couponing in the holy land

Frugal food shopping for the Anglo Israeli

Archive for the tag “yisrael hayom”

Around the world: The price of spreading

Today we are checking out 200 grams of margarine, which is significantly cheaper in the US and England.  The author states that there may be several reasons for this difference: (1) we have an 18% sales tax on margarine and (2) there are generic brands of margarine in the US/UK and not in Israel.

IMG_3360.JPGYisrael HaYom, 26 Nov 2014

 

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Around the world: Chips for a fat price

Whether the chips say “American style” or not, Israeli chips are slightly more expensive than the American french fries.  The UK, however, has the most attractive price- less than half the Israeli price.

IMG_3359.JPG

Source: Yisrael HaYom 24 Nov 2014

 

George Orwell is alive and living in Eretz Yisrael

Yesterday was a very sad day for Israeli consumers.  Eitan Cabel’s law forbidding Yisrael HaYom to distribute its newspaper for free passed the first reading in the Knesset (it needs three readings to become a law).  Yes, you heard correctly.  A law is soon to be passed that forbids someone to give out a newspaper- it forces them to charge money for the paper!  Why in the world would Eitan Cabel do this?  Because a free paper is unfair competition to the other papers who charge money, of course!

A little background for those of you who don’t read the mainstream Israeli papers. Yisrael HaYom is considered to be a center to right wing paper. Yediot Achronot, the second most widely read paper, is considered to be left wing, Haaretz extremely left wing, Mekor Rishon is for intellectual dati leumi Jews, and Maariv is read by almost nobody.  Yisrael HaYom is financed by Sheldon Adelson, a right-wing American Jew who happens to be the 10th richest person in the world.  He is a strong supporter of Bibi Netanyahu and created Yisrael HaYom as a backlash against the left wing papers (mainly Yediot Achronot) who strongly dislike Bibi, to say it politely.  Remember some of these campaigns?

  

To get back to the point, the free Yisrael HaYom angers the other newspapers because (a)  they have to earn money because they don’t have a financial backer, (b) they hate any thing or any one that disagrees with their political viewpoint, and (c) Yisrael HaYom is the most widely read paper in Israel.  So what do you do if you can’t beat the competition?  In Israel, you don’t join them, you make them illegal!

Sounds Orwellian, does it not?  What happens if this becomes a precedent in other industries- will they ban 1+1 sales? “Free gift with a purchase”? Force all businesses to charge the same price so everyone earns the same amount of money?  Not that, of course- that is called price fixing and it is illegal.  Speaking of illegalities, there is a primary law in Israel (the equivalent of an Act in the US or a Regulation in the EU) which ensures the right of each and every citizen to open and run any business: “כל אזרח או תושב של המדינה זכאי לעסוק בכל עיסוק, מקצוע או משלח יד”.  So if this is true, then it would be reasonable to assume that Eitan Cabel’s law would be thrown out of the knesset.  In fact, a judicial decision was published stating that this law is “illegal” (the Israeli version of “unconstitutional”).  Despite that, it was still brought to the knesset!

For all of you who live in small communities who publish their own paper, never fear- the law only applies to “full-size” newspapers.  You can still give away your local paper, as long as it isn’t full-size, whatever that means.

I am truly shocked and amazed at the fact despite its illegality, our government representatives are still more concerned with political bickering than doing something about the “yoker mechiah”- the high prices of just about everything in Israel.  We can’t even get a newspaper for free!  Not only that, but I am disgusted with the thought that there will be only one political voice in Israel.  Every time I see a pro-Palestinian group quote an article in Haaretz, I cringe.  We all see the bias shown towards Israel in the foreign press- why should we allow it to happen here?

You may be thinking that this is an important issue, but what does this have to do with Couponing in the Holy Land?  Well, as you might have read in other posts, Yisrael HaYom is a good source for coupons, deals, and sales advertisements.  They also have a great section on consumerism.  In addition, I see no reason to pay for a newspaper when I can get one for free- that is being smart financially.

If you also disagree with Eitan Cabel’s proposed law to shut down Yisrael HaYom, there are several things you can do to make your voice heard.

#1: Sign the Atzuma petition.

#2: Go to Eitan Cabel’s Facebook page.  Hear his vitriol against Yisrael HaYom.  Comment on his page.  So far the great majority of comments are against him.

#3: Write to the supporters and opponents of Eitan Cabel’s law to express your opinion.  Most of the opponents, as you could imagine, are Likud members.  Most of the supporters are Yesh Atid members and further left.  A big surprise for me was seeing Dov Lipkin’s name as one of the supporters- as a former American I would expect him to be a strong supporter of free enterprise than he apparently is.

