If you think your bills are high now, you definitely don’t want to move here.
- Hawaii faces some unique challenges that contribute to its sky-high prices on nearly all common household expenses.
- Residents of the Aloha State can keep costs down by budgeting carefully and looking for cost-saving opportunities.
We all spend money on things like housing, groceries, and transportation. But how much we pay depends a lot on where we live. Most people know that the cost of living in rural areas is generally cheaper than it is in urban areas. But that’s not the only factor that affects your monthly bills.
Costs also vary widely from one state to the next — and there’s one state that stands high above them all.
Paradise comes at a price
You might expect states like New York and California — both known for their big, expensive cities — to top the list of the most expensive states, and those aren’t bad guesses. Both are considerably more expensive to live in than the national average. But they look quite affordable compared to Hawaii.
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This island paradise has a cost of living that’s nearly 90% higher than the national average, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC). That translates to thousands of additional dollars spent on everyday essentials, like housing, transportation, healthcare, and food every year.
The state’s housing costs are about 50% more expensive than the national average, according to MERIC. This is due in part to the state’s small area. With space at a premium and high demand due to the desirable climate, you have to be willing to fork over a sizable percentage of your paycheck just to keep a roof over your head.
The other thing driving Hawaii’s expenses up so much is its isolated location. Many everyday items, like food and clothing, need to be imported from the mainland, and these extra transportation costs are added to the price tag consumers see in stores.
Hawaii also has to import a lot of petroleum to generate electricity, and this contributes to high utility costs. Residents pay about 41.3% more than the national average for their utilities each year, according to MERIC.
So what does this mean for Hawaii residents?
Those who aren’t attached to their Hawaii homes might consider moving to a more affordable location to save some money if they’re struggling to keep up with their bills. But most people who choose to live there do so because they have roots there, or because they love the climate and the lifestyle. It’s tough to give that up, even if staying costs a lot of money.
But Hawaiians looking to cut costs can rely on some of the same tried-and-true tactics that help people all over the country save on their bills. Consider some of the following tips:
- Shop around and compare the prices of items before you buy.
- Look for coupons and sales to help you save at the grocery store.
- Try to limit the amount of electricity you use to reduce your utility bill.
- Consider renting out extra space in your home, either on a long- or short-term basis to bring in extra money.
- When possible, try walking or biking rather than driving.
These tips might only save you a few dollars here and there, but if you stick with them, they can fatten your bank account over time. Keep an eye out for additional opportunities to save as well. Consider scheduling a regular budget review to identify areas of overspending and to brainstorm ways to keep your costs down. It doesn’t have to take very long, and it will definitely be time well spent.