Living in Israel is expensive and for many of our Olim clients, being able to live a comfortable life in Israel is one of their main concerns. So, when they reach out to us and ask about the costs of living in Israel, we tell them 3 things:
1) Living in Israel is not cheap for a Family with a few kids to live comfortably in Israel 2) one of the parents has to have a good paying job or both parents need to work 3) there are ways to reduce the day to day expenses and the costs of the big-ticket purchases
Here are 11 ways to lower your living expenses in Israel:
1) Rent vs buying a home – There are many pros and cons of buying a home vs renting a home. And while they are all valid arguments, I’m going to focus on the impact on one’s monthly expenses. In most cases, the monthly mortgage is much higher than the monthly rental – in some cases thousands of shekels a month. So, while renting may not be the ideal situation for many people, in most cases, it will bring down the living cost dramatically.
2) Negotiate fees at the bank – Many people don’t realize that when you’re opening a bank account, applying for a mortgage, or paying monthly fees, you need to approach this with a “shouk” mindset. In other words, negotiate, negotiate, negotiate!
3)Buy a used car – Buying a car is most likely going to be your second most expensive purchase (2nd to buying a home). You can save tens of thousands of shekels by buying a used car. When we made Aliyah, we bought a Mitsubishi Grandis that was 3 years old with about 50,000 km and spent 40,000 NIS less than a new one cost.
4) Rent a home listed online – Brokers perform a very needed service for many people. Having said this, if you feel comfortable searching through sites like yad2, you can save thousands of shekels by not paying a broker’s fee.
5) Renew passport online and during certain times – You can save up to 40% (or hundreds of shekels for a family) by renewing passports online and during certain times. We wrote about this in this blog post
6) Renegotiate your phone/cable/cell phone bills at the end of each year – Many of the phone, cable and cell phone companies offer an introductory deal that is quite a lot cheaper than the regular deal. Make sure to set a reminder to call these companies towards the end of your billing year and renegotiate your bill. If you don’t, your monthly bill will increase by quite a lot.
7)Use Rav Kav – If you commute by bus or train on a regular basis, getting a weekly or monthly Rav Kav card can save you money. And you don’t have to worry about not having cash on you when you need to get on a bus or train.
8)Pump your own gas – Many of the gas stations offer a discount on “self-service” gas. While the discount may not seem like a lot per liter, it sure does add up if you drive a lot. It also will ensure that you don’t get ripped off by the crooked schemes that some of the gas stations run.
9) Save money when you go out to eat – One of my favorite Israeli websites is eluna.com. They offer 10% off coupons for many restaurants throughout the country. I’ve also used their auction service to save hundreds of shekels on some delicious meals at top restaurants.
10)Use Pango to park – If you park your car a lot, you’re probably using pango. Not only does it save you money, but it also makes it super convenient to pay for parking.
11) Save money on hotel stays– Check out Pruvo. It’s a new Israeli hi-tech company that helps people save up to 40% on hotel costs.
I’ll give you one extra tip. Many of the supermarket chains like Rami Levy offer their own credit card. Get one of their cards. This will give you discounts on certain items and also a one-time gift card of a few hundred shekels that you can use at the store.