Working from home has been a double-edged sword: no commute is a plus, but less time for social interaction is a minus; ability to eat junk food away from the judgmental eyes of coworkers is a plus, but the toll a poor diet has taken on my waistline is a minus; can sneak a beer in during work hours without my boss knowing, but now my boss knows because of this article.
But on a more serious note, this change in work style has really shifted a lot of other aspects of living in Tokyo for me. I need to very much make it clear that this is just how I’ve adapted and reacted to the situation. I’m sure there are plenty of other different ways people are coping.
Without having to trudge to the office and back, the number of times I’m tempted to sneak a snack from a convenience store seems to have drastically decreased.
This led to me thinking, “Am I actually spending less right now than I was a year ago?” Overall, my gut feeling is that I’ve been spending less on miscellaneous purchases. My logic is that without having to leave my neighborhood everyday, I spend less time around possible shopping centers. But, I have been curious as to whether this theory holds up. To be honest, I hadn’t really paid attention to my spending habits before the shift to working from home, so I can’t make a direct one-to-one comparison, but I thought I should at least maybe get some data on what I can, while I can.
I’m not including big ticket items like rent or bills which would more-or-less be the same as a year ago. But I’m more interested in my spontaneous spending – something I have a habit of not paying attention to. So here’s my record of spending throughout last week (October 10, 2020 to October 16, 2020). I am rounding here for ease of mental math. Prices in Japan are not always ending in zeros like this.
|Saturday (October 10)||Bouldering gym fee||¥2,100|
|Meal at Sukiya (fast food)||¥650|
|Sunday (October 11)||Cookies/baked goods||¥1,500|
|Sparkling water, soda, ume ice cream bar||¥300|
|Monday (October 12)||Convenience store bento||¥500|
|Tuesday (October 13)||Bento-ya bento||¥500|
|Wednesday (October 14)||Rum raisin chocolates||¥500|
|Thursday (October 15)||Rum milk tea||¥550|
|Grocery store produce||¥800|
|Friday (October 16)|
I know for a fact that there were multiple times last year where I’ve spent that much or more in one day on a night out in Tokyo.
Did knowing I was recording my purchases to share publicly have a subconscious effect on my spending? It’s possible, but I really didn’t make much of an adjustment from my recent habits. The chocolate/sweets spending for this week seems quite high, but I swear that besides what I purchased on Saturday the rest were picked up as gifts for friends.
I’m really bad at making sure I eat lunch on time, hence all the bento purchases throughout the week. But I used to eat out for lunch every day when I had to go to the office, so I think there’s still a slight reduction in lunch spending.
For a bit of a visual guide to how this week shook out for me:
How has your spending been affected now that we’re exiting summer and entering fall? Let me know in the comments, or feel free to get in touch with me on twitter @howtotokyo!