A recent online survey by Lendex Ltd. revealed that many Japanese salarymen are spending less on lunch in an effort to cut costs amid rising prices.
The poll of 1,120 men aged 20s to 50s found that 48.7% spend less than 500 yen ($3.35) per day on lunch on average. The most common response was 500 – 1,000 yen ($3.35 – $6.71) at 39.2%, while 26.1% said they spend nothing by bringing a homemade bento lunchbox.
Many respondents indicated they were barely saving any money each month. Over 60% said they save less than 50,000 yen ($336) per month through cutting lunch and other expenses. However, there was a stark divide – 22.5% had savings under 1 million yen ($6,711), while 15.2% had over 30 million yen ($201,342) saved.
Reported Monthly Savings from Cutting Expenses
|Less than 30,000 yen||43.3%|
|30,000 – 50,000 yen||17.8%|
|Less than 1 million yen||22.5%|
|10 – 20 million yen||13.9%|
|1 – 3 million yen||13.1%|
|Over 30 million yen||15.2%|
Salarymen Turn to Cheap Lunch Options
The poll indicates the difficult position many salarymen find themselves in, trying to save money but with limited budgets.
Users discussed their cheap lunch habits:
“I usually eat out for lunch and it’s still probably true for me, I usually get a sandwich from a chain cafe or something along those lines.”
“4 days out of the week, yeah probably for me. I just make food at the office.”
“Buy supermarket karaage, make your own onigiri and cut on Latte (replace it with fresh cucumber and tomato) and you have your lunch for half the price.”
These comments show how salarymen are getting creative to spend as little as possible on lunches, from homemade bentos to cheap supermarket items. With the yen continuing to weaken and inflation rising, packed lunches and low-cost meals may become even more common among Japanese office workers trying to reduce expenses.