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How To Master Kakeibo – The Japanese Method of Mindful Budgeting (in 30 Days)

2022 Kakeibo Method of Budgeting

Kakeibo – The Japanese Method of Mindful Budgeting and Journal

Kakeibo is a Japanese budgeting method that is becoming increasingly popular in the Western world. The key to success with Kakeibo is to be consistent with it. This means journaling every day for 30 days, and then reviewing your progress at the end of the month.

The Kakeibo journal and budgeting method is a Japanese way of budgeting and saving money. It was created by a female journalist named Fumiko Chiba in the early 1900s.

The word “kakeibo” means “household finances” in Japanese. The method is based on the idea that you should only spend money on things that you need, and that you should save money every month.

To use the Kakeibo method, you first need to create a budget for your monthly spending. Then, you need to begin tracking spending and your income for the month. At the end of the month, you should review your budget and see where you can save money. The Kakeibo method is a great way to save money and to become more mindful of your spending. It can help you to stick to a budget and to make wise financial decisions.

An Overview of Kakeibo

There are four main steps to Kakeibo:

  1. Set your financial goals for the month.
  2. Track your spending for the month.
  3. Reflect on and be mindful of any unnecessary spending at the end of the month.
  4. Adjust your budget for the next month based on your reflections.

In this article we will go over

  • What is a kakeibo Journal?
  • How can I practice kakeibo?
  • How to make a kakeibo journal

What Is a Kakeibo Journal and Japanese Mindful Spending?

Good news and bad news.  Which one do you want first?  Okay, the good news.  Americans are changing their attitudes towards budgeting and doing so more than ever before!!

“86 percent of respondents track their monthly income and expenses.”

debt.com poll

Even better news – “Fully 85 percent of those who budget say that simple process got them out of debt or has helped keep them out of debt.

Why?  Because budgeting is easier than ever before, thanks to apps.  Nearly 30% now use apps or online tools to budget.  

So, this is amazing news – what could the bad news possibly be?

Two things. 

One, I call BS…  I think people believe they are budgeting – but they aren’t fully budgeting.  Secondly, and way more importantly.  Although technology is tracking peoples expenses – people are becoming less and less aware of what they are spending money on, and how.

Budgets Mystery Dollars

For almost thirty years, I worked with people to create comprehensive financial plans

The first step of creating a kakeibo budget within a financial plan is to to set your financial goals for the month. This could be saving up for a big purchase, or simply reducing your overall spending.

Once you have your goals in mind, you need to track your spending for the month. There are many ways to do this, but the simplest is to use a planner notebook or an Excel spreadsheet.

At the end of the month, review your spending and see how well you did in relation to your goals. If you didn’t reach your goals, don’t be discouraged – just adjust your budget for the next month and try again. With a little bit of effort, you’ll be able to master Kakeibo and improve your financial life in no time!

The second step, after developing clear financial goals – is to discuss their budgets.  People would always confidently say they budget. But then we would go through their budget line by line – and people rarely ever had a good grasp on what was truly coming in and going out.

Then when we began to create the financial plan – there would always be what I called “mystery dollars”.  According to their budget and financial plan – they SHOULD have $2,000 extra each month to add to their savings goals – but they would say they really only had $1,000 per month.  So there were $1,000 a month of mystery dollars that they had absolutely no clue where it was going.

People have no idea how to be mindful of their personal finances.

New RMD Tables

Homework – It’s Time to Budget

So, my next step would assign clients some homework. 

For the next two weeks – I don’t care how much they spend their money or where they spend it.  But I wanted them to keep a notepad with them at all times.  And just simply jot down what they spend money on, and how much.  Every time they used cash, a credit card, or a debit card – it didn’t matter – they had to track and be mindful of their expenses.

A few things always came out of this ‘budgeting bootcamp’ exercise. 

  1. Clients HATED doing it, but loved the outcome.
  2. Almost universally, people were stunned at how much they were spending (without realizing it).  Just the action of writing down their expenses, made clients aware of how they were spending their money – which they didn’t realize how little they paid attention to prior.  It was the little things – they knew about Starbucks, but didn’t realize all the add-ons they’d pick up when they stopped in.  The Gatorades and snacks they’d pick up while watching their son play baseball.  The miscellaneous extra expenses clients started to discover their mystery dollars.
  3. But way more important than the dollars they were seeing slip through their fingers.  After a few days, clients started to have a realization that they were becoming more aware of their spending The reason was, because they knew they would have to write down what they were spending their dollars on.

So clients started to notice that they would now pass on small spending, just because they didn’t feel like having to remember writing it down later.

So why did I only ask them to do this for two weeks, and then stop?  Because this was only the first lesson that I was trying to get across.  And that was – even though you thought you were budgeting – you had no idea…

The Million Dollar Lesson.  For Free

So they would stop keeping track after two weeks.  And guess what would start to happen after no longer tracking their weekly expenses?  Yes, the mystery dollars started to slip through their fingers again.  And more often than not – lesson two started to sink in.

