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Hawaii Steals and Deals

We may be in the midst of an economic slump, but that doesn't mean you have to hold yourself up in your home for the duration. We found 53 ways to shave the costs off retail therapy, sprucing up your home, collecting art, grocery shopping and more. All without breaking the bank.


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Photo: Courtesy of Sheraton Waikiki

Local Getaways

You don’t have to leave the island for a relaxing getaway. Here are some great staycation spots.

This post-summer, pre-holiday season is a great time to get deals like hundreds of dollars off nightly rates and discounts to world-class, luxury hotels such as the Halekulani, the Kahala Resort and the Royal Hawaiian.

If a night away from your own bed isn’t your thing, there are other luxury dining and spa pampering discounts that many resorts offer to Hawaii residents. The Kahala’s Epitome Program is free for Hawaii residents to join, and offers a range of deals. June Cappiello, marketing communications manager for the hotel, explains, “The Epitome Program is to encourage our local residents to come visit us more often, with a 10-percent discount on all of our dining outlets as well as discounts on catering for functions, spa treatments and the fitness center.”

There is also a rewards program; you can trade, for example, 500 points for a beach cabana for one day. “Generally, a beach cabana would only be available for our in-house guests.” kahalaresort.com/epitome.

Many hotel websites have kamaaina sections that outline special offers. But there are just as often opportunities for deals not listed, especially in the off season. It’s also free to sign up for preferred status through hotel conglomerates that offer significant discounts on local favorites. For example, sign up as a Starwood Preferred Guest member and save up to 50 percent on rooms at the Royal Hawaiian, Sheraton Waikiki and Moana Surfrider through the end of the year. As of press time, nightly rates for rooms in the $400 to $500 range were as low as $245 at the Royal Hawaiian, $198 at the Moana and $173 at the Sheraton.

Ask about kamaaina rates every time you pull out your wallet. All kinds of places offer discounts, whether you’re buying admission to the zoo or a new bikini at Billabong.


Going Places

For cheap parking in notoriously expensive Waikiki, go here:
• Park in the lot next to the Sheraton Waikiki, then have pupu and get free validation at the Royal Hawaiian.
• Park at the Waikiki Trade Center for $6 per day, with validation.
• Drive with a military friend and park in the Hale Koa Hotel lot, which costs $2 for the first hour and $1.25 for every hour thereafter.


Wisdom from the Gurus

Shopping Season

Saving a buck has a lot  to do with timing. Jasmine Tso, marketing and promotions director for Ala Moana Center, offers suggestions:

“The end of June and early July is when retailers put their spring/summer collections on clearance. This means it’s the perfect time to stock up on tank tops, sleeveless dresses, white pants and open-toe shoes and sandals, which, of course, are items that we can wear year-round in Hawaii.

Many retailers showcase holiday merchandise and offer incentives in November. Even with a recovering economy, retailers won’t be over-ordering inventory. So, shop early if you don’t want to be left with sparse pickings in December.”

Saving Tips

We spoke to Paco Underhill, author of the bestseller, Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping; he gave us tips on how we spend and what we could be doing better.

“We could live our lives on fruit, vegetables, pasta, wine, olive oil and maybe a little chocolate, plus socks and underwear,” Underhill says.

“We need practically nothing. There are very few purchases that turn you into something other than what you were to start out with.”

Underhill highlights some of the basics in smart shopping—don’t shop for groceries when you’re hungry or tired, make a list and stick to it, beware of buying more produce than you can eat before it spoils—but he also debunks some conventional wisdoms. Buying in bulk, he argues, isn’t always the deal it’s made out to be.

“The question is whether the money sits in your account or sits in theirs, and ultimately it’s better off sitting in yours,” he says. “When we have something in bulk, we tend to use it more profligately."

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Honolulu Magazine July 2019
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