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Live Well for Less

Want to beat the high cost of living in the Islands? Move to Minneapolis. Barring that, you can read this story, which has ideas on how to stretch your dollar.


(page 4 of 9)

>> Life’s Necessities

Some things, you just can’t live without. Here’s how to be as money-savvy about them as possible. —Kathryn Drury Wagner


“The best single way to save money is switch to solar water heating,” says Peter Rosegg, a spokesperson for Hawaiian Electric Co. “With rebates, state and federal tax credits, a typical $5,250 solar system costs only $1,500. A solar roof saves $10 per person per month on electricity.” Haven’t switched to solar? Don’t dilly-dally in the shower; even taking two minutes off the length of your shower can save you $215 per year in energy costs.

Properly maintained central air conditioning can save up you up to 20 percent a year on cooling costs. Also, try using a fan instead of air conditioning. According to HECO estimates, running two fans, rather than an 8,000 BTUH room air conditioner, will save more than $161 per year.

Another easy money saver: Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. They’re more expensive to buy, but they last four to five times longer, and, according to Rosegg, the cost savings are $15 a year—per bulb.


The average Honoluluan pays about $210 to park a car each month, according to the 2007 Parking Rate Survey by Colliers International. At least we’re not in midtown Manhattan, where fees can run to $925. To save on parking, think through your routine: Can you walk a bit farther to a cheaper garage? Carpool with a friend?

And then there’s the cost of fuel. Hawaii gas prices have historically been among the highest in the United States, and are currently more than $3 a gallon. But here are some cost-saving tips, provided by AAA Hawaii office:

If you have more than one vehicle in your driveway, take the most fuel-efficient one whenever possible. Once you’re out, consolidate errands so you drive less.

If you’re buying a new truck, van or SUV, pay attention to the different model sizes and configurations that the model comes in. Vehicles with a slightly shorter truck bed or smaller cargo area are lighter and tend to need less fuel.

Save on the air-conditioning load on the engine by choosing a light window tint to keep the car cooler, or switch to the “recirculation” setting on the air conditioner.


Life has to have some pleasures. Kailua’s Hawaii Healing Arts College has a nicely appointed offshoot, Massage Professionals, where intern therapists give one-hour treatments for $30. “Our facilities have really nice, individual treatment rooms,” says clinic manager Jaydie Asuncion. All massages are an hour long—there’s no option for a half-hour session, or double booking for a two-hour version. Asuncion suggests booking your massage about two weeks in advance. It’s cash or check only, and by appointment only; call 266-2468. Another bonus: when you pay for 10 massages, you get one free.

Daily Bread

Five bucks here, $8 there—it’s easy to ignore the drain that small, regular expenses have on your wallet. Do the math, though, and you may be inspired to make a few small changes.


$ A daily tall drip coffee ($1.65) at Starbucks on Bishop Street, five days a week, 52 weeks a year = $429.
smart swap Brew at home. One pound per month of Maui Coffee Co. Kona coffee, at $10.99 each for a half-pound package = $264.


$ A basic pedicure ($20, plus tip, about $25) at Smiley Nails in Kaimuki, every two weeks = $650.
smart swap Do your own toes—Nail Kit ($51) and Bliss Foot Patrol cream ($26), from Sephora, plus three L’Oreal nail polishes ($15), emery board ($2.99 at Longs Drugs) = $95.


$ Buying lunch, such as a furikake mahi half-plate with vegetables and rice ($7.29) and a soda ($1.49) at Dreamers CafŽ on Fort Street Mall, five days a week, all year = $2,283.
smart swap Bring a sandwich, spending $25 a week on groceries = $1,300.

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Honolulu Magazine June 2018
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