Your real estate agent knows better than anyone that the difference between a Maui tourist and a Maui resident is a matter of vision. As a resident, you’ll grow to appreciate creative ways to save money while basking in the warmth of paradise. Pricey restaurants, resorts with jaw-dropping ocean views, and tickets to luaus and Hawaiian-cultural events are wonderful, but when you call Maui home, you’ll quickly find living the life you had as a tourist to be an expensive habit. Some simple adjustments need to be made to your lifestyle to make Maui affordable, without sacrificing everything you imagined Paradise could be.
Follow these three money-saving tips from your fellow residents at Maui Showcase Properties in Lahaina, and paradise will be yours to enjoy for a long, long time:
1. Don’t Eat Your Money
Saving money often requires spending less time dining out, but eating at home can still be costly if you don’t know how to budget. Fortunately, though, Maui is home to myriad fishing opportunities and farmer’s markets that are open every day of the week. (For a list divided by region, check out this list of Farmer’s Markets).
If you have any shade of green thumb, you may find it rewarding (not to mention thrifty!) to start your own garden. In Maui’s tropical environment, conditions are ideal to grow a wide array of fruits and vegetables, including lychees, mangoes, papayas, cabbages, peppers, you name it! You can’t get more local and organic than your own garden and the health benefits are an added bonus.
2. Avoid Tourist Traps
Now that you’re a local, you’ll get a feel for which places are frequented by tourists (such as jewelry stores pretending to have locally crafted items) and which are patronized by other residents (like your mom-and-pop grocery store). A great source for the inside scoop on businesses catering to locals is your real estate agent. We’re not just here to guide you through the home buying or selling process, but to also ensure your smooth transition to island life.
In general, you’ll find shopping and dining in resort areas to be as much as triple the expense of the places just a bit off the beaten path. When you dine in touristy restaurants, you’re generally paying less for the quality of the food than for the amazing views and/or the trendy ambiance. To get you started on your restaurant-hunting expedition, check out SFGate’s “Eating Well on a Budget.”
The same rules apply to the Maui bar and clubbing scene. Most bars are created for tourists and will charge you top prices for cocktails. If you’d like a night out to meet people and socialize with friends, your best bet is to grab your beverage of choice and head to the beach.
It’s also worthwhile to note that when parking, you pay for convenience. Most tourists have no problem paying for parking in front of restaurants and shops, but those fees add up quickly. Choose parking on side streets or in neighborhoods and the short walk to your destination can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
3. Ways Around Maui’s High Gas Prices
Filling up your car in Maui is enough to make your wallet cringe. Maui is home to some of the highest gas prices in the United States, with HawaiiGasPrices.com reporting the lowest gas prices for regular fuel being $4.24 a gallon (as of November 10th, 2014). As you can imagine, driving in Maui can add up to a large chunk of your budget if you’re not careful. A simple way around this expense is to invest in a bicycle or electric scooter and enjoy the ride to work, the farmer’s market, the next festival, and everywhere else in Maui.
Bicycling around Maui is relatively easy with ideal weather, wide shoulders on its roads, and stunning scenery that would just whiz by if you passed it in a car. Plus, you’ll get to join Maui’s active bicycling community, which is blossoming with Maui’s Bicycle Alliance’s dedication to making Hawaii a world-class bicycling region. If cycling is not for you, consider investing in a bus pass, which adds up to only $45 a month and gives you access to thirteen bus routes seven days a week, including on holidays.
With these tips, you can live like a king, save like a local, and enjoy Maui as a ‘permanent tourist.’ Of course, Maui has a number of events worth spending a little money for, but with your priorities in order, you’ll be able to enjoy a lot more without feeling your pockets draining. You can save a lot of time, money and effort by using your real estate agent as your go-to advisor when it comes to living the good life like a local. Call us anytime at (808) 662-0660 with questions on living in Lahaina or other Maui areas.