The Big Felafel

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Tips on saving NIS category.

Jerusalem supermarket price wars target caffeine-addicted, chicken-lovin’, messy babies

I am no official Hebrew translator, but I do believe Ynet is telling me there is a massive price war happening between the Talpiot supermarkets Mega and Rami Levi. It was probably my post about ridiculous supermarket prices that really got things moving. Ha!

The price wars are centered around the price of chicken, which is at an all time low at Rami Levi for 89 agurot a kilo (if you spend over 200 shekels). At Mega, it’s now 99 agurot a kilo ( if you spend over 150 shekels).

I went to Mega firsthand tonight to see for myself. There was in fact 99 agurot a kilo chicken as well as hour long lines to take any joy and fun away. It was also Tuesday, Mega’s shuk night where fruit and veggies are very cheap.

I’m still trying to figure out what all the items featured in the price war have in common, but I can’t exactly put my finger on it. The items are

  • Chicken: 89 agurot/kilo at Rami Levi; 99 agurot/kilo at Mega
  • Elite Coffee: 9.99 NIS at Mega
  • Pampers Diapers – 33.90 NIS at Rami Levi, 39.99 NIS atMega
  • Colon Clothing Detergent – 34.99 NIS at Mega
  • CocaCola 6 bottles – 19.99 NIS at Mega
  • Soft Toilet Paper 32 rolls – 19.99 NIS at Mega

I guess they figure there must be a lot of caffeine-addicted, chicken-lovin’ messy babies crawling around out there. Anyone got any better ideas?Mega has declared that it wants the Mega in Talpiot to be the cheapest in Israel. Truly amazing. I wonder if people will come in all the way from Haifa…

Thanks for the tip, Ari.

Update Feb 15: Rami Levy ain’t chickening out, and at 0.79 per kilo, everyone’s fleeing

Top 6 Bargains in Israel (and the runner-ups)

Shuk Mahane Yehuda Jerusalem Israel

After being in Israel for over 3 years, I think I have established the top 6 bargains in Israel. But please, if I forgot any, leave a comment and tell me all about it.

  1. Tablecloths for 18 shekels 10 shekels
    I found pretty Shabbat tablecloths that just about everyone seems to have for 18 shek. This deal is so good, it turns out, that every time my mom comes to visit, it is the only thing she stocks up on.
    Where: Agrippas St in Jerusalem, coming up from King George toward the Mahane Yehuda shuk. It is on the left hand side and they usually have the tablecloths displayed on the street.
    Update: The store on  Agrippas went out of business. But you can find an even better deal at Bazar Strauss in Talpiot across from the Achim Yisrael mall
  2. Haircut for 35 shekels
    We previously wrote about how you can get a 35 shekel haircut by a hair-cutting student at Shuki Zukri Diri in downtown Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Turns out that Mr. Zikri owes millions on the grey market and therefore has shut down his beauty salons. Real bummer. The only thing I can recommend now is to wait for a good deal to show up on group deal sites like Groupon or the like.
    Phone: 02-624-0171
  3. Nesher Shared Taxi Sherut for 45 58 shekels
    For 45 50 58 shekels you get door-to-door service from anywhere in Jerusalem to the airport. My friend said he had a hard time finding Nesher’s phone number online so I thought I’d post them. Make sure to call a day or two before to reserve a spot. Here’s a Nesher-specific “Did you know”. Did you know that they don’t have Nesher in Tel Aviv? I mean, I guess it makes sense since it’s so close to the airport but… how do they survive?
    Phone numbers: 02-623-1231, 02-625-7227
  4. Iced Coffee for 5 shekels
    Personally, I like the smooth iced coffee without the icy chunks. But the Iced Coffee from Marzipan in the shuk is so cheap that I just wait for it to melt.
    Where: The Legendary Marzipan bakery is on Agrippas St. but you probably already knew that and just got up to check the fridge to see if you have any rugalech left over.
  5. Autenti clothes 20-50 shekels.
    Autenti sells hippie-ish clothes between 20 and 50 shekels and usually have cute skirts.
    Where: Stores on Yaffo St. and Agrippas St.
  6. 30 pitas for 10 shekels
    Stop by the shuk at night around 8-9:30 as it’s closing to find good deals on pita and other stuff they’re trying to get rid of.
    Where: Try on Yaffo St by the entrance.


