Monday, 01 March 2021
Local Time In Israel Asia - Jerusalem

 

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What is the real cost of living in Israel? When I make Aliyah, will I have to dip into my savings every month?  

Hebrew:כמה עולה לגור בישראל

israel cost of living

You've made the decision, taking the plunge and making aliyah.  You have a few months in hand to get organized and now you are actively thinking about your income, expenditure and the real costs of living in Israel.  How much money will your family need to come out every month? Is it possible to live on the equivalent of $5000 a month?  Is it possible to live comfortably on less?

We have put together a guide of average basic, living expenses to help build your Aliyah or relocation budget.  Prices listed here are based on an average family of four.  

Obviously living expenses will vary from family to family according to your life-style and the town or city you choose to live in.  For example, on average, living in Ra'anana is about 30 percent more expensive than living in Haifa.  Municipal taxes (arnona) in Haifa however, are amongst the highest in Israel.

Salaries in Israel are lower than you are used to earning!  As of December 2017  the minimum wage in Israel, according to the Department of Statistics,  is 5,300 shekels per month. The average monthly wage is about 11,000 shekels (July 2019).

Your first year in Israel will be the hardest; and cash flow could be a problem. Most likely, you'll be at ulpan for about 5 months and it may take another few months until you find a steady job. Take some time to develop a realistic budget that will get you through the survival time and into a period of financial calm.

Israel Housing Prices

Rental

Rental prices in Israel vary considerably.  We have based our price on a very basic and average 100sq/m -3 bedroom apartment.

Expect to pay upwards of 4,000NIS/month in Haifa

Between 6,500 NIS and 8,500 NIS/month is Tel Aviv is average

Upward of 7,000 NIS/month in Bakaa and Bayit VeGan in Jerusalem is average

Purchase price

Usually a 40% down-payment is required when making a property purchase.    Your monthly mortgage payment or your rental should not exceed more than 1/3 of your income.  Prices listed here are a guideline only, check with your realtor and research current prices.

Prices quoted per square meter in NIS

Jerusalem 20,000 - 31,000
Tel Aviv 30,000 - 46,000
Beersheva, Haifa, Hadera & Afula  12,000 -16,000
Modiin 20,000 - 28,000

 

Is it possible to buy a home for 1,000,000 shekels in Israel? 

House Committee Levy - Vaad HaBayit

The monthly house committee levy generally includes electricity (for the entrance and stairwells), water (garden and washing floors - entrance and stairwells), a cleaning person and general building maintenance.  Monthly maintenance costs are the responsibility of the tenant while structural maintenance is the responsibility of the owner and are not the responsibility of a tenant. The monthly house committee levy is much higher in buildings that have elevators and swimming pools.

Expect to pay upwards of anywhere between 50 - 300 NIS and more/month


Public Utilities

Gas: Cooking & Heating Costs

A small gas balloon - 12kg - costs around 150 shekels and generally lasts for  2 - 3 months when used for cooking purposes only.  If you use gas to heat your home in the winter, your bill will be considerably higher. Ceramic stoves (glass tops) are now quite popular in Israel and are energy efficient making the operating costs quite comparable to gas.

Expect to pay between 50 - 100 NIS for gas/month for cooking purposes only.

Electricity Rates

Lights, washing machine, dishwasher, oven, microwave and other small appliances (not including the cost to run a clothes dryer or an air-conditioner). 

Expect to pay between  250 - 700 NIS/month depending on the season and your location.

  • Gas ranges are still more popular than electric ones in Israel. Consider using toaster ovens instead of regular ovens for small quantities and quick cooking.
  • Electricity bills are sent out every 2 months so your actual bill will be double of that which is listed here (around 500 - 1500 shekels)
  • The cost of running a small, single air conditioning unit is approximately one shekel per hour.

Hebrew English translation of the bi-monthly Hevrat HaHashmal (Israel Electric Company) electricity bill

Is it worth bring appliances and small electrical appliances to Israel?

Municipal water bill

Under the current water restrictions and regulations, each family member is entitled to 3.5 cu per month.  A family of 4 is therefore entitled to 14 cu of water per month.  Water consumption above this, is charged at a much higher rate.  The water bill is sent out every 2 months.

A family of four can expect to pay around 150 shekels every 2 months (based on taking showers and not baths and  running a dishwasher and a washing machine every day)

Click here for a Hebrew English translation of the municipal water bill

Arnona - Municipal rates and taxes

Arnona on 100 sq/m.  Budget for at least 500 shekels per month but expect to pay more in exclusive suburbs

Statements of account for municipal taxes are sent out every 2 months. Arnona rates vary from one municipal district to another. Within a city the rates and taxes vary from suburb to suburb.  There is no regulation as to how the Arnona is calculated - some municipal councils may include the walls, balconies, stairwells, refuse areas etc.and others may not.

New immigrants and other sectors of the population are entitled to discounts on their arnona

For your convenience, a Hebrew English translation of the arnona bill


Telecommunications

2012 saw a revolution in the mobile phone industry in Israel with the establishment of a number of new mobile phone carriers. Competition between them is rife.  Telecommunications companies reserve the right to adjust their prices at any time.  Before signing up for any phone or telecommunications plan with any carrier, please read the fine print very, very carefully.

