I get asked all the time, “How can you afford to live on Kauai?” It’s simple, just like anywhere else, you are smart about shopping and what you spend your money on.
Buying Food in Hawaii
Food, for example, is a very easy equation. If it is not grown here it is shipped from somewhere else, and with the current cost of fuel and refrigeration, perishables and frozen foods are twice the cost. However, abundant fresh and organic fruit, produce, honey, and fish are abundant and much more reasonable at the markets and side of the road then store products. With a little time you can learn to make amazing lilikoi jam and mango chutney.
Tips for Saving Money on Hawaii Groceries
- Vegetable Share – I pay about $10/week on fresh veggies (depends on the season, currently I’m getting lettuce, Kale, Ginger, and wonderful carrots).
- Farmer’s Markets – A wonderful place to buy fresh produce. Here is a great link to the farmer’s markets on Kauai.
Farmer’s Market in Haena
- Costco – Great for all the basics and I always fill my car’s gas tank up there.
- Foodland – Maika’i discount card – keep your eye out, they sometimes have great deals and your points can add up for a 5% discount on your next grocery purchase (or right now they are offering Hawaiian Airline Miles).
- Start Your Own Garden – Things just grow here, and they grow well. I am about to embark on a journey of a few trees myself – mangoes, avocados, and pineapples – I’ll keep you updated 🙂
Hawaii Auto Fuel Prices
Auto fuel prices are often a few cents higher than the mainland, but you don’t need to drive very far. With the beach 5 minutes away and my office just up the street, the only real need for my car is showing property and carrying my surf boards to the beach! Most of where you will need to go weekly is within 7 miles of your home and there are no stoplights north of Kapaa.
Kilauea Lighthouse, North Shore, Kauai
Hawaii Utility Costs
Utilities can be very manageable. Without the need to heat or air condition your home, you can save thousands of dollars a year. The high usage items are the hot water heater, laundry dryer, and dishwasher (electric and hot water). The best trick here is to purchase energy efficient units and to be mindful about what you can do with less energy. We have warm sun – and lots of it!
- Electricity – The average cost is 22 cents/KWH. If you average 300-400 kWh/mo that translates to about $129-$172/mo.
Report from Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC)
Tips for Keeping Your Hawaii Utilities Low
- Turn off all lights when you leave a room
- Turn off A/C and ceiling fans – take advantage of the coastal breezes and trade winds
- Hang dry a load of laundry here and there
- Wash dishes with cold water, or soak in the sink first
- Unplug your devices when you’re not using them (microwaves, toasters, chargers, etc.)
Hawaii Property Taxes
Property taxes for a primary residence or second home are far below rates in other parts of the United States and Europe. Check with your accountant, but be aware that a home here in Hawaii could save you thousands of dollars in taxes over a home in CA, WA or The Hamptons. If Hawaii is your primary residence and you are over 60, you will be very pleased to have a rate reduction in your annual assessment. Check with the county for more information.