Hawaii is an expensive place to live.
According to Numbeo, a family of four pays around $5,00 a month without rent in Hawaii.
A single person pays around $1,400 a month without rent in Hawaii.
The average person makes around $78,131 a year or $6,511 a month in Hawaii which might make you wonder how they afford to live there.
Here are 10 ways that people afford to live in Hawaii.
How Do People Afford To Live In Hawaii (10 Ways)
1. Reduce Toys
Outside of Hawaii, it’s common for people to have toys.
For adults, toys refer to extra cars, a boat, or ATVs.
They drive around on the weekends or hit the water with their boat.
These toys can be quite expensive to own.
You often need to pay for insurance if you plan on using them in a public area.
You also have to maintain them and purchase fuel for them.
People in Hawaii don’t usually have toys.
While some of the executives and top-earners might have a yacht or two, the average person in Hawaii keeps their lifestyle simple.
They don’t buy toys.
When they want to go out onto the water or zip through the jungle, they either rent a vehicle or pay for a ticket through a service that hosts them.
For example, if they want to take an ATV through the jungle, they can pay for a ticket to ride an ATV at one of the various jungle adventure businesses.
If they want to hit the water, then they can easily rent a boat at one of the many businesses that offer boat rentals.
This allows them to afford to live in Hawaii because they don’t have to pay monthly insurance payments for their toys or worry about maintaining them or fueling them up.
Instead, they can spend that money doing those fun things only when they want to.
It isn’t as though they’re always out on the water or driving through the jungle.
Unlike the tourists who are there to have fun, they have a usual life that involves work on the island.
They don’t have as much free time.
2. Simple Clothes
One of the benefits of living in Hawaii is that the great weather means most people just need shorts and a t-shirt.
They don’t have to worry about having a wardrobe filled with different clothes for each season.
At most, they might have a jacket.
When they’re not at work, then they might just choose to wear a bathing suit.
Not only is it mostly acceptable, but it’s quite common.
Since there’s always a beach nearby, everyone is always prepared to spend time on it by wearing a bathing suit.
Besides having fewer clothes that they need to buy, Hawaiians also tend to keep their clothes simple.
While they might splurge on some designer clothing now and then, they usually keep things generic and simple.
As long as it looks good and fits well, they don’t mind wearing it.
It also helps that they’re surrounded by tourists who wear anything comfy.
Hawaiian shirts are just as common as breezy dresses.
Because they keep things simple with their clothing, they reduce their spending.
This helps them move their money around when utilities or rent become a bit more expensive.
3. Staying Home For Vacations
Another way that Hawaiians can afford to live in Hawaii is by staying home for vacations.
While many people travel to Hawaii for a vacation, those who call the island home tend to stay there.
That’s because traveling out of Hawaii is quite expensive.
If they wanted to travel to other parts of the United States, their plane tickets could become quite expensive.
That’s partially because Hawaii is so far from the rest of the United States.
It’s on the far western portion of the country in the middle of the ocean.
If a family wanted to visit Disney in Florida, for example, they’d have to travel many hours by air.
The further that someone needs to travel, the more expensive it is.
That’s because airlines have to cover the cost of fuel.
Jet fuel isn’t cheap, especially when the price of gas is on the rise.
Flying is also their only option since there isn’t a highway or tunnel that connects Hawaii to the mainland.
They could also choose to take a cruise, but that’s quite an expensive ticket, too.
To avoid those high costs, most Hawaiians choose to stay at home.
They might visit one of the other Hawaiian islands for a vacation, but even that type of travel can become quite expensive.
Part of the reason is the tourists.
Since there’s a lot of demand for travel between the islands and only a small number of ferries or boats, it makes the price of tickets for those boats rather high.
Some Hawaiians may simply not have it as part of their budget.
The good thing about Hawaii, and all of its islands, is that there are tons of things to do.
By choosing to stay home, they’re not missing out on much since Hawaii has so much to offer.
So, Hawaiians can afford to live in Hawaii because they choose to vacation at home rather than abroad.
4. Multi-Family Living
An important choice that some Hawaiians make to afford to live in Hawaii is to live with family members.
Multi-family housing is not uncommon.
While children might move out for a few years, it isn’t uncommon for their parents to move in with them or for them to move back in with their parents.
Grandparents are often in the same house.
Multi-family living makes living in Hawaii more affordable because it means there are more paychecks to go around.
Someone can pay for the electricity while someone else can focus on the mortgage or rent.
It also gives the chance for older family members to relax or look after younger children while everyone works.
Since social security checks likely won’t cover the expenses incurred in Hawaii, some retirees may rely on their families to cover the rest of their expenses.
Multi-family living is also helpful when it comes to saving costs on childcare.
While kids will eventually attend school, most people have to put their children in daycare or hire a babysitter before then.
Even when the children are in preschool or kindergarten, they’re often back at home before the parents return from work.
As such, most people have to tack on expensive daycare costs.
Multi-family living removes that expense.
Instead, other family members can look after the children.
This cuts childcare expenses by a significant amount.
Finally, multi-family living helps make Hawaii more affordable because they’re able to carpool.
When only one member of the family has a car, everyone can use it and pay for it.
Instead of everyone having their own car, by carpooling, they can reduce their monthly costs.
Multi-family living is a method some Hawaiians use to make Hawaii more affordable to live in.
5. Choosing Cheaper Rental Units
Rent in Hawaii isn’t cheap.
That’s because the number of apartments is usually limited.
Each island only has so much land.
It’s also carefully zoned.
Some areas are for natural reserves and protected against development.
Others are for tourist services like resorts and businesses.
