Welcome to Israel Money Diaries. We are asking Olim how they spend their hard-earned money during a one week period — and we’re tracking every last shekel. If you are interested in joining us in this project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Occupation: Graphic Designer
Industry: High Tech
Number of household members: 3
Salary per month (Bruto or before taxes): ₪12,000
Spouse’s salary: 0 – He’s a student
Ongoing financial support: Yes, comes to about ₪3,500/month
Transportation: About ₪800 in gas, ₪460 in car insurance, ₪250 in car repairs if we averaged out a typical year, ₪50 in buses, ₪180 in cabs
Student Loans: 0
Health Care (basic health care is covered for all Israeli citizens through the government, but people may choose to supplement with private insurance): ₪150 (₪91 for me, ₪48 for husband, ₪11 for baby)
Municipal (Arnona): ₪440
Va’ad Bayit: ₪150
Cell Phone: ₪200
Child Care / Education: ₪2,200 Mishpachton, ₪240 babysitter in addition
Streaming Services: 0
Savings/Pension: No idea
General Total Monthly Expenses: ₪14,000
6:30 am: My baby wakes me up just before my alarm goes off. He was up frequently last night screaming and touching his ears. I plan to call the doctor as soon as the office opens to try to get in for an appointment to check for ear infection. Meanwhile, I eat cereal and drink coffee at home.
8:00 am: I call the doctor and manage to get an appointment at 4:00 pm. That’s great because I leave work early on Sundays anyway to do pick up, so I just have to leave 15 minutes earlier in order to make the appointment on time. My husband and I drive our baby to daycare and my husband drops me off at work.
9:00 am: I pump breastmilk at work for my baby and snack on cheese and yogurt I brought from home.
1:00 pm: I eat Shabbat leftovers for lunch. Hubby buys a sandwich at school.
3:15 pm: Leave work to get the baby. I order a Gett taxi to the door so I can stay until the last possible minute. The ride costs ₪43. Baby and I walk to the pediatrician, which is thankfully close by. Turns out there was no ear infection after all and the baby was perfectly fine all day despite the rough night. There’s no co-pay for doctor’s visits. I’m relieved I chose not to keep him home because I would’ve missed out on a day’s pay. Baby and I walk home.
6:30 pm: Bedtime routine starts. Bath, dinner, nursing, bed. I give my baby scrambled eggs with cheese that I made for him in a big batch last week, oat cereal, and his iron and vitamin D drops. Then I nurse him and put him in his crib for the night.
7:30 pm: Dinner for me. Once again, I eat Shabbat leftovers. I’m a little sick of them since I already had them for lunch, but it’s the responsible thing to do.
10:00 pm: Time to get my stuff ready for work tomorrow. I really don’t feel like eating Shabbat leftovers yet again, and I’ll probably have them for dinner tomorrow night. I don’t have anything else cooked or easily packed, so I guess I’ll buy something tomorrow for lunch.
Daily Total: ₪57
7:30 am: Run out the door with husband and baby. Husband has an early class today, so we have to drop off the baby ASAP for him to make it to class on time. I go in the car with him so he doesn’t have to park, and he’ll drop me off at the bus stop on his way to school. I just barely miss the bus and the next one is in 20 minutes, so he kindly drives me all the way to work.
9:00 am: So hungry. Didn’t have time to eat breakfast at home. Usually, we have cereal at work, but the ones left are all pure sugar, so I try to be good and eat the yogurt I brought instead. Then, I get a huge project that’s needed very urgently, so it’s work work work.
12:00 pm: I’m starving. I have so much work to do, but I know I have to eat something substantial in order to continue to be productive. I run to the meat restaurant next door to grab a schnitzel sandwich to go. It’s more expensive than the dairy place, but it’ll keep me full all afternoon, and I can’t afford to leave my desk again today.
4:00 pm: So much for that sandwich keeping me full all afternoon. No time to buy anything and I can’t have dairy for another hour, so I’m stuck eating the plain ice cream cone I found in the kitchen. It turns out it does NOT taste good without ice cream.
5:30 pm: Hubby and baby drive me home from work. The minute I get home, I make myself an ice cream sandwich out of blondies from Shabbat and Ben and Jerry’s I bought on an amazing sale… yum. I get a little time to play with my baby. Then it’s laundry, bottle cleaning, and bedtime routine.
8:00 pm: Dinner is leftovers. We’re so exhausted, we have zero energy to pack lunches and clean up. I’ve been meaning to make a big batch of granola bars, which I try to do once a week so I have healthy and filling snacks at work. Since I don’t want to buy food again tomorrow, I take out a bagel from the freezer and power through to make the granola bars.
