Thursday, July 11, 2024

Maanak Avodah 2023 - Reminder to apply!



It's time for your yearly reminder to check if you might be able to claim this benefit! Maybe you've heard about this already, and maybe this is new information for you. There is a reverse-tax benefit in Israel for low-income families. It's called the "Maanak Avodah" or "Working Grant". The point of this grant is to put more money in your pocket if you earn less than a certain amount of money!

Please don't miss out on this if you qualify - apply as soon as possible in order to avoid disappointment later. It won't take much of your time to apply, and you can do it now, BEFORE YOU FORGET! Right now, you can still apply for the 2022 grant AND the 2023 grant. 
  
Updated information for the 2023 grant: 

Who can apply for this grant?


You can apply for this grant if: 


1. You were employed or self-employed
 

2. You were 21 years of age or older, and have minor children*, or 55 years of age or above, even if you have no minor children
 

3. You did not own more than 50% of a property or rights to a property (anywhere in the world) in the 2022 tax year, other than your primary residence
 

4. If you have one or two children, or are age 55+ without children, and your average monthly income falls between 2,320 and 6,980 you may be eligible for this grant. If you are a single parent of 1-2 children (with custody of your minor children), your average monthly income must fall between 1,420 and 10,570 NIS to qualify×¥
 

5. If you have 3 or more children, and your average monthly income falls between 2,320 NIS and 7,650 NIS, you may be eligible for this grant. If you are a single parent of 3 or more children (with custody), you may qualify if your income is between 1,420 and 12,900 NIS per month.

*children who are counted are those who are under the age of 19 as of 31/12/2023

How do you apply? 


Online, using the Israeli tax website - this option allows you to apply for 2023 and 2022 if you missed this reminder last year.
OR
At the post office, where you'll need to answer a few questions. BE SURE to bring your teudat zehut (ID card) and either your checkbook or an "ishur" from your bank that you have an account with them. Please keep any paperwork you receive at the post office and/or in the mail. This option only allows you to apply for 2023.

If you have questions after you've applied, or to check the status of your application, you can check the status of your request online in your "eizor ishi", or call *4954 or or 02-565-6400 to speak with the Tax Authority. 

Your payment may arrive in anywhere from 1-4 installments.

How much can you expect to receive? 


The amount you receive will vary depending on your circumstances, and if you qualify, could be up to 9,720 NIS.

Your spouse's income may affect your eligibility, as may various other factors.


I hope this helps some of you out there! It's worth it to check if you are eligible.


Please share this information with your friends and family who may benefit from it!

Don't miss out on useful tips and tricks for living in Israel! Follow me on FB and join my Kosher Frugal group!

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

UPDATED: Buy Blue & White from Overseas (with the convenience of Amazon)

This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at NO additional cost to you! Thanks for your support!

This is an UPDATED post for my friends and followers and everyone outside of Israel, who love Israel and want to support the people here, i.e. "Buy Blue & White".

If you're here in Israel looking at an item on Amazon that DOESN'T ship to Israel - I've got great news for you! You can order items to a Shipito address and have them ship it to you! And just in time for your upcoming Prime Day purchases, you can get 10% off your international shipping when you shop on Amazon and send your purchases using Shipito. Just enter the code PRIMEDAY24 at checkout. This limited-time offer runs until July 31, 2024.

It's become SUPER easy to support some Israeli businesses from outside of Israel! So I'd like to help everyone stand in solidarity with Israel with this "Buy Blue & White" guide.

So many companies make it easy to buy their products from the USA - especially those with Amazon storefronts (and many ship to other countries too)!

I'm happy to share some options with you - all of the items listed below are a great way to support an Israeli-owned business and still have the convenience of shopping online! I'm sure there are lots more options, but in the meantime - here are the ones that I know of: 

(I hope to keep adding to this list)

Buy Israeli wines (free shipping on 12 or more bottles and $15 off your $200 order with code KW15)

Many Israeli products - art, jewelry, etc - are available at judaica.com (use the link to begin your purchase AND use code SHOP10 for an extra discount)

You can make your own seltzer (carbonated water) using the iconic Sodastream machine. 

Or buy beautiful Judaica items, like an Emanuel mezuzah case or chanukiyah, or even a great Havdallah travel set! Also from Emmanuel: Chanukah Kippot, Jerusalem Kippot, painted wooden kiddush cup and coaster, "Yeled Tov/Yaldah Tovah" hammered stainless steel kiddush cups, hammered nickel kiddush cups, and colorful candlesticks.

