If you want to live in Hawaii, you need to plan ahead to survive living in one of the most expensive states in the U.S. Hawaii's cost of living is much higher than on the U.S. mainland.
Two of your biggest concerns would be the cost of housing and food and finding a job that makes enough money to pay your bills. Hawaii rents vary by city or town, but expect to pay from $600 to $1,000 for a studio and about $1,500 to $2,000 for a 2-bedroom apartment per month.
About 90% of all groceries and other supplies in Hawaii are imported, which drives the prices up. Dining out can also be costly, depending where you eat. Breakfast averages at $5 to $8, lunch is around $12, while dinner can go up from $12 to $30.
What makes living in Hawaii seem more impossible is the fact that the islands lack high-paying jobs. Engineering jobs, for instance, are harder to find than waitressing jobs.
But don't get discouraged by these facts. With the right knowledge about where to live and dine inexpensively and where to get your groceries at a good price, you'd be able to live comfortably in the islands even on an average budget. Here are some tips on how get around and enjoy living in Hawaii.
* Acquaint yourself with Hawaii. Check out online travel websites, magazines and books for information about the islands, from its beaches down to its restaurants. Get a detailed map of the islands to give yourself a sense of direction even before you arrive.
* Understand Hawaii's statistics, such as median real estate tax and population density of its towns and cities. This can help you choose the right Hawaii island to move to. For instance, Oahu is more populated than the other Hawaiian islands. If you want to be surrounded by fewer people and prefer a more a laid-back atmosphere, then you should choose other islands like Kauai and Molokai. However, Oahu has the best job opportunities. Unemployment on the other islands is higher than on Oahu.
* Look for cheap apartments by reading local newspapers. You can check out affordable apartments at online websites of local newspapers, such as The Honolulu Advertiser and the The Star Bulletin (honoluuluadvertiser.com and starbulletin.com). Hawaii Craigslist is also a good website to check for local apartment listings. You can also find roommates on this website to share a place with. Compare rental amounts, contact the advertisers for terms of lease and ask for photos. To save on rent consider a sharing a place.
* To be able to handle the cost of living in Hawaii, of course, you'd need a job. Craigslist is a good website to start your search. Also check the local newspapers. Other sources you can look into are local employment agencies such as Altres.
* Look for and use weekly specials to find out the best bargains of the week or month.
* Get your groceries and other such needs at affordable chain stores like Costco, Sam's Club and Wal-Mart. You will also save a lot if you buy in bulk.