It is always good to cut on household expenses, especially at times when product prices are rising. In this post I have gathered several tips that will help you save money monthly with only small impact on your quality of life.
Notice that this post is intended to help Israeli residents and will not be as useful for visitors and tourists.
Thanks to the cellphone market reform the prices today are quite fair. Yet many people are not aware of this and still pay for the older plans. New physical and virtual carriers offer "unlimited plans" for a price of 90-100 NIS per month. Some of the older carriers offer similar plans as well.
If you do not use the phone very often you can reduce the bill even further by choosing a "pay per minute" plan. You need to look at your previous bills and see how many minutes you talk each month. Then calculate the price you will pay for these minutes in the "pay per minute" plans and decide which plan is cheaper for you.
I recently switched my family to one of the new companies. My mother used to pay 100-110 NIS per month for her calls. Now she pays 10 NIS for her plan that grants her 60 minutes and 60 sms per month and on average she pays additional 20 NIS for the extra minutes she talks. That is an instant 70 NIS saving.
My family still keeps a Bezeq land-line at our home, but in my opinion there is absolutely no reason for this. Landlines are rarely used these days and 50 NIS just for the subscription is a too high price to pay when you have mobile unlimited plans. Also notice that contrary to a common belief, according to a new law, if you cancel your land-line you will still be able to keep Bezeq as your Internet infrastructure.
For those that want to keep the phone number so people will be able to call, there is a light subscription plan that is called "Kav Kal" ("קו קל") and it costs 25 NIS per month.
Nowadays we do not spend as much time watching TV as we used to. The Internet and Smartphones/Tablets have taken over the entertainment spot in our life. If you still want to be able to watch the news on the Israeli channels, you can buy an Idan+ receiver with one time investment of ~200NIS. With most Idan+ receivers you will also be able to play movies from a plugged-in disk on key.
The key idea here is to hassle. First, research on the Internet for the market price of the speed you are interested to subscribe to. There are several sites (for example kamaze.co.il) on which people share the price they got from their company (either infrastructure or provider). You will notice that the lowest price for each speed is shared among all companies. Next, call for your company and stick to that price you want. When they tell you that X is the price they can give you and nothing can be done to lower it, tell them that you did your research and know the "market price". Then they will probably bounce you from one representative to a more "senior" representative which will offer a lower price and maybe some "extras". Do not be tempted to take the "extras", stick to your price and if they will not bounce you any more, ask to disconnect immediately. They will bounce you one last time to thing called "customer retention" (shimur lakohot) and there you will get the price you want.
Some big chain stores offer a consumer club cards in a form of credit card. These card are usually free for the first year, but after that you have to pay a monthly fee. If you use these cards infrequently, it is good to reevaluate their benefit and maybe cancel some of them. On the other hand, if you use such card frequently it is good idea to cancel the ordinary credit card you got from your bank.
Comparing prices is time consuming and not always worth the money that can be saved. My advice here is to compare prices on line. There are several sites (for example mysupermarket.co.il) available that will allow you to input your desired basket of groceries and they will show you the cheapest chain store for your basket. Some will even recommend similar products of cheaper brand to help you save more money.
It is hard to asses the savings that can be gained for the average family, but for amusement lets wildly guesstimate it:
Here is what a family of 3 that did not have any of the bundle subscriptions (ie. TV + Phone + Internet bundles) can save a month:
- Switching cellphone plans: 3 × 70 NIS
- Canceling landline: 50 NIS
- Canceling television plan: 200 NIS
- Hassling over the Internet price: 20 NIS + 40 NIS
- Canceling 2 credit cards: 2 × 10 NIS
- Saving 10% on groceries: 0.1 × 1500 NIS
Total: 690 NIS