Bezeq (Israel's first telecommunications carrier) does not advertise prices on their website however they offer internet, telephone packages and other internet services like smart home - home automation as well as cloud services.

Smartphone purchase; upwards of 1000 NIS.  We do not recommend that you sign up for a telecommunications contract that includes the purchase of a telephone.  Buy your phone as a separate piece of hardware and it pays to shop around.

A list of local and cable television and news channels

Click here for a translation of your mobile phone bill and other household bills.


Groceries

The costs listed here are based on an average family of four and refer to basic food and grocery items. If you regularly buy gourmet, delicatessen items or imported goods, then  budget more.

Supermarket items: Budget a minimum of 1500NIS/month for food and grocery items

Fresh produce market - the shuk: Budget a minimum of 600 shekels/month for fruit and vegetables

Shopping at the fresh produce market is considerably cheaper on Friday afternoons from around 2pm till closing at 4pm. Get more tips for shopping in Israel and check out average supermarket prices for the past 3 years.


Israel Transport Costs

How much does it cost to run a car?

Budget a minimum of 500NIS/month for 3rd party and comprehensive insurance on an economy vehicle

Budget around 800NIS for the annual roadworthy (package deal:- regular service + pre-test check + test levy)

Budget between 6 and 7 NIS/liter for gasoline.  The price of regular gasoline is adjusted on the 1st of the month.  Some gas stations offer discounts so it is important to shop around for the best deal.  Self-service is cheaper.

Budget a minimum of 1500 NIS/year for an economy vehicle license

Driver's license - annual renewal fee (you can renew your driver's license for up to 10 years at a time - 52 - 439 NIS

Driving lessons - budget around 120NIS/lesson

Driver's test - 400NIS

Are you considering bringing your car to Israel? What are the requirement for and hidden costs when importing a car to Israel?

Public Transport

Regular route, single adult bus fare - 5.90NIS

Sherut (shared taxi) - 6.00NIS

Train fare is determined by distance

The Jerusalem light train, the Haifa Carmelit and Metronit - regular single adult fare - 5.90

2016 transport tariff reform

Rav Kav multi-ride public transport smart-card

All salaried employees are entitled to compensation for their traveling expenses to and from work. The travel allowance is set out by law.


Entertainment budget

Keep these amounts in mind when budgeting for entertainment

40 NIS for a movie ticket

47 NIS for a 3D movie

100 - 400NIS for live shows, local artists, theater and symphony

300 - 1,500NIS for overseas artists

Children's theater - budget 80NIS per ticket

50 NIS - an adult ticket for entrance to a museum

70 NIS entrance fee to a water park

396 NIS for an annual membership to the Israel Nature & Parks Authority - Matmon Card

Eating out. Frugal foodies or expensive eating.

50 NIS for MacDonalds combo meal

20 NIS for a felafel (a half-portion is also available for the not-so-hungry)

35 NIS for a Schwarma

150 NIS for a steak

60 NIS for a burger (you might have to pay extra for fries)

60 - 70 NIS for a large salad (enough for 2)

18 NIS for special coffees

8 - 12 NIS for a soda can in a restaurant

20 - 30 NIS for a beer in a pub

6.50NIS for 1.5 liters of coca-cola in a supermarket


Tuition Costs

School Fees

Municipal school fees in Israel, are laid out by the Ministry of Education.  Additional charges are levied by the schools and will vary from school to school.  Levies would include: the parent's committee, annual class trip, heating, class year books, parties etc.

Hebrew English  translation of the municipal bill for school fees

 

Basic fee (sal ha'tarbut) 150 – 400 NIS/year
Class parties  25 - 100 NIS
Annual class trip  400 – 1,000 NIS
Personal effects, notebooks, equipment etc. (not clothing)  600 NIS
An after school activity; ballet, judo, art etc. (per month per activity) 150 - 200 NIS
Private school fees 2,000+NIS month
Private day care for tiny tots (generally includes a meal) 1500+NIS month
 

As of September 2012 fees for children attending municipal kindergartens, from age 3, were lifted.

School Uniforms

 Summer T shirts  25 – 45 NIS ea
 Girls summer tights (leggings/ski pants) Please note: some schools in Israel, no longer   allow girls to wear these tights.  Check with your school before you buy  35 - 65 NIS ea
 Boys summer gym shorts  35 - 55 NIS ea
 Long sleeved T's  35 - 55 NIS ea
 Winter sweatshirts and hoodies  45 - 100 NIS ea
 Jeans  200 - 300 NIS/pair
 Sneakers  300 - 700 NIS/pair

Minimum Wage or Salary in Israel as at December 2017

Per hour if you work per hour (regular hours - without overtime) 28.00 shekels/hour
Per month if you work on a monthly salary 5,300 shekels/month
 

A typical Israeli salary slip translated from Hebrew to English

Average supermarket prices 

How to save 16,500 shekels a year

Alon Gal's 10 Top Money Tips

Best ways to save electricity

Your common household bills translated from Hebrew to English

Overview of Banking in Israel