FW-107 -- The Frugal Finale

* * * * * * * F R U G A L W A T C H * * * * * * * *
Last 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.

March 21 2008 Issue No. 107

Dear Frugalites,

The Frugal Finale!

As you have read from the good folks at Japan Inc., the Frugal
Watch newsletter will be retiring as of this issue. In fact, I
should have written this farewell letter several weeks ago.

However, it has been very difficult, mentally, to say goodbye
to Frugal Watch. Writing it has always been a very personal
enterprise, and re-reading the newsletter archive was like
stepping back in time for me in some ways. During the course of
the four-or-so years I wrote FW, I have moved three times,
opened (and closed) a small business, and –most importantly—
had our son. The birth of a child, it seems, always involves
a rearrangement of priorities, and unfortunately I never had as
much time as I wanted to devote to FW afterwards.

The reason for the end of FW is also personal: as of three weeks
ago, my husband, son, and I have moved to New York. I recently
started a position as an in-house translator at a brokerage firm
on Wall Street. While the decision to leave Japan was not taken
lightly, in the end it was a good one. I am sure, with our
family ties (and an aging father in law) that I will live in
Japan again in the future. But for now, it seemed best to
discontinue the newsletter.

I learned a lot over my last three months in Japan, and fully
intended on making a very in-depth Frugal Watch report on how
to dispose of one's items and move frugally. Unfortunately, my
move ended up being not very frugal, despite my best efforts.
I did find out two very important things, however. One is very
specific: used air conditioner/heaters (aircon) are essentially
worthless! You cannot sell them, you cannot give them away
without causing the recipient great cost and trouble, and even
recycling them is expensive (Y50,000 for me to uninstall and
recycle three used air conditioners). Your best bet: leave them
with the apartment, if the landlord will let you! OR take them
with you to your new home.

The second thing is much more general, and rather clichéd:'You
can't take it with you.' Your stuff, I mean. Really. Not
anywhere. With rising gas and commodity prices, shipping goods
is more expensive than ever. For most things, buying it in your
home destination would be cheaper. Unless it is of sentimental
value, I suggest finding a good home for it. We brutally weeded
out our possessions for three months and were still shocked at
how much stuff was left in the end. Do yourself a favor: don't
collect the stuff to begin with. Buy sparingly and smart, and
routinely inventory your possessions. If you haven't used it in
18 months, chances are you probably won't again. The night
before we left Japan, I sat surrounded by five suitcases
holding (literally) all my worldly possessions not in a small
container crossing the ocean. And you know, it was very freeing.
Watching the American economy slide into a recession and the
inevitable layoffs beginning (I have great timing when I move!),
I am struck by the fact the we really never do know *what* will
happen to us in the future. Instead of surrounding yourself with
stuff, collect experiences, friends, and love—it much more portable!

So, here it ends. Frugal Watch has been a fun ride! My fondest
thanks and appreciation go to Terrie Lloyd, for his strong
support of FW even when I never published, and all the editors
who have helped it continue along. Most of all, I wanted to
thank the readers who were so kind to keep reading throughout
the years. In addition to the archive on the Japan Inc website,
you can also view Frugal Watch back issues at the Frugal Japan
website (www.frugaljapan.com), which I will maintain as a
resource for some time, to be sure.

Thank you, and keep being Frugal!

Wendy J. Imura

***Those using this newsletter for investment purposes
do so at their own risk***

Written by: Wendy J. Imura (frugalwatch@japaninc.com)
Edited by: JI

Copyright 2007 Japan Inc. Communication




Hi there!
I want more frugal newsletters.. can you find someone to write these?....

Missing frugals..

I guess I'm coming to the party a little late here, but I've just started a site for frugal foreigners in Japan @ http://www.frugalistajapan.com

Having fun reading through the archives now; seems like these articles are going to be more relevant than ever these coming years.