What is a kakeibo? The Japanese lifestyle trend that keeps track of your spending

We’ve tried out Marie Kondo’s minimalism and investigated ikigai, (the lifestyle concept focused on finding purpose), but now another Japanese lifestyle trend set to add structure to our everyday lives – specifically, our wallets.


If you’re struggling with saving money, trend-spotters say you need to harness the ancient art of a kakeibo. Pronounced ‘kah-keh-boh’, the journal (which translates literally as ‘household finance ledger’) is a simple planner that helps you to set saving goals and spend wisely.

First popularised in 1904 by Motoko Hani, Japan’s first female journalist, who recognised it as a way for housewives to manage their finances, kakeibos fit neatly with the Japanese philosophy that mindfully saving, saving and monitoring your money leads to balance and calm in your life.

So how do you master the art of kakeibo? At the start of each month you should sit down with the kakeibo and think mindfully about how much you would want to save and what you’ll need to do in order to reach this goal.

The kakeibo gives you space to both jot down your spending and reflect on past purchases – and even just filling it in means that you’re making saving a part of your daily routine. What’s more, constantly reviewing your progress and setting increasingly ambitious goals will mean you’ll soon be well on your way to stashing away the cash.


Frugal millennials are reportedly going mad for this money-saving method which has become a surprise hit on social media. With the hashtag #kakeibo gaining traction on Instagram and pictures popping up on Pinterest, scrolling through to see how others are putting a pretty spin on their spending diaries, often creating homemade kakeibos, is a good place to start. Penguin has also recently released the first book on the topic in English by Fumiko Chiba, which intersperses your spending notes with proverbs and nuggets of Japanese wisdom.

Kakeibo: The Japanese art of saving money by Fumiko Chiba, is published by Penguin

Feature by Miranda Thompson