1 – Turn your cell phone into… a cell phone. I cannot believe how long it took me to do this. My cell phone used to have internet, which drew me into buying ringtones and games. I justified these costs by telling myself that I needed to be entertained when I was all the endless lines and busses in Israel, so it is well worth the investment. But seriously, I am not a four year old. I don’t need to be entertained at all times like a child. I can read a book, use my mp3 player and read a free newspaper that is given out at almost every bus stop in the country. There is no reason to pay 20-50 check for misc. junk on my cell phone. My cell phone needs to be exactly that… a cell phone and nothing more.
2 – Speaking of cell phones, do you have any idea how much you can save by using your land lines? I used to use my cell phone all the time when I had a land line that cost half as much to use. The worst of was when I used a cell phone to call 144 or a 1-800 number which would be FREE from a landline. An even better option (if possible) – use skype. I still learn with my old chavrusa from Chicago and don’t pay a penny for the service.
3 – Pack you own lunch. I personally fail to do this all the time and I always end up paying for it. My problem is that I am a guy and I think, “well, I am full now, so I’ll probably be okay until I get home.” Of course 3 hours later I am dying of hunger and then have to either go out and get some food or force myself to stick to coffee for the rest of the day (Just a small note: coffee is never a bad idea. I firmly believe that anyone in Yeshiva who is not addicted to coffee is in violation of bittul Torah. After all, regular Jon takes an hour to go through a blatt and has to ponder all types of questions, but 5 coffee Jon finishes the chapter quicker than artscroll finishes a footnote.)
4 – Make restaurant style meals at home. Making a restaurant style meal has never been easier. Pretty much every recipe from every restaurant is available in some blog or on youtube. You’ll be surprised how simple it is to make a simple meal restaurant quality. For example, spaghetti and sauce may seem simple, but if you buy some garlic sticks from your local bakery, your plain spaghetti (₪ 2.5 for 500 g) and sauce (₪ 3 if you mix רסק, hot water and some oregano), can bring back the full Olive Garden feeling.
5 – And when you do go out, use coupons. I am not against going out to eat; in fact, I try to go out with my wife at least once a month. But one thing that we both enjoy in saving money. Next time, before you dine out, take five minutes to check rest.co.il, 2eat, ROL, and kosherest for coupons. You’ll be surprised how much is available online. (Note: many of these sites claim that many restaurants are not Kosher, when they in fact are. If a restaurant looks tempting, don’t just give up because there is no kosher sign on the site; call the restaurant and ask if they have a teudat kashrut and from whom).