It’s always nice to be able to save some money, right? When you live in Hawaii, it’s nice to save as much money as possible — trust me! We are not experts by any means, but after more than half a decade of island living, we’ve gotten pretty good at being able to save money here and there. It’s not always easy (or fun) to pinch pennies, but it’s really nice to save money, so today I want to share some money saving hacks Dane and I have learned along the way.
15 Money Saving Hacks For Living In Hawaii
1. Use cash back sites to pick up in store. We use EBates + Swagbucks for shopping online, so we will place our order, then go pick it up. We earn cash back on items we can get the same day, plus it helps us from strolling around aimlessly at places like Target for shit we really don’t need! You can learn about this in my post about how to make extra money.
2. Cut the cord on cable. Truthfully, Dane and I haven’t had cable since we moved to Hawaii over 6 years ago now. It’s too expensive and unnecessary for how little we turn on the television, so not having it was a really easy choice for us. We have a Netflix subscription and Amazon Firestick, which gives us plenty.
3. Meal planning. This was a big undertaking for us, because the amount of wasted food in our refrigerator made me absolutely nuts. I would go to the store and buy the same things over and over, yet want to eat different meals. It made no sense and I was constantly frustrated. Now when I go to the store with a list for specific recipes throughout the week, I’m able to plan more easily and buy less. I don’t have a monetary total for this one, but the amount of food waste is ZERO right now and that, to me, is huge. I’m still not the greatest at meal planning, but I always feel so much better going into the week when I know what I’m going to make and I get to plan for all the pinned recipes I have on Pinterest.
4. Gym costs. There is a lot to be said about joining a gym or bootcamp or fitness studio (spinning, yoga, etc) that has an instructor who is there encouraging you to move faster, do more reps, keep going, etc. I know I personally love it. But! I also know that spending $20/month for us to go to kickboxing together ($40/month total), was something we could easily cut to save cash considering the weather here in Hawaii is always nice enough for running, walking, hiking, etc. Plus, we could encourage each other and the gyms on all military bases are free for us to use.
5. Personal hygiene. I wax my eyebrows and everything else on my own, which I’ve been doing for years, but it really adds up to get it done somewhere. (A few of you have asked about which wax I use – I love this one for strips and this one for hard wax – both less than $20!). It’s certainly not for everyone, but when I hear people tell me how much they pay for waxes I’m like…WHOA. I also don’t get my hair cut professionally more than 1 time a year and I’ve cut majorly back on manicures and pedicures.
6. Cancel subscription to the newspaper. We LOVE getting the newspaper, but it got to the point where we were recycling it before we had even read it. So sad! We canceled our subscription and read online now.
7. Join Costco to buy food in bulk. I’ve talked about my love of Costco before, but shopping there saves us some serious cash. When we meal plan, we know what we’re going to eat and can buy in bulk accordingly. If this sounds up your alley, don’t miss my 14 Hacks For Shopping At Costco!
8. Lower your expectations for housing. It’s going to be really tempting to blow your budget on a nice house by the water (if you can even afford it). But – that leaves next to nothing for food, gas, utilities, and living. What’s the point of paradise if all your monthly income goes to housing?
9. Use price matching at any store that will participate – I know for sure Target and Walmart will price match their website!
10. Keep in mind that electricity bills can be shocking, so be smart when it comes to how you use power is key. Turn off your A/C when you aren’t home, open windows to enjoy breezes, turn off lights, only run laundry once per week, etc.
11. Use Craigslist and Facebook sale pages for everything. The first place I look when I want to upgrade a camera lens? Craigslist. The first place I go when I want to sell something quickly? Facebook pages. Seriously – those resources have such good things! I’ve never lived in a place where you could find such quality things online! My favorite places on Facebook to shop are: Oahu Military Buy, Sell Trade + Schofield Barracks Buy, Sell Trade.
12. We’ve never taken advantage of it, but we have friends who swear by public transportation to ease car-sharing woes. There’s no rail or subway system here (yet), but The Bus is a popular option and goes all around the island and the cost is around $2 per ride.
13. We set a limit for how often we go out on the weekends, because all those costs definitely add up. When the money is gone for the month, we do things at home or look for free fun. It’s not always the most enticing, but it’s the reality!
14. We shared a car for 5 years, before we got a second one. Ride sharing, car sharing and public transportation are great ways to keep costs down. With second cars comes more insurance, registration, gas, etc!
15. Let’s be straightforward first – there are plenty of free or inexpensive things to do on Oahu (15 Oahu Activities for $5 Or Less!), so get outside and explore!
If you liked this post, be sure to pin it below for later! And if you want some additional reading, you might also enjoy How Much Does It Cost To Live In Hawaii?, How To Get Your Pets To Hawaii or 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Moved To Hawaii.