Live in Hawaii on a Budget? It’s no secret that living in Hawaii is very costly. The Tax Foundation ranked Honolulu as the 4th most expensive city in the United States in 2018.
Yet, we are we able to live sustainably in Honolulu on a fraction of those around us. How? First, we establish a budget. We have used Mint.com for a decade to keep track of our personal finances. We establish our budget as part of our annual family plan. Then, we determine how to plan for our financial goals. We begin this process by defining our family and personal goals and then align our financial budget with those goals. We don’t allow money to dictate our goals. Money is only a means to an end, with the end being achieving our goals in line with our family’s values.
According to the Family Budget Calculator published by the Economic Policy Institute, the cost of living in the Urban Honolulu area for a family of five is $149,838. Wowza! My eyes about popped out of my head when I read that number. Here’s how the “average” family of five spends that much:
Average Cost of Living in Urban Honolulu
We choose to live a simple life. I can’t imagine how the quality of our lives would suffer if we labored to earn that much money to achieve a certain lifestyle. Our family values the principles of sustainability, resourcefulness, frugality and simplicity. We value spirituality and relationships. Therefore, we have made the choice to keep our possessions to a minimum. We only keep items that add value to our lives. Do you have a desire to live more simply?
2021 Family Budget
Our 2021 budget for our family of five is currently planned at only 36.7% of the average cost of living for Honolulu. We choose to make space for the most important things by setting limits for ourselves, limits on our time and limits on our spending.
For example, at the end of 2019, I began an experiment to determine if we could be content with one car in our family. I began riding public transportation when I was commuting to the city and living as if we had only a single car. The experiment was not without challenges. Yet, when the pandemic occurred and our traveling was drastically reduced, we readily made the switch to sell one of our vehicles. As a result, our automobile expenses for 2020 are expected to be less than $3,000 for the entire year. For 2021, I have only budgeted $2,100 for operating our Toyota Prius V.
We have chosen to not pay for cable television; we use the internet to watch or read our news. But we also practice news fasts, to keep calm and help to minimize resulting anxiety. Also, we made the switch to pre-paid cellular phone service from Mint Mobile in 2017 after paying traditional phone companies a fortune for decades. Currently, my cell phone plan costs me $15/month. I have unlimited calling and 3/GB of data but rarely even come close to the data ceiling. Savings $1,000+ a year. Why didn’t I make the switch sooner??
These are just a few of the lifestyle choices that we made to make living in Hawaii possible. We grow some of our own food and participate in community gardening. We spend more time outdoors than ever before which has resulted in lower healthcare costs and increased health benefits. It’s also free entertainment!
I have been able to stay home full time and teach my children since 2016. As a family, we have been able to volunteer a significant amount of time to serve our community. We’re able to spend more time with people and less time with our “things.”
All of this is possible because we live below our means and make sacrifices. We set limits on our spending and the rewards of setting limits are endless. Define what’s most important to you and set a path to reach it! Is there an area of your life that you’d like to simplify?
“Love people and use things, the opposite never works.”The Minimalists