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 dafna@nbn.org.il

Occupation:  I was a nurse specializing in women’s health in the US, but currently I’m a stay-at-home-mom doing a little babysitting and some appointments as a Bodeket Tahara
Husband – Mechanical Engineer, medical device startup.
Industry: High tech, medical
Age: 31 and 30
Number of household members: 5
City: In the Galil
Salary per month (Bruto or before taxes): ~400
Spouse’s salary: 18,000
Ongoing financial support: Intermittent gifts (birthday/anniversary/specific Aliyah costs) from family. Father-in-law covers phone and internet costs.

Monthly Expenses

Mortgage: ₪4,300
Transportation: ~350 loading Rav Kavs, but that includes around four trips a month to Tel Aviv and/or Haifa that are reimbursable. Our minivan from the US is still being processed by Israeli customs.
Health Care (basic healthcare is covered for all Israeli citizens through the government, but people may choose to supplement with private insurance): ~300 Maccabi supplemental plans + ~350 for medication
Home Insurance: 300 (mortgage, structure, and life insurance)
Internet/Phone: 320 (paid by father in law – home internet and two cell phones with our old American numbers plus new Israeli ones).
Electricity: ~560
Gas: ~145
Water: 120
Municipal (Arnona): 450 (have not yet applied our Oleh chadash discount)
Child Care / Education: 100 (2 older kids and 3 in Gan)
Savings/Pension: We’re still not sure… 7 or 10% goes to pension. Been employed since February but haven’t yet received a pay stub. (There are pros and cons to startup employers!)
Extracurriculars (Chugim) for kids: ₪20 dance for 6 year old

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The Diary

DAY ONE

12:00-1:00 am: Many trips to and from the bathroom with a feverish, sick preschooler… finally get her comfortable and asleep. 

6:00-6:15 am: P calls again for help in the bathroom. We got some solid sleep since the last call at 1am! Not ready to start the day though, so we tuck back into bed. 

7:15 am:  Kindergartner explodes into our room, ready to greet the day. Send her off to get dressed and ready for Gan… not ready to get out of bed. Toddler hasn’t called for release from her crib. K pops in and out every few minutes to chat about the details of her routine.

7:40 am: Ok, now everyone is up. I make lunch for K (peanut butter sandwich, leftover birthday cake, cucumbers, applesauce cup). The girls all eat cereal (cornflakes and/or Cheerios) and milk. I have a cup of hot milk with cocoa for breakfast. 

8:30 am: Husband walks K to Gan, heads to work in his home office in the cellar machsan when he gets back. P seems to be feeling all better except for dashes to the toilet. T is very happy to have company for the morning. I sit upstairs with them while they play, catching up with emails and WhatsApp, then fold laundry. We break to look through the bedroom windows at a kitten in the yard for a surprisingly long time. 

10:30 am: Husband buys some springs, pays with PayPal – we’ll see if we win or lose with the conversion rate when we get reimbursed by his company. In the house, the girls have leftover birthday cake and plain yogurt. (P’s appetite is still off, she mostly just nibbles.) I heat up leftovers (baked sweet potatoes and halloumi cheese) for an early lunch.
₪238, reimbursable

11:30 am: Husband comes up from his office to eat lunch (pita and leftover tuna), takes over watching P until he finishes eating, then she goes to rest in bed for a while. 

11:30 am-1:00 pm: Naptime for T and me. I’m so relieved that I actually get to sleep. Found K a ride home from Gan at 1:15.

2:00 pm: Blend banana/nut smoothies for snack. Girls also nibble pitas. We let the turtle loose in the backyard for a while, follow him around until he gets boring, then put him away. Girls start an art project, I wash and put away dishes. 

3:30 pm: Husband comes into the house to learn Daf Yomi until dinner. I set up a water play station outside for the girls and they bring out their bath and beach toys. K makes a few origami boats with her Abba, but they’re not a big success once they hit the water. I have a second cup of milk, this time with a dash of coffee. 

4:30 pm: We clean up for dinner and sit down together to eat (leftover eggplant and ground beef, half a package of elbow noodles, leftover kugel, leftover butternut squash). Then I clean up from dinner while the kids play together and my husband reads in our quiet bedroom.

6:15 pm: Husband confesses that the meeting he has to pop out for at 6:45 was deliberately scheduled to coincide with bedtime. Back to work! The girls clean up the playroom and head to the bath. 

7:00 pm: Everyone is tucked into bed for the night, and I sit down to write some emails.

8:00 pm: Husband comes back in, does dinner dishes and sits down to learn. (Monday is his night off of evening Kollel). I finish folding laundry in my room while listening to a Harry Potter book. Decide to sort all the clothes in my closet too, which leaves me feeling very accomplished.