The full list is below, but some of the prominent supporters of the law also include Yair Shamir (Minister of Agriculture), Yael German (Minster of Health), Avigdor Lieberman (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Tzipi Livni (Minister of Justice), Shaul Mofaz, Uzi Landau, Yitzchak Aharonivich (Minister of Public Security), Sofa Landver (Minister of Immigration), Ahmed Tibi, Meir Shitrit, Amir Peretz, and as previously mentioned Dov Lipkin.

Some of the prominent detractors include: Yuval Shteinitz (Minister of Strategic and Intelligence Affairs), Yisrael Katz (Minister of Transportation), Moshe Feiglin, Uri Orbach (Minister for Senior Citizens), Yuli Edelstein (Speaker of the Knesset), Moshe Yaalon (Minister of Defense), Limor Livnat (Minister of Culture and Sport), Meir Porush, and Benyamin Netanyahu.

Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennett, and Shai Piron are not listed.

התומכים בחוק: חברי הכנסת אביגדור ליברמן, אילן גילאון, אראל מרגלית, דוד רותם, יאיר שמיר, יצחק אהרונוביץ’, מיכל בירן, סופה לנדבר, עומר בר-לב, ציפי לבני, רות קלדרון איברהים צרצור, איציק שמולי, בועז טופורובסקי, חמד עמאר, יואל רזבוזוב, יצחק הרצוג, מסעוד גנאים, סתיו שפיר, עפו אגבאריה, קארין אלהרר, שאול מופז, אורלי לוי אבקסיס, איתן כבל, דב ליפמן, חנא סוייד, יעל גרמן, לאון ליטינצקי, מרב מיכאלי, עוזי לנדאו, עפר שלח, רוברט אילטוב, שמעון סולומון, אחמד טיבי, אלכס מילר, דוד צור, טלב אבו עראר, יפעת קריב, מאיר שטרית, נחמן שי, עמיר פרץ, פאינה קירשנבאום ורונן הופמן.

המתנגדים לחוק: חברי הכנסת אופיר אקוניס, גילה גמליאל, יובל שטייניץ, ישראל כץ, משה פייגלין, פנינה תמנו-שטה, אורי אורבך, זאב אלקין, יולי אדלשטיין, לימור לבנת, משה יעלון, ציפי חוטובלי, אורית סטרוק, זבולון כלפה, יוני שטבון, מאיר פרוש, משה מזרחי, שולי מועלם-רפאלי, בנימין נתניהו, זהבה גלאון, ישראל חסון, מרדכי יוגב וניסן סלומינסקי.

נמנעו: חברי הכנסת אברהם מיכאלי, חיליק בר, אורי מקלב, יעקב אשר, באסל גטאס, נסים זאב, יואב בן צור ועמרם מצנע.

As you can see, it is pretty well divided politically.

Hopefully the Knesset will see come to their senses and vote down this incredulous piece of legislation, but in case it doesn’t, I pulled out my copy of 1984 to read this Shabbat so I will be ready for what the future holds in store for us.

“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”
George Orwell, 1984

Sources: Mako and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

 

Five shekels groceries brought to you by Cofix

Not satisfied with creating a coffee revolution, Cofix founder Avi Katz will now be taking on supermarkets and food waste.  Starting in Tel Aviv in April, he plans to open 40-50 small (150-400 square meter) stores where every product will cost 5 shekels- meat, vegetables, canned foods, cleaning products, and even housewares.  It is not meant to be a full service supermarket but will have the basic items and is in negotiations with food manufacturers to produce a product that will be appropriate for his stores.  These products may be in smaller sizes which is something he feels is to be desired.  Too many people are tricked by promotions to buy large sizes and in bulk to save money but end up throwing the food out or it rots before they use it.  If people buy less up front and in sizes that are appropriate for them at that time, there is less waste and that means more money saved.   Israel leads all of the OECD countries in the amount of food waste that we produce- 350 shekels worth each month.

With Shufersal reporting losses and their increased marketing of the Shufersal brand as well as the supercofix announcement, it seems that businesses are starting to get the message that consumers are fed up with price gouging.  Let’s hope that all of the supermarkets will feel the need to compete with supercofix and bring lower prices for everyone.

Sources: Globes,Globes, and Yisrael HaYom

Cheese at a heavy price

 

Although this is something I noted previously, cheese is a very expensive product in Israel.  Yisrael HaYom checked the price of Gouda cheese around the world and confirmed: we are 2-3 times more expensive than Britain and 23 times more expensive than the US.  Yisrael HaYom says it is because in chul there are private labels, but one important point was not mentioned- whether they compared kosher Gouda in Israel with kosher Gouda in chul. I suspect not.
IMG_3225.JPGSource: Yisrael HaYom  24 October 2014

 

Which battery gives you the best bang for your buck?

