節約 ( = setsuyaku) + もったいない( = mottainai)


:maggie-small: 「今月は厳しいなあ…」

= Kongetsu wa kibishii naa..

“This month is kind of tight..”


:maggie-small: 「まだ使えるのに…」

 = Mada tsukaeru noni..

“It is still usable…”

(I can still play with the ball!)



“It is a pitty to throw it away and waste it.”

Hi, everyone! I am working on my budget for the month. It looks tight!

:maggie-small: From the picture above :


 = Kongetsu wa kibishii naa..

“It’s tight this month.”

厳しい   ( = kibishii)  severe, hard, difficult, strict

Ex. 厳しい不況

= kibishii fukyou

a severe recession

Ex. マギー先生は厳しい。

 = Maggie sensei wa kibishii.

Maggie is a strict teacher.

So today’s first key word is   節約   ( = setsuyaku) !

:kkk: Let’s check  漢字  ( = kanji)  first!


節  ( = setsu/fushi)

節水   ( = sessui) saving (economizing )on water

:rrrr: verb する   ( = suru) 節水する  ( = sessuri suru)

節電  ( = setsuden) saving (economizing) on electricity

:rrrr:verb する  ( = suru)  節電する  ( = setsuden suru)

節減  (  = setsugen)  reducing

:rrrr:verb する  ( = suru)   節減する ( = setsugen suru)

Ex. 経費を節減する

= Keihi wo setsugen suru.

to reduce the cost

節制  ( = sessei)abstention

:rrrr:verb する  ( = suru)    節制する  ( = sessei suru)

Ex. しばらくお酒を節制する

= Shibaraku osake wo sessei suru.

to abstain from drinking for a while. to reduce the cost

約 ( = yaku)

約束  ( = yakusoku) promise

(Note: We have already seen this word in our させる、させられる lesson)

約  (  = yaku) about, approximately

約100名程の人がパーティー に招待された。

 = Yaku hyakumei hodo no hito ga paatei ni shoutai sareat.

About 100 people were invited to the party.

節約する ( = setsuyaku suru)

It means to economize, to cut corners.



= Rainen kekkon suru node shibaraku setsuyaku shinai to ikenai.

I have to be save money ’cause I am going to get married next year.

Ex. 時間の節約の為、高速道路を利用して下さい。

= Jikan no setsuyaku no tame kousoku douro wo riyou shite kudasai.

Please use the highway in order to save time.

Ex. うちの会社は経費を節約の為、残業を今月から禁止した。

 = Uchi no kaisha wa keihi wo setsuyaku no tame zangyou wo kongetsu kara kinshi shita.

Our company banned overtime work to cut down the cost.

:: The synonyms of 節約   ( = setsuyaku) is:

:rrrr: 倹約   ( = kenyaku) verb する  ( = suru) 倹約する ( = kenyaku suru) to save


 = Chotto kyou wa shokuhi wo kenyaku shite konbini bentou wo katte kaerimasu.

I will get a bento(boxed lunch, or a type of Japanese TV dinner) at convenience store to cut the food cost.

倹約家 ( = kenyakuka) a person economist, saver, a penny-pincher

節約家  ( = setsuyaku ka)

倹約モード  ( = kenyaku moudo) in the mode of economyzing

節約モード  ( = setsuyaku moudo)

時短  ( = jitan)  time reduction 時間短縮 ( = jikan tanshuku)

省エネ ( = shou ene)  saving energy

エコ( = eko) ecology

削る  ( = kezuru) to trim, to cut down

生活費を削る   ( = seikatsuhi wo kezuru) to cut down the living cost

切り詰める  ( = kiritsumeru) to cut down

Many of you have already known the meaning of ケチ( = kechi), right?

ケチ  ( = kechi)  cheap, stingy

ケチ  ( = kechi)  cheap, stingy



 = Nee, atarashii omocha katte!

“Buy me a new toy!”


 = Dame, ima okane nai kara!

“No! I don’t have any money now!”

ケチ!」 ( = kechi) “You are so cheap!”


 = Kare wa kechi dakara kurisumasu ni nanimo katte kurenai!

He is cheap so he won’t buy me anything for Christmas!


= Dokechi

=  Super cheap!

(Note : casual, “ど”  ( = do) is very colloquial way to emphyasize a word, “super”)

There is a verb for ケチ ( = kechi) :

ケチる  ( = kechiru)   verb to be skimp (conversational)


 = Kechiranai de kore choudai yo!

“Don’t be cheap and just give it to me! “

ケチケチする  ( = kechi kechi suru) verb to be skimp


= Kono ryouri wa wain wo kechikechi shinai de ippai tsukatte kudasai.

Don’t skimp on the wine and use it a lot for the dish.

:rrrr:ケチケチした   ( = kechi kechi shita)  adjective stingy, cheap

財布の紐が固い  ( = saifu no himo ga katai)  keep a tight hold on one’s purse strings


( = Saifu no himo wo kataku shimeru)

tighten one’s belt

Ex. 今年はボーナスが少ないので皆、財布の紐が固い。

= Kotoshi wa bounasu ga sukunai node mina saifu no himo ga katai.

