A Week In Tel Aviv, Israel, On A $50,000 Salary

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Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: a content marketing writer who makes $50,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on an essential oil diffuser.
Editor's Note: All currency has been converted to USD.
Occupation: Content Marketing Writer
Industry: Fintech
Age: 24
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
Salary: $50,000
Paycheck Amount (1x/month): $3,500
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,282 (I moved in with my partner, P., over the summer and the place was pretty wrecked so he paid for all of the work to get it fixed up. So instead of paying him for half of it then, I’m paying it back by covering the rent. He'll start paying half next month. He also covers utilities.)
Loans: $0
Hebrew Tutor: $160
Yoga Membership: $99
Retirement/National Insurance/Taxes (deducted from my salary): $770 Health Insurance: $25
Cell Phone: $25
Savings: $5,000 in savings + $30 automatically added every month
City Car Membership: $8

Day One

7:35 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I give myself a few minutes to wake up. It's hard to get out of bed, but I know that the longer I put it off, the harder it'll be. I just want to sleep in with P. I'm up by 7:40 and roll out my mat for a soft morning flow just to get my body moving. My brother recently started doing this every day and he recommended I give it a try. It does feel good to take a few minutes to check-in with how my body feels before the day starts when my mind is still clear and uncluttered.
8 a.m. — I feel better after the short yoga practice. More awake and less groggy. I take a quick shower, take my B12 (I'm vegan so this is a must), and get dressed. I don't really put effort into getting ready for work. Everyone dresses pretty casually and I just don't like to spend money on clothes. I put on jeans and a T-shirt. I snuggle a bit with P. before I head out. It's always hard to leave in the morning, but I always tell myself that the earlier I get to work, the earlier I can get home. (The standard work hours in Israel are 9-6).
8:30 a.m. — I get to work and the floor is empty except for two designers who are always in by 8 (they're both moms and leave earlier to pick up their kids — Israeli high-tech companies tend to be very accommodating when it comes to flexible working hours for parents). I go upstairs to make myself an iced coffee. There's a serious barista coffee machine that makes really good coffee. It definitely makes the mornings easier.
10:30 a.m. — I check my emails and continue working on one of my blogs. I feel the most productive and creative in the morning. I usually forget to have a proper breakfast because the coffee in the morning fills me up. But, I don't want to be starving by noon so I head to the office kitchen to make myself some oatmeal.
1 p.m. — I order a vegan burrito on Wolt (a food delivery service) with one of my co-workers. We have a huge office building and yet there's barely any space to eat. We sit at an empty desk and have our lunch. Usually, I like to go out and do errands for lunch and get some fresh air. But, if someone is ordering Wolt then usually I'm in. $16.30
2:30 p.m. — I don't have any meetings today. I started working here about five months ago. At first, I really loved it. But, for the last two months, I haven't felt challenged enough. And have started to realize that there isn't really a lot of growth opportunities. I've felt a bit stuck and I've also struggled to make good, meaningful connections with the people here, especially with my boss. Despite my issues, for Israel, it's a good place to be. The salary is higher than average, they offer good benefits, a comfortable work environment, and it's good for my resume. My plan is to wait and see how things feel once I've been here for a full year.
5:15 p.m. — I hate that it's already dark by 5! I have a pretty slow day and finish the writing I wanted to get done so I head out to my Hebrew class. I want to stop on the way at a cute home decor store I've had my eye on. Even though P. and I moved into our place about four months ago, I still feel like I can always do some more decorating! Before living with P. I didn't like spending money on setting up my space because it never truly felt permanent or like I could see myself staying there for the foreseeable future
5:45 p.m. — As soon as I walk in, I find exactly what I've been looking for! (I knew I would find something, I love in this place!) I buy a small bamboo tray that's perfect for the living room. I wanted something to hold all of the candles that currently sit scattered on the table. $15.70
6 p.m. — I arrive at my tutor's place and we talk about our weekend. I remember that when I went to buy laundry detergent, I couldn't tell which one was detergent! I've lived in Israel for two years, but I guess I had always relied on the English label that most generic brands have. But, this time I was determined to buy an organic, vegan brand and none of the bottles had any English! I had to ask the check out lady. I tell him about this and explains that there are actually three words in Hebrew to say "wash." Only one of which is specifically used for laundry and nothing else. I write down all three and laugh because..Hebrew! I really want to become fluent one day, but it's hard for me to believe that I'll ever get there.
7:30 p.m. — I get home, take a shower, and change into PJs. I do a little bit of yoga just to stretch because my back feels sore from sitting all day.
8:00 p.m. — For dinner, I make a hearty soup from the vegetables I bought the day before — potatoes, leeks, onions, cauliflower, and carrots. P. and I eat dinner while watching a Hebrew series together, something we've been doing more of lately to help me with my Hebrew. He needs to stop sometimes and translate some of it but it's still hilarious! P. helps me wash the dishes and I crochet. I used to love doing crafts and just recently got back into doing it. I find it to be super meditative and I love doing something creative to end the day.
10 p.m. — P. does some work while I watch a Queer Eye episode. I love it. I recently finished reading Jonathan Van Ness' memoir and I just love him more! He's so inspiring and always reminds me to take those small actions of self-love.
Daily Total: $32

