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 email@example.com.
Occupation: Laboratory Technician
Industry: Medical device R&D
Number of household members (whom you provide for): 4
City: Kiryat Yearim (Telz-stone)
Salary per month (Bruto or before taxes): ₪8,000
Spouse’s salary: ₪1,000
Parental support: Varies
Transportation: ₪120 for bus to Mir yeshiva + ₪500 for gas and ₪488 for car insurance (our first car insurance so it’s expensive)
Health Care (basic health care is covered for all Israeli citizens through the government, but people may choose to supplement with private insurance): ₪313
Renters/Home Insurance: 0
Electricity: ₪180 (approx)
Gas: haven’t paid for gas yet
Water: haven’t paid for water yet
Municipal (Arnona): approximately ₪200 (waiting on discount information)
Va’ad Bayit: 0 (haven’t paid it yet, new building)
Cell Phone: ₪40 for me, ₪26 for him
Child Care / Education: ₪530 for my son’s cheder, one-time payment of ₪500 for afternoon care, ₪1100 for my daughter’s private gan
Savings/Pension: 6.5% + 2.5% for Keren Hishtalmut
Extracurriculars (Chugim) for kids: about ₪50 for playroom
7:00 a.m. — I woke up a little late today because the alarm clock (aka kids) only woke up now. They were tired from our trip back from Haifa. Glad I’m starting the diary today because the gas was exorbitant. No time to eat anything; I leave a few minutes late, at 7:20.
8:00 a.m. – I’m at work and am chilling out at my computer. On Sunday we grow fresh bacteria, so I have nothing to do early in the morning. My co-workers will start rolling in in about half an hour. I eat a Milky pudding I brought from home.
10:15 a.m. — Break time! I eat an orange and a few homemade cookies I brought from home. I sit outside with my co-workers until the smoke drives me inside. They argue about Bar Refaeli and Gal Gadot and who is hotter.
1:30 p.m. — Finally time for lunch. We were away for Shabbos = no leftovers, so I had a… manah chamah. Don’t tell anyone.
3:15 p.m. — I race out to the car, eating a Klik bar on the way. I drive home with my carpool buddy (she pays me ₪7/trip) and pick up my kids.
5:30 p.m. — The kids are eating dinner. I made rice and a salad and a sauce for the meatballs that I picked up from gan. They often have leftovers from tzaharon so if there’s some protein left over, I will take it. I don’t like these meatballs so I shamefully have a bowl of cereal before Zumba.
8:00 p.m. — I leave for Zumba. It’s in Jerusalem at 8:30 until 9:20; I’ll be home just before 10.
10:30 p.m. — I’ve showered and my husband and I watch a Star Trek episode together and eat cookies and a pomegranate.
Daily Total: ₪20
6:00 a.m. — My son knocks at my door and asks if it’s morning time yet. Thanks a lot kid, it is now. I get the kids dressed and I leave the house on-time.
8:00 a.m. – The CFO of my company just told me not to do overtime hours. I am confused. Is she allowed to say that? Is she saying it because I’m an olah? I will go eat my Milky in the break room now even though it’s not my break; I need something! Then I’ll go buy something from the little store downstairs in honor of Rosh Chodesh. My husband didn’t let me bring my cookies from home.
10:15 a.m. — Break time. I eat my banana and some cookies and, okay, some potato chips that I also bought as a part of the Rosh Chodesh treat.
1:30 p.m. — I have homemade mac and cheese while the guys all go and buy their food. Hot food looks so good! I don’t use the microwave ovens, even though I could double-wrap my food; people put actual not kosher stuff in there…
3:15 p.m. — I am leaving to go get the kids. We’ll go home, drop off our stuff and walk to the local playroom. I’ve prepaid for twenty passes for them at ₪3.5 each.
5:30 p.m. — The kids and I have dinner with my husband; we enjoy Chinese chicken, rice and salad for Rosh Chodesh.
8:00 p.m. — My husband isn’t feeling well and is all grumpy. He stays home and doesn’t go out for night seder.
Daily Total: ₪19
7:00 a.m. — Guess who’s running late? I grab a yogurt and I’m out the door, garbage in hand.
10:15 a.m. — Break time. I eat my orange, banana and cookies and drink my tea.
1:30 p.m. — Lunch is very unglamorous – leftovers of mac and cheese from the previous day. It’s cold, and I cut it with a knife. I miss the daily allotment for lunch I got when I worked in the Cisco building!