One of the items on my to-bring-back list is batteries.  No matter what brand I pick, the batteries I buy in Israel seem to last about 35 seconds.  The rechargeable batteries have an even shorter lifespan.  The problem is, batteries are so heavy that it is very difficult to bring them back.  So I was thrilled to read this article in Yisrael HaYom which explains WHY the Israeli batteries don’t last- it is because many of them are zinc-carbon batteries, also known as “heavy duty” batteries which don’t last nearly as long as alkaline batteries.  They are cheap, though, and unfortunately Israelis (and new olim) are attracted to the price.  Therefore, aliyah tip #8- make sure you buy alkaline batteries (if you buy disposable).  Alkaline batteries last approximately 4-5 times as long as zinc-carbon batteries.  There is another type of battery you might find on the shelves- lithium-ion batteries, which last 5 times longer than alkaline batteries, but also cost much more.

What about rechargeable batteries?  They should last for approximately 300 charges, but most of them don’t get used that much because they get lost, or the charger gets lost, or people lose patience waiting for them to recharge.  Many people see the high price up front and balk.  If rechargeable batteries are actually used for 300 charges, they are cheaper than alkaline batteries.

What makes one battery different than another?  Panasonic, for example, has a special standard that doesn’t allow the battery to leak so that increases their price.  Each manufacturer can pack a battery differently and that affects how long they last.

Tips for longer battery life:

  1. Don’t keep batteries in the freezer.  Despite popular knowledge, this does not increase battery life but actually decreases it.  You can keep them in a refrigerator drawer but make sure to keep them in a plastic bag so they don’t leak and rust in the refrigerator.
  2. Give the batteries time to rest.  If you don’t plan on using the batteries until the end of their life, let them rest for 24 hours and it will lengthen their life.
  3. Take out the batteries.  If you leave batteries in a piece of equipment without using it, the batteries will start to leak and irreparably damage the equipment.

Finally, the results.  This first chart shows the battery life of different brands.

Are you surprised?  As I am sure you know, it is not only how long it lasts but how much it costs.  This next chart compares battery life to price and comes up with an “hours per shekel” rate.

I must say I was quite surprised by the results- were you?  The lesson learned today is don’t be afraid of the generic Super-pharm brand Life batteries.

Source: Yisrael HaYom

How much does it cost to be vegan in Israel?

Today is Meatless Monday, promoted around the world and in Israel by the Environmental Protection Ministry (Haganat Hasviva) as a way to be healthier and put less of a strain on the environment.  But how does being vegan affect your budget?  Coming from chul, we remember produce as being relatively expensive and kosher meat as being even more expensive, while non-kosher meat was very cheap.  You might remember Aliyah tip #6- eat more meat, its cheaper! about changing your attitude when in Israel- that cheese and processed foods are much more expensive than meat.  The prices of eggs and milk are regulated in Israel, so our main protein sources are relatively affordable.

What happens when one becomes vegan?  The prices of alternative protein sources such as nuts are approximately 75-100 shekels/kg, soy milk is 10 shekels/kg and soy flakes are 37-40 shekels/kg- much more expensive than chicken, eggs, or milk.  Regarding other products,  Yisrael HaYom compared prices of other essentials with their vegan alternatives and found some surprising results:

Before we get too excited, I have to say that the article online left out several products that were cheaper than their meat alternatives: salami- 37% cheaper, ground beef- 40-66% cheaper, and goulash- 49% cheaper.  There are also several more vegan products that are more expensive than their alternatives.  In addition, these prices were taken from the Shufersal Sheli on 17 Brazil Street in Tel Aviv- not a store or a neighborhood known for reasonable prices.

Of course, time is money as well.  There are relatively few vegan processed products on the market which necessitates cooking from scratch for every meal, which takes up an extremely large amount of time.  It also takes time to go from shop to shop finding vegan products which tend to be more esoteric.

Another point brought up is that vegans frequently have to use dietary supplements to replenish essential nutrients such as iron, vitamin B and calcium, which are very expensive as well.  I am not sure this is an appropriate argument- if a vegan diet is properly balanced they shouldn’t be deficient in those nutrients.

So while I appreciate the argument by Haganat Hasviva that we should reduce our damage to the environment, that alone will not convince me to become vegan based on the price differences I see here.  Of course, most people become vegan because they feel that we do not have the right to kill animals for food, so the price issue may be irrelevant.  If you are thinking of moving to Israel or are a new oleh, be aware when budgeting for groceries that you may have significantly higher expenses than the average person.

Source: Yisrael HaYom.  All food prices taken from the mySupermarket web site.

The Kravitz coupon is here!

