cheapos in bed

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This might sound like I’m grafting some lofty and noble vision onto a simple and pretty obvious business idea (showing people how to save money) after the fact. After all there’s no real direct mention of saving the world in our manifesto. And yes, I will readily confess that I’m doing Tokyo Cheapo as a business to make me money, but that is certainly not my only motivation. I can have my cake and eat it – I can make an income whilst doing something that’s in alignment with my principles, in this case it’s inspiring people to turn down their conspicuous consumption dial a few notches.

Humble Beginnings

Tokyo Cheapo from it’s humble origins as blog we slapped up in slightly over half an hour has grown into a thriving behemoth of thrift, serving well over 100,000 “Cheapos” every month. The self depreciating and somewhat comedy brand name, “Tokyo Cheapo” is however more than just a domain name that wasn’t already registered. It was chosen with clear thought and deliberation. And today I shall unfurl the script of it’s origins.

Own Your Inner Cheapo

“We want to draw people away from conspicuous consumption, to instead be very happy or even proud about living within their means.”

“Cheapo”, usually sounds somewhat negative or derogatory even. Nevertheless, we’ve been subtly encouraging people to be okay with or even identify with the idea of being a Cheapo.


We refer to ourselves and our authors as “The Cheapos“, we tend to use the word “cheapo” as a substitute for “reader”, in trumpeting the word cheapo, we want to encourage the idea that needing to save money is nothing to be ashamed of. We want to draw people away from conspicuous consumption, to instead be very happy or even proud about living within their means.

Daddy Can I Have Another Pony?

Perhaps it’s our basic animal instincts forged from millions of years of evolution, or maybe modern culture has a part to play, but either way it’s clear that much of the world is driven to have more.

It certainly feels good (for a short while at least), to experience luxury, increased buying power, to own a bigger house or another pony, but it would be difficult to argue that these really bring lasting happiness or are what we really need. Nowadays it’s quite widely understood that having much more than a fairly modest living brings only diminishing returns in happiness. I think the world can’t realise this fast enough.

Piling the buffet plate with more food than can possibly be eaten, uploading hipstergram filtered pics of the classy lunch after luxury shopping, rampant conspicuous consumption as a path to status and respect could (may already?) be our downfall – human consumption in recent decades has rapidly depleted and destroyed many of the world’s resources.

So poking out amongst the Mercedes cinematic adverts, 5 star xxx, I’m placing the word CHEAPO in lurid and crass flourescent neon to remind us all that’s it okay not to have loads of money – our value as human beings is no way correlated by the amount of cars parked in your double doored garage.

If you want to the respect of your peers, happiness, fame and groupies then write a psuedo philosophical blog about being a better human or something… errr, actually scrap that.


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