After weeks of preparations, packing, transporting bedding-utensils-clothes-personal belongings to the new apartment, you realize that the moment has finally come – you have left home and moved into a service member’s apartment – you live alone! There is no one to make you pampering sandwiches in the morning, leave you folded and fragrant laundry on the bed, pay the water, electricity and municipal tax bills, fill the refrigerator and polish the floor…
Suddenly you have to learn to manage and take care of yourself with the economy allowance you receive, and that’s not an easy challenge. So how do you prepare for life alone? How do you manage with a small income?
Manage your time
Don’t let chores manage you! Keep a diary or weekly chart, and list all your commitments (work, school, or any other commitments). If you’re studying, don’t forget to make time for independent learning at home, and note this in your calendar. Don’t be tempted to deviate from planning. Efficiently planning and sticking to your time will help you get more done. So, for example, you can work another job and increase your income accordingly.
Manage your money
First, you should check the scope of financial sources and make sure that your expected expenses are not higher than your income.
What does the revenue side of your budget include?
Economy allowance – The monthly economy allowance given to service members ranges from NIS 540 to NIS 870 per month. The amount depends on the distance from the service place to the home and whether the service place also provides you with meals.
Travel – The organization where you volunteer or place of service pays for travel from your home to the place of service and back. Keep in mind that trips that are not to and from the place of volunteering you will have to pay for your own train travel is free upon presentation of a volunteer ID.
Additional work – in special cases and after receiving approval you can work in additional work.
Assistance from family members – check with parents or other family members to see if they can help and how. Assistance can also be buying groceries or preparing food that you can take away when you come for a visit.
Savings – How is your bank account status? Did you accumulate savings before the year of service? Do you have savings plans about to open? Plan the purpose of the money carefully. It took you a while to save – don’t rush to spend.
And what does the spending side of your budget include?
It is very worthwhile to calculate in advance how much your expenses will amount to maintaining your own apartment. and current bills. Calculate the amount you need to live: food, clothing, travel, phone bill, hygiene products, entertainment, etc.
Buying groceries – Despite the boxes you might bring from home on Sunday, you’ll still need to buy food. Minimize the purchase of processed, prepared or frozen foods, preferring basic products: flour, rice, legumes. Keep them in sealed boxes.
Basic consumer goods such as milk and bread – you should buy those that have price controls. Their price is cheaper than the equivalent ones.
Buy as much as you need – Don’t store food at home, especially not one that spoils quickly like fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products. Consolidate your purchase to once a week. This way you will save time and travel and avoid temptations.
Shop together – three or four service members, who shop together, can participate in discounts and promotions and thus reduce the price of each participant’s shopping basket.
Learn to cook – this will save you the unnecessary expense of restaurants and expensive ready-made meals.
Indulgences – after all, you can’t give up everything…. You don’t have to buy coffee and pastry every day on your way to work – but allow yourself one treat once a week.
It is important to learn to manage a monthly budget. Living on a budget will allow you to live off what you have and avoid overdraft and debt. Keep track of your spending. Once a month, take out a printout of your bank account and credit card and review your expenses. When you know your habits well, you can see if you’re spending money on the things that really matter. If you conclude that you don’t, at least you’ll know what expenses you can cut.
Exercise your rights
Check your rights such as vacation and sick days, economic benefits such as assistance in financing dental care, exemption from municipal taxes, benefits for purchasing eyeglasses and insurance coverage: life insurance and personal accident insurance. Make sure to exercise your rights and take advantage of your discounts. For details of the rights , visit the National Civil Service portal on the Kol-Zchut website.