Shomer Shekalim

Home » Personal Finance » cutting back other expenses

Category Archives: cutting back other expenses

Calculate savings with Golan Telecom, HOT Mobile, Rami Levy, Home Cellular

Use the No Fryers calculator to find out whether Golan Telecom, Home Cellular, HOT Mobile, or Rami Levy Communications are right for you!

In December 2011, Rami Levy was the first new player to debut.  Now, they have been joined by Home Cellular, HOT Mobile, and Golan Telecom.  Each offer straight-forward pricing, with some including “unlimited” plans.

How do you decide which is best for you and if any are a better deal than what you current have?  We’ll take a look at pricing and other factors which you should take into consideration.

Which is the best price?
Get your last couple of bills together, and figure out what your average use of minutes (all types – in network, other cellular, and landline), SMSs, and internet.  You’ll get your results in just three easy steps!

click here to see the rest of the article.

sweating the small things; sweating the big things

 

A while ago, I was a guest at a home where the hostess was very strict about using water.  The hostess made sure her family was careful with every single drop of water with only one exception, showers.  “I cut back on water in every way possible, so I earned my nice long American showers,” she reasoned.

But the numbers disagree.  The shower is a huge chunk of the water bill and with a large family, cutting back on the showers would probably have done more than everything else combined.

Economically speaking, certain things we do just have a bigger impact than others.  A gain is not correlated to a specific pain; rather, it can be the result of a carefully chosen tactic.  While it is important to focus on the small stuff (small stuff adds up quickly), to make a huge difference in a short amount of time, there must be a focus on the big stuff as well.

The following is a list of some of the small and big things to consider:

Cutting back on water:

Small things:

– look for leaks

– use the small handle for a half a flush (when applicable)

– when washing dishes: close the tap to soap all the dishes together (or as much as can fit on your counter), then open the tap and clean them all off

Big things:

– Take a short shower (this also means turning off the water when soaping up)

– If you have a garden, water at night or in the morning and when there is the least amount of wind

Cutting back on electricity:

Small things:

– unplug appliances

– turn off lights

– change to energy efficient light bulbs

Big things:

– cut back on heating and air conditioning

– use your dryer less

–  if you have an electric heater for your water (דוד חשמל), take shorter showers

Making more money:

Small things:

– get a second job

– cut back on household expenses

Big things:

– change your career to something that pays more

– have both spouses work

 

What are some of the decisions or steps that you took that made the biggest difference in the shortest time?

gas or electric?

Last week I received an e-mail from Hannah (A Mother In Israel) pointing to an interesting question on the Petah Tikvah board.  The post read as follows:

We need to buy a stove and oven and I would like to buy one that uses gas since the price of electricity is so high in Israel.

Could anyone recommend a place to buy a gas stove and oven? Also, is there any reason why electric would be preferable?

It is an interesting question and one that I never considered.  I grew up with an electric stove and loved it, but when I moved into my current place I switched to gas because that’s what was already there.  As an electricity user, I feared using gas, but my wife convinced me to stick with what we were given because (1) she prefers gas and does most of the cooking anyways (don’t worry, I clean) (2) most people’s houses do not blow up Die-Hard style even though they have gas and (3) it’s not like we had the money to buy a new stove anyways.

Getting back to the questions, which is better?  I searched the internet (thanks google!) and ran across an article from wisebuy.co.il that discusses the issue in regard to stoves.

To summarize, gas is more exact for cooking, much less on an initial investment (about a third of the price of electric stove), cheaper and easier to repair broken parts, and allows you to cook things that need direct fire.

On the other hand, electricity is easier to clean, less dangerous, and will cost slightly less per month .

I would like to add a few more things to consider: 

(1) While an electric stove costs a lot more than a gas one, an electric oven is probably cheaper (I bought my oven for ₪ 300 about a month ago).

(2) You can change the heat of the fire for gas on Yom Tov while many do not allow such a leniency by electric stoves.

(3) In order for fresh liver to be Kosher, it has to be done over an open flame, so you’d need either a gas stove or a BBQ.

In short, I’d go with a gas stove and an electric oven.  It seems to be the cheapest combo and, as I said before, my wife is really the one who chooses the appliances anyways.

What do you use?

5 ideas to save money NOW

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).

it’s cold…

It is freezing outside.  And I hate when people tell me “you’re from NY and Chicago; you must be used to it.”  No, I’m not; I’m never used to it.  In NY and Chicago, I had carpeting, a huge coat and heat, glorious indoor heat.  This brings me to today’s money saving topic.

A while ago, I posted about small vases, small things you can buy yourself that will help you save a lot of money.  Now that winter is here, I thought I’d share with you another small vase, portable space heaters.

The mazgan (heating/air conditioning) is one of my biggest expenses.  I live in what many call a small, glorified closet (2.5 rooms) and I usually pay a pretty penny (agorah?) every month for the mazgan.  And while I love the fact that I have central heating/cooling, sometimes it is better to use a space heater.  Let me give a couple of examples:

(1) When leaving the shower.  There is nothing like cold air to slap you in the face after a nice warm shower.  Nonetheless, turning on the heating then is a bit pointless.  By the time the heating takes effect, you’ll already gotten dressed and left.  The space heater works instantly and can be put right in front of you (not too close though.)

(2) When you are alone and only staying in one room, central air is also a waste.  You’d be heating or cooling an entire house when you just need one room.  This is exactly what a space heater is made for.

Some words of warning: do not leave on a space heater unattended.  Space heaters tend to shoot out fire once in a while (the ones that shoot out fire warm you up the best, but are potentially life threatening), so always be on the lookout just in case something goes wrong.  Never sleep with a space heater on; better a slightly bigger electricity bill than a burned down house.

small vases

 

Usually people talk about how you can save money by buying in bulk, which, over time will average out to a significant savings.  But there are some things that you can get that will allow you to live with less, and in a comfortable manner.

#1 – A small vase:  I am a strong believer in buying my wife beautiful flowers every Shabbas.  My wife is a wonderful Jewish wife and deserves a sign of affection and appreciation as the house is readied for Shabbas.  On the other hand, such a luxury could wreak havoc on a fixed budget.  My solution was simple.  I bought a small thin vase.  This allows me to fill up a vaseful of nice flowers for my wife for only ₪ 20 – ₪ 30.  This small investment (the vase was only ₪ 30) lets me maintain an important part of my lifestyle for a fraction of the price.

#2 – A hand-blender:  This little tool (usually around ₪ 50) allows you to make a lot of the food you buy, but for a fraction of the price.  My wife uses chic peas and a jar of techina (in powder form) to make chummus at about half of the price they ask in the store.  She also makes olive spread and cream cheese, both for nearly half the amount they cost in the store.  Homemade food is much healthier as it lacks the most fattening part, preservatives.

If you have any other idea for small investments that can pay off nicely, please leave a response below