Sunday, November 4, 2018

My "We Made Aliyah" Money-Mindset

If we're not careful, the money just FLIES away!

Hi everyone!

Today I've got all these thoughts swirling around in my head, and I decided to put them down into a blog post, since that's as good as any other method of procrastination I can think of! 

(Yes, procrastination - because we all know I have a million things that need my attention I would completely prefer to ignore, so I WILL. At least I wrote a blog post instead, right?)

Let's face it - making Aliyah requires a major change in mindset for so many things, and I'm going to focus on some of those things that affect our financial health.

When we first got to Israel, I naively figured I could just recreate my life in America right here in Israel (which life didn't really matter - it could have been a NY-style life or a Florida style life, or wherever. We lived in a lot of places, and I'd figured out ways to make it work anywhere...).

But I quickly discovered that things I had taken for granted in America were not so easy here. Not as olim. Perhaps if we had a trust fund (we don't!) we could have bought a house with a pool and a big yard (or a townhouse in a big city) and eaten organic fruits and veggies. But we figured out really quickly that this plan wasn't realistic for us, nor is it for most olim. (This did not take 8 years to figure out. It became rather obvious in just a matter of weeks!)

So there were a bunch of things we had to do.

Food Shopping:
We started shopping on shuk days - and discovered that even if we couldn't get to the shuk, lots of supermarkets compete with local shuk days and offer special sales on Mondays or Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Often, there are awesome deals! We try to take advantage of the cheapest fruits and vegetables we can get by making the most of these sales - since I believe that eating fresh fruits and veggies is very important, so saving money on them is a big WIN! We also try to focus on buying other groceries on sale in general (obviously?). Last week, I got chicken wings for 5 nis/kg (a few weeks earlier, I got them for 3.50 nis/kg!!) - just saying.

We walk. Or bike. Or take buses. A LOT. Filling up the car is pricey in Israel. We do use the car - but we try to use less expensive transportation much of the time. Obviously walking is cheapest. Biking is pretty cool, too - though lately my kids keep popping their inner tubes, and that can be pricey to fix all the time!

Eating out:
I try really hard not to go out for coffee. I've got a coffeemaker at home and I am happy to make my own, and I'll gladly host a coffee hour from time to time! I also have several reusable travel cups on hand for taking coffee-on-the-go, since sometimes that is super convenient. Same thing about ice cream. We buy tubs of ice cream and get our ice cream fixes AT HOME, and the kids more or less know not to ask for ice cream cones when we're out.
If we're going out for the day, we try to carry a decent amount of snacks or food with us. If we're caught unprepared, we try to buy food that is simple and inexpensive. You might see me going into a makolet or supermarket to buy sandwich stuff when that happens!
Eating out at a restaurant is reserved for special occasions ONLY.

We bought a smaller house than we originally wanted, and way out in the boondocks. It makes the mortgage manageable. Don't go for a big house with a huge mortgage, if you don't like anxiety attacks!

In America, I was a thrift store junkie. I regularly scoured thrift stores and scored some great items. Some of them were things we needed (I bought a changing table and lots of clothing!), and other items were just things I liked, or thought were cool. So one of the things we had to change was buying things we don't actually need. Without the extra stuff, we can try to keep our clutter in check, and our wallets a little fuller. When we do need things, often our first stop is our local "free to a good home" group, or our second hand shop. We also give away plenty of things to our friends and neighbors! We have a book swap shelf we regularly swap books at, as well.

Here in Israel, money is often tight. Not for everyone, but for many of us. In order to avoid the never ending cycle of "minus" in the bank that seems so prevalent around me, I make an effort to evaluate each purchase by pulling out a few different yardsticks - 1. Will I miss it tomorrow if I skip it today? 2. How many hours of work will this splurge cost me? 3. Can I get my needs met by spending less?

Basically, what I think I'm trying to say is that an Aliyah Money Mindset is all about being Mindful. It's not about deprivation. It's not about denial. But it is about being purposeful and thoughtful before spending money.
After all, tomorrow will come! And it's always best to be ready for the tomorrows.

How are you doing with your Aliyah Mindset? I'd love to hear!

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