Advice for Yotzim Leshe'elah


1. Finances

Income vs. expenses

The expected income should be summed up first, after which the expenses can be calculated: accommodation, clothing, mobile phone, cable TV, gym, cigarettes, travels etc.

Organize two columns at the start of each month: one designated for expenses and the other for income, trying to reach a balance between them. You ought to plan an estimated budget a few months in advance, monitoring and improving it with time. If you have access to a computer, you should use it in this case. (Excel is most appropriate).

Opening a bank account

a. Banks help us manage our money. In most work places, payment is done via checks or directly to the bank account.

A checking account should be opened – every bank has its instructions as to the minimum deposit amount for opening an account.

b. Once you open an account a checkbook should be ordered – in every checkbook there are 25 checks.

c. Make sure your spending is always less than the amount in the account. This is important, as the banks charge a high interest rate on overdraft, which should be avoided.

Banks do not allow any deviation from the pre agreed framework.

d. In case the “yotze” has an amount for saving, you should ask the bank under what conditions is a higher interest rate paid: a weekly deposit, a monthly deposit, etc.

e. Credit card holders should follow the shopping details at the end of the month, in order to avoid mistakes and thefts.

In the smaller banks, like Bank Hapoalim or The International Bank, commissions are lower, especially at The Mizrachi Bank, compared to the big banks: Hapoalim, Leumi and Discount Bank.

You can consult with volunteers in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on money matters; they can also help you plan your monthly budget.

If you fall into debts, you should avoid taking loans in “the gray market” – money lenders, who charge such a high interest on the loan, that often you may not be able to return it. 

Students may take big loans at a low interest rate from Bank Hapoalim or Leumi Bank.

It is highly recommended to work in a regular job, with a pay slip and not illegally, with all kinds of arrangements that will eventually leave you harmed.

2. National Insurance, Health

National Insurance (Bitu’ach Leumi)

Starting at the age of 18, every “yotze” must pay Bitu’ach Leumi. If you don’t, debts plus interest accumulate. Students and soldiers are insured automatically in Bitu’ach Leumi. Students pay a reduced amount monthly, for soldiers it’s free.

Dental Treatment

You can get treatment at a reduced price at the university clinic, both in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. This service is given to students only. A regular check up should be done once or twice a year.

Eye Test and Glasses

Reduced prices for eye tests and purchasing glasses can be found at Jerusalem Hadassah College - School of Optometry. In both cases treatments are conducted by students, under the supervision of teachers, who are not physicians. Important: Do not neglect health issues, especially dental ones. Neglect can lead to higher expenditures later.

3. Psychological Service

You can get psychological help from  therapists that are also volunteers in Hillel. Contact with  the volunteer personally assigned to you or the branch coordinator.

4. Looking for an apartment

The price of the apartment you’re looking for should not exceed 40% of your total monthly income. Calculation method: total income times 0.4, i.e. if the expected income is 2500 NIS a month, accommodation rate should be within the limit of 1000 NIS per month. Make sure this amount covers all electricity, water, gas and municipal rate expenses. (If the landlord is a pensioner it’s best to reach an agreement with him, where he pays the reduced municipal rate). In some cities there’s a reduced rate for students. A “yotse”, who has been admitted as a “lone soldier”, receives participation in rent, as well as a fixed monthly bonus on top of the monthly salary. It is recommended to rent an apartment with a legal rental contract. Hillel has lawyers, who can help you before signing a contract. Electricity savings: Turn off electricity in unoccupied rooms. Use energy-saving bulbs. Turning on the water heater: 30-45 minutes prior to the shower is enough. You should have a shutdown timer installed. Don’t leave the electrical heater (that heats the room) on – as heaters use a lot of electricity. Air conditioner heating is cheaper than a spiral electrical heater or a radiator. Water saving: Every leak should be fixed immediately, to save water. (The landlord must let the apartment with all water taps intact).

5. Electrical Appliances, Furniture and Different Objects

Electrical Appliances are relatively expensive. “Yotzim” should advertise the need for an appliance through the Hillel office. Always try to find out first if, by any chance, someone has left an appliance that you need at the office. There are Internet sites, where you can advertise and find furniture, electrical appliances and other stuff. Examples of such sites are: Localista, Yad 2 and Agora. Also, Hillel has an agreement with the voluntary association Latet, where you can get furniture and electrical appliances for free. (Tel. no. : 1-800-360-560).

6. Food

Food is quite prominent within the living costs; therefore it needs some consideration and thought in order to reduce the expenditure on it. It is much cheaper and healthier to prepare homemade food, using products bought in the supermarket. Dairy products: Before purchase, check the expiry date. E.g. dairy products keep fresh a few days only, so you’d better not buy a large amount that may spoil. Bread: You should get regular bread. It can be frozen in a plastic bag. Slice it first. For thawing the bread, take it out of the freezer an hour before and place it in a microwave or an oven toaster. Fruit and vegetables: The best and cheapest place to buy this is in the market. Before the market closing time, in the late afternoon or evening hours, you can get significantly cheaper products. You can also find: bread, rolls and pita bread at very low prices. At that hour you can bargain with the merchants. It is also recommended to buy cleaning products in the market, but not food products like eggs or canned food that can spoil by staying in the sun.

7. Shoes and clothes

In Hillel we have a wardrobe, where you are invited to come and take your pick. The clothes are donated by volunteer families, as well as by clothes manufacturers. The market is the best and cheapest place to buy clothes.

In Tel Aviv: The Bezalel Market (close to the corner of King George St. and Allenby), The Carmel Market (situated further along King George Street, on the other side of Allenby Street). Both markets are very close to each other. There are cheap clothes shops on Allenby Street. Another possibility for cheap clothes is second hand shops. You can try on clothes in the shops on the side of the Carmel market (not at the counters), as well as in all the Bezalel market shops. 

The best place to buy shoes is on Neve Sh’a’anan Street (within the new central station). There are shoe shops at a variety of prices.

You must bargain!!! Prices can be significantly reduced (sometimes up to half price).

In Jerusalem: Bazaars are scattered around town. Shoe shops at reasonable prices can be found on Jaffa Street.

8. Hairdresser

Hair cuts are significantly cheaper at hairdressers’ schools, rather than the regular hairdressers’ salons.


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