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Some people wonder why any of us bother buying things online from abroad when we can actually get lots of things here in Israel. And it's a legitimate question. We do have SO much available, even in a small town like mine! HOWEVER - and this is a BIG however - if you could pay half and stretch your budget so much further, isn't that tempting?
I know, I know, small businesses in Israel have a really tough time making a profit, with all the costs associated with running a business. Rent is high, Arnona is high, taxes are high, delivery costs are high - it all adds up. So some people argue that we need to keep our shekels local. And pay the much higher costs so that our neighbors can stay in business. And I hear it. And my heart hurts for those who can't stay in business. BUT until we can bring about a change that will reduce some of the extraordinarily high fees, I don't believe I am required to keep pumping money into a broken system. Some small businesses are held hostage by their suppliers (want to sell X? Only if you also make room on your shelves for Y! Want to import something? Be sure to pay the right people, or your pallet will never clear customs), and we deserve better than cartel influenced inflated costs.
So I say, take advantage of VAT free personal imports! Your orders that total less than $75 will be VAT free (that's 17% right now). And sometimes, I still think it's worth it to buy items that cost over $75 and pay the VAT.
I know this doesn't help for certain big ticket items, and those items are the places we end up parking a LOT of money, but I currently don't have a solution for that except to say "shop around, and bargain"!
Here are the types of things I think can be worth bringing in, even if you end up paying VAT on the shipment, especially with current Early Black Friday discounts!
2. MicroSD cards (some sizes are under $75 for sure!)
3. Otterbox cases for your devices (compare to your local store!) - some cases are well under $75 and you won't have to pay VAT.
4. Chromebooks for lightweight computer needs and a very lightweight price.
5. Family Games! Many are well under the taxable threshold
8. Smart lock
Hope this list helps you - let me know what you'd add to the list! I'd love to hear!