Buy beautiful jewelry from Paz Creations. Also NanoStyle and Happy Lolli.

Refael Jewelry Designer sells handmade jewelry from Israel.

Also check out embroidered jewelry boxes.

Nurture your plants with a LeGrow planter set

Display your love of Israel with these Jerusalem-themed ArtTrivets.

Display beautiful Israel on your wall with an Israel Photo Art Calendar!

Decorate your home with beautiful wooden Wall Art from Tohar Design Store, or a fun Chanukah table runner, or a painted washing cup.

If you love music, check out Day of Rest for something different.

Buy Israeli spices from Izrael Zaatar Ltd and bring the flavor of the shuk into your kitchen (BBQ Grill mix, Galilee Stir Fry Seasoning mix).

Try out Israeli herbal/fruit teas: Golan blend or Louisina make great choices.

Get your kids moving and exploring with Israeli-owned Nona Kid pretend play, outdoor play, and fitness equipment for kids.

Check out the whole line of Qurious educational toys and games.

You can even support an Israeli business when you buy non-Israeli products from an Israeli reseller. They buy items wholesale and list them for competitive prices on Amazon. For example, handbags from BSD Merchant.

And on another note, you can always support Israeli businesses directly: For an interactive Israel-themed online escape room experience, be sure to check out the games at bagelsandlocks.com!

And if you love to read, check out books by these Israeli authors:

101 Treasures from the National Library of Israel, by Raquel Ukeles (Author), Hezi Amiur (Author), Yoel Finkelman (Author)

By Light of Hidden Candles, by Daniella Levy (Author)



The 36: A Modern Quest in the Ancient Holy Land, by Josh Even-Chen (Author) (a long-time friend of mine!)

The Scrolls of Deborah (Desert Songs Trilogy), by Esther Goldenberg (Author)

The House of Lost Spirits, by Einat Shimshoni 

Harei At M'guyeset Li, by Segulah Levi (Hebrew novel)

Tully and the Pellmells (Tully Grows Up), by Leona Samson (Author), Idan Ben Simon (Illustrator)

Tales of Brooklyn, by Stan Fischler (Author)




Organized Jewish Life: The Essential Guide for Planning Jewish Holidays, Events and Every Dayby Rebekah Chaifetz Saltzman

Organized Jewish Life Shabbat and Holiday Planner: The Ultimate Organizational Shabbat and Jewish Holiday Checklist and Planning Workbookby Rebekah Chaifetz Saltzman

A Warrior's Guide to Fibromyalgiaby Sara Halevi 

Everything Tracker - The Ultimate Comprehensive CBT Tool Kitby Sara Halevi MA (Author), Liora Sophie (Illustrator)

The Breast Cancer Checklistby Fern Reiss

The Publishing Game: Publish a Book in 30 Daysby Fern Reiss

30 Jewish Superheroes: An Amazing Collection of Jewish Superheroes (Coloring book)by Hillel Penrod (Author), Ayelet Hashachar Penrod (Editor)

15 B'nei Noah Superheroes Coloring & Activity Book: Heroes from Around the World! | Color, Read, and Learn to Draw Your Own Hero, Torah Comics Paperback by Hillel Penrod (Author), Ayelet HaShachar Penrod (Editor)

Inner World (Kindle book) by Hillel Penrod (Author, Illustrator), Ayelet HaShachar Penrod (Editor) 

Israel 201: Your Next-Level Guide to the Magic, Mystery, and Chaos of Life in the Holy Landby Joel Chasnoff & Benji Lovitt

Nehama Leibowitz: Teacher and Bible Scholar (Modern Jewish Lives)by Yael Unterman

The Hidden of Things: Twelve Stories of Love & Longingby Yael Unterman

The Street Cats of Nahariya by Jennifer Pyatt (Author), Aya Navot (Illustrator)

White Zion, by Gila Green (see all of her books here, and pre-order the newest one!)

Iconic Jewish Women: Fifty-Nine Inspiring, Courageous, Revolutionary Role Models for Young Girlsby Aliza Lavie (Author)

Getting Ready for Shabbat! Let's Make Soup! (Getting Ready for Jewish Holy Days), by Chaya Bluma Gadenyan

Girls' Names from the Hebrew Bible: A Children's Bilingual (Hebrew-English) Coloring Bookby Chaya Bluma Gadenyan

The Adventures of Incredi-Wheels & Triple S: The Mysterious Missing Bookby Rebecca Rubin Seligson

Storky's Journey Homeby Nachshon Meir Spiegelman

The Lazy Investor: How to Set a Profitable & Hassle-free Investment Portfolioby David Mann (Author)

Tribal Lands: The Twelve Tribes of Israel in Their Ancestral Territoriesby Tamar Weissman (Author)

The Koren Tanakh: Esther (English and Hebrew Edition) (Graphic Novel Format) by Jordan Gorfinkel (Creator), Yael Nathan (Illustrator), Jessica Sacks (Translator)

If you want to be added to this list, please email me at ester@kosherfrugal.com!

