Kakeibo is a simple Japanese method of saving money, invented in 1904 by Japan’s first female journalist, Hani Motoko.

The Kakeibo method helps people make better financial decisions through mindful budgeting systems using pen and paper rather than digital budget tracking.

In this article, you’ll learn how to implement the Kakeibo account system into your financial life and how this system could benefit your pocketbook in the long run.

What is the Kakeibo Method?

With the Kakeibo Method, you use a handwritten ledger to keep track of your money, savings goals, spending, and overall financial health.

In this Kakeibo ledger, you’ll track:

  • How much do you have to spend.
  • How much you’d like to save.
  • How much money you’re spending.
  • How you can improve your financial well-being.

In addition, you’ll group your spending into four different categories, including:

  • Essentials, like food, shelter, transportation, and everyday items such as toilet paper and hand soap.
  • Things that you’d like to have but don’t necessarily need, such as new shoes or a takeout pizza.
  • Cultural spending, including books, museums, and art galleries.
  • Emergency expenses, like a broken washing machine or blown-out tire.

By categorizing your spending in handwriting, you’ll help your brain register and become aware of where you’re spending money unnecessarily. You’ll take more time to make spending decisions this way.

How Does Kakeibo Save You Money?

Kakeibo saves you money by encouraging mindful spending.

By tracking your income, expenses and their categories, and places where you can improve in writing, you’ll be more mindful of your spending habits.

In addition, the daily practice of Kakeibo helps you see small wins in your budget, such as where you saved money that day. The daily savings add up quickly to help you reach your savings goals, making the thought of saving a larger sum of money less daunting.

How to Use the Kakeibo Method

To use the Kakeibo Method, set aside time each month for planning purposes, then additional time each day to keep your ledger up to date.

Create Your Budget

On a new sheet of paper, write down your monthly income.

Add your necessary expenses, including debt payments such as credit cards.

Subtract these costs from your monthly income to determine how much extra money you have to spend for the month.

Write Down Your Savings Goal

Kakeibo is a budgeting method, but more importantly, it is a savings method. So, a savings category is an essential part of your Kakeibo ledger.

Begin by writing down what you want to save for, whether it’s a more significant purchase like a car or a smaller purchase like a new plant for your living room.

Please determine what you’ll be able to save that month toward your goal and deduct it from the extra money you spend after step one.

Money Under 30 has more great tips on their blog.

Track Spending

Keep your Kakeibo ledger handy so that you can track your daily spending accurately.

Simply deduct your purchases from the amount of money you have left over for the month after necessary expenses, debt, and savings goals.

Monthly Reconciliation

Reconcile your spending at the end of each month by reviewing your Kakeibo ledger and categorizing every purchase you make into the four categories: needs, wants, cultural, and emergency spending. Then, tally up the total.

Now, deduct that total from your total available spending money that you calculated at the beginning of the month, and you’ll get the amount of money that you saved.

What percentage of your spending was stashed away as savings?

You’ll see where you spent money that month and how you can improve the following month to increase your savings.

Kakeibo Tips

If you’d like to implement Kakeibo, here are some helpful tips from people who have been practicing the budgeting method for years.

Head over to Daybreak with Ray to learn more about Kakeibo.

Be Mindful

The main benefit of Kakeibo is to help you slow down, track your spending carefully, and be more thoughtful about how you spend your money and save. Be mindful of your spending by really thinking about where you’re using your money before you do so, and then again by tracking it in your ledger.

Stay Up to Date

Track your expenses daily, or even hourly if possible. This encourages mindfulness more often and connects you to your purchases instead of trying to catch up later in the day.

Keep your ledger with you to make this a habit that you won’t forget about after an entire day has passed.

Progress Over Perfection

As with anything new that we implement in our lives, it takes time to master Kakeibo.

Be patient with yourself, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. This is how you’ll learn and improve.

And remember, there’s an entire section in your Kakeibo ledger dedicated to making notes about how you’d like to improve so you can do better next month.


So, what is Kakeibo, and how does it save you money? This Japanese budgeting style is a simple but powerful way to learn more about yourself and your spending habits while also easily tracking expenses against income. Also, all you need is a pen and a piece of paper to do it, so anyone can use it to make a budget.

Image by [Suntezza] via [Shutterstock.com].