Saving money is my specialty. It’s the only way that I’m able to be a stay at home mom comfortably. It’s also the only way we’re able to save for anything. As far as roles go currently in our household, it’s my husband’s job to bring home the figurative bacon and it’s my job to save enough of that figurative bacon to go out and buy literal bacon. This is hard enough back home, let alone here in the land of “who can afford that?”. Here are some tips:
1. Don’t eat out all the time.
It’s hard not to, the temptations are endless, but it’s not financially responsible for us here. If you do eat out, choose a place with good reviews. It’s a bummer when you spend a small fortune on a dinner that wasn’t even that good. We made this mistake a few times, simply because we were out and got hungry. Do your research ahead of time, it’s worth it.
Every bakery we’ve tried here has been very good, and there prices are usually very reasonable.
Some restaurants I would splurge for are; Karai Crab, Rainbow Drive-In, Koa Pancake House, and Surf and Turf Tacos.
2. Buy groceries (at least for breakfast and snacks).
If you’re going to be staying in Hawaii for any length of time, go to Costco or Sams Club first. They have the best prices by far. Of course, you’ll need some non-bulk items too. I suggest Target or Safeway for those things. There is also Walmart, if you’re brave enough. If you do choose Walmart, I warn you against grabbing a cart. We couldn’t push one through the great hoards of people gathered in the grocery aisles.
3. If you’re renting a car, find a hotel/condo with parking included.
Parking seems to cost around $1 an hour or more, depending on where you look. That really adds up, so be sure to consider that before booking or renting a place.
Also, if you haven’t already pledged your allegiance to a car rental service, go to Car Rental Hawaii. They had the best prices, before we found out about a deal through my husband’s company. Plus, we unexpectedly got a brand new Dodge Charger. The wait time was crap, but they made up for it.
4. Only buy souvenirs at The Swap Meet.
The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is open every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. They have everything you might want to take home as gifts for family and friends (or just for yourself). It wraps around the entire outside of the stadium, and it’s usually hot, with no shade. Bring your walking shoes, your water, and some snacks. You’ll feel really stupid for spending $20 on a necklace in Waikiki, when you see it for $5 at the Swap Meet. The discounts are worth the hassle.
5. Don’t get too picky when booking flights.
Obviously, don’t fly with an airline you don’t like, but be flexible with your flight itinerary. If you live in an area that mostly just has ocean between it and Hawaii, you’re probably already finding great deals. For the rest of us, booking a non-stop flight will probably cost you double what you would pay for a 1-stop flight with 2 separate airlines. It’s a royal pain in the ass when the airlines won’t transfer bags, but it’s much cheaper. A good compromise would be to stick with 1 airline with a 1-stop flight. Sure, it’s still a pain to stop, but at least you don’t have to claim your bags, check back in, and go through security again.
Look for good deals through Google Flights and Hawaiian Airlines. Good Luck! This was the most stressful part for me.