What do Japanese kids spend their allowance on? Survey finds out

By Master Blaster, SoraNews24

Bandai, the toy company behind Japanese heavyweight children’s franchises like "Anpanman," "Kamen Rider" and "Pretty Cure" conducted a survey to see how much kids are getting for an allowance these days and – more importantly for Bandai – what they’re spending that money on.

According to the survey of 900 kids, roughly half received allowances on a regular basis such as weekly or monthly. However, among them nearly 90 percent receive money from their parents while a little under a quarter get a regular allowance from their grandparents, suggesting a segment of kids who receive dual incomes exists.

Grandparents proved to be a lucrative source of allowances as well, with them doling out between 2,000 and 3,500 yen a month on average, compared to a parent’s range of 1,200 to 2,500 yen.

So, what are these kids choosing to spend this limited amount of money on?

The list above is actually pretty in-line with the stuff I used to spend my allowance on back in the day, right down to candy, chips, and pop ruling the roost. The only thing striking me as odd is “savings”, which I can see as a good habit to instill in people at a young age, but man… I’m glad I never saved those measly few bucks a week back then, only to have it sucked into the student loan vortex later on.

Stationery was also not something I readily spent my allowance money on back then, but it does seem like a popular commodity for students these days, with a wide range of cleverly shaped items and kits for kids to express themselves by making their own erasers.

Clearly some of those entries, like transportation come from the older kids who are influencing the results with their stronger purchasing power. So, perhaps it’s better to see the results when divided between elementary school and junior high.


For the youngest ones, the holy trinity of junk food, stationery and manga is intact, but some of the more mature offerings such as a eating out for dinner and the transportation to get there have given way to battle card games and clothes and accessories.


And with junior high students, toys fall off the map completely to make space for activities that allow them to flex their newly independent muscles like going to the movie theater and giving gifts for friends. And yet, once again, you just can’t beat junk food, stationery and manga.

It just goes to show that more things change, the more they stay the same. Heck, even after all these years I still spend the lion’s share of my pocket money on junk food from the corner store.

This should be comforting news for Bandai as well, as their armada of stationery, toys, video games, and snack foods are still in demand and selling well.

Source: Bandai, Netlab

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Yo-Kai What? Monsters of all kinds plummet from children’s favorite character rankings

-- At what age should parents stop giving kids New Year’s otoshidama money? Japanese netizens answer

-- Snappy as they look, Japanese school uniforms can be an extremely expensive hassle for parents

© SoraNews24

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I can't believe junk food and stationary are at the top. I can hardly picture Japanese kids pigging out on junk food before anything else and...stationary? Can't you just get that from school?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I think stationary doesn't make sense unless you have a girl in school here. My daughter is 5 and every day she writes and receives handwritten notes from her friends and her teachers. She collects them all and remembers which note is from who by the type of stationary. She has a pretty large collection of her own that she keeps in a box she decorated by herself with stickers... and it really helps her with her reading and writing, also helps her make friends.

Junk food also makes sense because a lot of the mothers here that I know don't let their kids near junk food at all. In general this is good but some of them go way overboard. Theres a list of the kids in her class who's parents opt out of the 'snack' they get when the kids go only on half days and are waiting for the bus and it's like 2/3 of the class. Apparently the parents don't want them to have junk food but actually they only give them senbei with like a sweetened soy sauce coating, hardly a snickers bar ya know? To each their own I guess.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Junk food 60%


stationary? Can't you just get that from school?

Are you suggesting the kids steal school supplies? lol

And what do they need with stationery anyway? Don't they have smartphones ans iPads? lol

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

stationary? Can't you just get that from school?

I think they might be referring to stationary like little sticky notes and the like of their favorite characters (Kitty, etc.), a pencil case in shape of an animal they got from Village Vanguard, a collection of color pens they really wanted, etc. Stuff that they don't really need but want to have. Some of my junior high school students, mostly females, have two different pencil cases in their desks. Fat and filled to the max with pens of every possible color there is.

Students really like their stationary.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Junk food is tops because mama's "perfect" obento is crap.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I guess here that Sora News is mistranslating okashi, the word Japanese children use for sweets/candy and snacks, into "junk food", a far more ranging term that Japanese children certainly do not use.

Okashi are something you have in between meals, sometimes as a reward/treat and hopefully not too often out of habit alone.

"Junk food" is any nutritionally poor food, and importantly includes entire meals, like fast food, microwave meals, and anything else ultraprocessed. Snacks are only a small subsection of junk food. Chocolate and other forms of candy existed and were eaten by children long before the expression "junk food" was ever conceived. There is no reason to use it here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And what do they need with stationery anyway? Don't they have smartphones ans iPads? lol

And then you realize Japan is stuck in the late 18th century when it comes to using paper in school. Tee Hee!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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