10:30 pm: I’m starving – early “midnight snack” of PB&J sandwich and Dannon yogurt. Then off to shower and sleep. 

11:30 pm: P wakes up and needs help in the bathroom. Back to bed…I wish I’d eaten something more… but I finally fall asleep. 

Daily Total: ₪0


DAY TWO

12:40 am, 1:30 am, 4:00 am: Bathroom trips with P, who b”H has no fever. 

7:15 am: K pops in to say good morning, I hear T calling from her crib. I feel rather beat up and tired, so I get T and snuggle with her in bed for a little bit before I admit defeat and get up to start the day. K dresses herself and T while I get ready, then I make K’s lunch (I slip in a mini chocolate just for fun) and set up cereal and milk for the girls. P is still sleeping. 

8:30 am: T’s Buddy gets dropped off for babysitting. They go to check on the turtle, and I leave them with my husband to run K to Gan. As we head out the door we find a dead tarantula the size of T’s pacifier in the yard, so we stop to ooh and aah. K chats happily the whole way to Gan and I love walking in this gorgeous weather.

9:00 am: I come home to find B very sad. He didn’t like that I ran out right after he was dropped off. I eat a bowl of bran flakes with soy milk while he calms down on my lap. P wakes up feeling much better. All the kids snack on pretzels, then they move onto squishing ants in the dining room (we sprayed and poisoned just two days ago, these are the very bravest ones!). Yesterday, K’s ironing-bead project got totally destroyed before it could be ironed, so I spend a while making a new one for her while the kids play around me. 

11:00 am: Husband offers to take P to Gan if she’s feeling up to it. She’s so excited! They head off and I put the toddlers down to nap, then work on a price list (comparing grocery item costs at Supersal and Rami Levy- where we do almost all our shopping). On his way home, husband stops at the makolet to buy me some soy milk. There’s a minimum charge for credit cards, so he also buys a bag of charcoal and a bottle of Coke Zero. We both eat leftovers for lunch – husband has a small pan from last night, I put together a chipotle chicken salad for myself.
33

12:00 pm: No nap for me today, T only slept an hour. I play with her and catch up on this log…

1:00 pm: B wakes up. I do the ironing (including those bead projects!) while they play and we wait for the big sisters to come home with B’s Ema. 

2:00 pm: K’s best friend swapped spots with her brother, B. I make pareve fruit smoothies and bring some down to my husband in the office, then add yogurt and portion the rest out to the girls for lunch. My kids haven’t been eating their sandwiches at Gan, so I tell them to eat those if they’re still hungry and cut up an apple for K’s friend. They play dress up and gymboree for a while upstairs while I make pizza dough for dinner, then come down to start another round of the ironing beads. I really need to put them away…they’re scattered all over the floor and driving me crazy! Get the dishes from breakfast, lunch, smoothies, and pizza dough prep all washed. 

4:00 pm: K and her friend get a ride to their dance chug and I SOS my husband that I need a break, so he comes inside to learn the Daf while P whines about the beads and I escape down into his machsan with a cup of coffee flavored soy milk. 

4:50 pm: I walk to pick up K from Chug, husband preps and cooks the pizza for dinner with the little two. We eat together when we get back. 

6:00 pm: Husband heads back to work for another 40 minutes, I bathe the kids and tidy the upstairs. We read books, brush teeth, say Shema and everyone gets tucked away. 

7:00 pm: I read snippets of news then get to work on a women’s health educational platform I’ve been dreaming of setting up for ages. 

8:20 pm: Husband heads to night Kollel, I tuck K back into bed after she makes a brief exit.  Back to my project, then read some medical news and WhatsApp with my sister. 

9:40 pm: Tummy is rumbling. Off to find a snack and start heading to bed. 

10:20 pm: Finish eating my “snack” (2 pieces of whole wheat toast, 2 eggs scrambled in butter with a slice of cheese) right when my husband comes home. We each have a small bowl of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and recap the day. 

11:00 pm: I’m finally in bed, but I’m up to a really exciting part of my book… so I listen until almost midnight.

Daily Total: ₪33


DAY THREE

5:00 am: P wakes me up for the bathroom, I tell her this is it – she’s almost better, she can wipe herself from here on… I’m so so tired. 

7:10 am: Start the day with a mild headache. I’m almost in tears from fatigue, but get the girls ready for Gan, make lunches, set up breakfast. 

8:45 am: I get home from walking the big girls to Gan, T is delighted to see me (she stayed home with her Abba) and I get an awesome hug. Then I just plop on the couch. Too pooped to be productive. 

9:40 am: I rally enough to put in a load of laundry, and have two tiny slices of leftover pizza. T and I spend time outside watching the turtle run around the yard. 

10:40 am: T has plain yogurt for lunch before her nap. I hang the laundry to dry and wash the dairy dishes from last night and this morning. 

