Since my last post compared the cost of living in Texas, Costa Rica and Maui, I’m now going to give those of you still bold enough to move to Maui on a budget some tips to make your move (and post-move) slightly less shocking and financially cringeworthy.


Maui Budget Tips

Happy Hour

Of all the hours, happy is obviously the best. Get used to choosing dinner entrees from the appetizer menu. Since a “nice” meal out usually costs $20 to $30 per entree, we hope you like chicken wings, jalapeno poppers, crab cakes and nachos, ’cause that’s what you’ll be treatin’ yourself to every time you decide to venture out for a meal.


One great thing about lots of the restaurants here, especially in Kihei, is the bring your own booze rule. Take advantage of this. While it’s fun to sit back and let someone else put the elbow grease into your $12 mai tai, just remember that the whole bottle of rum probably costs $15. Plus you can make yours twice as strong and nobody can stop you.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

While recycling is a good thing and you should probably do that too, I’m talking more about the crap you currently own and/or plan on owning. Get rid of everything you haven’t used in 6 months, buy stuff that’s used (except a Craigslist mattress) and sell the stuff that isn’t complete useless nonsense. While stylish furniture and Pinterest-inspired decor are super cool, affording rent is cooler. Also be prepared to own a brightly colored couch patterned with seven kinds of Hawaiian print. It’ll be like sitting on a party.


I am terrible at bargaining. If someone sells me something for $20, I will immediately hand them $20, walk away and pat myself on the back for finding such a great deal. However, everyone here seems to be haggle-able (not a word, I know). We have gotten cheaper rent, cheaper food and cheaper vehicles all by being… well, cheap. It’s a small island and everyone is looking for something. Find out what you can do in trade or barter and bargain yourself into a successful human being.

Get a Roommate

One bedroom apartments on Maui are few and far between, which makes living alone problematic and expensive. Another issue is that many of the available studios and one bedroom apartments for rent are used for vacation rentals instead of long term, leaving an even smaller number of available places for a single person. Rooms for rent in shared homes/apartments/condos usually cost between $700 and $900 while the few number of studio and one bedroom apartments usually cost between $1100 and $1400. Buddy up, get over walking around in your underwear and save yourself some money, at least for the first few months.

Go Outside

There are 81 beaches, countless waterfalls, parks, hiking trails and a giant ocean, and it’s totally free to go to all of them. Skip the gym membership, movie theater and bars and learn how to free dive, play in the waves and walk across slippery rocks without looking like a fool. It’s harder than you think.

Move Somewhere Else

Life’s too short to be stressed out on a beach. If you can’t make Maui work, whatever! There’s a whole world of places where rent doesn’t cost more than your first car. Go there instead.

budget tips for living in maui