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Cost of Living in Hawaii

Hawaii is hands-down one of the most beautiful places on Earth to visit. Perhaps you know this already and have been here several times, year after year. Maybe you’ve even thought about leaving your life behind and going to live in Hawaii away from the lower 48. While it will still be beautiful, it won’t be cheap. That’s because the cost of living is so high here. Let’s take a look at the cost of several elements of life here on the islands.


As one of the main factors that determines an area’s cost of living, housing here is higher than the mainland, with rent totaling at least $1,500 per month. Yes, you could probably find a small studio apartment for about $1,000 a month, but on average, you’re looking at between $1,500 and up to live here. For a mortgage, you’re looking at about $2,000 a month on average, but if you’re not in a rush you can wait out a deal.


According to the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), expect to pay an average of 30 cents per kilowatt hour, with the highest rate being in Molokai at 34 cents and the lowest at 20 cents in Oahu. Typical households are looking at a bill of between $120 and $180 every month just for electricity. Cooler climates like Kailua mean you won’t be running your AC as much, translating to lower energy bills.


When you hit the grocery store to stock your kitchenette on vacation, you’ll probably notice how high the price of groceries is. That’s because most things have to be imported here from the lower 48 states. It’s not uncommon to pay up to $7 for a gallon of milk or $3 for store brand bread. To curb the high price you pay at the market, buy only what’s on sale and adjust your meals weekly according to those sales. If you can, go for the locally grown fruits and veggies over things that have to be shipped. Head to the big box stores like Walmart, Sam’s Club and Costco for the best deals on bulk items.


According to, Honolulu is second highest in overall cost of living when compared with six other major U.S. cities. The first is New York City, followed by Honolulu, then Anchorage, Miami, Phoenix, Dallas and Knoxville. A typical salary for an administrative assistant is $30,000; for registered nurses, it’s $59,000 and for lawyers, it’s $83,000.

Now, don’t get discouraged if you’re planning to relocate here. There are affordable ways to use your salary wisely, and most Hawaiians flourish here quite nicely. If you’d prefer to just visit, save some cash by booking a tour to see much of the islands through a personal tour guide. Check out Hoku Hawaii Tour’s Oahu Eco Adventure Tour to thoroughly enjoy Waikiki. You’ll be treated to a Waimea Valley Guided Tour, waterfall swim, Halona Blowhole Lookout, Hawaiian Botanical Garden, Byodo-In Temple and so much more for a bundled price. You even get lunch! Call Hoku Hawaii Tours today to see how you can take in the beauty of Hawaii for one low price.