11:30 am: Leave sleeping T for my husband to watch while he works, head to the grocery store by bus. 5 from my preloaded card. I have arranged a ride home with a friend who I’m meeting at the store. I finish a fruit/veggie drink from the fridge. So hungry, should have had milk…

1:00 pm: Check out of Rami Levi – I spend about 200 more than usual, but I almost never get to shop without T, and I really got to comb the aisles for items to restock. (Fruits and veggies; dairy products, including cheese for the freezer and lactose free milk for my boiled milk habit; 3 packs of diapers on sale; salmon fillets on sale, so I bought one which they kindly split in two – half for Shabbat, half for Shavuot; dry goods restock, etc.) Stop at home to drop off groceries, then ride up to Gan to get the kids. My head started hurting worse… I put away perishables and cut up apples for a snack. I take Tylenol for my head and nibble on something totally unmemorable…
857

3:00 pm: I lay down while the kids entertain themselves. Husband picked up a ceiling fan that arrived at Supersal, plus some frozen strawberries for smoothies (30), then hung the ceiling fan over the kitchen table in under 30 minutes. I get out of bed, realize it’s the same we hated and removed from the guest room, complain. After we all had some feelings, my husband picked one he actually liked vs the cheapest one they had online, and ordered another for 530.
560

4:30 pm: Set up the kids to play outside with water. Pulled together dinner, head hurting too bad to be very productive today. Skipped the kids baths after dinner. 

7:00 pm: Showered and went to lay down to try to relieve headache. I see on WhatsApp that my sister has picked up a lamb for us for Shavuot.
256

8:30 pm: Cup of hot cocoa plus milkshake – have to make up for missing so much milk the last two days!! Answered some emails and applied to a remote RN position. Then finished unloading groceries from the morning. 

10:00 pm: To sleep.

Daily Total: ₪1,673


DAY FOUR

5:00 am: P to potty

6:00 pm: Replace T’s pacifier

7:15 am: Husband agrees to man the fort for me, so I get 15 extra minutes of quiet in bed. Then I head downstairs to finish giving out breakfast, making lunches, etc. 

8:20 am: Husband heads out the door to take the girls to Gan, then calls me out to check on the stray kitten who lives in our yard. He’s looking sick, and we consider whether we should adopt him and take him to the vet, but it sounds expensive. Buddy gets dropped off, and I head inside with the Toddlers to start our routine. Hubby comes back quickly, he found the girls a ride on the way, and we hung out for a little bit. 

9:00 am: Set toddlers up to play with cars, I tackle all of yesterday’s meat dishes, make myself a cup of milk with cocoa. Set up coloring, clean up coloring…

10:20 am: It’s finally time to feed them lunch – yogurt and applesauce. The kids play with legos upstairs next to me while I chat with family on WhatsApp about Israeli politics. 

11:00 am: Both kids down to sleep! I gather the dry laundry from outside, start a new load. Time for lunch! A few tiny pieces of leftover pizza, green salad with veggies. Dusted and cleared bookshelves, did more dishes, sat with my husband while he had leftovers for lunch.  

1:15 pm: K and P dropped off after Gan, Buddy picked up. Girls finish their lunches while I sign the big ones up for camp in NY – we’ll be there for 3 weeks in the summer be”H.

2:45 pm: I prep a spiralized zucchini and whole wheat noodle ziti dinner early while the kids play.

4:00 pm: We get on a bus (10 NIS on preloaded cards) to the Matnas playroom – buy a card for 50 for 12 visits – I assume the girls will enjoy enough for us to come five more times?? While in the neighborhood, I pay 20 to a babysitter that I owed from last week, and my 100 yearly membership/donation for Tiferes shiurim I’ve been attending (they’re recorded, and different women host every Rosh Chodesh).
₪170

5:00 pm: Buy water for 5 from the makolet down the block from the playroom, and 15 on sifted flour (not restocked still at Rami Levi since Pesach!) from the checked produce stand next door. The girls had fun, but since it’s in a different neighborhood, they didn’t recognize most of the kids. We get home and eat dinner, then baths and bed.
₪20

8:00 pm: Online Ulpan LaInyan coursework and lessons. 

9:40 pm: Milk with cocoa, wash dishes, read a book. 

11:00 pm: Shower and bed

Daily Total: ₪190


DAY FIVE

7:15 am: Same old morning routine. Husband takes the kids to Gan with their freshly packed lunches, a little late. He stays at shul to learn on Fridays until around 11:00. 

9:00 am: I talk to my baby brother on the West Coast of the US, then have my cup of milk and cocoa. Fold laundry, clean up with T. 