  • Stove Lighters for 5 shekels from the dollar store. Obviously the conversion rate of the dollar needs a little update.
  • Duvsheinit Challah for 6 shekels from the shuk
  • Soup Festival at the David Citadel for 48 shekels. The all-you-can-eat soup is from 10am to 11pm every day until the end of March for 48 Shekels. They also have wireless internet, so you can pretty much just move in and set up your office right next to the soup buffet.

These deals are updated as of January 18, 2012, so they are likely to change due to inflation. No guarantees.

Spontaneous adventure: Israel’s last-minute travel sites

pi.pngWhenever I see a Hebrew newspaper, I pretend to read the headlines and then head straight for the last few pages to get a glimpse of all the travel deals to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Budapest, etc. for crazy prices like $200 for 4 days and nights in Istanbul. I know that these last-minute trips are reliable since my friend was lucky enough to travel to Italy through Daka90 . As for convenience… it should be noted that she left the very same day she bought the ticket.

So far, these trips haven’t worked out for me. I just have a really hard time seeing how to juggle spontaneity and responsibility. Has it suddenly become acceptable to give approximately 10 minutes notice before packing and heading off to the Netherlands for 3 nights. Is it possible to take advantage of one of these trips or is this a luxury for the non-working or rich.. which when you think about…

Here’s a list of Israeli services that offer last minute travel deals, packages, and flights. Continue reading this entry »

The 35 shekel haircut

Update: Turns out that Mr. Zikri owes millions on the grey market and therefore has shut down his beauty salons. Real bummer. The only thing I can recommend now is to wait for a good deal to show up on group deal sites like Groupon or the like.

You may not be able to remember the name of the salon (was it shuki zuki? shuki zukri?), and you might not want a student cutting your hair, but at the end of the day, the satisfaction of having a cheap, 35 shekel haircut is what will make you smile.

Shuki Zikri is a haircutting school in downtown Jerusalem that lets its students try out their skills on those that want a cheap haircut. They can cut, color, blowdry, etc for much less than if a ‘real’ hairdresser did it. But who can be bothered with professionals – at Shuki you don’t have to even make an appointment – you just show up. Once they shampoo and massage your head (my favorite part), they take you to a chair, pull out their handy dandy ghetto haircutting kit, and start sectioning off your hair, about 40 times until you beg them to move on to the cutting part. Maybe that’s what they focused on in their classes that day?! And not to worry, if they mess up and you notice it’s a little uneven, their teacher comes over and fixes everything. Continue reading this entry »

Manicures and Pedicures in Jerusalem, secrets revealed

Don’t be upset, boys. I know this blog can get a little girly at times due to the fact that we are, in fact, girls. But I’ll tell you this, mention the juicy details in this post to a lady friend, and you will be guaranteed a 10.5 second hug, perhaps even a high five. So, it’s up to you to continue reading.

I decided it was time to grow up and stop taking out boredom or nervousness on my poor fingers. So, I set out on treating myself to a manicure and did what any good Jerusalem Anglo would do, check Janglo before venturing out of my home. I called a few places but found the prices to be at least 60 shekels. Alas, I found an ad posted from Ester, who would come to my house and give me a manicure for 50 shekels. I thought this service was reserved for the wealthy with butlers, a summer home in the Hamptons, and a 3 car garage.

So, in this strange land of Israel, you can enjoy in-home manicures or a stick of deodorant for roughly the same price. So make your choice wisely. You could be stinky or have some nice lookin’ nails. I went for the nails. Ester’s number is 0544 99 5067.

In other extremity news, my graphic design teacher showed us how to shorten toes in Photoshop but he kept referring to them as fingers. Not the Hebrew word for fingers, the English word itself. Should I have said something? Probably. Did I? No. This way, every time I mess up in Hebrew, I can think back to all the Israelis I’ve met who think they jump in puddles, ride their bike, and step in dog poop with their “fingers” and have a good giggle.