Day Two

7:40 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I want to keep sleeping, but I tell myself that I'll feel better after yoga. I wake up and roll out my mat.
8 a.m. — I take a shower and after last night's episode, I channel my inner Van Ness and take a few extra minutes to get ready. I love using FRE's I Am Love essential oil. It's a blend of olive oil, ylang ylang, rosehip, and a few other oils and just smells like heaven. I use a few drops and gently massage it onto my face with my jade roller.
8:20 a.m. — P. is still asleep but I roll up next to him to give him a hug goodbye.
8:30 a.m. — I only have a 10-minute walk to work. I make my coffee, check emails, and work on a few blog posts.
11 a.m. — I take a break to do my grocery shopping online. Usually, they are sold out of the things I want but today they're fully stocked. I get chocolate, cinnamon and poppy seed bread, two kinds of vegan cheese, vegan ravioli, and pesto. $60
1:15 p.m. — I order Wolt again! There's a team lunch but it's always a mess of 20 people trying to order and it takes forever. I stay in with two other co-workers. We order from an Italian place and I get a vegan pesto pasta. $11.70
7 p.m. — The groceries get delivered. I realize the bread I ordered is actually gluten-free...and the chocolate bar is tiny! Totally overpriced. Oh well, the downside of online grocery shopping — I'll know for next time!. Everything else is great.
8:30 p.m. — I go to get my eyebrows done, something I never get stingy about and always love spending on because having shaped eyebrows makes me feel better about myself and gives me that boost of confidence. $22.90
9:30 p.m. — P.'s mom stops by and drops off some food she made for us! So sweet. I make the ravioli and pesto for dinner. We eat watching the news — not totally there yet with my Hebrew, but again good practice!
10 p.m. — I read my book (currently Maybe You Should See Someone by Lori Gottlieb — highly recommend it!) and P. does some coding for the website he's building.
11:30 p.m. — I fall asleep. P. is a night owl and usually stays up much later than me. P. comes to bed at around 2. We joke around a bit and make each other laugh. I like waking up when he comes to bed because I like the feeling of falling asleep together.
Daily Total: $94.60

