Sunday, January 14, 2018

18 Ways to Save in Israel in 2018

People are always looking for more ways to save money - we all would rather spend our money on the things that are important to us! If we're not careful, though, we often spend too much money just keeping up with life! This is the year to get things in order so you can spend less money on the less important things, and get more out of life! So today I'm sharing some of my favorite tips for reducing your expenses so 2018 will be all around great!

1. Call your phone company, cable company, internet provider, and insurance companies (as applicable) to negotiate better rates. You can often save a lot just by asking for a lower rate!

2. Make sure your water company knows how many people live in your home (the more people you have living there, the more water you can use at the lower tariff) - update them when you have a change in family circumstances, or when you move.

3. Check that you are getting any Arnona discounts you may be eligible for.

4. Always shop with a list and a budget, and stick to it. Don't spend more than you've allotted for whatever it is, be it food, shoes, clothing, or whatever. If you must spend more than you planned, you'll need to compensate by cutting back somewhere else, or you quickly fall into the overspending trap! The easiest way to be sure you don't spend more than you budgeted is to pay in cash and don't use a credit card. If you don't like to carry cash, you will need to be super disciplined with your credit card purchases!

5. Only buy items you really need. If you see something and think you need it, don't buy it right away. Go home and really think it over. If it really is something that will improve your life or save you money, go back and buy it (after doing some comparison shopping. Sometimes those gadgets are much less expensive online, from stores like aliexpress (see my online shopping guide for more ways to shop online). You can also get help finding a great deal in the Groupon Israel's Best Deals Facebook group!

6. Cook your own food. Stop buying food - whether it's restaurant food, takeout food, or frozen prepared food, it's almost always more cost effective to cook a simple meal. (Need a recipe? I've got lots of recipes for you!) Save eating out for special occasions only!

7. Buy secondhand whenever possible. Turn this into a source of pride, not shame. Secondhand purchases do a lot to save energy and resources. Convince yourself (and your kids) that this will do a world of good. (**Even better - scavenge or dumpster dive if you are up for it! We have scavenged many perfectly good and useful items over the years!)

8. Accept hand me downs. People give things away all the time - much of it is still perfectly useful. Join your local "freeswap" style group to connect with others!

9. Walk or ride a bike to get around whenever possible. Gas is EXPENSIVE in this country. Walking is free. Sure, that means a little more time and possibly carrying some heavy items home when doing errands, but it saves a ton that whenever I do things locally, I walk! And it ensures we get moving, too! 

10. Use the library instead of buying books. Or go to book swaps! (If you're local to me, there's a book swap shelf outside my house - feel free to use it!)

11. Don't pay for TV access. It's just not worth it when you can almost always stream your favorite shows online!

12. Take short showers! If you can shower Israeli style, turning the water on only to get wet and then rinse off, you'll really lower your water consumption.

13. Drink water. If your water has an unpleasant taste, get a simple filtration system, like a Brita pitcher. No need for a pricey, water wasting reverse osmosis system. We also like to add orange or lemon slices to our water in order to enhance the taste! It's easy and really inexpensive (especially if you or a neighbor has a citrus tree)!

14. Find free alternatives to expensive "needs". My computer was dying. I abandoned Windows and gave my computer a new lease on life by installing Linux.

15. Make homemade cleaning solutions instead of buying pricey bottles of cleaner. Not only will this save you money, it will save you from exposure to questionable chemicals used in many commercial cleaning products. (I use baking soda, vinegar, and simple soaps or natural detergents to do most of my cleaning. I add essential oils for fragrance purposes)

16. Learn to cut your kids' hair. This will really save you a lot, especially if you have a whole crew of kids! If you're brave enough, swap hair cutting with a friend, too, so you can save on your own haircuts as well!

17. Use low-energy lightbulbs. Swap out older style lightbulbs with LED bulbs when you need to replace them. I recommend you choose "warm white" instead of regular white - it's easier on the eyes.

18. Keep your mazgan filters clean - cleaning them regularly will keep your mazgan working more efficiently, and will save money on your heating and cooling bills!

There are lots of other everyday ways to save money, so please share your favorite tips in the comments!

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