How to Keep a Grocery Budget in Hawaii

How to Keep a Grocery Budget in Hawaii

It's no secret that Hawaii has a higher cost of living than most of the rest of the United States. Living on an island comes with an added cost for most goods, which generally have to be shipped in. Anything that Hawaii cannot grow or manufacture itself has to arrive on a boat or airplane, and the costs of that process are passed on to the consumer.

In many cases, people living in Hawaii can offset or eliminate some of those costs by making swaps like nixing gym costs in favor of exercising outside for free or lowering the entertainment budget and instead enjoying free entertainment like the beach or hiking. The Hawaii lifestyle comes with a lot of built-in free entertainment, with a near perfect climate 365 days a year. However, groceries are something you can't go without.

To make living in Hawaii affordable, keeping a grocery budget is essential. Keep reading for some of our best tips to do just that.

Plant a Garden

Hawaii is a uniquely perfect place to plant a garden, where you can grow produce all year round. Many homes in Hawaii have fruit trees in the yard, most popularly mango, guava, and avocado trees. You will be able to grow most fruits, vegetables, and herbs in this warm and sunny climate. If you are able to invest some money upfront for good soil and garden beds, you can eat from your garden all year long to offset the cost of groceries.

Shop at Costco or NEX

If your family is in the military living on Oahu, shopping at NEX is an awesome way to keep your grocery budget in check. If you don't have access to NEX, Costco is another great option. You will find the best prices on most staples at Costco, which has locations on Maui, Kauai, and Oahu.

Make a Meal Plan

You've heard it before: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Any experienced budgeter will tell you that having a weekly or monthly meal plan is one of the most important factors in keeping costs low. This works in a few ways:

Limits Impulse Buys

When you don't have a weekly or monthly meal plan, you will end up grocery shopping more frequently. If you are like most Americans, you are likely to fall prey to expertly designed marketing that entice you to make some impulse purchases. Even just one item on each grocery trip that you weren't planning to buy can add up quickly to throw off the whole budget.

Get Double Duty from Ingredients

As you make your meal plan, focus on which perishable ingredients you will buy and how to use them on multiple recipes. For example, if you are buying fresh herbs, making sure you plan for multiple recipes that will use them before they go bad. Even ingredients with a long shelf life can throw off your budget if you buy them for one recipe and forget to use them.

Limits Food Waste

Making a meal plan allows you to strategically use every bit of food. Schedule in a leftover or "everything but the kitchen sink" night to make sure you use everything before it expires. You can also learn to repurpose leftovers, stretching every grocery purchase without getting bored.

Plan Around Sales

One of our best tips to keep your grocery budget in check is making your meal plan according to sales. Pay attention to your grocery store ads, reading them before you make your meal plan. For example, let's say pork shoulder is on sale. You could add pulled pork sandwiches and kalua pork to your meal plan, repurposing leftovers to make carnitas tacos. Now you have three dinners planned that all use the same cut of meat, which is on sale, without getting bored and eating the same thing each night. Look to the grocery sales as a challenge and see how you can utilize the foods that are on the best sale. You might be surprised how much you can save and how dynamic your meal plan becomes!

To find out more about how you can make your dream to live in Hawaii a reality, contact our office anytime.

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