FW-103 -- Six Little-Known Secrets for Supermarket Success

-------------------- 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.

May 11, 2007 Issue No. 103


----- Six Little-Known Secrets for Supermarket Success ----

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---- Six Little-Known Secrets for Supermarket Success ----

Dear Frugalites,

Happy Golden Week, Frugalites! Where are you now? Enjoying the
holidays on some exotic (yet cheap) tropical locale? Or are
you like me - a self employed translator whose busiest season
just happens to be the first few weeks in May? I certainly
wish I was part of the former group, but I will say - there's
no better way to save money than by 'staying in' while
everyone else is out. This will be my fourth Golden Week
holed up in the office and really - it ain't as bad as it
seems. We do enjoy our holidays, just at different times than

Frugality is really about the basics: living below our means
every day. And what better way to do that than through saving
money at Japanese supermarkets? Today, I'll introduce sixl
little-known shopping secrets that are guaranteed to slash
your bills!

Did you know that:

1) Large-scale supermarkets discount their produce and other
fresh food items sharply on weekday evenings?
While full on the weekends, many larger suburban stores are
empty on the weekdays, yet must still stock enough items to
fill their aisles. Fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, and meat
(essentially, items with a short expiration date) tend to
get cheaper as the evening wears on. You can typically find
sushi, prepared dishes ('sozai'), and other foods reduced
by 50%, 70%, or more past 5 or 6 PM, while many supermarkets
run special limited-time deals after 4 PM.

2) Stores have a 'cycle' on which their run their specials
and sales?
Most supermarkets put their best deals in their newspaper
inserts, known in Japanese as 'chirashi'. Stores typically
run chirashi on certain days, and saving one week's worth
of chirashi from each store can give you a good idea of their
sale cycle. Dividing your shopping among several stores
based on their sale days (i.e. eggs at Aeon on Thursday,
frozen foods at Ito Yokado on Tuesday, meats on 10% off days
at Nissho) can save you money.

3) Reading chirashi is an art unto itself?

For exmaple, did you know that the best deals are reserved
not for the full-color inserts with lovely pictures, but
the boring one-color chirashi? Hand written inserts might
have particularly good prices. Also, the upper left hand
corner of a chirashi for national chains typically has the
best deals! (Hint: it's where local stores can
advertise their own special low prices.)

4) Rainy days are often great steals ?

A sudden rain shower can often result in a dramatic drop
in customer traffic at stores. For the truly frugal, grab
your umbrella and head out to find some great steals in the
fresh foods department.

5) The last day before a multi-day sale or the day before
the store's holdiay is the time to shop?

In both cases, you're likely to find good deals on fresh
foods as supermarkets have to drastically reduce their
inventories. Also, the last day of a sale is a great time
to find 'leftover' bargains.

6) The best place to look for bargains is the bottom of the

It's true. Some of the cheaper products can be found lurking
on the bottom rack of grocery isle shelves - where they
think you'll least notice it!

There you are! So get started shopping - and saving -
right away!

Frugally yours,

Wendy J. Imura

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Written by: Wendy J. Imura (frugalwatch@japaninc.com)
Edited by: JI
Copyright 2007 Japan Inc. Communications
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