Then I would have the client go use a savings calculator.  What does $1,000 per month earning 10% over 25 years add up to?  Go ahead and run the numbers yourself, and use whatever assumptions you want to plug in.

Guess what.  If I sat down and lectured my clients that they need to budget, and to keep track of every expense.  And they need to save an extra $1,000 per month towards their financial goals.  They would do it for a month, and then stop not only saving, but keeping track of their monthly expenses. 

Instead, clients would see the power of being mindful of their unexpected expenses, and how much of a massive impact it will have on them for the rest of their lives.  And instead of being forced to do something that no one wants to do, the B Word (budget) – they chose to budget, and it is voluntary.

So where am I going with this?  I thought I invented the world’s greatest budgeting trick, but it turns out I didn’t . The Japanese beat me to the punch, by about 120 years.  Invented back in 1904 by Hani Motoko, the Japanese budgeting style Kakeibo came about. The old-fashioned way of recording your purchases, making you pay more attention, was recreated.

Kakeibo method budgeting

Kakeibo Method of Budgeting

Kakeibo is a simple Japanese budgeting method that can be used to help save money and improve your financial situation. The definition of kakeibo literally means “household account book,”.  I’ve seen others translate it to “household financial ledger” as well.

Kakeibo refers to the practice of keeping track of your income and expenses in a plane notebook or budgeting journal. This system can be used to create a budget, track your weekly spending, and find ways to save money.

There are many different ways to use the kakeibo method, but the basic idea is to track your income and expenses over a period of time, typically one month. This information can then be used to create a budget and track your progress towards financial goals.

Kakeibo can be a helpful tool and planner for anyone who wants to save money or improve their financial situation. If you are looking for a way to take control of your personal finances, kakeibo may be a good option for you.  

What is Kakeibo Method of Budgeting?

Kakeibo budgeting is a household finance method that helps people save money by tracking their spending. It is based on the principle of envelope budgeting, and offers an easy solution to mindless spending habits.

Parts of Kakeibo also stand out from other budgeting systems because it emphasizes mindfulness and asks you to both plan in advance and think about your past performance, which makes it different from other budgeting systems.  The kakeibo method requires you to track your spending in real time, with pen and paper.

Kakeibo budgeting can be a helpful way to save money, because it forces you to be mindful of your spending. When you can see exactly where your dollars are going, it is easier to cut back on unnecessary expenses.

Kakeibo template

Kakeibo wants you to write down everything you buy and make your budget easier by grouping things into four groups.  Parts of the Kakeibo method combine planning, journaling, and keeping a ledger to help you be more mindful and intentional about how your relationship with money. 

Using this kakeibo method, you should set a realistic goal for each month and write down what you’re saving for.   It can help you to set aside money for your savings goals, such as saving for a new car or a down payment on a house.

If you are interested in trying kakeibo budgeting, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  • First, you need to be honest with yourself about your spending habits.
  • Second, you need to be willing to make changes to your spending habits.
  • Finally, you need to be patient.
  • Kakeibo budgeting is not an overnight process.
Kakeibo method budgeting

How Does The Makeibo Budgeting Method Work?

The Japanese art of kakeibo, or budgeting, is based on the principle of spending less than you earn. This simple yet effective technique can be used to help you save money and get your finances in order.

Kakeibo Journal

To start, you will need a notebook or sheet of paper to keep track of your expenses. For each day, week, or month, record how much money you have spent and on what. Keep a bullet journal and track your expenses. At the end of the period, total up your expenses and see where your money has gone. This will help you to identify any areas where you are spending too much money.

Once you have a good understanding of your spending patterns, you can start to make changes. Begin by setting a budget and setting up categories of spending such as food, transportation, and entertainment. 

Then, stick to your budget as closely as possible. If you find yourself struggling to stay within your budget, try cutting back in other areas or finding ways to earn extra income.

With a little effort, kakeibo can help you get your spending under control by tracking your finances over time, and start saving money. Give it a try today!

This is how it works:

  • You track your expenses
  • Put your purchases in spending categories
  • And review expenses at the end of every month. 

Sounds so simple, doesn’t it?  Because, it really is.  There is nothing earth shattering about it – the process is similar to a lot of budgeting apps, such as Stash and Acorns.  The difference is that Kakeibo is a financial philosophy centered on mindfulness and budgeting. Simple sometimes is better than using modern technology to compolicate things.

The old Japanese Kakeibo method of budgeting has become popular because more people are trying to be more mindful in all parts of their everyday lives..  It helps you save small amounts of cash over time. 

It’s a simple, no-nonsense way to keep your spending in check. 

This helps with the process of budgeting in a similar way that food journaling brings awareness to eating habits. Rather than using any sort of budgeting apps like Acorns, The Kakeibo method helps you to be more aware of your spending and to think about what you really want.

