8th January 2023 – (Tokyo) The host of a Japanese variety show interviewed a so-called “the most frugal girl in the country”, 37-year-old Saki Tamogami in 2019 and she explained how she spent 15 years saving money through an extremely frugal lifestyle, and successfully bought three houses before the age of 34. Her story has sparked discussions on social media again recently, and many netizens admired her for her long-term disciplined extreme frugal lifestyle.
The then 27-year-old Tamiami bought her first house in Saitama, Japan, for 10 million yen (approximately HK$590,000). During that period, she worked as a real estate agent. After two years, Tamogami made her second purchase for 18 million yen (approximately HK$1,063,000) by borrowing from the bank. In 2019, she bought a third house for 37 million yen (approximately HK$2,180,000).
Now she not only earns her living by collecting rent, but also runs a cat cafe named Cafe Yuunagi. Tamogami disclosed how she saved money to buy the first house in the TV program. The key is to achieve “extreme” frugality in daily life. Her daily food expenses were only within 200 yen (HK$11.80). Basic toast, rice, and udon were her three meals. She ate at home directly from cooking pots so that she did not need to wash dishes at all. She claimed that she could save water and washing liquid by not using plates and bowls. In addition, Tamogami said that her motto in life is “Never buy anything without a discount.” For many years, she has been used to buying ingredients at special prices. The refrigerator at home is basically half-price vegetables and udon noodles.
As for clothes, she said that she rarely does shopping, and the clothes she usually wears are gifts from her mother or friends. She admitted that she does not keep abreast with latest fashion trends, so she is satisfied with second-hand clothes. The furniture, including tables, refrigerators, beds, etc were free items disposed by others and there was no need for additional expenses. In addition to saving money on food and clothing, she also has the habit of keeping accounts by hand, insisting on strictly recording all small living expenses, even if it is one yen, it will be carefully included. Long-term accounting habits also let her know exactly where her money is going.
After living an extremely frugal life for 15 years, Tamogami achieved her goal of buying three houses at the age of 34. Although she was admired by everyone, her frugal lifestyle has not changed at all. At the end of the show, she admitted frankly that she was able to persist in such a frugal life for so long in order to realise her dream of opening a cat cafe and helping stray cats. Now she has successfully realised this dream. Although the cat cafe is not a profitable business, she said, “it is important to spend your money and energy on the things you love.”