For those who were following my school supplies thread this year (Part 1 and Part 2) as well as last year, you heard about the big Kravitz coupon  for 50 shekels off a 150 shekel purchase that starts appearing in Yisrael Hayom each day.  Well, this week is has been in the paper every day- sometimes twice in one paper!  This week’s coupon expires 8 August 2014 (this Friday).

Each year the fine print gets longer and longer.  Here are this years’ qualifications:

  • You must come with the notice to get the discount
  • Not valid on Jansport
  • For office supplies, not including electronics, printers and printer ink, cellular phones and accessories
  • You cannot pay with a voucher or gift card
  • No double discounts

The big issue is whether they will take a printed copy of the coupon or not.  I haven’t found a store that will, but if you do, you can print out the coupon from Yisrael HaYom’s web site.

This is a sample coupon from 2011:

 

Saving money on school supplies- Part 2

My luck is such that a few days after I post about saving money on school supplies, Ynet writes an article as well. Ynet reiterates what I said previously- that Israelis are too concerned with the war to worry about school supplies.  Those that are buying are buying only the essentials and a smaller amount than usual.  Stores such as Office Depot and Kfar Shaashuim are reporting decreased sales of 20-30% but Kravitz is reporting a decrease only in the South of approximately 15%.

When a representative from Kravitz was interviewed regarding the store’s reputation as being much more expensive than their competitors, he said that you can spend 4 shekels on a marker in Kravitz that is German quality and has approval from Machon HaTkanim (The Israeli Standards Institute) or go to the competition and spend 3 shekels on a marker that doesn’t work or states on the label that it is only for adults, which means it does not have approval from Machon HaTkanim.  It is obvious what is the more appropriate product.

A representative from Idan 2000 is also seeing decreased sales throughout the country.  People aren’t interested in going out and wandering around- in the South and in places like Rishon and Rechovot people aren’t leaving their houses at all.  In the North, people are caught up in the whole atmosphere of the country at war.

What does this mean for consumers?  Well, school will come at the end of August, war or no war.  The stores will have to get rid of their merchandise, so if the war is still going on, retailers will have to make an extra effort to make their products move out of the store.  That means big sales.  So don’t feel pressure to get anything done right now- time is on your side.

As an aside, Yisrael HaYom started posting the Kravitz coupon we all wait for each year- 50 shekels off a 150 shekel purchase.  Unfortunately I am not able to post each morning it appears in the paper, but you can go to their web site and read the paper early to see if it has a coupon.  You can also have it emailed to you early in the morning- sign up on their web site.  As far as I know you have to use the original print coupon- not one you print on the computer.  They also have coupons on other products but the deals aren’t usually that exciting.

If you really want to start shopping or are stuck home for whatever reason, check out my blog post about Tilboshet– the online store for 100% cotton school shirts.  Never go by the regular price- check for their current sales, which are listed below.

You can also order school books online from Tzomet Sefarim and pick them up in your local store when they arrive.

Stay tuned for more updates as they come in.  In the meantime, keep safe and stay strong. Mi Ka’amcha Yisrael?

 

School supplies- just be Israeli

I was reading a Facebook post by someone about how much she spent on school supplies.  While most of my readers know that is is essential to plan ahead for most events in order to save money, that doesn’t mean we should be buying in advance.  All of us have seen the humus for a shekel before Yom Ha’Atzmaut and free fish heads when you buy gefilte fish before Rosh Hashana.  Those deals, however, come out right before the holidays, in sync with Israeli time which is notoriously last minute.  Although up to now I have seen some used book sales here and there, most of the Israeli population is more concerned with Tzav 8 and entertaining their kids since camps are over.  The last two weeks of August when most people are on vacation is when the shopping will be in full force.  There are one or two coupons coming out now, mainly for backpacks such as this Kravitz one:

Read the fine print: you must spend 99 shekels on office supplies from the 2013 collection.  Must print this coupon and present it when purchasing.  Expires 27 July 2014.

Here is another backpack coupon:

קליק למעבר לדף המבצע

Read the fine print:  You have to have an Egged Rav Kav.  Click on the picture for more information.

Good deals on school supplies haven’t come out yet and won’t for a while. However, it is a good idea to start getting a copy of Yisrael HaYom, which posts Kravitz coupons regularly towards the end of the summer.  You should also get acquainted with your local haredi neighborhood general store and ask when they will start stocking school supplies.  Prices are on a whole cheaper in haredi neighborhoods but I would be cautious when buying super cheap products other than paper goods because they may not last as long as more expensive items.

There are a lot more tips in a previous blog post I wrote last year- check it out!  One tip I learned after I wrote that post was the ability to purchase used books through Tzomet Sefarim. Check your local store to see if they do a buy back or not.  You can also email in your school book list to Tzomet Sefarim, pick up the books at your local store and avoid the long lines.  Don’t forget to check back here for more coupons as they come out!

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