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Is Oahu living realistic

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello all, my dh is planning on getting out of the military in a few months and we are considering moving back to either my hometown in Texas or Oahu his home.  I am willing to move anywhere.  All I want is to be able to live cheaply and have my own little house, be able to grow my own food.  I don't want to struggle financially and be in tons of debt.  I was considering a small house company in Texas and looking at spending around $60,000 for housing/land.  I've been researching Oahu for months and I don't see any houses that are affordable for us.  I'm not willing to live in an apartment/condo long term.  I see tons of awesome houses on the Big Island in our price range but his job isn't there.  I am trying to tell him realistically I don't think we could live there.  I stay at home for now and while I am content with his salary, it isn't much.  Is it possible to live "cheaply" on Oahu? 

post #2 of 7

Any Oahu residents have info to share? 

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Well after reading some past post on here it seems like it isn't very realistic for the kind of life I want to live.  My husband keeps saying there are normal working class people that live there.  But I'm sure they struggle just to break even.  I have no desire to be rich but I certainly don't want to be dirt poor either.  Most of the houses I've seen for sale in our price range look like meth houses which I'm sure many of them are. 

post #4 of 7
I've been meaning to reply to your question was having trouble finding the time to allow for a thoughtful response. In my opinion, you're right to have reservations. My husband took a job at the university here, and we moved here knowing it would be expensive but thought we would put five years in here to enjoy the experience and leave before our children started school. We've been here for a year now and even though we are well acquainted with a higher cost of living having come from the NYC area, the shock of the cost of things has still not worn off. Perhaps I'm projecting but it seems like you want to live a similar life to the one I envision for myself. I am currently able to stay home with my son and am growing some of my own food in a community garden plot. In my opinion, this sort of life just isn't possible long-term here, though. My husband makes a pretty good salary here, but we continue to live paycheck to paycheck, something we've never had to do before. Our main expense here is food. Granted we buy mostly organic but regardless, food is crazy expensive, and I won't even get into real estate because your impression is very astute. But really the main issue here is how the high prices of everything just seem to quickly add up. And don't forget about the cost of airfare to get to the mainland!

I'm sure I've made my opinions clear but I also want to add that the natural beauty here is remarkable and a day spent wading in the Pacific Ocean with no continental shelf beneath your feet is truly a day in heaven. But unless you have a strong foundation here, of history and family, I personally think it's unnecessary to actually live long-term out in the middle of the ocean.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you I greatly appreciate your response.  I'm trying my best to present to my husband the reasons I don't think it's realistic to live there long term.  But he is nostalgic for home and family so he keeps saying we could make it work and that plenty of working class people are able to live there.  But I just don't see it happening without us struggling and living paycheck to paycheck. 

post #6 of 7

The reality is there are no affordable housing options that are not in a high rise. For $450,000 here you might get a two bedroom house with a postage stamp of land that is not in a development or for $300,000 a townhouse. Being prior service, being hired as a gs-4 (about $879 a check with a meager TSP contribution) or gs-5 (again, about $979 with meager TSP) it is difficult to even pay rent, let alone pay for food, transportation, et cetera. Beyond this, unemployment paid more when I separated than what I make working 40 hours a week now. Post 9/11 GI Bill makes it somewhat more manageable but there are few options that allow you to draw housing allowance every month, year round. Having both parents work at maybe GS-4 pay really only adds about $800 to the budget because daycare is outrageous. I pay $950 a month which is a deal compared to other Oahu daycares. People survive here by taking their kids to "aunties" instead of daycare, paying under the table, and relying on family. There is a difference between surviving and thriving though and your $879 will go further just about anywhere else.

post #7 of 7

I agree with the above. We've been here two years and lived paycheck to paycheck on what would be plenty back in Chicago... and that's with one car and a 700 sq ft condo rental. There are massive tradeoffs for the great weather, and one is cost of living. 

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