The bonus this year is so little that everybody is keeping a tight hold on one’s purse strings.

!to right!  財布の紐をにぎる

= saifu no himo wo nigiru

to hold the purse string

Ex. あなたの家では誰が財布の紐を握っていますか?

 = Anata no ie dewa dare ga saifu no himo wo nigitte imasu ka?

Who holds the purse string?

:k: Other saving expressions :

お金を貯める  ( = okane wo tameru) to save money

コツコツ貯める  ( = kotsukotsu tameru)  to save money little by little

貯金する  ( = chokin suru) to save money in a bank


( = chokin ga soko wo tsuku)

Saving drives up


 = sorosoro chokin ga soko wo tuite kita.

My saving is drying up.

へそくり  ( = hesokuri) stash money

Ex. 多くの主婦がこっそりとへそくりをしている。

 = Ooku no shufu ga kossori to hesokuri wo shiteiru.

Many housewives stash money in secret.

:mm: Expressions of wasting money :

無駄遣い ( = muda zukai) lavish spending


= muda zukai wo suru

=to waste, to waste or spend money for something in vain.


 = muda gane wo tsukau

to waste money


 = Muda wo osaeru

to try to reduce the waste


= muda wo kezuru

to trim the waste


 = muda wo nakusu

= to cut waste


= dobu ni kane wo suteru

pour money down the drai

浪費   ( = rouhi) overspend money, to be extravagant with one’s money. to splurge

浪費家  ( = rouhi ka) a big spender

浪費癖  ( = rouhi heki) spending habit


:s: Today’s second key word is もったいない 勿体ない)  ( = Mottainai)

It means waste, wasteful but it has a sense, “It is still usable and it’s a shame to waste it or throw away.

See the second picture above. I found my favorite ball in a trash box. Yukari threw it away. :mad:



= (Kono bouru) Mada tsukaeru noni (suteru mante mottainai yo!)

“(This ball is still good enough to play with). What a waste! “

If you see someone is throwing away the leftover, you can say,

:rrrr: 「まだこれ食べられるよ。もったいないから私に頂戴!

= Mada kore taberareru yo. Mottai nai kara watashi ni choudai.

“This is still eatable! Don’t waste it and give it to me!”

:rrrr: 「ああもったいない!

= Aa Mottai nai!  

= What a waste/ “What a pitty that you throw that away! (It is still good.)”

Note : Ms. Wangari Maathai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, was very impressed with this Japanese concept and has used this word as a motto of The Green Belt Movement

:kkk: もったいない  ( = motttainai) also means “too good for someone”


= Mottainai hanashi desu.

This offer is too good for me.

彼は私にはもったいない 人です。  

= Kare wa watashi niwa mottainai hito desu.

He is out of my league. /He is too good for me./ I am not good enough for him.


frenchbulldogマギー先生より   = Maggie-sensei yori =  From Maggie-sensei


= Kore kara shibaraku setsuyaku shinakuccha.

I have to live economically for a while.


 = Kono burogu mo ichido kuru dake dewa watashi no rouryoku ga mottai nai kara nandomo kitene.

It would be waste of my work if you just visit here once so please come back here again an again!


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  1. Wonderful website and truly helpful lessons! After I finished basic Japanese grammar I was stuck for quite a while, not knowing how to continue developing my knowledge. It’s really difficult to transition from purely academic level to more colloquial expressions. Your amazing blog is really helping me with that. Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication.

    1. @Niniko

      Hello Niniko!
      I’m happy to hear you found my site help.
      Hope you come visit here often! これからもよろしくね!

  2. Hi, your blog is one of the most awesome things and the most useful when it comes to studying Japanese :D
    Can you please explain to me what is the difference between こっそり and ひそかに?

    1. @Sandra

      Hello Sandra,
      Glad to hear you think this site is useful. :)

      こっそり & ひそかに

      They both mean “secretly” but こっそり is used mainly for actions ひそかに can be used actions and also feelings for others.

      = To follow him in secret


      = To love him secretly.

      = to believe secretly

  3. Hi!

    Here am I again, always nagging with questions, haha.

    1) Are 倹約 and 節約 total synonyms? No diffence in nuance or usage?
    2) 倹約家 and 節約家 mean saver but… in a good way or negative way?

    1. @Cygnus

      The difference is very subtle but here you go!
      節約=無駄をはぶいて、切り詰めること。=To trim down the cost cutting waste
      倹約=金や物を無駄遣いしないように努めること。= Try not to waste money or things.

        1. @Cygnus
          They both are not negative. But you may have to be careful when and how you use it.
          Because it may sound that person is cheap. You know what I mean.. :wink:

  4. YES, I wanna come here again and again so 早く新しいレッスンを作てね!楽しみにしっているよ!^O^

    1. @Aki

      Thank you!!! You are always so sweet!!
      (楽しみにしっている→してるよ) 今、新しいレッスンつくってるよ。待っててね!

  5. また素晴しいレッソンを教えてくれて有り難うございます。

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