Tag Archives: food budget

Living Cheaply in Hawai’i

I just moved to Oahu from Washington state. I did a little research beforehand on what to expect as far as the price differences but it really is just trial and error, figuring out how to get the best deal. I’ve lived here in Kailua for only a month but I’ve figured out a few things.

1. The bus is a good deal here Most rides are $2.50, $1 for disabled and seniors. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this after I’ve tested it out for awhile but so far it seems like an efficient way to get around.

2. Groceries can be expensive so stay flexible about that you eat. Stock up on nonperishables when they are on sale. If you have the time, go to more than one store to shop the sales and definitely join the reward programs. Try different brands. Something produced locally is going to be cheaper than a national brand shipped from the mainland. For produce try the farmers’ markets. They can be touristy but there is often a more unique selection.

I’m not a fan of Costco and Sam’s Club but it might be an option. I found Target groceries to be significantly cheaper on some items, but not all. It depends on how far you are willing to travel and how much time you can spend.

3. Gas costs more per gallon but it is consistent. All pumps seem to be within a cent or two difference so just go to the closest.

4. There’s no way around it, housing is expensive. Coming from the Seattle area, I didn’t find it completely outrageous. You just have to focus on the area you want to live in and be ready to jump on any bargain you may find. Compromise. You are living in Hawaii. Find something you feel comfortable in but maybe not the same square footage you had elsewhere. Rent first. You want to know the area before you commit to buying.

5. No need to spend much on entertainment. My local library is limited but functional. The beach is free. Some  MeetUps are free.

So, I have a lot to learn about Hawai’i including the language. OK, I’m not talented at leaning languages but it’s helpful to know a few Hawaiian words at least because people do use it mixed in with English conversation. I don’t know how long I’ll stay here so I might as well learn as much of the culture as I can while I have the opportunity. Living on a budget just brings you closer to local life and that’s just part of the adventure of moving somewhere new.


View from my balcony