Editor’s Page: My Two Cents

Our hunt for money-saving tips is personal, at least for me.
Christi Young

S ome days, I emerge from a meeting to find a string of more than 30 text messages enthusiastically pinging my phone. It can mean only one thing—someone in my family found a great deal at a grocery store.


I’m not exaggerating. One text of “Broccoli is $1.27 a pound and gorgeous. Anyone want?” can trigger an avalanche of excited responses from me, my two sisters and mom. Often the conversation sends the intrepid shopper who sent the initial message wandering into other aisles to investigate—then report back to the others—the current price of furikake, the stock of marked-down curry or the fat-to-meat ratio of on-sale steaks. For us, bargain hunting is a group sport, ingrained in our Chinese DNA. I remember family dinners with my aunts, uncles and late grandparents where we could spark a passionate debate by simply asking, “Where is the best place to get choy sum?”


This drive to find a deal is also fueled by where we are. We’ve all heard the studies. CNBC says Hawai‘i is the most expensive state to live in, pointing especially at high electricity rates and, of course, housing. Inc. magazine calculates we should make $85,367 a year just to live comfortably. Moneyrates.com says Hawai‘i is one of the worst places to make a living. The Motley Fool says residents pay almost 19 percent more for basic goods and services than the rest of the nation. Tell us about it.


For us, bargain hunting is a group sport, ingrained in our Chinese DNA.


Of course, it’s all offset by low crime rates (yes, even now), great culture and, as almost every Mainland writer notes under scenic coastal Waikīkī photos, the sand and surf. But it does mean even those making more than a comfortable salary can feel like they’re falling behind financially, especially after Christmas shopping and shelling out for firecrackers and sashimi for the new year.


So, for this first issue of 2019 we went looking for help from those who know how to get ahead in pricey paradise. Senior editor Don Wallace spent months talking money with everyone he and we knew, from 20-somethings who won affordable housing lotteries to 40-somethings who built their own fortunes through akamai living—and he found four savvy people who are more than making it work. We have their advice, plus financial expert tips and, my favorite, insider deals to make the most of every dollar.


You will notice a few changes in 2019, including new short features focusing on the scenes and stories of the city every month. In arts and entertainment, senior fashion editor Stacey Makiya asked comedians Gabriel Iglesias and Anjelah Johnson—both of whom have taped specials in the Islands—about their favorite things about Hawai‘i ahead of their January performances on O‘ahu. We have brought back Field Guide, an exploration of a one- to two-block stretch of streets around the island. Contributing editor James Charisma walks down the town side of Kalākaua Avenue for fabric, a mean sandwich and the story behind a mini Statue of Liberty. And in 2019, we are expanding From Our Files to dig a little deeper every month into a single topic pulled from our 135-year archives. In January, we profile a sport that drew more than 16,000 people to a Honolulu high school game in the 1930s.

  Christi Young


Got a good story? Reach me at christiy@honolulumagazine.com


SEE ALSO: What’s in The January 2019 Issue