Living in Hawaii on a Single Income
Living in Hawaii
Living in Hawaii is a dream for many people. The perfect weather all year long, slower pace of life, and tropical vacation atmosphere make it a bucket list location for many people, but it's also a well-known fact that the cost of living in Hawaii is higher than the rest of the United States.
Whether you are considering a move to Hawaii because it has always been a dream of yours, or perhaps you have been offered a job on one of the islands, you may wonder if living in Hawaii on a single income is possible.
We have some statistics and thoughts to help you evaluate whether living on a single income in Hawaii will work for you, so keep reading.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Hawaii is far above the national average. Your lifestyle, family size, and individual needs will impact your cost of living greatly, so it is difficult to estimate exactly how much someone needs to make to live comfortably in Hawaii.
Some studies suggest a typical household needs an annual income of at least $120,000 to live comfortably in Hawaii. To help you break this down, here are some of the ways that income will be spent:
- Income taxes: Hawaii has some of the highest state income tax in the nation.
- Property taxes: Hawaii's property tax rate is one of the lowest in the nation, at 0.35%.
- Housing: A typical single family home is priced beginning around $800,000, and rent for a new condo is generally around $3,000/month.
- Transportation: Hawaii is not known for its public transportation, meaning you can expect to spend a significant chunk of money each month on gas. Though gas prices are always changing, it is not uncommon to pay over $5 per gallon in Hawaii.
- Utilities: An average household spends close to $200 per month on utilities in Hawaii
- Groceries and dining out: Your personal preferences and lifestyle will dictate this part of your expenses, but it is not atypical for a family to spend $2000 per month on food in Hawaii.
Why So High?
If any of those numbers have left you with some sticker shock, it might be helpful to understand why the cost of living in Hawaii is so high. The simple answer is: Hawaii is a collection of islands. Everything that cannot be grown on the island must be shipped in, which is costly. The shipping costs of goods are passed on to the consumer.
Another reason Hawaii has a high cost of living is the appeal of the islands. Because of the natural beauty, the unbeatable climate, the perfect produce, and all the other things that make Hawaii one of the top vacation destinations in the world, the demand for vacation housing or retirement homes in Hawaii has remained high for decades. This demand keeps real estate prices high, and contributes to the cost of hospitality industries, as well.
Living on a Single Income in Hawaii
Though it may be challenging, it is possible to live on a single income in Hawaii. Many experts estimate that an income of $120,000 or more is required in order to live comfortably in Hawaii, but if you don't expect to make that much there may still be a way to make life in Hawaii work for your family. Here are a few ways to make Hawaii living more affordable:
- Shop at Costco, or NEX if you or your family is in the military
- Take advantage of all of the free entertainment and recreation
- Buy gas at Costco
- Install solar panels to take advantage of all that sunshine
- Consider an electric vehicle, especially cost-efficient if you have solar panels
- Cook at home
Hawaii is an amazing place to live, and with the right mindset and plan in place, your family can thrive on a single income here.