Thanks for supporting Israeli businesses! Let me know if you found this list helpful, and feel free to share it with all of your friends!

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Repost with updates: Aliexpress Dance Finds

 This post contains affiliate links, so if you click on a link and make a purchase,
I may receive a small commission. Thank you!

Dancers in the family? It gets expensive, and while I can't help you cut corners on the class tuition, I figured I would share some links that have allowed us to pick up dancewear for a little less.

Sometimes you just can't cut corners - I don't buy off-brand pointe shoes, for example. But other times, there might be great ways to save. 

One of my daughters really likes these split-sole ballet shoes from DayDance! Click here to check them out! NOTE: they run pretty much true to size - but remember that dancers' feet usually swell a bit when they're warmed up, so be sure to measure when they're warmed up.

Our favorite place to buy softer, romantic look tutus and lyrical dresses is Thank Frank's Aliexpress store. For the price, the quality is AMAZING.

We bought this one from them when we first discovered Thank Frank, and no one believed that it cost less than $50 USD! 

(It is priced slightly higher now, but what hasn't gone up lately?)


This pretty blue peasant dress has seen several competitions already, and it's holding up really well!

For the classic tutu look (pancake style/platter style), we really had a hard time finding a discount seller. But in the end we discovered All For Dance. This seller sells so many dance costumes - and we chose a pre-professional tutu that truly exceeded our expectations! It was actually prettier in real life than in the picture below.



We've got our eyes on a few other dance costumes from All For Dance, like this white romantic tutu.

And if you need a lyrical dress, there are some nice options here too. Like this purple one with sequins, or this white one (one of my girls wore this one to a performance).



We also try to get convertible tights for a lot less than the standard price in dancewear stores. So if you just really can't fathom spending 40 NIS on a pair of tights, be aware that you CAN get THREE pairs for the same amount! Here are the tights that we bought:



We've tried others, but in the end we keep coming back to this seller, because these tights were much better than other discount tights we've found! Click here to go to this listing!

If you need a new dance shoe bag, try one of these. And if your dancer loves dance-themed T-shirts for wearing outside the studio, there are lots to choose from:

BALLET t-shirt with many color options (under 20 NIS)

Ballerinas dancing sketch t-shirt (under 15 NIS)

Born to Dance t-shirts (about 20 NIS)

Hope you found this helpful!

If you've found a different seller that has impressed you, please let me know which, so we can check it out too!

Thanks

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

10 NIS movies!



Big News! Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 5, 2024, Cinema City has 10 NIS movies (Israeli movies only)


If you buy online, you pay an additional 3.90 service fee.


Enjoy!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Electric Rates are up. Do you know what's driving your bill up? Check this out!

The Israel Electric Company raised electricity rates again - the latest increase went into effect in February 2024. 
Since so many people ask about lowering their bills and how to figure out electricity costs for a specific appliance, I decided it's time to post an updated Electricity Cost Calculator.

I hope you'll find this post helpful.


One of the best ways to lower our electricity consumption is AWARENESS.

Pay attention to the electricity used throughout the day in your house, and find ways to reduce it - that's the only way to save money if you aren't installing solar panels...

This goes beyond lights that we leave on - the best way to control your costs is to know what's driving your electric bill up, and find ways to reduce your usage. This is why it's good to have an idea of what each electrical appliance we own costs to run.

But how can we know?

It's not so hard - the cost is determined by the appliance's KW usage and how long it runs!

I asked my tech guy 😉 to make a calculator a number of years ago -- it's designed to help everyone get an idea of how much different appliances cost to run. I've posted it before, but now I'm reposting it with an update to reflect the current cost of electricity. VAT is included (so if you're in Eilat, this calculator will overestimate your bill).

This calculator was updated to reflect the current rate (effective February 1, 2024)


Here's how to use the calculator:
Simply choose which appliance you want to calculate, choose how long you'll be running it, and then the app (below) will tell you how much this particular appliance is costing you to run! 

This app is specifically designed using the IEC's current tariffs for residential customers, including VAT (this is for people who pay the same rate 24 hrs/day). 
(NOTE: On February 1, 2024, the IEC adjusted home electricity rates. The current cost of electricity is approx 62urot ag per kWh including VAT.If the IEC rates change, we will do our best to update this app!

