen coupon. Certain days are double stamp days. Another supermarket chain has a point card where you can earn one point for every 100 yen spent. For every 500 points you receive a voucher. You can redeem these vouchers for items in a catalog, but it may take some time before you can redeem them as the items in the catalog require multiple vouchers. In addition, the supermarket will often give coupons that can be redeemed for extra points on certain days. While a rewards program may not benefit you immediately, it will be helpful in the long run.
Third, buy locally grown produce. Supermarkets sell local produce, and the price of locally grown produce is often cheaper than produce from other parts of Japan. Also, do not forget to frequent your local produce shop. While some fruits and vegetables may not be local, your local produce shop may offer lower prices or different items than your local supermarket.
A final idea is go to the supermarket later in the evening. Supermarkets will mark down foods that are nearing their expiration date as the day goes on. If you purchase these discounted items, however, make sure to take note of the expiration date!