Day Three

7:50 a.m. — I wake up 10 minutes later because this morning there's a company yoga class (a great benefit!). I pack up a change of clothes and head out by 8:20.
8:30 a.m. — I get to work and have a banana before class.
10 a.m. — The yoga class was so hard! The teacher is great but so tough. I shower and walk back to the office.
1:30 p.m. — At lunch, I want something light so I get a small salad. We're going out later with P.'s family so I know we'll have a big dinner and I don't want to be too full at lunch. $8.50
5:30 p.m. — Happy hour! Today's happy hour is pizza. It's amazing! I take a slice of vegan pizza. Usually, vegan pizza is terrible, but this one is so good! I stop on my way home to buy some grapes and pomegranate (P.'s favorite). $14.30
7:30 p.m. — We go to what I think is the best vegan restaurant in Tel Aviv. We order a soy-based lamb kebab which amazingly tastes just like grilled kebab! I don't know how they do it. We order a bunch of other dishes and some tasty cocktails. We always have a great time together. P.'s family pays.
10 p.m. — P. pays for a Bird scooter and we ride to P.'s friend's birthday party. It's nice and I get into a good conversation with C. and D., but once they leave I don't have anyone else to talk to and I get lost in the conversations going on in Hebrew. I'm pretty tired, but try and pick up on what I can.
12:30 a.m. — I signal to P. that I'm feeling ready to go. We do a round of goodbyes and leave around 12:30. I pay for the Bird scooter back home. I hop on behind him (I love when we do this) and hold on to him as we zoom through the city along the beach, the moon reflecting off of the sea. $3.29
Daily Total: $26.09

Day Four

10 a.m. — We wake up to the alarm. We have the tendency to sleep in too late on the weekends and then regret it when the whole afternoon is practically gone! We cuddle and stay in bed until 11:30.
12 p.m. — We have some fruit and then go to the beach. We live across the street from the beach, which is amazing! So far, it's been quite warm for November and the water has been very flat and perfect for swimming. We both swim and relax in the sun. We talk for a while on the beach about my job. I tell him about how I'm a bit fed up with big tech. Before working here, I worked at a very small start-up and it was totally different, I felt valued and like part of the team. I was so nervous about applying to this job and I thought for sure I wasn't good enough. Now, I actually feel like I could've negotiated for a better salary.
2 p.m. — We come back home for lunch and have some leftovers that P.'s mom gave us. We chill at home, I do some macrame and clean the house.
6 p.m. — We go to P.'s mom's house. His sister and her husband join us. She orders sushi for all of us. We eat together and then P.'s brother in law makes tapioca for desert! We stay there until late because P. is fixing his sister's computer. I'm sleepy and fall asleep on the couch.
2 a.m. — We head back home. I'm awake at this point so I make us some tea. He works for a bit longer until he manages to finally fix the problem. We go to bed around 3.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

10:45 a.m. — I set my alarm in order to prevent sleeping in all morning. I stay in bed until around 11:15. Usually, I make pancakes on Saturday morning, but I'm too sleepy so I go out to pick us up some breakfast while P. sleeps.
11:30 a.m. — I walk a few minutes to the Yemenite neighborhood — our favorite part of Tel Aviv and the reason we looked for an apartment here. I to get us Yemenite bread called Jachnun. I love walking around the neighborhood on Saturday mornings. It's very peaceful, with just very few cafes open. I usually buy a coffee, but I decide to make at home. $15.40
12:30 p.m. — I make coffee, we have brunch, I do some laundry, and then we get ready to go to the beach.
1:30 p.m. — We meet up with his friends at the beach and again, since there are no waves, it's perfect for swimming. We spend a while in the water and then chill on the beach.
3:30 p.m. — We head back home and I heat up leftover soup for a late lunch. We watch TV, cuddle on the couch, have sex, and then fall asleep for a nap. I love lazy Saturdays like this.
7 p.m. — P. goes out with this cousin. I don't have much in the fridge but I make some curried lentils with coconut milk and rice and make enough to bring for lunch.
11:30 p.m. — I read in bed and fall asleep. P. comes home and reads in bed with me.
Daily Total: $15.40