11:30 am: Husband gets home – he stopped at Supersal on the way for a few small items and threw in a Bacardi for mixed drinks, against my recommendation (I thought this week was expensive enough!). I eat malawach, hard boiled egg, tomatoes, and feta for lunch. Husband has pita with butter.
207.82

12:00 pm: Pick girls up from Gan and feed them a snack. Feeling grumpy, so when T goes to nap, I head upstairs to rest for a little and listen to my book. P also lays down to rest and read, K sits and colors next to Husband, who is learning halacha in the dining room. 

2:30 pm: Everyone back downstairs, smoothies with strawberries, bananas, beets, parsley, milk, OJ and almonds (the beets weren’t a hit). The kids head outside to play in the water table. I tidy up some more. 

4:30 pm: Kids are out of the bath, I clean the bathroom. (We had a cleaning lady for two hours every other week, but it wasn’t worth 200 a month, I like how I clean better, and I’m home now anyway, so we let her go last month.) Finish cleaning the kitchen and feed dinner to the kids. 

7:00 pm: Kids in bed. I drink my hot coffee flavored milk, wash some dishes and listen to my book until lighting. Then read a Shavuot themed book until my husband comes home from shul. Dinner was chicken and rice/lentils and a light green salad. 

10:30 pm: Husband goes over to a friend for l’chaims, I go to sleep.

Daily Total: ₪207.82


DAY SIX

6:30 am: K and P are awake and noisy! I send them back to bed. My husband gets up with them at 7:00ish to have Shabbos yogurt and read the Parsha book – today is my sleeping in day! 

8:30 am: Got up, cleaned up from last night, prepped lunch. Girls all play nicely. 

11:00 am: Walked with the kids towards shul to find Abba, then we go home, straight to lunch of salmon, a few salads, and apple cobbler. Tiny scoops of leftover ice cream for K and P for dessert. Couldn’t keep my eyes open after lunch, so after reading Red Fish Blue Fish, I climbed back into bed for a highly unusual 1.5 hour nap! 

2:30 pm: Head to friends’ house for a playdate. 

5:00 pm: We head home for Shaloshudos (late afternoon meal), kids and husband have PB and J sandwiches, I don’t eat. 

6:00 pm: We all walk to the park next to shul, husband goes to learn with a chavrusa, girls play for an hour while I chat with friends.

7:30 pm: Kids to bed, I read until husband gets home from shul. 

8:30 pm: Cleaned up a little from Shabbos. Date night, and we’re about evenly matched on bananagrams, but I win best out of 6. 

11:00 pm: Midnight snack of eggs and crackers, finish Harry Potter, then to sleep.

Daily Total: ₪0


DAY SEVEN

7:30 am: Start the morning routine, K has been up playing for a half hour. I have a cup of milk with cocoa. Preload the Rav Kav with a Haifa North pass. I have an appointment today in Haifa, hubs gets big girls to Gan, takes over watching T.
₪25.50

9:00 am: I caught the bus to the train, made it with two minutes to spare. WhatsApp friends until my appointment. 

11:30 am: I’m so hungry and want a treat, plus I have time to kill, so I catch a bus to Cafe Shany, for limonana, a tuna sandwich, and a few pastries. I make my train, hoping to get back in time for Gan pickup.
₪38

1:30 pm: I get K and P exactly on time, walk into the house to find my husband hanging the new ceiling fan in the kitchen. It’s messy and hectic – I definitely didn’t clean up as much as I thought I did from Shabbos. Give the girls ice pops and send them outside while I heat up leftover pasta. Start all-house-clean-up in the kitchen and sip from a can of Coca Cola. 

3:00 pm: K’s friend calls and asks to come over – the girls color and then play outside. More ice pops had by all. I tackle the upstairs. It looks so much better and I feel a lot more relaxed. 

4:30 pm: Girls play outside with water while dinner heats up. 

5:00 pm: K’s friend goes home, P’s friend comes as we’re sitting down to dinner. She’ll be sleeping over tonight so her father can go to a late Bar Mitzvah. Dinner conversation switches to Hebrew so she can be included. K is getting fluent, but P still speaks a terrible Pidgin Hebrew. 

6:00 pm: Baths for the four-year-old girls, husband showers K and T. Girls clean up their room, and I set up the futon chair up as a bed for our guest. Abba tells a bedtime story in Hebrew. 

7:00 pm: Lights out. I lay down to read nothing on my phone for a while. Finish cleaning up from dinner while husband does dishes, then he heads out to night Kollel. I sit down at the laptop to read emails. Talk to another brother for a while. He inspires me to get the The Mind Body Prescription for my next Audible book. (Already bought those credits earlier this month.)

9:15 pm: My tummy is rumbling. Time for cocoa and whipped cream. I talk to my grandfather and my mother while folding dish towels and drying and putting away dishes. 

10:15 pm: Husband is home, and we get to bed early! 

Daily Total: ₪63.50

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