#LuckyWeLiveHonolulu: 33 Money-Saving Tips, Life Hacks and Savvy Shopper Steals

For all those thrifty rich locals living their best lives in Hawai‘i.
Money tips


  1. Claim your money. Search for your name on budget.hawaii.gov to see if you have unclaimed cash from banks, insurance agencies and businesses.

  2. Seniors get a property tax exemption, which is 150 percent more than the basic exemption in Honolulu.

  3. Ask if you get a discount for paying cash.

  4. Check on kama‘āina discounts—here, of course, but also in California or Las Vegas (such as free internet at hotels).

  5. For plane tickets, Tuesday afternoons are often good days to find cheap fares. To keep an eye on price drops for specific destinations, try SkyScanner and Hopper.

  6. Mark deal days on your calendars: Tuesdays at Don Quixote, Ross, Consolidated Theaters, Regal Cinemas and Thursdays at Foodland (earn twice the points).

  7. Buy new cars the last two days of the month. A former car salesman tells us you may be able to get a better bargain if the salesperson is trying to make his or her monthly quota.

  8. First-time homebuyer? The Hawai‘i HomeOwnership Center offers unlimited classes, one-on-one counseling and workshops for new buyers for a one-time membership fee of $60. The focus is on low- and moderate-income buyers, but anyone can use its services. hihomeownership.org

  9. Kūpuna housing? Visit the Hawai‘i Department of Elderly Affairs Division at elderlyaffairs.com to find out about low-income apartments, benefits and other options.

  10. Want $7 Hawai‘i Opera Theatre tickets? Students can attend final dress rehearsals for a discount.

  11. Seniors can audit classes for free at University of Hawai‘i campuses.

  12. Plan a smooth inheritance. Update family wills and trusts. Keep the language clear and simple. It could save you money—even save you everything.

  13. Avoid estate taxes when dividing up multiple properties of an estate between family members by using a 1031 Exchange.

  14. There’s still solar. Thought the solar subsidy days were over? Think again. Take advantage of a 30 percent federal tax credit before it starts decreasing in 2020. Hawai‘i offers income tax credits. Rebates are also available for solar water heaters. energy.hawaii.gov.

  15. 529 plans can help pay for private school. The Hawai‘i Society of CPAs Board of Directors notes you can tap into the fund traditionally used for college to pay for up to $10,000 in tuition expenses for grades K-12.

  16. Google “coupon code” for Uber or other services, products and entertainment and you’ll usually get a deal.

  17. Order online, pick up in store. It saves time and you can use cash-back websites such as Ebates or even your credit card site’s shop to save an extra 1 to 10 percent off your purchase.

  18. The AAA member discounts at hotels can be just as good as AARP’s.

  19. Singles, for your weekly grocery run, buy only what you can carry.

  20. Certain days are free at local museums. We have the ultimate list.

  21. Rush tickets for the Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra are $15 for students. You can get two tickets per student ID (hint: take Mom) at the box office two days before performance.

  22. Sign up for Klook or LivingSocial for fast-breaking alerts about discounts here and all over.

  23. Support local fashion and get a deal by following local designers and boutiques on social media; you’ll get notice of sales in advance.

  24. Stuck on the freeway? Call Freeway Service Patrol for a free tow to a surface street: 841-HELP (4357).

  25. That AAA membership works for a tow or gas-up if you’re a passenger in a car, too.

  26. Research the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price on new cars before you get to the lot. A former car salesman says you’ll often find a number marked AMV (adjusted or additional market value) on the price tag which represents the mark up that you may be able to negotiate down.

  27. Contest property taxes by Jan. 15. The Hawai‘i Society of CPAs board says you will need to prove assessed value is at least 10 percent over the property’s fair market value.

  28. Give up the car, use Uber, Lyft and car-share programs such as Enterprise or Servco’s Hui.

  29. Go electric! Take advantage of subsidies, incentives and parking deals for electric cars. afdc.energy.gov.

  30. If you’re buying a used car, use Carfax to make sure it’s not stolen, hasn’t been in a major accident or flood and hasn’t had the odometer tampered with.

  31. Pau hana not just after work but late nights at many places.

  32. Look into unsold-seat programs like Cathay Pacific’s fanfares.

  33. Travel during Thanksgiving to Asia. It’s not a holiday there and you can get deals on airfare.