Apartments get the leftovers.
While you can certainly find gorgeous condos and apartments at the heart of the major cities, these aren’t units that the average Hawaiian is renting.
They’re simply too expensive.
Instead, Hawaiians look for rental units that are a bit cheaper.
These units are usually in places that aren’t as coveted.
For example, they might be close to an area that has a lot of traffic or noise.
They may be far away from the center of the city.
Even units within more expensive apartment complexes can sometimes be cheaper because of their unattractive quality.
For example, a bottom unit may be cheaper than a top-floor unit because there’s foot traffic that passes by the windows.
Hawaiians can afford to live in Hawaii because they opt for cheaper apartment units.
This sometimes means they’re not always living in the best units.
The unit may be extremely basic.
The apartment may not offer any additional amenities like a washing and drying room.
Hawaiians make that sacrifice to ensure they’re able to afford to live in the state.
They might also have family live with them, too, to make it more affordable.
For example, they might curtain off part of the living room to make another bedroom.
Since there are more people to share the rent, they can make even more expensive apartment units more affordable.
By choosing less attractive rental units, Hawaiians can reduce their rental costs and make living in Hawaii more affordable.
6. Small Houses
Rental prices aren’t the only thing that’s expensive in Hawaii.
The average price of a home, according to Zillow, is $901,942.
Prices rose by 22.1% since 2021.
There are quite a few reasons behind high housing costs.
One of the reasons is due to limited space.
Since the Hawaiian islands are islands, it means that there’s only so much land that people can build homes on.
The fact that one of the islands has a volcano on it means that there’s even less land available.
There are also several national parks and wildlife reservations that take up a good amount of land, too.
Since it’s impossible to build homes in these areas, it means that the available areas are in high demand.
With a lot of demand and low supply, sellers can put whatever price they want.
Even those selling pre-owned homes can fetch a pretty good price on their house.
Land availability is one reason why housing is so expensive in Hawaii.
Another reason is the cost of building a home.
Hawaii has to import materials, tools, and other things it needs to build a home.
That tacks on a significant expense to the cost of building a home.
As a result, the price of the home is higher to cover that cost.
To make housing more affordable in Hawaii, some people choose to live in small, even tiny, homes.
Since they don’t have large yards or even large homes, they don’t have to pay as much for them.
This also helps them reduce other expenses like utilities since it takes less energy and water to keep up a smaller home.
7. Take On Extra Work
No matter how many sacrifices someone makes, there are times when they need to take on a second job to cover expenses.
Some Hawaiians take on extra work to afford living there.
Tourism is a huge industry in Hawaii.
Because of that, some Hawaiians get into the industry either as their primary job or a secondary one.
It might be waiting on tables, driving boats, or even acting as guides.
Others might open small businesses on the side to push their money even further.
A hustle like shopping for other people, driving people around, or offering other freelance services is also common.
Then there are those who just work two jobs.
These are the individuals who have to work most of their waking hours just to make ends meet.
While the second job may make them exhausted, it also helps them afford their bills in Hawaii.
8. Eat Local Food
The cost of some food in Hawaii is quite high.
The Economic Policy Institute looked at the cost of food for a family of four in each state.
They had an interest in determining how much families had to pay for their groceries, especially with inflation-increasing prices.
For Hawaii, they determined that a family of four in Hawaii is going to spend, on average, $14,042 for food in 2022.
That was the highest amount amongst all the states.
There are a few reasons that the food in Hawaii is more expensive than in other places.
The first is imports.
Hawaii can’t grow or raise all the food that its people need.
The state has to support its own people as well as the thousands of visitors that it sees each month.
Some industries, like the meat industry, are also difficult to have on the islands because there isn’t a lot of space for animals to roam.
Because of that, Hawaii has to import certain types of meat and vegetables.
What Hawaii does have available in abundance is seafood and fruit.
The ocean provides tons of fish and the tropical weather makes growing fruit ideal.
Hawaiians can make living in Hawaii more affordable by eating local food rather than imported food.
If they eat seafood, fruits, and any vegetables grown on the island, they can lower their food costs.
Some may even grow their own fruit and vegetables at home or go fishing to bring home fish.
Being sustainable when it comes to food helps make Hawaii more affordable for Hawaiians.
9. Bicycling Over Cars
The cost of owning a car is quite expensive in Hawaii.
For one, all dealerships have to import their cars from the mainland.
That’s a costly venture which means the dealerships need to make up for that cost by selling the cars at high prices.
The cost of maintaining the car is also expensive.
Mechanics need parts that also need to come from the mainland.
Finally, fuel costs are high since Hawaii has to import gas.
To remove that cost, many Hawaiians choose to bicycle everywhere or use public transport.
It makes living in Hawaii far more affordable.
10. Reduce Electricity Usage
Electricity in Hawaii is notoriously expensive.
The primary reason it’s expensive is that Hawaii has to import oil that it uses to run its generators with.
Since everyone is using electricity, they have to buy a lot of it.
The average monthly electricity bill in Hawaii ranges from $160 to $180.
When gas prices increase, electricity bills also increase.
To make affording electricity easier, Hawaiians try to limit how much they use.
That usually means keeping the lights off for as long as possible, using outdoor grills instead of indoor stoves, and going somewhere else to use the internet.
By reducing their electric bill, they can save quite a bit of money and make living in Hawaii more affordable.
Living in Hawaii can be very expensive.
Since it’s a chain of islands, they have to import much of their food, resources, and fuel which adds to the price of these necessities.
Some Hawaiians make living in Hawaii more affordable by implementing some of the methods above.