Assuming your tastes are not overly extravagant, you can easily live at around 3500-4500 NIS/month, for a single person, estimating around 2000 NIS for housing and utilities (if you live by yourself in a 1 or 2-bedroom apartment or housing unit next to campus), 1500 for food and recreation, and maybe around 1000 or so, on the average, for car expenses (not including insurance and registration) if you decide to own one, depending on how much you travel (and how often your car breaks…). For a couple, housing costs and car expenses will be similar, and you might want to double the estimate for food and recreation.

One of us has come up with the following calculation for how to survive at 2000 NIS/month for a single person or 4000 NIS/month for two, assuming you want to be very economical…

  • Up to 2000 NIS/month for a single. Possible, if you rent a room, not an apartment. Substracting cost of the room (approx. 900 NIS), you are left with 1100 NIS. It may be worthy to invest 100 NIS in a Hebrew course, because some basic knowledge of the language is necessary if you do not want to be cheated at the shuk (see section about shopping). Unless you are planning to walk, additional 50 NIS to 150 NIS has to be reserved for transportation, regardless if it is a bike (it has to be maintained) or a bus (150 NIS if you decide to buy a monthly ticket). Reserve 50 NIS for cosmetics, 50 NIS for local recreation (4 liters of Arak or 5 liters of Goldstar beer or 2 tickets to the cinema on campus) and 200 NIS for recreation outside of Beer-Sheva (visit to Jerusalem or Tel-Aviv or some budget trip in the countryside). You are left with 600 NIS for food, which is enough if you cook on your own and do not need expensive products, like cheese (45 NIS/kilo). This calculation is done under the assumption, that your health insurance is paid by the University.

  • Up to 4000 NIS/month for couple You have to look carefully for a cheap flat (see section on housing) within the range of 300 USD. Your monthly bill for the apartment, including rent and arnona, will vary between 1700 and 1900 NIS. Following the scenario outlined above and taking into account, that your spouse would spend 200 NIS/month for Hebrew classes and 100 NIS for the cheapest health insurance from Harel, your expenses, excluding food and apartment, would amount to approximately 1100-1200 NIS. You would be left with 900-1200 NIS for food, which is enough if you cook on your own and do not need expensive products. Notice, that this calculation does not include Swimming Pool subscription for your spouse (80 NIS/month) and mobile phone bills.

It may be worth bringing with you to Israel certain products, because of their high price or limited availability.