By Eliana Rudee
Q: How do you make a small fortune in Israel?
A: You come with a large fortune.
…Or so the humorous saying goes. Indeed, Israel can be an expensive country.
And with demand so high for apartments and homes in Jerusalem, it is important to make efforts to save money where you can.
Here’s your Cheap Jerusalem guide on food, alcohol, clothing, electronics, travel, and more!
Chain restaurants: New Deli, Duda La Pizza
Chain restaurants like New Deli and Duda La Pizza offer full meals at low prices. A pie at Duda La Pizza is just under 20 shekels! Or, if you’re looking for a meat meal, turn to New Deli, where you can get a healthy and filling sub sandwich for just 30 shekels.
Osher Ad Kuma.org
Grocery Stores: Osher Ad and Rami Levi
These grocery stores, often in competition with each other for the lowest prices, have some of the best price tags around Jerusalem. Osher Ad is a Costco-like food chain with ten stores around the country. Osher Ad sells many Kirkland brand products; but unlike Costco, they are all kosher l’mehadrin. Whether it’s fruit, veggies, or canned goods, Osher Ad will not disappoint. One kilo of Gouda cheese (2.2 lbs) is just $9 (35 shekels), and that’s when it’s not on sale! The Osher Ad motto is “Lo trickim, lo shtickim”. Or, in English, “no tricks or gimmicks”. At Rami Levi, there are also good prices year round. Get acquainted with the two stores, and you will shortly learn which is best for any given items.
Injera | © Eliana Rudee
Genre: Ethiopian Food
In the early 90s, the large Jewish Ethiopian population made its way to Israel, and Israeli cuisine has never been the same since. Ethiopian restaurants are all over Jerusalem and are recognizable by their colorful logos, often green, yellow, and red, the colors of the Ethiopian flag. Ethiopian restaurants are great if you’re looking for something flavorful, inexpensive, and even gluten free! Injera, the Ethiopian bread made from millet flour, is a fermented pancake-like bread that’s spongy and tastes as if beer and bread had a baby.
Injera is often placed on a large circular platter with dips (meat and veggie options are always available). Vegetarian injera comes with many toppings: dips with potatoes, lentils, salad, green beans, beats, and spices. The meat dishes often come with diced meat in an onion sauté.
Generally speaking, one injera will be enough for two hungry people, and they usually cost around just 40-50 shekels.
For those looking for health food, Ronit Peskin, Yerushalmit and author of Penniless Parenting gives her suggestions for organic, gluten free, soy free, egg free, dairy free (etc., etc.): “I like Teva Net on Agripas for a lot of those things, Hadassa Health Food Store is also considered good, but many like Nitzat HaDuvdevan for their sales”.
Shuk: Wine Shop on 44 Agripas
Highly recommended is the “wine shop” in the outer part of the shuk, on 44 Agripas street. In Hebrew, the store is called “wines and drinks”. Outside you will see many alcohol deals, and always a 5-bottle/100-shekel deal. Did I mention they deliver?
5 Shekel Stores: Cofix
For a night out, begin at the Cofix bar where you can buy shots, wine, beer, or whatever alcohol your thirsty heart desires. Each drink is just 5 shekels, often six times less than bar prices, making it a great place for drinks before you hit the dance floor.
Grocery Store: Osher Ad
One of my favorite wines, called Efrat Judean Hills Dry Red, is just a little over $5, or 19 shekels when it is on sale. For a smooth and tasty wine, try their Cabernet Sauvignon.
Central Bus Station
For cheap clothing, check out the central bus station in Nachlaot. Although this is not an obvious place to find clothing, they have some great deals and stores inside. Next door to the bus station is the Center 1 complex, which has approximately 2 floors of 70 stores, as well as parking. This is a great place to find cheap clothing, especially if modesty and price are priorities.
City Center: Yafo Street
With so many clothing shops along Yafo, it is often hard to choose which to enter. I recommend Chen on Yafo 50 for women’s skirts and dresses, and Tamnoon for men’s clothes on Yafo 46. There you will find great prices on clothes that will not fall apart after the first use. Ronit suggests Zebra (Yaffo 224), Bazaar Strauss (Strauss 10), and Shaul skirts on Yafo for some well-priced skirts. She also suggests buying out of season to get cheaper prices at any store.
It’s the application that Israeli’s know and love. Huliyo offers cheap, last minute flights around Israel, the U.S., Europe and the world, from Ben Gurion airport. The catch is that your dates must be flexible, because the good deals do not apply to all airlines, locations, and dates.
