I hear people talk how expensive the cost of living in Hawaii is all the time.  I’ve written about it and even the largest of Hawaii websites and blogs have talked about it…a lot.  Here’s the thing, though:  People really can move to Hawaii and live here.  As a matter of fact, people do it all the time.  In 2014 there were 976,372 people living on Oahu alone that did it every day.  And the population continues to grow…

It is times like these that make me think of dream killers.  Don’t let anyone kill your dream of living in Hawaii.  Especially, don’t do it to yourself.  There are ways to save money living in Hawaii and  live cheaper if not cheap. 

Save Money Living in Hawaii 10 Tips

  1. Look for online deals on clothing, electronics

You may need to give a little more forethought about shopping.  There are retail stores like Walmart and Target in Hawaii, but in my experience, they are more expensive than their mainland stores. A good thing to do is buy when you can find the best online deals and to pay attention to shipping and handling costs.

  1. Go Solar: Initial investment but long run savings

If you’re looking to rent, buy or build a house in Hawaii then solar is the way to go.  There’s plenty of sunshine here and the initial investment in having it installed will save you money in the long run.  ALWAYS look for solar energy houses when you’re looking to rent.  It will bring the cost down on utilities.   Plus, it’s a tax credit to have a solar kit operating on your home.
  1. Grow vegetables

You can grow your own vegetables and herbs to save money over the long haul. I grow papaya, strawberries, basil, cilantro, dill, pineapple, and kale in backyard.  My family likes those things and it does save money.  Trust me.  I just wish I had a mango tree!

  1. Join a Coupon Site and Grab Deals

Hawaii is a state that is built around tourism.  Hundreds of businesses clamor for a piece of that tourism market.  They fight and lower taxes.  Find a coupon site like Groupon and take advantage of any deals that interest you.

  1. Open Windows: Let the Trade Winds Blow

I enter a lot of homes that have the air conditioner running non-stop.  The truth of the matter is that as beautiful and sunny as the weather in Hawaii is, it is in no way unbearable when the trade winds are blowing.  Save money on the electric bill by opening windows and letting the trades keep the house cool and fresh.  And remember, a ceiling fan is always less money to operate than central air or those big, box, AC units.

  1. Visit Flea Markets and Garage Sales

Nice weather all the time make Hawaii a perfect place to hold yard sales/garage sales and have large flea markets.  Save money by buying what you’re household needs at these types of places and go home with great items at miniscule prices.

BONUS TIP:  Oahu is a huge military hub.  There are always families moving away after their tour is over.  Join Facebook classified groups, check Craig’s List, etc.

Save money in Hawaii at Farmer’s Markets
  1. Farmer’s Markets (support local and get fresher)

One of the biggest things to the Hawaiian economy is a mantra of “supporting local” and I’m all for it.  I love the islands and want to see them flourish. By purchasing produce and some meats at farmer’s markets you save money and support local.

  1. Public Transit: Gas is enormous, maintenance is expensive

There is a rail project coming through and that will be awesome and cut down traffic.  Taking public transportation will save you money on gas and patience.  Use it.

  1. Outdoor Activities

Most beaches, snorkel spots and hikes are free.  Get in shape by getting out and walking, running, biking, hiking, and snorkeling.  You’ll save money on gym fees and you’ll find of peace of mind as you connect with the land and take advantage of the Hawaiian climate.

The long, hot road back home.
The long, hot road back home.

       10.  Find Mom and Pops instead of tourist traps

I can’t stress this enough.  Chain restaurants are expensive in Hawaii because of shipping and franchise fees.  Tourist traps are expensive because, well…they’re traps.  Hawaii has so many good stores and restaurants that are not tourist traps and have some services and food.

Bonus Tip:  Visit Waikiki in the beginning…once.  Do not shop, eat or play there regularly.  Waikiki is tourist trap heaven.  Sure, if you’re on vacation then that’s a different story.  Live it up and go to every spot in Waikiki that you can.  If you live on Oahu, though, there is so much more to see than Waiks’.  Get out there and find it!

These are just a few ways that I could think of from experience.  I’m sure you can think of more ways to save money living in Hawaii.  If so, drop me a line at the Facebook page or contact me here.


  1. Hello! I have a friend who moved to Hawaii last year and she told me that in the beginning of her life there she thought that everything is extremely expensive. Eventually she found amazing place where you can buy fresh vegetables and incredibly sweet fruit which are grown in Hawaii. It seems that all of the food that is made in Hawaii is inexpensive and delicious.

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