Everyday life, Stories

Lifestyle changes

lifestyle-changes

Living in Denmark, we had quite an average income and expenses. We had a low food budget and rented an apartment 35 minutes from Copenhagen city. Ariel worked as an architect and I had various kinds of jobs.

When we decided to move, we talked about what we knew about Israel and what we thought it would be like. We knew that living costs were high and the average salaries were low. It’s a known dilemma that many middle-class Israelis struggle to make the wheels turn. We knew we would move into that category, but looked at it as a great challenge to learn more about ourselves.

Our apartment in Denmark.

A thin budget
We had already decided when we got pregnant, that I would not have a full-time job as long as the children were small. So we would be surviving on one income that was one-third of what we were used to, together with expenses that were on the same level as what we had in Denmark. Little did we know we would change our diet, stop our “new things” purchases and being creative with recycling materials to build furniture for our home.

Ariel building shelves for our kitchen, from recycled wood that we found.

In Israel, it can make a considerable difference in your food budget if you have a vegetarian diet. So with a tiny food budget, we are forced to make simple food, simple but very healthy food! Vegetables are amazingly cheap in Israel, while meat and fish are crazy expensive.
We have adjusted our weekly food plan, where we try to eat meat only once a week. We have completely stopped drinking milk, and we make sure we always have plenty of fresh fruits at home.

Sela helping to harvest onions in our friends garden

What had to change
Less money means fewer things and luxuries. So no more Spotify Premium and Netflix. Although those were not the hardest things to give up.
New clothes, always had a tendency to make me feel happy. After I met Ariel though, he thought me that old things also could have great value. Ariel used to buy a lot of his clothes in second-hand shops in Copenhagen, so it became natural for us to look for second-hand shops in Israel as well. Today, I walk past the clothing shops with no urge at all to walk inside.
If we need to buy new things, we talk it through and discuss if we absolutely need it, and if we can find a way to live without it.

When it comes to furniture and interior, we love the idea of being able to build things for our home our selves. Luckily I have an architect for a husband, so he can draw and plan our projects, and he has the skills to build it as well. In most of our building projects, we have gone looking for thrown away wood, and we have been lucky every time.

At the junkyard, recycling materials.

Introduced to Minimalism
Minimalism is very simple. Owning less things. For us, it has been a refreshing new way of thinking. Having less things has given me more space in my mind. Whenever I’m stressed or feel stuck during the day, I look around and see if there is anything we can give away or throw out. It becomes a form of meditation.

Second-hand storage in Amirim, where everyone can take what they need for free.

Minimalism is also a way of life for many families in Amirim. We have friends that do not think about what they and their children are wearing. Is it practical and sustainable, it can be used, and it has no need of appearing nice or beautiful. This is the complete opposite of the society we were a part of in Denmark, but after feeling over-dressed just by going for a walk in the park, I slowly made some changes to adapt to my surroundings. So my pretty dresses have been hanging in my closet for 2 years and I don’t own a single pair of high heels.

We have loved to explore these new lifestyle changes, and one of our upcoming projects is to grow a vegetable garden that we are super excited about!

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Birgitte Eisenberg

1 Comments

  1. Naomi
    February 16, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    I like this way of thinking. Reminds me on my childhood.
    Not much meat (but a lot of vegetables), second hand -clothes, -furniture and almost -everything, but:
    We were happy, had clothes for every activity and money enough for music lessons and vacancies – the right ones ;).

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