All over the world, groceries are getting really expensive. If you are living in Tokyo, then you know just how expensive groceries are and always have been! Well, right now, whether you live in Tokyo or not, I am going to show you how you can cut your grocery bill by 5% ~ 10% – or more – quite simply merely by being more efficient with the use of your time.

There is an OK Store nearby my house. OK Store is a large grocery supermarket chain store in the Tokyo area. It is my favorite place to shop. I first wrote about OK Store in a photo blog that appeared on Lew Rockwell in 2004. There are several huge stores that I have seen like OK Store. They remind me of a typical American-style grocery store.

But OK Store is the best for quality and price. That’s why is is packed most of the time.

If you go to OK Store at the times most people who go there do, you will encounter huge crowds and wait in a line of cars to get a parking space. I think some people must wait for more than an hour in their cars waiting just to get a parking space.

I think it is madness to go to OK Store after 9:00 am on a weekend. The cars are lined up for a half kilometer – sometimes more – just to get into the parking lot!

Once inside the store, if you go on a weekend or in the evenings, you can bet that the store is packed and there are people lined up ten deep or more waiting to get to a cash register. Go at that time and be sure that it’s going to cost you an hour of time just to buy a few basics.

With leisure time at a premium, you really have to wonder what people are thinking when they willingly spend 2 to 4 hours a weekend – every weekend – just to buy groceries.

I never do that. Time is money. I never wait to get into OK Store and I always get my groceries at 5% discount or more. I figure I cut my grocery bill by 10% a month by following the plan I am going to tell you about today.

How do I do this? I go to the store right at opening time during the week. I never wait in line to park and I never wait in line to check out. I can fill up my shopping cart full and be in and out of that store in 20 minutes. Of course, I know where everything is too.

I have been to that store during rush time in the past. Never again. People were lined up 25 carts deep waiting for the cashiers. It was a madhouse. I wound up walking out without buying anything.

OK Store opens at 8:30 am. I show up at 8:25 and walk right in. I get the pick of the discounted goods and no hassles.

If you live in Tokyo then I recommend that you be smart too. Remember that time is money. Find out when your favorite store opens up in the morning and be one of the first ones in the door. You’ll save time and money.

This also works in the west if your store is not open 24 hours a day. If your store is like OK Store (open 8:30 am ~ 10 pm or so), then they will stock the shelves early in the morning with the items that didn’t sell out the previous day and discount them heavily as they must sell them quickly. This is the time to shop.

At opening time, the good that weren’t sold the day before are out on the shelves first and discounted to go quickly. And quickly they go! By 9:00 ~ 9:30 in the morning, all this heavily discounted stuff is already sold out. They have been bought by restaurant owners and by other smart shoppers who have figured out that shopping early saves time and money.

I always see the same smart people who shop early. They are the ones who get the best produce and groceries at the best price – just like I do.

Just to show you how much things are discounted every morning, I took these photos of OK Store yesterday morning. I was probably only one of twenty or so other customers in the entire store. It’s always like that when I go there. Of course there were many more items that were discounted. I didn’t bother to take their photos.

But don’t believe just my word for it. They say a picture speaks a thousand words. Here’s photographic proof of how much you can save by being early (and OK Store is the cheapest store around even before these discounts!):

beef 1Racks of beef all at 5% off

Bread5% ~ 10% off on bread 

sprouts30% off broccoli and alfalfa sprouts (I always buy 3 or 4 of these)

chickenWhole chicken fryers at 5% off

cod 20Cod at 20% off

eggsSix Pack Eggs 3% off

Pond SmeltSaury 20% off

mangoMango and Papaya at 10% off

milkMilk 3% off



Racks of beef all at 5% off

salmonSalmon 3% off (The salmon is usually discounted 10% ~30%)

00scallopsScallops 3% off


Screen shot 2015-09-14 at 7.24.06Steak 30% off 

These photos were taken a while back so the prices might be a little different, but not much. Seriously folks, do yourself a favor and show up at your supermarket right at opening time. You’ll save time and money and be back at home relaxing before 10 am.

Why fight the crowds? Time is money. Save it and relax!

The Gaijin Gourmet, at your service, signing out!


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