What is the craziest thing you've ever done in order to minimize your expenses? If you're planning to make Aliyah, you may find yourself looking to use those crazy strategies more often, and hoping to find more... Those shekels never stretch quite as far as our dollars did!

So here's a list of Shekel-stretching things I think are worthwhile:

Bring the warmest down comforters you can afford when you come. Yes, you can buy down comforters here in Israel, but if you're looking for really warm ones - and definitely if you need hypoallergenic ones - (and you'll want them if you follow the next tip), buy them abroad. Look for clearance deals at your favorite bedding store and use coupons when you can - that was how I managed to get enough down comforters! Oh, and buy enough for your whole family, and a few for guests. You'll be happy you did.

Don't heat your house much - certainly not at night. After all, you'll be fast asleep under those super-warm down comforters. And for those family members who feel cold when first getting into bed, just fill up a hot water bottle and let that warm the bed... (this WORKS. we have not run the heat at night at all this winter!)

Air dry as much of your laundry as you can! Even through the winter, when it takes a little longer, we air dry almost all of our clothes. Clothes last longer, get "sun-kissed" freshness, you save money, and it's environmentally friendly. You also bond with your kids (if relevant) who think it's so awesome to help Eema hang out the laundry! What could be better?!

Ditch the bottled water habit. It's really a myth that it's safer for you. We use a filter pitcher to filter our water for drinking, and fill up reusable bottles. (Oh, and buy that filter pitcher here in Israel. We brought ours plus plenty of new filters with us, and the filters are just not made to handle the extreme hardness of the water. A filter that supposedly had a 2 month life - usually 6 weeks for us in the States - only lasted 2 WEEKS here. At that point it became so clogged with mineral deposits - from the hard water - that it became useless.)

Turn off your lights. Unplug all appliances when not in use. It really does shave money off your electric bill!

When shopping, focus on produce that costs 2 NIS/kilo or less. Fill your plates with lots of dishes using those foods, and use other foods sparingly to supplement. (Or go to the shuk just before closing time and get as much as you can for as little as you can!)

Pay attention to store sales and advertised prices. If you are overcharged at the register, just go to customer service. They will refund the difference, just state the facts and show them your receipt... I do this a lot, much more than you would think!

Before we made Aliyah, I shopped my local Florida thrift shops for clothing in various sizes for my children to grow into. I went on 50% off days - so I rarely paid more than $1 per item, usually less. While it does cost to ship items over in a lift, I knew I was sending a lift anyway, so a couple of boxes of children's clothing wasn't a big deal to add. If you are not bringing a lift, you could buy these super lightweight duffel bags that conform to EL AL's size requirements, and bring as much as possible using your aliya flight luggage allowance (we were allowed 3 bags each - that would have been 18 pieces of luggage besides carry ons. However, we "only" brought 13 with us - everything else arrived in the lift!).

Israelis are completely addicted to their smartphones, but they are more expensive here than in the US. Consider buying one abroad before you come! Amazon is a good place to start looking for unlocked iPhones and other cell phones. (Amazon UK also has deals worth checking!)

I've put together a list of things I'd put in a lift. Go check it out and see what you think!

(This page is a work in progress. I will be adding more tips as I have time to write them, so please check back soon!)

More savings

Be sure to check out my list of websites that ship to Israel for free or inexpensively! Very often you can buy stuff online for much less than in local stores.

I've also been able to save a lot of money buying on Groupon! Be sure you check for the latest deals!


  1. your post was very helpful for me. the duffle. SO genius

    1. So glad it was helpful! Feel free to share this page with other friends making aliyah.
      B'hatzlacha with your aliyah!

    2. I was thinking a comprehensive list of resale shops and used bookstores would be great for your site. I didn't see it here and I know you were asking for suggestions on what we would like to see. Maybe ask your readers to share their favorite stores. Complete details(to the best of their ability's, address, numbers would be great!)

    3. Thanks so much for the suggestion. It's going on the to-do list for a quiet month. ;-)

  2. Love your advice, just so you know the Aliyah luggage allowance is down to two bags per person.

    1. Is it? Does it not depend on which kind of flight you come on? I know when we came, we were allowed 3 bags, 50 lbs each, on a group flight, but the charter flight was 2 bags of 70 lbs each, I think!

  3. I just came on a flexible flight. El Al allowed me 3 bags- they were so nice- they didn't even weigh my luggage! (pity because I was so careful to be under 50 lbs on each and even on my hand luggage I went crazy to keep to their weight limit)

  4. Nice advice for reducing unnecessary expenses and yeah using a water filter pitcher instead of bottled water is really helpful in reducing cost of water. Nice and useful post. Thanks !!


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