Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Finances in Israel

I've been having an on and off debate with Mr. NMF about cheaper places to live. I am convinced that once we have several kids, Israel will come out far cheaper as of living expenses, than America. This is for the simple reasons of health insurance and schooling.

But until we have several children, which really does work out cheaper? America? Or Israel?

I mean, I sit down and figure out my budget (thanks Orthonomics, for helping all the Jblogosphere, including me, with that) and basically, I can come up with a few categories. Then I figured the best way would be to compare the average living style in the US with Israel.

Of course, that sparked a debate, as I am originally from Out-Of-Town, and proud of it, while husband is from 'New Yawk'. Is living out of town cheaper than living in the big bad city? What if I were to go outside the box all together and suggest living in Australia, as his chavrusa is starting to contemplate. It seems they have a very good kollel down under, that basically pays for one's living expenses.

So, in these categories- which do you think is more expensive- America or Israel. If you pick America, please state Out Of Town versus New York/Lakewood, and tell me why!

Oh, and for our family, we'll pick an average family with 2 kids who are not in school as of yet. (One can be in a gan/preschool, if you like.)

So, drumroll please. Here are the categories:

Health Care
Clothing and Sundry (especially for 2 kids, who do ruin their clothing, despite all attempts to prevent it)
Holidays and Special Times of the Year (ie Pesach)
Schooling (assuming babysitter or gan/preschool for at least one child)
Utilities: Gas, Water, Electric

Any more things I missed?
So whaddaya all say?


itsagift said...

Hey, that's tough...don't have the head for it now, to try and do the
Question about yomim tovim - are you talking about someone who lives in Israel and comes home for Succos and Pesach? Because then you can add the plane tickets to the equation!

nmf #7 said...

Itsagift- Ok, without math- where do you think is more expensive? Just in general.

Oh, and Yomim Tovim- good question. I know those who have made aliyah, yet still go back every Pesach, and there are those who haven't made aliyah yet make their own.

I say, if those who want you at home want you at home, then they should pay. But that's my feeling. You could add it in if you like! (I don't go back, personally.But I have family who comes here...)

Freeda said...

I don't know much about the expenses of a family...but I did some research for an economics project, comparing 3 "Bais Yaakov Schools", comparing the overall cost of a year in 11th grade, taking into account tuition, uniforms, school suppies (estimate) extras....

Quite interesting. Out of town (me) was came out in middle. Bais Yaakov Ramapo was the most expensive and Bais Shaindel was the cheapest

the rabbi's wife said...

Overall, Israel is the cheapest, especially once the kids hit school! OOT is the next cheapest, particularly in places like Dallas, Chicago, Seattle, where the ortho community isn't in a gentrified neighborhood (unlike LA and Atlanta). In town is by far the most expensive. Assuming you want to avoid going on welfare and medicaid.

harry-er than them all said...

the biggest expense with OOT is schooling. Because they aren't quite big enough to spread costs they tend to be on the upper side.

Cnn moneyfinder a few months ago did a study that you can move from NYC to dallas, take a 42% cut in pay and have the same standard. mind you that is non-jewish economics, not taking tuition, higher cost of jewish living into account.

You should try contacting Ezzie at if you are seriously contemplating the move. he has lots of data about many cities, and can give you a better feel. oh yea, and fill out his survey!

nmf #7 said...

Freeda- I don't really know where those schools are- want to illuminate me?

The Rabbi's Wife- Even with small numbers of kids?

Harryer- Very interesting, didn't know that about OOT schools. (I'm not planning on leaving Israel at ALL, just it's an interesting question that came up once or twice.)

Freeda said...

BY of Ramapo- a small BY in monsey
Bais Shaindel - one of the big 3 in Lakewood

Out of out of town...

J.A.P. said...

America 100%. Out of town or not. "New Yawk" definitely tops all lists though.

Always thought I'd leave Brooklyn once I grew up but of course I ended up marrying the one person who just can't imagine living life anywhere else and I'm living only a block away from my parents.

One thing I can't understand though. If everyone agrees that NYC is so crazy expensive- how can all those women afford to shop on 13th ave and eat lunch in Cafe K and Spoons four times a week?

the rabbi's wife said...

It's so much cheaper, even with just 2 kids, it's astounding.
In Seattle, our grocery bill alone was $250 a week b/c of the cost of kosher meat and milk. Chalav stam would have knocked about $50 off of that. For only 2 adults. Rent was about $750 for a shoebox place, other bills (cell, water, electric, etc) was about $350 and car expenses (gas, insurance, upkeep) were upwards of $300 a month as well (we commuted). We lived pretty frugally, although we could have eaten less meat and cut our bills that way a bit more. We didn't have insurance, but I know it runs my parents upwards of $500 a month for theirs which is a mid-range kind of thing (like when my mom had cancer, they still had to pay about $20,000 for all her treatment).
So, in Israel, our Grocery bill (with diapers!) is about $100-$125 a week, our rent 3700 shek, insurance 40 shek, no car, but about 150 shek in cartisiot, other bills about 1200 shek every 2 months. I work from home sewing and on the internet, My husband learns full time and we do pretty well. We live in the center of town, so everything is close and I can go to different grocery stores (Yay for super glatt and Pashut zol!) and the shuk to shop for good deals. (Mister Zol has flour 4 for 10 shek this week! if you make challah, now is the time to stock up!)
Mine are too young for Gan/school yet, but I know that's unbelievably cheap compared to the states. Plus, you get the child allowance and other benefits when your DH is in Kollel. However you do have to make aliyah for that to work. If you're not planning on leaving Israel, it's much cheaper to stay if you're a citizen.

nmf #7 said...

JAP- They can't afford it. Hence the American recession. But no worries! There is always credit cards! :D

Rabbi's Wife- OOH!! Thanks for the whole detailed summary. Yeah- healthcare is one of those major expenses in America. Although now, with Obamacare, it could be changing. But I digress.

(Thanks for alerting me to the flour sale!) (Although, I always was a Yesh fan. How does Bar Kol rank on your list?)

Yeah, I know it's cheaper here as a citizen...I'm due to make aliyah soon, I hope.

But it's funny that it's even cheaper with 2 little ones. Everyone always says that Israel is worth it only after you have 3-4 kids, because then the schooling and health insurance becomes much more expensive. Very interesting. And thanks for all the info!

Anonymous said...

To compare expenses in EY and USA is worse than comparing apples and oranges.

Expenses are meaningless without taking into account income and salary.

A love salary in NY of, say, $40,000 makes you WEALTHY in EY, and in America, you would be poor. An avg salary in EY is $1500 a month.

If you want to compare the 2 - note that its a much simpler life style here. With the exception of the young couples in Yerushalayim

AmIaFrumFeminist said...

It all depends on your living. It's easier to make money chutz la'aretz, which means you have more money to spend. As for cost of living, that depends where you live in the U.S. Texas has cheap real estate, but zero social programs (no medical insurance etc.) New York is expensive, but has plenty of social services.

nmf #7 said...

Anon- Actually, it is comparing apples to apples- just green and red.
Budgeting should be the same no matter what- in any country- whether you have a high salary or a low one. Salary makes no difference (except for income tax and tax bracket, or tuition discounts) on how much things cost.
You can compare grocery bills for a millionaire and a pauper. They are still buying groceries.