Food – where and what to buy?
Each kvutsa will figure out for itself what is the most convenient way to go shopping, based on what its members like to eat, schedules, who likes to go shopping, car availability, etc. Different items will have different prices in different places, so the cheapest way to shop is to try to purchase each item where it is cheapest. This is, of course, a much more time-consuming way to shop than just going once a week to the supermarket and buying everything there. Most kvutsot will at least divide up their shopping between purchasing produce at the shuk or local produce stand, and buying dry goods and dairy at the supermarket, because produce is usually significantly more expensive at the supermarket. Purchasing kitniyot (beans, rice, lentils, etc) from bulk places in the shuk or elsewhere instead of in packages at the supermarket will also save your kvutsa some money.
It’s also important to know that a few basic items including milk, butter, basic bread, and eggs are price-controlled by the government, so you can buy them at the same price anywhere. Be sure to purchase cheese at the supermarket’s deli counter for a much better price instead of pre-packaged in the dairy section.
Here are a few more recommendations for stretching your kvutsa’s food budget:
- Eat lots of kitniyot. Buy them dry in the shuk, and cook them on the stove for delicious chili, lentil soup, rice dishes, etc.
- Limit your meat intake.
- Limit your alcohol intake – try making your own beer!
- Buy in bulk – go for the huge package of crackers, cereal, oil, dish soap, etc.
- Buy yogurt in the big jugs instead of the small cups – to take yogurt on-the-go, put it in a small jar.
- Supermarkets – especially My Market – usually have better prices on toiletries than superpharm[s1] .
- Buy lots when things are cheap – even produce. For example, when tomatoes are cheap, try buying a lot, making a big batch of tomato sauce and keeping it in the freezer for when tomatoes are expensive.
- Shop at the shuk on Friday afternoons – all the vendors are trying to get rid of what might go bad or look less fresh by Sunday.
- Make friends with your produce vendor – maybe he’ll offer you deals and give you leftover stuff.
- Pack lunches instead of buying out.
Luckily, the food shopping situation in Haifa is pretty good. Here is a short survey of places to shop:
- My Market is a local, friendly, and relatively cheap supermarket located in Migdal HaNevi’im at the bottom of HaNevi’im St. They offer delivery for a fee, if you can’t carry all your purchases home.
- The shuk is located below HeHalutz St, starting near the corner of Yehiel.
- The shuk in Wadi Nisnas – also open on Shabbat, but closed on Sundays.
- East-West Balagan – also on Hanevi’im at the corner of HeHalutz, has a great selection of Asian foods, including large packages of reasonably-priced tofu.
- Dry good store on Hanevi’im – get your dried rice, lentils, and beans here at shuk prices.
- Wine and liquor – there are two import places on Rehov HaNamal near the corner of Sha’ar Palmer with a great selection of cheap wines.
- Shufersal and Rami Levi – two big national chain stores – have locations near Lev Hamifratz. If you have access to a car, making the trip might be worth your while. The lines are always long, though, so make sure to budget at least two hours for the trip.
Where to get appliances, furniture and other house stuff
For the most part, apartments in Israel don’t come with refrigerators, ovens, stoves, etc. It may be worth searching a little longer to find a place that does come with appliances and other basic furniture. If you don’t get so lucky, first turn to other kvutsot, friends and family in Israel, and madrichim to see if they have anything functional just sitting around. Then you’ll want to consider used or new appliances.
Try your best to not buy a piece of junk. Having to fix a refrigerator repeatedly, or purchase a new one after a short amount of time, makes the low price not worth it. And you’ll need a LARGE refrigerator for a whole kvutsa.
Try the following places:
Lev Hash – at יל”ג 7 in Hadar, open Sunday and Monday from 9:30am to 1:30pm, and on Wednesdays from 4pm to 7pm. They also have used furniture and kitchen stuff, etc.
The flea market (שוק הפשפשים) in the lower city on Rehov Kibbutz Galuyot.
There’s also a place for used appliances in Kiryat Eliezer, near the corner of Rothschild and Tel Aviv.
http://www.agora.co.il/ – a website for people to post things they want to give away. All for free! You just have to find a way to pick it up.
For small house stuff, like kitchen items and bedding, again first ask friends and family for donations, and then try stores in Hadar like Max Stock on Hechalutz, and also the upper floor of My Market. There’s also a factory store of Naaman right next to Max Stock for stuff like pots and pans.
For mattresses, there’s a place at Rehov Hanamal 59 (right near Ulpan Etzion) with decent prices, and a place at Herzl 93 that’s only open in the mornings.