Monday, March 24, 2014

How To Afford Big Island Hawaii (Part Two)

In Part One of Affording Hawaii, I explained how to live locally, cut costs on electricity, and open your home. But what about food that isn't grown locally? What about transportation? And how in the world do meet people?

Buy in Bulk
  • Get a costo card and go ham. (Ham means crazy, guys.)
  • Buy Prime bulk products like toiletries, cereals, chips, and canned goods on Amazon. Shipments over $35 qualify for free shipping and, almost always, the prices are better than in-store and sometimes Costco. Plus it ships right to your door!
  • Compare prices and clip coupons. It's boring and time-consuming, but it is a tried and true method. Safeway has cheaper gas prices with a safeway card, but Walmart has the cheapest American cheese. And KTA is always having a sale that doesn't require a membership for those specific items that Costco doesn't sell.
Resign Yourself to Getting A Car
  • Public transportation on the Big Island is almost nonexistant. I walked, caught the irregular bus, and carpooled for nearly eight months and it was nervewracking. The bus never shows up on time (and sometimes not at all). It also runs, maybe, once an hour in town. Trekking across the island or from Kohala to Kona? Goodluck.
  • Hitchhiking happens a lot and it's safer than the mainland. But it's still hitchhiking and, with twelve grocery bags on your arm, standing in the sun can get pretty tiring.
  • Get a scooter if you can't afford a car. Scooters are cheap but very temporary modes of transportation here. The chances of injury and slow speeds are high, and you'll never make a far trip. We have some big hills and those little things may need to be pushed up one. We also have some crazy drivers. DUI's are the most regular problem in the police notice of the paper so watch out.
  • Buy a used vehicle. If you can save up, get a Kona cruiser (basically a junker for $1000 or so that gets from Point A to Point B). If you can't save and you have good credit, visit the dealerships. Many high-end cars can be found at dealerships in Hawaii after their owners moved back to the mainland. They are in good condition and longer than a junker. Just make sure to do your research!
Meeting the Locals/Making Friends
  • Join and find a group. Many of my friends I met from going on hikes with people from meetup. Guess what? They were new to the island and looking for friends too! In a sea of vacationers and honeymooners, it can be hard sorting out the FOB residents.
  • Ask your roommate / landlord / boss / coworkers. They know you're new and, as awkward as it might be, they probably know people to set you up with on "friend dates" if they don't invite you out themselves.
  • Make an ad on Craigslist under the activities section. Craigslist (like hitchhiking) isn't as scary or weird in Hawaii as it is on the mainland. Check out the person on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram before you meet up. Do something in public and, before you know it, you'll be meeting weekly.
  • Introduce yourself. Ah! I know. I'm an introvert. This sucks. But go out to a yoga class, a beach, or a even the bar and find someone your age to talk to. Compliment, exchange numbers or facebook names, and follow up for coffee. BAM! Now at least you know someone in case of an emergency and (if you buy their coffee) then they owe you one anyway. 

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