Price Comparison Sites:
If you are looking for specific travel dates, the best option is to use a price comparison site like Expedia and Travel Advisor, and CheapOAir.
Balagan Facebook Page
Join a yoga, acro yoga, or running club with Ba-L’gan. Yoga meets every Tuesday at 6pm, Acro Yoga is every Friday at 11am, and their running group is every Tuesday at 9pm. All in the scenic Gan Sacher.
Many gyms offer good prices if you commit to a monthly or a yearly membership. For a women’s gym, a good option is the Lady Fitness. Other gyms that offer good prices for monthly memberships include City Gym, Samson Fitness, Bodyline in Malcha Mall, Jump in the Binyanei Hauma, and Mati Gym near Teddy Stadium and in Hadar Mall.
© Amanda Mills, USCDCP/Public Domain Images
Inspire Jerusalem Pilates and Yoga-
Inspire Studio, Jerusalem is one of the most popular yoga and Pilates studios in Jerusalem. Located on 22 Agron Street, they have a wide range of classes, from yoga to barre, tap to Pilates. Although a single class is more on the expensive side, 55 shekels per class, if you love it, you can get a monthly pass of 16 classes for just 25 shekels per class! They have both ladies only and coed classes.
Max Stock Logo
If you’re looking to redecorate without breaking the bank, Max Stock will be your new home. With great prices on home goods, decorations, and everything you didn’t know you needed until now, Max Stock is a Jerusalem institution. The best Max Stock, with the most variety of products, is located in Talpiot but there is also a smaller branch right across from the Ha Davidka light rail stop.
If you prefer arts, crafts, and projects over purchasing decorations, make sure to check out Pinterest to give you ideas on how to DIY your home décor. Then, find the material you need on AliExpress or at Max Stock.
AliExpress is Israel’s preferred online store, much like Amazon is to the U.S. Great products to find on AliExpress include cheap consumer electronics, such as phones and computers. Products ship from China, so allow for at least a few weeks of shipment processing time.
The Book Depository Logo
Bookdepository.com is the best way to find books online without breaking the bank. It’s the world’s most international online bookstore that offers over 10 million books. Free delivery worldwide? Check. On my bookmarked favorites? Check.
Clothing and home–
Next.co.uk is a great online shop for clothing and basic household items. But before you get carried away surfing their great deals, make sure your order is under $75 or you will be taxed for the imports!
Don’t bother on expensive electronics you see in department stores. Before opting for a name brand, check out the electronics stores on Agripas street. There, you will find cheap electronics with warranties. And can even haggle the price down.
Zap is an Israeli-owned site that offers amazing prices on electronics. Their price comparison tool empowers Israeli consumers with the information required to make smart decisions.
Yad2 is Israel’s largest classified ads websites. The website is often used to find apartments for sale and for rent, furniture, cars, second hand goods, and even pets. The website features unbeatable prices and is easily the best go-to place to find anything second hand.
Janglo is Israel’s largest second-hand community for Anglos. The website, completely in English, is known for its “protexia”, the way in which it connects people in the community with good deals and opportunities. The website is intended to help Anglos and immigrants to Israel who might not have the personal networks in place to leverage job searches, apartment searches, and even searches for goods.
HaBoydem Facebook Page
Haboydem is a second-hand shop on 15 Tzeret Street. It is recognized for its clean, trendy environment with great deals on lightly used (and sometimes new!), donated clothing. It employs people who are recovering from mental illnesses and substance abuse in order to help them regain a sense of self and gain tools that will help them to move on with their life and goals. The customer base comprises of soldiers, students, and others who may not be able to pay for high priced-clothing. If you are looking for some well-priced second hand clothing, HaBoydem is not only a great store for you, but also a great cause to support.
With all this money you may save by watching where you spend, it isn’t a bad idea to splurge once in a while. “Budgeted splurges”, is what Ronit Peskin calls them. Just as with healthy eating habits, restricting too much is unsustainable and enjoying the things you love is important to sustainable saving. After all, the goal of saving is to enjoy and stress less about the things you love, whether that’s a bottle of wine, the new dress you were eyeing, or an activity with family and friends.
Got places to recommend? Let our people know. Post them in the comments at the end!
Eliana Rudee is a fellow with the Haym Salomon Center and the author of the “Aliyah Annotated” column for JNS.org. She is a graduate of Scripps College, where she studied international relations and Jewish studies. Her bylines have been featured in USA Today, Forbes, and The Hill. Follow her column on JNS.org.