A girl’s right to cheap shoes

I know that Rebecca is in search of a shoe that fits her size 10 feet. And I know she is going to hate to hear this, but my perfect size 8 feet leave me to the burden of picking the right shoe at the right price.I am not really a shoe person. I don’t window shop or think about the next season’s fashion- I just want a pair of shoes that are semi-comfortable and reasonably priced.

Continue reading this entry »

Bargaining – no one wants to be a sucker

In Israel, there is a very strong mentality not to be a sucker (friar). Tangent: When I first got to Israel I thought the word friar meant the religious guys in robes that I saw in Italy, but really it means sucker here. No connection that I’m aware of.

In Israel, every minute of every day people are trying not to be a sucker.

So they bargain. Bargain, yell, curse, growl, and make ‘yo mama’ jokes. And then they bargain some more. Until neither side feels like a sucker. Or until one’s body odor overpowers the other’s.

Apparently, every single purchase (maybe with the exception of the supermarket) is subject to bargaining. As Baka Diary points out, everything from kitchen tiles to a scoop of ice cream don’t have fixed prices.

Is it wrong to disagree with the whole bargaining culture? Is this something that we’re proud of? Is this exciting for people?

Making a new purchase can be stressful enough without thinking that someone is trying to rip you off. Not everyone can have a smooth talking Israeli by their side.


For every frustration, there is an entrepreneurial idea. Someone should offer their skills as a professional bargainer. Especially for homes, appliances, furniture, and cars. They make a little money, and you pay less.

Or, alternatively, let’s abolish the whole bargaining business and just sell things at normal prices. Yeah right.

Ashdod: A vacation spot without leaving Israel

hpim0492.JPGI always thought Ashdod, Ashkelon, same thing, whatever. So I was surprised, on my recent trip to the beach, to discover what a truly beautiful place Ashdod is. The streets are lined with palm trees, artsy buildings, and modern sculptures. And the mall even has a Mango store.

Warning: This may not be the beach to ogle at the bikini-clad women that were on the cover of Maxim.

When we got to the beach, we saw many religious women fully clad in bathing dresses and their hair covered. In fact, we saw all types of women, but not one man. Or boy. Or male of any age. But we figured, hey, maybe guys just don’t like coming to the ocean anymore. So, as we were unpacking, we got a plethora of dirty looks and the crowd started approaching fast, telling us this beach is for women only and to move on down to the next section.


So, we went over to the mixed beach and started swimming away. I couldn’t get over how clean the beach was, how quiet, not crowded, and best yet, no jellyfish. For those who have been to the Tel Aviv beach, just imagine the complete opposite. So instead of spending tons of money to see beautiful beaches elsewhere in the world, first check out Ashdod.

Can dreams come true with the sip of an ice coffee?

In Israel temperatures stay hot well into what most consider fall season. In fact even during rainy season one will find themselves in short sleeves and sandals sans umbrella. This means you must maintain the summer attitude and taste throughout most of the year.

The best way to stay fresh in hot weather is a delicious ice coffee. Whether it is a craving, getting together with friends or on the run- the ice coffee is the ultimate companion. And the most important characteristic of your new found soul mate should be — how much it will cost you.

After extensive research throughout the most popular cafes and roadside kiosks- the winner of the cheap but absolutely scrumptious ice coffee goes to Continue reading this entry »

How Does the Shuk Work?

Everyone is always talking about Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda outdoor market place- better know as the shuk. If you are not in the know I will bring you up to speed. Imagine a really long outdoor hallway paved with cement, high green roof tops, coated with screaming merchants selling everything from the basic fruits to spices that your nose didn’t know exist. Then there are the musicians, tzedakah seekers and Chabadniks handing out Shabbat candles, all weaving in and out of the cafes that continue to pop-up.

The shuk is literally a coupon book come to life with no official price tags on anything. If you are one of those people that loves to tell their friends and family about your latest bargain then this is the market for you.

Tips to shopping success: Continue reading this entry »