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With overarching ocean views, sandy beaches, and a laidback vibe, moving to Hawaii seems like a dream for many. But between flight costs, importing goods, and the overall cost of living, finding an affordable Hawaiian home can be daunting.

If you’re looking for a quick answer: Maui and the Big Island tend to be more affordable Hawaiian islands to live on than Oahu or Kauai.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the cheapest Hawaiian island to live on based on cost of living, home prices, activities, and more. We’ll also explore the unique culture of Hawaii and provide tips on how to make island living more affordable.

Cost of Living in Hawaii


Living in Hawaii is a dream for many, but it’s no secret that the cost of living can be quite high. However, there are ways to make it more affordable, especially if you choose the right island. Let’s take a closer look at the various aspects of the cost of living in Hawaii.


Housing is the biggest expense for most people, and this is no exception in Hawaii. The cost of renting or buying a home can vary significantly depending on the island. While Oahu and Maui tend to be the most expensive, there are more affordable options available.

For example, the island of Molokai has some of the cheapest housing options in Hawaii. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $1,200 per month, which is significantly lower compared to other islands.

If you’re looking to buy a home, you can find properties for under $500,000, making it a more affordable option for those on a budget.

Also read: The Least Touristy Island In Hawaii For A True Hawaiian Escape


When it comes to utilities, Hawaii is known for its high electricity costs. However, there are ways to mitigate this expense. Installing solar panels on your home can help reduce your electricity bill significantly. In fact, the state of Hawaii offers various incentives and tax credits for homeowners who switch to solar energy.


Grocery prices in Hawaii can be higher compared to the mainland, mainly due to the cost of transportation. However, you can still find affordable options by shopping at local farmers markets and buying locally grown produce. Not only will this support local farmers, but it can also save you money in the long run.

Also read: Is There A Walmart In Hawaii?


Gasoline prices in Hawaii are typically higher compared to the mainland. This is due to the fact that all gasoline in the state is imported. However, by choosing a more fuel-efficient vehicle and practicing good driving habits, you can reduce your fuel consumption and save money on gas.


Healthcare costs in Hawaii tend to be higher compared to the national average. However, the state offers various healthcare programs and insurance options to help mitigate these costs.

It’s essential to explore your options and find a healthcare plan that suits your needs and budget. Living in Hawaii doesn’t have to break the bank.

By choosing the right island and being mindful of your expenses, you can enjoy the beauty and culture of the Aloha State without draining your bank account.

Most Affordable Hawaiian Islands

When it comes to finding a place to live in Hawaii, cost is often a major factor to consider. While Hawaii is known for its breathtaking beauty and idyllic lifestyle, it can also be quite expensive.

However, there are some Hawaiian islands that offer more affordable living options. Let’s explore the most affordable Hawaiian islands to live on in 2023.


Oahu is the most populous island in Hawaii and also one of the most affordable. With its diverse population and vibrant city life, Oahu offers a wide range of housing options at different price points.

While living in Honolulu, the capital city of Hawaii, can be expensive, there are more affordable areas on the island, such as Ewa Beach and Mililani. These areas offer a suburban feel with lower housing costs compared to the city center.

Also read: Why Oahu Is The Most Populated Hawaiian Island


Maui, often referred to as the “Valley Isle,” is another island that offers affordable living options. While it may not be as cheap as some mainland cities, Maui provides a high quality of life and stunning natural landscapes.

The towns of Kahului and Wailuku offer more affordable housing options, while still being close to amenities and beautiful beaches. Additionally, if you are willing to live in more rural areas, you may find even more affordable options on the island.


Kauai, known as the “Garden Isle,” is a paradise for nature lovers. While it is not the most affordable Hawaiian island, it still offers some more reasonably priced areas to live.

The town of Lihue, located on the eastern coast of the island, provides a good balance between affordability and access to amenities. With its lush green landscapes and peaceful atmosphere, living in Kauai can be a dream come true for those seeking a slower pace of life.

Big Island

The Big Island of Hawaii, also known as Hawaii Island, is the largest and most affordable Hawaiian island to live on. With its diverse climates and landscapes, this island offers a wide range of living options.

The cities of Hilo and Kailua-Kona provide more affordable housing compared to other parts of the island. Whether you prefer a beachfront property or a rural retreat, the Big Island has something for everyone.

It’s important to note that the cost of living can vary depending on factors such as location, size of the property, and amenities. It’s always a good idea to do thorough research and visit the island before making a decision.

Additionally, websites like Zillow and can provide valuable information and listings to help you find the most affordable Hawaiian island to live on in 2023.

Finding Work in Hawaii

Finding Work in Hawaii

If you’re considering moving to Hawaii, one of the first things you’ll want to consider is finding work. Fortunately, there are several industries in Hawaii that offer job opportunities.

Whether you’re interested in the bustling tourism industry, the agricultural sector, the fishing industry, or the rapidly growing technology field, Hawaii has options for you.


Hawaii is world-renowned for its stunning landscapes, beautiful beaches, and unique culture, making it a top tourist destination.

The tourism industry in Hawaii provides a wide range of job opportunities, from hotel and resort management to tour guiding and hospitality services.

The demand for skilled professionals in the tourism sector is high, especially during peak tourist seasons. Websites like offer comprehensive information about available job openings in the tourism industry.

Also read: Would Hawaii Survive Without Tourism?


Despite being known for its pristine beaches, Hawaii also has a vibrant agricultural industry.

