Hawaii Living: Can You Afford Cost?


There is no doubt that Hawaii is a beautiful vacation spot with crystal blue waters, lovely Islands and beautiful volcanoes. Maybe you went there on a vacation and you fell in love with the state so much that you thought about moving there.

Or you might not even have gone there once but you love the idea of living in such a tropical paradise with a really rich culture. One thing you should give due consideration is the cost of living in Hawaii.

This is so that you will know whether you can make the move on your current budget or if you need to make some adjustments in your life style or increase your earning/income so as to settle there comfortably.

Hawaii (HI)

That being said, we are going to be discussing the various factors you should take a look at when trying to ascertain the cost of living in Hawaii. They are as follows;

Hawaii Housing Prices

Generally housing cost in Hawaii is a bit on the high side as it is 120.7% above the national average. Renting a one bedroom apartment in Honolulu – the state capital will cost an average of $3,280 monthly while a two bedroom costs an average amount of $5,230. You should also know that the rent prices in the state are on the increase.

The cost of purchasing homes in the state is also on the rise although not as much as the cost of renting. While the cost of purchasing a home increased by 5.6% over the last year, the cost of renting a one bedroom apartment went up by 57% over the same time frame. To purchase a home in Honolulu you are looking at an average amount of $542,500.

Hawaii Healthcare

Giving specific figures for the amount that you will spend on healthcare in the state is not feasible due to the fact that it varies from one person to the other. Someone’s health needs might require such a person to spend more while another person will spend less.

That notwithstanding, with a visit to the doctor costing an average amount of $165 and one year worth of prescription drugs costing an average amount of $530, healthcare costs in Honolulu stands at 20.1% above the national average.

Food Prices

The food scene in Hawaii is really amazing as there are a lot of delicacies that will give your taste buds a thrill, one of which is the Loco Moco. The Loco Moco is a dish of white rice that comes with a hamburger, fried egg and brown gravy.

The general price for food in the state is on the high side as an average resident spends a minimum of $335 monthly on food. In fact in Honolulu, the general cost for food is 52.7% more than the national average. You have some food stuffs such as Potatoes going for $9.17 and Ground beef going for $5.69.

Also bear in mind that when you want to go for some fine dining maybe for a date night or to meet some clients you will have to spend more. You can have a three-course meal for two in Honolulu for an average amount of $95.

The good thing is that there are a lot of amazing restaurants with very beautiful interior decor, wonderful ambience and of course mouthwatering and tasty meals that you can try out.

Hawaii Utilities

When it comes to utility prices in Hawaii, electricity takes a substantial chunk of it and costs an average amount $318 in Honolulu. However, the weather is quite okay and as many houses have good ventilation there is less need for air conditioning. So that saves some money with regards to electricity costs.

When it comes to other utility costs we have natural gas prices at an average of $122 monthly, Water and sewer at $57, Cable at $45 and Internet at $45. When you add the price for electricity this places the utility costs at an average amount of $587 monthly for the state capital – Honolulu.

You should also know that although the state does not yet make use of alternate source of energy, plans have been put in place for Hawaii to have all-electric energy from renewable sources by 2045.

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Goods and services

The general cost of goods and services in the state is 27.6% more than the national average and this doesn’t come much as a surprise as Hawaii is a popular vacation and tourism spot. Just for 2019 alone, the state recorded 10,424,995 visitors.

You will be able to better plan your budget in this regard if you know the cost of the individual services that you usually require. Examples of these services include dry cleaning, newspaper subscription, etc.

Let us take a look at the price of some of these services in Honolulu. Getting a haircut costs an average of $17.36, taking a yoga class an average of $22.20, and going to the movies an average of $14.50.

If you already have a family with children or if having children is in your plan then you will also have to create a budget for childcare. For a private, full-day preschool in Honolulu you are looking at spending about $900 a month.

Hawaii Transportation Cost

Transportation cost in Honolulu is about 24.2% more than the national average. Even if you don’t own your own car there are other means of getting around as the city has a 74 walk score and 60 bike score.

You can also make the most of the public transportation system which covers all of Oahu. Although the buses ply a lot of routes, they don’t run every day. This means that you should get acquainted with the schedule so that you can plan properly.

A monthly pass for the Bus is $70 while a one-way fare costs $2.75. However you can take advantage of the HOLO card which allows you to enjoy the “fat cap”. The fat cap means that even after you’ve hit the max, you still won’t be charged within a 2.5-hour period. The fat cap each day is $5.50.


Hawaii Taxes

Hawaii has no state sales tax but there is a 4% excise tax referred to as the GET. The GET is a tax on all business activities and local municipalities have the power to add to their GET. For instance Honolulu added to theirs so the GET there is at 4.5%.

The GET is supposed to affect only business owners, but majority of them include it when fixing the price for their goods and services which means that at the end of the day, the customer is the one who pays for it.

How much money is enough to live in Hawaii?

If you want to know if you can afford living in Hawaii, the first thing you have to check is whether your present income level will be able to comfortably pay for your rent there. Housing is what will take the biggest part of your budget so you need to settle that aspect first.

It is highly advised that your rent should not be more than 30% of your annual income and since a two-bedroom apartment will cost an average amount of $3,431, you should be looking at earning at least $137,240 to be able to comfortably afford that.

Seeing that the average household income in the state is $83,102, you might need to find a roommate to make things easier for you, should you still be interested in a two bedroom apartment. Also know that some areas are more expensive than others. For instance Honolulu is more expensive that Hana or Waimalu.

You also have to be sure that in addition to taking care of your rent, your income can also take care of your other basic needs such as food and clothing.

If you are confused by the numbers then you should make use of a rent calculator.

Life in the State

Although the cost of living in Hawaii is above the national average, the lovely weather, blue waters, and the beautiful sights more than makes up for it. Also you can decide to settle in the areas that are more affordable and better suited for your budget.

Cost of Living elsewhere