We talk a lot about saving money on grocery shopping in this blog. Why? Because unlike your rent, tuition or any other large fixed expense you may have, you tend to have more control over this one. And because the price for the same exact food varies so much, why be a “fryer” and pay more?
We spend about 1,800-2,000 shekels for our family of four per month. This includes diapers, wipes, toilet paper, personal hygiene and home cleaning supplies, and anything else that is purchased at a supermarket. Our kids get lunch at school/gan five days a week, while we parents eat all of our meals from this budget.
Despite prices rising all around us, we are determined to stay vigilant and stretch our shekels as far as we comfortably can. We track sales at all of our local supermarkets, including those by our places of work, and stock up on specific strategic non-perishable items when we see them on sale. Since we don’t have a car and (ahem) have lives, we do our best to get good prices, but don’t necessarily get the lowest every time. Remember – time is money. Transportation costs money too.
So how much do we actually pay for our staple grocery items as of May 2023? And what do we buy where?
Despite having a reputation as expensive, Shufersal has some good deals as part of its “הורדנו נעלנו” campaign. Every other month, we do a strategic Shufersal shop where we stock up on home brand diapers (25 ₪), grape juice (10 ₪), dried chickpeas, red beans, oatmeal, lentils, (10 ₪/800 gram or kg each), yellow cheese (27₪/kg at the counter, which we get shredded and freeze). We also buy Weiler brand tofu there (10 shekels). We follow their sales, activate our personal coupons on the app, and add other things to our shop as needed.
On Wednesdays, one of us heads into our local Machsanei Hashuk for their shuk day. These days, we spend 3-8 ₪/kg on veggies and 5-10 ₪/kg on fruits. The produce we eat that week largely depends on what’s on sale. (We had roasted cabbage this past Shabbat since it was 2.90 ₪/kg.) While there, we pick up milk, eggs and white cheese for the week, which are all price controlled and cost the same everywhere. They also sell no-name flour at 10 ₪ for 3 kg and 2 jars of שווה brand peanut butter for 20 ₪. Recently they’ve started selling מחנה יהודה brand olives, which we discovered come from the קבוצת יבנה plant, but are 30% cheaper.
For some reason, chicken seems have to have gone way up everywhere. Pre-Covid we were able to find wings for 5 ₪/kg, chicken breast (we cut our own schnitzel) for 20 ₪/kg, and legs/thighs for 13 ₪/kg. Sadly, those days are long gone. 😦 These days, we stock up every other month (thank you, extra freezer) at Rami Levy, where the prices are almost double what we used to pay (sigh). We also stock up there on frozen salmon at 60 ₪/kg tilapia at 20 ₪/kg and hotdogs at 27 ₪ for 1.5 kg when on sale and home brand knockoff bamba for 9 shekels for 10 bags.
Carrefour has made its mark in Israel last week as it opened 50 stores, but unfortunately none are near our home. As Mega and Yeinot Beitan will eventually turn into Carrefour and carry some of their products, we walked in recently and picked up soy milk for 5.90 ₪/liter (we got 9!!), whole wheat pasta for 4.50/500 grams (we got 5), a pack of 3 adorable kids’ toothbrushes for 9.90, 3 milk chocolate bars for 8.90, and a two boxes of corn flakes for 6.90 each. Upon perusing their website later, we saw that they have their own line of cleaning and personal hygiene products and coffees and teas for about half the price as we normally see in Israel. They are currently working to expand the range of home brand products at their stores, so we’re keeping an eye on that. We’ll definitely be back.
Despite Superpharm‘s expensive reputation, we stock up on squeeze-bottle honey and olive oil there, which we find to be cheaper than the supermarket and often on sale for as low as 15 shekels for 400 grams of honey or 20 shekels for 750 milliliters of olive oil. We also wait for their second item for a shekel sales and stock up on our toiletries.
While this post may make it seem like we are always shopping, that isn’t the case. We generally do one big shop per month, alternating between Rami Levy and Shufersal, which both have deliveries to our neighborhood. We make sure to buy enough of whatever they offer cheaper to last us two months and for the rest, we buy sales and home brand items as much as we can. We supplement with weekly produce and dairy shops at our local Machsanei Hashuk and Mega and Superpharm are on our way home. All it takes is understanding your options, incorporating recipes with cheaper ingredients into your meal rotation, and making a plan that works for you.
At the end of each shop, we make sure to add the total cost to our expense tracker and upload a photo of the receipt to the Strauss app, which we use for freebies and discounts.
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