Daily Total: ₪29
6:00 am: Baby wakes me up bright and early. I have time for cereal and coffee at home before work. We drive together to drop off the baby and husband drops me off before he continues on to school. He is seeing a private tutor there. For two hours, it costs 160 shekels, but his parents will reimburse us for that because it’s for school.
10:00 am: Hungry, but luckily I brought the granola bars that I made last night.
1:00 pm: Lunch is the bagel and cream cheese I brought from home.
4:00 pm: The kitchen is restocked! I grab a bowl of Quaker Oat Squares for FREE. So happy.
5:30 pm: Hubby and baby drive me home from work. Our cleaning lady is there. She comes every other week. It took 2 hours, which costs 100 shekels. Dinner is shakshuka that hubby made.
7:00 pm: After bedtime, our close friend comes over to babysit (for free) and we head to an NBN event (also free).
Daily Total: ₪100
6:00 am: Baby wakes me up again by 6, so I have cereal and coffee at home.
7:30 am: Hubby and I drop off baby at daycare. Hubby drives to school, dropping me off at a bus stop on his way where I catch a bus to work.
1:30 pm: I’ve been snacking on granola bars, yogurt, and cheese that I brought. I’ve had such a busy day I didn’t even realize how late it was. I grab a bowl of Quaker Oat Squares from the kitchen (free).
5:30 pm: Hubby picks me up from work on his way home from school. He has to fill the tank. It costs ₪265. We get home and our baby is so excited to see us! A babysitter picks him up once a week when we can’t with our schedules. We pay her 80 shekels.
7:00 pm: Another babysitter comes over and we head out to our second cousin’s wedding. The babysitter costs ₪80 for the evening and we have to give a gift. We can’t afford to give enough to cover our plates, as is the Israeli etiquette, so we hope ₪180 will be considered okay. Maybe my parents will reimburse us for it because it’s a family obligation thing, so I sign the card from my family as a whole.
Daily Total: ₪605
6:00 am: Another 6am wake-up. I am dead tired after doing this every day and going to a wedding last night. Breakfast is at home.
8:00 am: It’s Lag B’Omer, so there’s no daycare, but I still have work. Hubby doesn’t have class today, so the baby is with him. He takes the baby to Tipat Chalav, Israel’s public pediatric healthcare clinic, for a milestone month checkup (free).
1:00 pm: I finished up my tasks and I really need a pair of sunglasses, so I slip away from my desk to a nearby shopping area. I find a pair for ₪60. Then, I grab a pre-made sandwich for ₪19 and head back to eat at my desk.
5:00 pm: I have no more work to do, so my husband picks me up early. I drop him off at home and take the baby with me to the grocery store to get what we need for Shabbat. We’re hosting six guests for lunch, bringing food to a friend who gave birth recently and need to have leftovers for the week. I also shop for some items I can keep at work to make myself sandwiches since my office provides bread. The grocery list includes chicken, pita, eggs, coffee creamer, yams, zucchini, cucumbers, lettuce, avocados, peanut butter, jelly, cream cheese, almonds, oats, frozen broccoli, frozen peas, frozen schnitzel, potato kugel, Cheerios, mayo, mustard, powdered sugar, aluminum tins, deli meat, mozzarella, formula, and cooking wine. They’re also selling a great pop up play tent for 60 shekels, so I go for it.
8:00 pm: Whew, baby’s bedtime routine is finally done and I can eat dinner. I am exhausted and over hungry. I eat a bowl of cereal to muster up the energy to make myself shakshuka (sauce is leftover from earlier in the week, just have to add the eggs). I eat it with the pita I just bought at the store.
Daily Total: ₪729
6:00 am: Up with the baby. I have Cheerios and coffee for breakfast.
9:30 am: I’m hungry again, so I have a bowl of oatmeal. I bring the packets from America because they’re so much more expensive here.
10:30 am: My husband goes to get a haircut. It’s 40 shekels. He also runs to the store to get graham cracker crusts that we need for Shabbat since our usual grocery store didn’t have them. He goes to a small, more expensive Makolet that often stocks American products. While he’s there, he picks up some more items, including milk and fancy cheese, the total is ₪90.
12:00 pm: On his way home, my husband runs over a nail and punctures a tire. Luckily it happened close to a tire shop. He buys a new tire for ₪300
1:00 pm: For lunch, we make pizza bagels. The rest of the day is spent cooking for Shabbat.
8:00 pm: We eat Shabbat dinner at a friend’s home.
Daily Total: ₪430
It’s Shabbat, so no spending.
7:00 am: Breakfast is cereal and coffee.
12:00 pm: For lunch, we host friends for a big meal.
7:00 pm: I eat some cereal to hold myself over until the end of Shabbat.
10:00 pm: We eat Wacky Mac for dinner.
Daily Total: ₪0