Live Hawaii

The Cost of Living in Honolulu, Hawaii – A Comparison

waikiki beack

So…what is the cost of living in Honolulu, Hawaii?

When moving to Hawaii in 2007, I did experience sticker shock. I was renting a room for $600/month. Groceries were/are crazy expensive and I never, ever bought milk (until my son was born).

In 2008, Hawaii was the first state to average $4 a gallon, for gasoline, but I was riding a moped and a gallon went a loooong way!

Salaries, in Hawaii, are low when measured against those on the mainland. Case in point: As a Chemist, my wife’s annual salary was $25,000 under the national average. As a Civil Engineer, she still makes $25K less than the national norm.

I found a “cost of living calculator”, on CNN Money’s website, to compare the cost of living in Hawaii with that of other cities/towns. The cities I chose for the comparison were:

  • Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • San Jose, California
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Ames, Iowa

I used a $35K salary, in Hawaii, as a baseline.


Comparable salary $30,120

wyoming flagWyoming was ranked the number one state to retire in, by CNN, so I was curious as to the cost of living. All commodities were considerably less except for health care which is out-of-control nationwide! I went fly fishing, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in 1978.

Groceries33% less
Housing66% less
Utilities53% less
Transportation26% less
Health Care15% less

San Jose

Comparable salary $43,029

california flagWow, salaries are high in the Bay Area! I grew up in San Jose and lived my first 24 years there. I remember the cost of housing being pretty comparable to Honolulu. When gas hit $4 a gallon in Hawaii, San Jose was right behind.

Groceries22% less
Housing8% less
Utilities41% less
Transportation11% less
Health Care4% more


Comparable salary $25,722

alaska flagIn a recent Gallup Poll, Alaska was named the happiest state in America (don’t know how you measure wellbeing). I was “happy” to see Hawaii came in second place. My grand-father and mother lived in Seward, Alaska for a short time in the late 1940’s.

Groceries20% less
Housing41% less
Utilities55% less
Transportation16% less
Health Care25% more (Ho! Dat's lots)


Comparable salary $20,040

florida flagWhen my family and I visited Orlando, for our Disneyworld vacation, we loved the weather. It was 70 degrees in December! Of course, my wife was checking out the real estate scene and found plenty of nice homes at $200K and under.

Groceries34% less
Housing65% less
Utilities49% less
Transportation21% less
Health Care17% less


Comparable salary $19,417

iowa flagI always thought it would be cool to live in a collage town. Of course, a great college football tradition would definitely be a plus for me. According to, Ames, Iowa is the best college town to live in (Home to the Iowa State Cyclones).

Groceries40% less
Housing63% less
Utilities59% less
Transportation15% less
Health Care13% less

If you have any questions about this post please leave a comment below or email me at

A Haole in Hawaii?

haolewoodA Haole in Hawaii? No Way! Or Am I?

“Haole is a socially constructed category based largely on idealized and homogenized views of white foreigners.” – Brandon C. Leeward

Huh? Well, I am over 50% Caucasian and I wasn’t born in Hawaii.

mirriam webster dictionaryMiriam-Webster Dictionary definition:
One who is not descended from aboriginal Polynesian inhabitants of Hawaii; especially : white.


urban dictionaryUrban Dictionary definition:
A word used mainly in Hawaii to describe a white person.

Sample sentence:
Go back to the mainland you fu*king haole!

Original Meaning

Haole originally meant someone of foreign origin. So…that would include not only Caucasians but also Chinese, Japanese and Filipinos?!?! Hmm… What about Hawaiians born on the mainland?

So…Samoans, Tongans & Fijians are Polynesians (not haloes?). But…other Pacific Islanders from Micronesia and Melanesia (are haloes?). I hope I’m not confusing you cuz I’m confusing myself.

“Kill Haole Day”

Is it myth or reality? After hearing some personals experiences, I have come to the conclusion that:

  • This was a real event that took place on the last day of school (so no can get suspended)
  • This was a tradition from the 70’s and 80’s (maybe started even earlier)

There were beatings and attacks with eggs, water balloons, shaving cream (no killings). Nowadays, schools have “zero tolerance” and it has probably been years (maybe decades) since KHD was in practice.

If you have any questions about this post or anything Hawaii related, please leave a comment below or email me at Protection Status