* * * * * * * * F R U G A L W A T C H * * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of how to be frugal in the world's most
expensive country to live (unless you read this!), written
and compiled by Wendy J. Imura.
Regular edition, Sunday, May 30, 2004 Issue No. 010
- What's new
- Frugal news
- Frugal tips
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========================= EA Event ====================================
Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo's One Year Anniversary - June Seminar
Join the June 9th Panel Discussion to celebrate EA-Tokyo's One Year
Anniversary! Don稚 miss this great opportunity to hear: Tim Williams,
Founder and Chairman of ValueCommerce; Caroline Pover, President and
Founder of Alexandra Press, Being A Broad, and Go Girls; and Lance Lee,
President of IGC (Japan) Ltd, and the former President of the Amercian
Chamber of Commerce in Japan. The theme for the discussion will be,
"Creating Value for Customers and for Owners. What does it mean to
Create Value?・Please register early to reserve your seat.
+++ WHAT'S NEW
Dear Frugal Readers,
Greetings, frugal friends! The trains are crowded with sweaty salarymen,
office ladies and school children switching to summer uniforms, and the
humidity descends on Tokyo like a cloud ... it must be early summer!
It's not only the mercury that's rising, but gasoline prices as well.
Following a global trend towards record high oil prices, Nippon Oil Corp
and Idemitsu Kosan (two of Japan's largest oil companies) announced they
were raising wholesale prices by Y4/litre. According to a May 27
Japan Today article, the average price for a litre of gasoline is likely
to exceed Y110 for the first time since February 2001.
For those of us that grew up using standard, not metric, measurements,
price per litre doesn't mean that much. Translated into dollars, the
average price at the pump in Japan is $4.24/gallon -- which stings a bit
In this case, Tokyo isn't actually the most expensive city on the planet.
London gasoline costs $5.22 a gallon, and Paris gasoline $4.92 (according
to the Pasedena Star News). Cries of "that's outrageous" to gasoline
prices slightly higher than $2.00/gallon by Americans somehow appear less
convincing. Perhaps fewer SUVs on the road would help?
So how does this affect the Japan frugalite? Well a surprisingly large
number of us own cars, either for pleasure driving or (due to a rural
or suburban location) for daily life. The obvious way to wave money
in the face of higher gas prices is of course alternate transportation --
walking, bicycles, trains, buses and taxis. Combining errands can
also be helpful, like going shopping in the morning after dropping
your spouse off at the train station for work.
To those who must drive a vehicle, why not choose a hybrid car? The
Toyota Prius, a hybrid electric/gasloine vehicle, was first launched in
1997. Don't worry, you don't have to plug it in -- the Prius generates
its own electric power. Used Priuses can be found at quality dealerships
for a reasonable price, and the car itself not only saves money on
gasoline, but also qualifies the driver for tax breaks on the yearly car
tax paid in Japan. While the Prius and other hybrids are more expensive
than gasoline powered automobiles, the savings potential might make up
for the extra cost, particularly for a used vehicle.
Higher gasoline prices are an inconvenience and certainly help to lighten
the wallet. However, they can also serve as a wakeup call, directing our
attention to the "hidden" costs of how we live.
Happy savings, everyone!
Wendy J. Imura
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+++ FRUGAL NEWS
-> Frugal Japan is proud to sponsor the first in a series of workshops
on financial literacy and saving money in Japan, entitled "Smart
Money Japan." In this interactive workshop, we will
cover basic topics such as anaylzing your current financial
situation, tracking what you spend, creating a basic spending plan,
and savings and investment ideas in Japan. We will also discuss
fantastic frugal ideas to earn and save in Japan -- from the best Y100
shop locations to cracking the kakeibo code. Please join us!
Smart Money Japan
Date: Tuesday, June 8 2004
Time: Afternoon Session - 2:00PM-3:30 PM (5 spaces left)
Evening Session - 7:00-8:30 PM (6 spaces left)
Location: Nikken Japan Building, 2F Meeting Room, Tokyo, Japan
3 minute walk from Tameikesanno Station, Exit 10
Limit 10 participants per session.
Light refreshments provided.
Please RSVP by Monday, June 7 at 12 AM JST.
To reserve a space, please respond to firstname.lastname@example.org.
========================== Tennis Lessons ==============================
FREE tennis lessons at Hilton Tokyo Hotel, Shinjuku! Want to play tennis
but don't know how to find a court in Tokyo? JINJI TENNIS CENTER provides
the ideal tennis environment for foreigners living in and around Tokyo.
For info on tournaments, specials For Kids, tennis equipment, et cetera.
click "English" for details.
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+++ FRUGAL TIPS
Driving Tips: Improving Gas Mileage
Most everyone has heard one or two "old wives' tales" about how
to get more gas mileage out of your car, but the folks at Global Stewards
(www.globalstewards.org) have come up with a good list of practical
tips on how to really get more kilometers to the litre (or,
in American English, miles to the gallon). Here are some highlights:
*"Use multi-grade, energy conserving (EC) motor oil to improve fuel
efficiency 1 to 2 percent or buy re-refined oil to support recycling
Purchase the lowest viscosity oil recommended by your car's manual.
Change your oil every 3,000 miles. Recycle your used motor oil and oil
filters at an approved collection center."
*"Keep your tires inflated at the maximum recommended pressure
(check once a month) and properly aligned (get your alignment checked
every 5,000 miles)"
*"If you drive a car with a manual transmission, upshift at the lowest
speed possible to reduce fuel consumption."
*And my favorite: "Avoid carrying unnecessary, heavy items around in your
car. On trips, avoid using roof-racks, car-top packs or towing a trailer
if at all possible." (Finally - a real reason to clean out the trunk of your
car! It saves money!)
+++ ABOUT US
Written by: Wendy J. Imura (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Edited by: JI
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