If you find this helpful, please share!

Please let me know what you think!


Electrical Appliance Cost Calculator:

Choose an appliance and note its "usage unit" in parentheses after it. Choose how many units you would be using it for (for example, a fridge has "day" for its usage unit, a dryer has "1 load" for its usage unit, and a hair dryer has "10 minutes" for its usage unit - these are listed next to the appliance name), then click "calculate my cost" to find out how much that appliance costs you to run for the amount of time you usually use it!
 
If your appliance doesn't appear on this list, you can find its kilowatt rating on it somewhere. Multiply kw/H by number of hours used, and then multiply that by the current price for a kilowatt of electricity (approx. 0.62 nis) to find out how much it costs you to run it!




Select an appliance:
Number of usage units:

Range: 0.00 ₪ — 0.00(depends on your model)



I'd love to hear if you found this handy app useful. Will it help you change any of your habits? Personally, this helped me realize that since we'd be boiling our kettle multiple times per day, we were really using more electricity than needed. Now we know it's best to fill the thermos after we boil a full kettle in the morning.

What changes are you making?

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

ETA - Electronic Travel Authorization for incoming tourists to Israel

This is BIG, important news for anyone planning to visit Israel who holds a passport that doesn't require applying for a visa in advance.
Israel is instituting a new ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) requirement.
This means that while you don't need to apply for a visa at the embassy/consulate, you DO need to apply for an ETA before you book your flight. You will NOT be able to get on a flight to Israel without a valid ETA-IL.

(If you have a teudat zehut or Israeli passport, this DOES NOT apply to you!)


In short, you now need to apply for an ETA-IL before you book a flight - it remains valid for 2 years from the date of issue. The ETA will cost 25 NIS.

The ETA pilot phase begins on June 1, for US and German passport holders. During the pilot phase, the fee is WAIVED.

So if you want your first ETA-IL for free, and you hold an eligible passport - apply during the month of June! You don't have to have a trip planned to get yours, and it will make it easier for you to spontaneously buy tickets when you see a deal you like later.

After the pilot phase, the system will be open to everyone who holds a passport from a country that is exempt from an advance visa. The ETA-IL will cost 25 NIS and is non-refundable, but it is valid for 2 years, provided your passport doesn't expire or get changed.


So if you know US or German passport holders who plan to visit in the next 2 years - pass this post along to them, so they can apply for an ETA-IL between June 1 and June 30, and avoid the fee this time!



Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Great shopping deals!

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you

It's a great time to look for deals. They're actually everywhere! 

I found a whole lot of interesting things on Amazon that are priced at $10 or so or less, and qualify for free shipping to Israel with your $49 order.

Maybe some of these are things you were looking for?

Hope this helps someone out there!

Remember - when you're buying from overseas, the limit for tax-free purchases is $75. Amazon will show any applicable taxes at checkout before you finalize your purchase - I recommend splitting your order if you go over the $75 limit.
Other websites don't necessarily calculate taxes at checkout - so it's highly recommended to check carefully so you can avoid surprises. Right now, $75 is about 275 NIS. This can change so check before you checkout!

Looking for other deals? Want to shop a website that doesn't ship to Israel? Check out Shipito! My referral link is https://www.shipito.com/?id_affiliate=22917 - check it out!

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Free Help Filing Israeli Taxes for Last Tax Year (2023 taxes)!


Every year, many of us have to file a yearly tax report with the Israel Tax Authority.

Many, many people pay an accountant to handle this report, but did you know that in some cases you can also get FREE help?

Here's the deal:

The Israel Tax Authority runs Free Clinics for filing yearly tax reports: this year, assistance is available for Atzmaim (freelancers/self employed people) with income up to 60,000 NIS using Form 137, people who need to file a tax report using Form 1301, and employed individuals requested a refund using Form 135.

Find this help HERE:

Regional Tax Offices will operate these services between May 5, 2024 and June 26, 2024, Sundays and Wednesdays from 1pm - 6:00pm.


Some offices may be closed on certain days of the week. I recommend calling before you go to verify they are open!

In Eilat, the service will be available only on Mondays and Wednesdays. In Um Al Fahem, the service is only available on Sundays. 

NOTE: These clinics are ONLY for getting help filing your yearly tax report or a request for a refund for employed people (only forms 1301, 137, and 135).

Bring ALL your relevant paperwork with you so you can get the most accurate assistance.

Good luck!

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