Great and Not-So-Great Buys at the 100 Yen Store | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Great and Not-So-Great Buys at the 100 Yen Store

By Guidable Writers Nov 12, 2017

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Every household in Tokyo is sure to have some hyakkin, items bought from 100 yen stores. These stores are now an indispensable part of life for the busy city inhabitants. Almost anything anyone needs can be found in the popular 100 yen shops such as Daiso and Seria. Those who regularly visit these thrifty stores have surely experienced the compulsive trips coming into a 100 yen store to buy just a few items and then out with big bags full of unnecessary things.

Not all items found in the 100 yen store are cheap. The ultimate marketing strategy for these stores is lining up items slightly overpriced along with the under-priced items. 100 yen stores also sell more valuable items at prices that are multiples of 100, meaning 200, 300, even up to 6 or 700 yen. What you need is differentiating those overpriced items from the cost worthy ones and save you from the wasting your money on things you do not need!


What items will make great bargains at the 100 yen store?

  1. Chopsticks, dining utensils, or bowls are great purchases. The stores actually offer a wide variety of kitchen utensils and dining silverware that are at standard quality. What impresses customers most are usually the good-looking patterns for chopsticks and eating bowls that can satisfy everyone’s taste.


  1. Notebooks, memo pads, paper clips sold at 100 yen stores are also very decent. There is a huge variety of cutely designed notebooks to accommodate your school year and various stationery items that cannot be bought for a cheaper price elsewhere.


  1. Many innovative kitchen items are absolutely worth trying, such as the frying pan cover rack or the cup holder that you attach to the bottom of shelves. Space utilizing dividers, like the vegetable holders, and the bowl stacking holder, are genius ideas and never fail to make your kitchen more beautiful and neat. Magnets sold in 100 shops work well, but keep in mind that sometimes the glue attaching these magnets to their plastic parts is of poor quality and come off after a short time.


  1. There are a great number of coloring books, sticker books and other fun activity notebooks for young children who are eager to learn. Children’s toys can be extremely costly and wear out very fast, so 100-yen alternatives can keep your kids happy and you from wasting your money on expensive entertainments that you know they might break very soon.


  1. Birthday balloons are amazingly, especially as you can have them filled up with helium if you ask staffs at the counter. Try it!


  1. Art paper is great if you need many different patterns in small amount. If you go to a large 100 yen store, the hand crafting and DIY materials are offered in wide range and are quite fun to browse. The 100 yen store is heaven to hand crafting beginner who wants to explore new handicrafts.


  1. Gift wraps and gift boxes, bento boxes, and picnic boxes are available in different designs to suit your mood and style.


  1. Hair pins, travel-use cosmetic bottles from the 100 yen store are life savers to travelers during long vacation season or business trips.


  1. A pack of small tissue packets to keep with your when going out can be found at half the price of those sold in drug stores!


  1. Floor wipes can properly clean your floor and a decent number of sheets (15-40 depending on the brand) are sold for 100 yen.


  1. Wire hangers are weak, but they are useful when you have plenty in stock. Check the internet for innovative life hacks using wire hangers to make things like plant hangers, photo frames, paper towel holders, frying pan lid holders and belt hangers simply by bending the wires into creative shapes.


  1. The princess aroma bath – while not really great for making your skin smooth and silky, is a big hit with children because it creates plenty of bubbles in a bath when put under strong running water.


But what items should we not seek in 100 yen store?

Some items are great at 100 yen stores, but others can be much cheaper and of greater quality when you take the time to find them in regular supermarkets or drug stores. Here are some items you will very likely regret buying in the 100 yen store.

  1. Toothbrushes will become bristly and unusable quite quickly. The drugstore toothbrushes are not much more expensive (200-300 yen) but can be much more pleasant to use.


  1. Pens and markers lose their ink quite fast. Crayons do not color properly and watercolor paints have a strange texture. Pencils have a lead that breaks at the lightest pressure.


  1. Towels are not soft because they are mostly made of artificial materials and hardly absorb moisture. Face towels are the worst since they feel very rough on the skin.


  1. Makeup is incredibly cheap but ladies, do not give in to the low price as it comes with low quality! Regular makeup from trustworthy brands that attunes to your skin and lifestyle is a better deal in the long run.
  2. Similarly, the skin care items like soaps and lotions hardly do their work on your skin and may result in rough or dry skin.


  1. Decorated hair clips and bands may look attractive on the stores’ shelves and decent at first glance but can be very gaudy when actually worn.


  1. The pillows, although sold at a great price, are meant for decorative reasons like putting on couches instead of using them for bedtime.


  1. Anything that is attached with suction cups almost never works. I have never found a suction cup in the 100 yen store that didn’t fall off after one day.


  1. The hundred yen bottled drinks can all be found for 75-90 yen in supermarkets. Candies are sold in super small packs and the unique flavoured foods like ume tea or azuki milk although seemed like great ideas, in reality did not taste very great.


  1. Knives, razors, any cutting tools are quite dull and can be hard to handle. It is strongly recommended that you invest in better knives and scissors from home goods stores like Nitori or Ikea.


  1. Masking tapes, scotch tapes are not sticky enough. Do not use them for taping boxes because your box might easily collapse under a heavy weight.


  1. Ladies stockings are too thin and will wear out quickly. Even your sharp nails can ruin them and leave you with a wrecked pair you can never re-use.


  1. Car perfume may loose its scent after a few days.
  2. Last but not least, the foldable laundry cloth baskets, though sold for 200, will tear or have their wires pop out under just slightly heavy weight. Especially in the winter when your clothes are generally bulkier and have more weight, these baskets will prove to be of little use and cause you quite some troubles.

I hope from this short summary, you can now know the things to go for and not worth the investment items at the 100 yen stores. If I look back and ask myself did I save money or did I spend too much at the 100 yen store… I would just say my life was made more interesting from these shopping trips at the 100 yen stores. Enjoy your shopping and remember, think hard before purchasing!


Tricia, Philippines