With its fertile volcanic soil and favorable climate, the islands produce a variety of crops such as pineapple, coffee, macadamia nuts, and tropical fruits.

Working in the agriculture sector can be a rewarding experience, whether you’re involved in farming, horticulture, or agricultural research.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s website ( provides information on job opportunities and resources for those interested in pursuing a career in agriculture.


Hawaii’s location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean makes it an ideal place for fishing. The fishing industry in Hawaii offers diverse opportunities, ranging from commercial fishing to charter boat operations and fish processing.

If you’re passionate about the ocean and have the necessary skills, you can find employment in this industry. The Hawaii Seafood Council’s website ( provides valuable information on job openings and regulations related to the fishing industry in Hawaii.


The technology sector in Hawaii has been growing rapidly in recent years. With the establishment of tech hubs and the presence of research institutions, there are plenty of opportunities for tech professionals.

Whether you’re interested in software development, data analytics, or cybersecurity, Hawaii’s technology sector offers a range of exciting careers. 

While these industries offer promising job prospects, it’s important to research and network to increase your chances of finding employment in Hawaii. The Aloha spirit and the unique cultural experiences that come with living in Hawaii make it a truly special place to work and live.

Tips for Affordable Island Living

Buy Used Cars and Furniture

Living on a Hawaiian island doesn’t have to break the bank. One of the easiest ways to save money is by buying used cars and furniture. Instead of purchasing a brand new car or investing in expensive furniture, consider looking for second-hand options.

You can find great deals on websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also be helping the environment by reducing waste.

Remember to thoroughly inspect any used items before purchasing to ensure they are in good condition.

Grow Your Own Produce

Another way to cut down on expenses while living on a Hawaiian island is by growing your own produce. The tropical climate in Hawaii offers an abundance of opportunities for gardening.

Planting fruits, vegetables, and herbs in your backyard or even in pots on your balcony can save you a significant amount of money on groceries. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of eating fresh, homegrown food. Check out gardening websites like The Old Farmer’s Almanac for tips and tricks on growing your own produce.

Limit Eating Out

While it may be tempting to indulge in the delicious local cuisine, eating out frequently can quickly drain your bank account. To save money, consider limiting your dining out to special occasions or treating it as a rare treat. Instead, focus on cooking meals at home.

Not only will you save money, but you’ll also have the opportunity to explore the local markets and experiment with new recipes. So put on your chef’s hat and get creative in the kitchen!

Consider a Tiny Home

If you’re looking to live on a Hawaiian island on a budget, consider the option of a tiny home. These compact and efficient living spaces have gained popularity in recent years. They offer an affordable alternative to traditional houses and can be customized to fit your needs.

Not only are tiny homes cost-effective, but they also encourage a minimalist lifestyle. Living with less can be liberating and can help you focus on what truly matters. Just imagine waking up to breathtaking island views from the comfort of your cozy tiny home!

Enjoying Hawaii on a Budget

Enjoying Hawaii on a Budget

When it comes to living in Hawaii, many people assume it’s only for the wealthy. However, with a little planning and creativity, you can enjoy all that Hawaii has to offer without breaking the bank.

In this article, we will explore some budget-friendly ways to make the most out of your time on the beautiful Hawaiian islands.

Take Advantage of Free Activities

Hawaii is known for its stunning natural beauty, and luckily, many of its attractions are free to enjoy. From hiking trails with breathtaking views to botanical gardens and local markets, there are plenty of free activities to keep you entertained.

Don’t forget to check out the local tourism websites for a list of free events happening during your stay. You’ll be amazed at how much you can experience without spending a dime!

Visit Public Beaches

Hawaii is famous for its pristine beaches, and luckily, many of them are open to the public at no cost. Whether you’re looking to relax on the sand, snorkel in crystal-clear waters, or catch some waves, you’ll find a beach perfect for your needs.

Some popular public beaches include Waikiki Beach on Oahu, Poipu Beach on Kauai, and Kaanapali Beach on Maui. Pack a picnic, grab your beach towel, and enjoy a day in paradise without spending a fortune.

Read more: Hawaiian Beaches – A Comprehensive Overview

Explore State Parks

Hawaii is home to numerous state parks that offer breathtaking landscapes and a chance to immerse yourself in nature. From volcanic craters to lush rainforests, these parks provide endless opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and wildlife spotting.

Admission fees for state parks are typically affordable, and some even offer free entrance on certain days. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the incredible beauty of these natural wonders.

Attend Local Community Events

One of the best ways to experience the local culture and connect with the community is by attending local events. From farmers markets to art fairs and cultural festivals, there’s always something happening in Hawaii.

These events often offer free or low-cost entertainment, delicious food, and a chance to meet locals who are passionate about their heritage. Check out local event calendars or ask the locals for recommendations to find the best events happening during your stay.

Living in Hawaii doesn’t have to break the bank. By taking advantage of free activities, visiting public beaches, exploring state parks, and attending local community events, you can make the most out of your time in paradise while staying on a budget.

So, don’t let financial worries hold you back from experiencing the magic of Hawaii. Start planning your affordable Hawaiian adventure today!

Also read: Why Is Hawaii So Expensive?


While island living in Hawaii can be expensive, the Big Island and Maui offer more affordable options for relocating. With proper planning and budgeting, you can enjoy Hawaiian life without breaking the bank.

Focus on securing steady income, limit costs, and take full advantage of the natural beauty and local culture that Hawaii has to offer.

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