Cost of Living in Hawaii

A major concern when moving to Hawaii is the cost of living. There’s so much talk about the cost of living in Hawaii and how much more everything costs. True, there are many points to consider when relocating to the islands and you should be aware of how much money you’ll need to make to live comfortable here.

Cost of Housing You’re likely to hear that Hawaii is one of the most expensive places to live. Housing costs are an important factor in choosing whether to relocate to Hawaii and which island you should call home. Housing in Hawaii is usually going to cost you more than living on the mainland. If you’re going to be renting an apartment or a house you can count on spending a minimum of about $1,500 per month. It varies from place to place. For example, you may be able to find a studio apartment in Oahu for around $1,000 per month. That’s just not going to cut it if you have a family, though. Official numbers show that Hawaii was the third most expensive housing market in 2007 (Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009)

If you’re going to buy a new home in Hawaii, you may fare a bit better. The prices of homes here are still genuinely a bit high, but have dropped drastically over recent years. So if you’re in the position to obtain financing and can purchase instead of rent, you’ll likely be able to find an amazing deal. Some homes are selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars less than they were a few years ago. In time, prices and value will rise again, making it a smart investment for the future.

Cost of Utilities If you’re going to be renting, you may be able to find a home or apartment that includes the price of water. However, everything else will almost always be up to you to pay. According to the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), the average charge per kilowatthour is about 30 cents. The highest rate is currently just over 34 cents in Molokai and the cheapest just over 20 cents per kilowatthour on the island of Oahu. So, a typical household that uses around 600 kilowatthours per month can expect to pay about $120-$180 each month for electricity. This actually isn’t much higher, if any, than what most people pay on the mainland. If you’re concerned about the costs of electricity, choose to live an area that has a cooler climate on average such as Kailua or Kaneohe. That way, you’re not tempted to run your air conditioner every day.

Cost of Groceries in Hawaii The cost of groceries in Hawaii is quite high. Almost all of the foods you find at the grocery stores are shipped from the mainland. That isn’t they only reason it’s expensive, though. Grocers have to keep the food good and keep larger inventories. Don’t be surprised to walk into a grocery store and pay at least $7 for a gallon of milk or $3 for a cheap, general brand loaf of bread. You can cut back on your cost of living in Hawaii, at least food-wise, by doing a number of things. Be innovative and creative with your food choices…
• Be open to change – If you’re a finicky eater, try to be more open. Buy what’s on sale and buy things that are locally grown or produced.
• Visit the markets – Check out the local farmer markets for deals on some of those locally grown products.
• Shopping – You can often find pretty good deals at places like Costco, Safeway, and Sam’s Club.
• Start a garden – Grow some of your own foods. Heck, get a bread machine and grind your own wheat to make bread at a fraction of retail prices.

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