3:15 p.m. — My husband is picking up the kids today so I can go shopping at Rami Levy. We’re having three boys staying over for the whole Shabbat but I’m going to shop carefully.
4:30 p.m. — I’m already done, and despite a shopping cart that’s ¾ full, I spent exactly what I usually do – in fact, a bit more. Then again, I did buy fresh meat for Shabbos, and both chicken and meat for one of the meals, and beer for the guys…
7 p.m. — The kids are finally in bed and I have my glamorous honey-mustard salad with schnitzel and rice. I even sprinkle those crispy onion things on top.
10:30 p.m. — Laundry done, dishes washed – time for bed. *doesn’t get to bed until 11:30*
Daily Total: ₪650
7:00 a.m. — Same old, same old – dress my boy, put pre-made snacks and lunches in bags, kisses, out the door.
8:00 a.m. – When I shopped yesterday I bought a bag of chocolates and I store them in a metal container for a pick-me-up at work.
10:15 a.m. — It was rainy and yucky and somehow I forgot my apropos in the car, so a co-worker gives me a string cheese and I eat it with a Mars bar and an orange and sip my tea.
1:30 p.m. — More honey-mustard salad for lunch (wow it’s soggy) with a fried egg on top. I brought a baggie with the crispy onion bits to dress it up a little.
3:15 p.m. — It’s all wet outside and I can’t decide if I should take the kids to the local playroom or drive to Mevaseret Mall for the gymboree. The gymboree is free but I pay for gas and the playroom has a nominal fee but there are so many stairs to get there and they closed the back entrance to cars…
5:30 p.m. — In the end we decided to go to the gymboree and meet up with a mother and her kid from gan there. I’m still making friends, especially pushing forward with the language barrier, and I’m proud of myself! We have a nice time.
8:00 p.m. — I’m so tired!! I wash some dishes, clean a little and chill out with The Big Bang Theory until my husband comes home.
Daily Total: ₪0
7:00 a.m. — I’m so boring. I get the kids dressed, get myself dressed and leave. It really saves time not to put on any makeup…
8:00 a.m. – Chocolate. Need chocolate. I don’t drink coffee. Need chocolate.
10:15 a.m. — Trolling Ali Express, I place my very first order – a carpet for the area in front of my couch that kids like to loll around on and some cute pillowcases for the throw pillows I have now.
1:30 p.m. — Only one of the lab guys is here today and eating lunch with me; we sadly eat our homemade food while around us, people eat schnitzel, moussaka and fresh Israeli salad and french fries.
3:15 p.m. — Someone was giving away a free bed so I am paying for delivery to our apartment. We already have a guest room with 2 beds but I have 2 brothers staying with me for Pesach + my mother-in-law, so we need more space….
5:30 p.m. — We don’t go out because we’re expecting the delivery of the bed. It takes them about an hour to put it back together, and I pay them. They ask for a tip, but I don’t have anything extra on me, which is awkward. People don’t tip cab drivers in Israel; do they tip workers such as these?
8 p.m. — I make a Wish.com order for a smartphone case, screen protector and sunglasses.
Daily Total: ₪535
7:00 a.m. — The kids are up and the race begins – Shabbat starts at about 4:15 (we light half an hour before sunset) and of course, there’s lots to do. My husband takes the 3 year old to gan on his way to Shacharis.
10:15 a.m. — My husband finally comes home from late Shacharis and takes the 2 year old with him to the gym. He works out in the gym in my brother’s yeshiva, so my brother can watch/bond with my daughter as my husband works out. On their way home, they stop by Machsanei Chashmal to pick up a radiator for the kid’s room.
11:45 a.m. — It’s time for me to take a cooking/cleaning break and pick up my boy from gan. The menahel always sets up a table with treats for the kids to grab, and my kid really looks forward to it.
3:00 p.m. — Even though I do most of my cooking Thursday night, we still somehow manage to fill the day with leftover cooking + CLEANING late into Friday afternoon. And what’s the point of washing all these white floors if people keep tracking the dirt in??
4:25 p.m. — I light candles with the kids and we sing together and snuggle into the couch. Shabbat begins!
Daily Total: ₪188
Today is Shabbat and it is forbidden to spend money. We sometimes go out on Motzei Shabbat to do something fun, but this week we stayed in with my brother and played Jackbox Games.
Daily Total: ₪0