Saturday, July 23, 2016

Money saving tips for the new (and not-so-new) Oleh/Olah

I am trying to help a few friends find ways to reduce their monthly expenses, and I discovered a few things that may seem obvious to native Israelis, but for the immigrant (oleh) community, they may not be obvious:

1. If you get hurt and think you need to go to urgent care or the ER, ALWAYS call your kupat cholim first and get a referral. This will keep your copays and fees to a minimum. You will likely still have something to pay, but at least you won't be stuck with huge fees.

2. You can save money on non-prescription medications by buying them thru your kupat cholim pharmacy, and getting a script from your doctor will sometimes save you even more!

3. Negotiate your credit card fees. Often, credit card companies will waive your monthly fee if you ask.

4. Negotiate your bank fees. Instead of paying a fee per transaction, see if you can get your fees waived, or at least pay a small flat rate monthly fee that covers all of your transactions

5. Use the new Rav-Kav Chofshi Yomi if you will be taking multiple buses throughout the day in one area. You'll pay the equivalent of 2 bus rides or so, and you'll be able to hop on and off as many buses as you want, all day and night long. (If you take buses all the time, buy a chofshi chodshi!)

6. Renew your passport using the online form, during the winter months. Misrad Hapnim discounts passport fees for people who do this during "off months".

7. If you're out and about and need a quick snack, buying a single fruit (banana/apple/orange) from a makolet is almost always the least expensive option, and will give you a healthy burst of energy to help you get thru your errands so you can eat when you get home. Yes, it comes out cheaper than buying a 5 shekel coffix pastry, but not necessarily cheaper than a junky shekel-and-a-half store snack. It will be about that, or maybe a little more, depending on seasonal prices, but much much healthier than the shekel-and-a-half store snack!

8. Always carry a water bottle instead of planning to buy a cold drink while you're out. Best if you freeze your water bottle half full the night before, and fill it as you head out. This, and an insulated holder, will help you stay much cooler.

Here's another post I wrote about reducing your expenses - be sure to read it too!

I'd LOVE to hear your tips that should be added to this list!


  1. If you have a rav-kav for the bus you pay much less per ride if you fill it with 20 rides rather than 10. With 10 rides it costs 55.?? shekels but with 20 rides it's only 94.?? A big saving.

  2. With regard to medical emergency, I think most Anglo, at least up in Tzfat, think that callng the kupat cholim is to only make appointment and not also for moked emergency in the middle of the night.
    Many cities have a terem or their kupat cholim has evening hours which helps tremendously. However,if after those hours, or a person is not sure they can move the other person in question, call the kupat cholim number,push the button for a nurse who will then ask specific questions: name,tz, medical situation; then you will be told how/where to go: if to a terem or hospital, and the moked will fax the hitchayevut ahead to the hospital if needed.


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