October 10, 2018

Kakebo: the art of saving money!

Kakebo: a great help to save money made in Japan

For me and Yo, this is the first cohabitation.
Since now we understand each other, and we both know what we love or hate, in the beginning, we were damned awkward when it comes to taking care of the other person. We were stress about moving, the new life in a big city, our crazy small apartment that didn’t allow us to have some space and also, because of the fear for the future.
Different culture? Different education? I don’t think so. Was just, a new challenge that we decided to embrace.
I remember that one of our first “discussion” was about our habits, especially how we wanted to spend our “pocket money” in our daily life.
We discover that we were different.

While I love to go out, drink a coffee in a cafe’ and explore the city, Yo was just more focus on staying at home, study or sometimes take the bicycle and go in some adventure.A different way of spending the time and different way of spending our money.



Maneki Neko – The cat of money


The Hard Law of Accounts

Because both of us didn’t want (of course) to stop our “hobbies”, we founded a solution that wasn’t just useful to save money but also to understand how we were spending time during our week. We start using Kakebo.
What is it?
A Kakebo is a sort of agenda of the household accounts useful to take into account the daily expenses.
I always thought it was a bit of a waste of money. Why buy a special notebook? Just sign everything on my agenda!

Yo had advised me to buy two summers ago in Italy (it’s a Japanese article but now you can buy it anywhere). We found it in a bookstore in Bra (province of Cuneo), two days before he left for Japan. We didn’t have big plans for our future. At that time we were simply looking for useful Italian books to improve his Italian skills, and we ended up buying a tool that became indispensable in our cohabitation here in Japan. Strange life.

5 minutes every night

In Japan, it is very popular, both among the young and the adults who take care of families and household expenses (Yo’s mother is an example – she has been compiling it every day since she was a young girl).
For the Japanese, keep order with their finances and as important as keeping order in the house.
Kakebo is nothing more than a simple book in which you can write numbers and make calculations, but his organization has the capacity to make everything more framed and less stressful.
Every night, before going to sleep, we promised ourselves to take 5 minutes to sit at the desk, pull out the receipts from the wallets and mark everything on our much loved and hated Kakebo.




If you are asking if after one year we are still doing it, let me say that I just bought a new one last week.

Origin of Kakebo

Who to thank for this simple but useful invention?


Motoko Hani


Motoko Hani (1873-1957), officially recognized as the first female journalist in Japan, is the mother of this agenda.

Founder of the first Private Female School, she was the creator of the first magazine “Fujin no Tomo” – “The Companion of Women”, a magazine in which she promoted women’s freedom and self-sufficiency.

Isn’t the inability to keep our expenses under control a strong cause of stress when we start living alone? Or when do you decide to start a family?

Motoko Hani found a solution for this in the early 1900s, giving women a first role in the family, as budget organizers.
Should you give to Kakebo an opportunity?
It will certainly help you responsibly enjoy your free time, without excessive financial worries.
But as Motoko Hani said, we should all remember that:

“Sometimes you should try bartering, the soul will remain free and light. This is the best way to get rich.”

Ele & Yo