Another budgeting method call cash stuffing envelopes has been popular recently as well – and might interest you. Take a look and read the linked article.

Kakeibo method budgeting

What Are The Benefits of The Kakeibo Method For Budgeting?

Kakeibo budgeting can be a helpful tool for anyone who wants to get their finances in order. It can be especially helpful for people who are struggling to make ends meet or who are trying to save money.

Kakeibo In other words, it’s writing down or keeping track of your income and expenses. It asks you to keep a detailed record of your spending for a certain amount of time.

A lot of research shows that writing things down makes us do things in a different way.  The ultimate goal is to increase your savings by analyzing what you spend on.

Kakeibo budgeting is an effective way to manage your finances and save money. It allows you to 

  • track your spending
  • set financial goals
  • and stay on top of your bills
  • It can also help you find ways to reduce your expenses.

Kakeibo budgeting can help you become more mindful of your financial habits and help you make better financial decisions. It can also help you track your progress towards your saving goals.

The Kakeibo budgeting system will help ensure your money goes toward things that bring joy to many aspects of life, Instead of getting into debt and overspending. It is different from other budgeting systems because it pays a lot of attention to being mindful.  

Read how people are saving

$10,000 in three months, $10,000 in six months, or took the $10,000 in 52 week challenge

How Can The Kakeibo Method of Budgeting Help You Save Money?

There are many free apps that help you set up a budget and track your spending on the go. Set up a yearly and monthly budget for food, rent, recreation, clothes, utility expenses and more. Get strategic about groceries and food preparation to cut back on unnecessary costs. 

Kakeibo budgeting is different.  Automated budgeting apps makes you completely unaware of how you are spending your money.  Mindful budgeting does the complete opposite.

It is a great way to save money. It is a system where you track your spending and income over time. This helps you to see where your money is going and where you can cut back. Kakeibo budgeting can also help you to set goals for saving money.

Here are some simple strategies to ensure that you spend more mindfully – and save more money at the expense of unnecessary luxuries.  

  • Once you have your fixed expenses and income listed, you need to categorize them.
  • The list tells you what your priorities are and asks you to think about them a little more.

The goal of the Kakeibo budgeting method is to think about what worked well and what didn’t work well in your budget during the month. This is what the Kakeibo method is all about.  

Kakeibo method budgeting

What Are Some Tips For Getting Started With The Kakeibo Method?

When it comes to budgeting, kakeibo is a great way to get started. If you are interested in trying kakeibo budgeting, there are a few things you should keep in mind. 

  • First, you need to be honest with yourself about your spending habits. It can be easy to underestimate how much you spend on things like coffee or going out to eat, so be sure to track your expenses carefully.
  • Second, you need to be willing to make changes to your spending habits. If you find that you are spending too much money on unnecessary things, you will need to cut back in order to save. This may require some sacrifice in the short-term, but it will be worth it in the long run.
  • Finally, you need to be patient. Kakeibo budgeting is not a quick fix.

Here Are Some Tips To Get You Started With Kakeibo Budgeting:

1. Determine your income and expenses. The first step is to determine your income and expenses. This will help you get a clear picture of your financial situation.

2. Set a budget. Once you know your income and expenses, you can set a budget. Make sure to include a buffer for unexpected expenses.

3. Track your spending. Once you have a budget, it’s important to track your spending. This will help you stay on track and make adjustments as needed.

4. Make adjustments. As you track your spending, you may need to make adjustments to your budget. This is normal and to be expected.

5. Stay on track. The most important thing is to stay on track. If you find yourself slipping, don’t be discouraged. Just get back on track and keep going.

How Do I Create A Spending Plan, or Budget

Three Kakeibo Journal Planners To Buy

Looking for a Kakeibo Book?  These are the three best rated Kakeibo Books, and all three are inexpensive, under $7. Click each book to look at them on Amazon and buy them

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How To Setup a Kakeibo Journal Yourself


Kakeibo budgeting, a system of budgeting popular in Japan. Kakeibo budgeting is a system of budgeting in which you track your spending and income over time in order to make informed decisions about your personal finances.

Kakeibo budgeting is an effective way to manage your finances and save money. It is a simple and easy to use system that can help you track your spending and save money each month.

Sources: Americans are budgeting more than ever

Here is an amazing Youtube Video of a lady who shows you how she does a Kakeibo Method Journal – a real life example of exactly how to do it the right way!


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Michael Ryan
Michael Ryanhttps://michaelryanmoney.com/
A former stockbroker, financial planner, and owner of my own financial planning practice and then a property & casualty agency. I have since retired and decided I want to help individuals and business owners by offering personal financial coaching. And now, I have started my blog - www.michaelryanmoney.com - to bring financial literacy to everyone. In a short time I have already been quoted and featured in US News & World Report, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, and more (https://michaelryanmoney.com/home/press/) As a financial planner, I helped people from all walks of life. If you have questions about money, I will help you find the answers at www.MichaelRyanMoney.com
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