Day Six

7:40 a.m. — No matter how well I sleep, it's always hard to wake up on Sundays (in Israel, working days are Sunday-Thursday). I make myself wake up for a short yoga practice.
7:50 a.m. — I take a shower and snuggle for 10 or 15 minutes with P. before I go to work.
8:30 a.m. — I finally get the trick to making the best coffee! For the past few months, I had just made iced coffee because I couldn't figure out the milk frother! It turns out I just had to turn up the pressure of the hot water. I make a frothy soy cappuccino.
1:30 p.m. — I normally don't bring lunch but today I bring the lentils and rice I made last night. I eat with some of the designers. They're so friendly and easy to talk to. I wish I had more of a chance to work with them and get to know them.
5:15 p.m. — Done! Sundays are always rough. I feel antsy to get home. On my way home, I go to the organic grocery store. It's more expensive, but the quality is great. I really do think grocery shopping therapy is a thing! I always feel better after picking out my fruits and vegetables and thinking of the recipes I want to make. I buy pasta, oat milk, tomato sauce, tofu, tomatoes, green onion, green beans, onions, and bananas. $24.20
6 p.m. — I was going to go to yoga, but I take my time unpacking the groceries and I decide I'd rather get organized around the house. I bake banana muffins for P.
7:30 p.m. — I make dinner for me, P. goes to visit his grandmother. I make tofu, sauteed in vegan butter and coconut milk and some organic basmati rice.
8:30 p.m. — P.'s sister calls me and tells me that she found some nice rope for macrame and invites me over. I love hanging out with her. I take a scooter to her place. She lives in the most beautiful apartment. Her balcony sits under a huge tree and she has tons of plants so it feels like a jungle in the city. $3.10
10:30 p.m. — I take a scooter back home, watch Friends, and then fall asleep. P. comes home and hugs me goodnight. He stays up later to do some work. Because he works from home, he has more flexible hours. $3.12
Daily Total: $30.42

Day Seven

7:15 a.m. — I wake up to our yelling neighbor! She yells for what seems like an eternity. I'm too tired to pick up on what she's yelling about, but she sounds very upset. She yells non-stop for about 15 minutes.
7:30 a.m. — I take a shower, get dressed, and pack a change of clothes for pilates (we have pilates at work on Mondays).
8:20 a.m. — I hug P. goodbye, pack up my lunch (leftovers), and walk to work.
8:50 a.m. — I go to pilates (I really love that my company offers these classes). It's only three of us this week and so she makes the class really challenging! My legs are shaking by the end! The stretches feel good and I know I'll be sore tomorrow.
1:30 p.m. — I eat my lunch and then go buy a few things. I like doing errands at lunch, it clears my head. I buy three wooden rings for the macrame plant hangers I want to make. I feel like craft materials are much more expensive here. We don't have anything like Michael's or Target. I go to the store next door that sells all sorts of home goods and I buy an essential oil burner, something I've wanted to try for a while. I have an infuser in my room, but I want one for the living room. When I come home after work, I love to burn candles or burn sage or anything to fill the house with a calming smell. I really value the time I have after work as my time to recharge and relax before I have to head into another day of work. $22.10
1:45 p.m. — I go to the bookstore next door to buy a card game P. and I played while we were in Jordan and we loved! We stayed at a hostel and at night we hung out with some other Israelis who showed us this card game. Books and games are also very expensive here I think! $25.40
5:30 p.m. — Over the past few weeks, my eyes have been very dry and hurt a lot during the day. I need to make an appointment with an eye doctor, but I keep putting it off. My eyes hurt so much that by the end of the day, I really can't wait to just get away from the computer and get outside of the office.
6:30 p.m. — I do some macrame when I get home, I'm making a plant hanger for P.'s sister with the rope she gave me. It comes out really nice. I wish I could just freestyle it and not follow a pattern, but the result is much better when I do.
8:30 p.m. — I make a bigger dinner than usual — green beans, pesto pasta, and roast baby potatoes in the oven with potato spice, sumac, and paprika. I recently started buying more spices and it's made all the difference for putting together quick dinners that actually taste good. P. helps me and makes a vegan Caprese salad with the vegan mozzarella I ordered last week, expensive but totally worth it.
10 p.m. — P. helps me with the dishes. I finish making the plant hanger. We watch the news and I fall asleep on P.'s lap.
11:30 p.m. — We go to bed and watch some How I Met Your Mother. I've already seen every episode, but it's the perfect show to watch before bed.
Daily Total: $47.50
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