Living in Hawaii, Paradise or Poverty?

Growing up in Hawaii, I have learned a lot of lessons. I was born and raised on Oahu, which is the more populated or “city” island of the state. I had many great moments growing up in Hawaii, but if you are thinking about living there yourself, there are a few things to consider.


Of course, the best part about Oahu, or Hawaii in general has to be the beautiful landscape. From the gorgeous green rolling hills and mountains of the Pali to the stunning beaches in Waianae, there is no shortage of pretty places to go and visit. You can easily find yourself a weekend escape to a memorable hike, or a relaxing getaway at one of your local beaches. With Oahu being one of the biggest tourist attractions in all of the state, there is also no lack of interesting places to go and eat, or shop. Sounds like a magnificent place, and for this category of nature and eateries, it is! 


The biggest drawback of living in Oahu has got to be the cost of living. For the average person in Oahu, if you can find a cheap one bedroom studio apartment with minimal commodities, you will still find yourself paying somewhere around $1,000 a month, and this might not include utility payments. In addition to having a high housing cost, the other issue you can find yourself running into is finding a home in the first place. It is easy to find homes in less populated areas in Oahu, but when that happens you are generally in a far away place from where you need to go to work. Unless you work at home of course. 


Living far away from work, just because no closer housing Is in your price range is commonplace in Oahu. This will run you into one of the other big problems, traffic. Traffic in Oahu can get pretty bad at peak hours. Sometimes, it can be as bad as California’s traffic, which is world famous for having horrible traffic. Oahu really only has a few big main freeway roads to allow for long distance travel across the island. The roads that are not on this freeway are generally going through residential areas, city areas, and are packed full of traffic lights and stops, which makes it so even in traffic you are better off just sticking to the freeway. 


In addition to all of this, food cost is insanely high in Oahu and Hawaii in general. Because food has to be shipped into the state on cargo ships, it drives up the food cost for pretty much everything. Also, because the state is a tourist attraction, you can find in some areas of Oahu, food can be priced higher than normal, like in Waikiki, just because it is a tourist hotspot. It can make you feel like the entire island is running on airport food prices. Not only is food at a higher cost, but generally most items are at a higher cost because of the required shipping to the islands. 


All of this together can be overwhelming financially for anyone making under 50k a year, and even then you might feel like you are always fighting just to break even. This is something that not many people will tell you about when you are considering to move to the state of Hawaii. 


Lastly, it can be difficult to find a job in Oahu as well. Since the island is so small, and the population is so high, the job market can be extremely competitive, even for something as simple as working for Costco or Starbucks. So for someone with little to no job experience, it can be a horrible trap. Which ends my topic off on this, once you are in Hawaii, it can be very difficult to financially fund the move out. Think about it, plane tickets to get out can be expensive, moving your items can be expensive, and then relocation is expensive. This is why many people end up “trapped” in Oahu, because the move out is very expensive, and living in Oahu in general can be very hard financially.


Overall, Oahu is a great place. It is beautiful, the people are generally very friendly, and the food and culture is great. It is a mixing pot of many different peoples and the locals are very accepting as long as you are respectful. The drawbacks are almost all to do with the cost of living, and the transportation issues that Oahu has as an island. Overall though, if you don’t mind living a lot poorer than you could be somewhere else, and you love the island life and want to be immersed in the lifestyle, then you can do a lot worse than choosing Hawaii to be your home. 

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