Living on the Big Island can be a challenge. Salaries are lower than those on the mainland, and yet our cost of living is higher. I was compelled to write this post after seeing another post about what lessons in happiness living in Hawaii can teach you. For many of my friends it’s what lessons in frugality the Big Island can teach you! The key to survival here is learning to live with less, but in living with less, you can also find abundance in so many other ways.
5 Powerful Lessons About Living Small on the Big Island
1. You have to leave your mindset of “having it all” when you come here. That means your big house, all your furniture and stuff and a “more is more” mentality.
2. Pretend this is the Marina District of SF or Manhattan in NYC – you are just lucky to live there, so you squeeze in a little harder to live the life of your dreams.
3. You find yourself (like I so some days) enjoying your own ice water from your own tap in your sustainable water bottle with a locally grown banana on your own piece of beach..because you are willing to live with a little less to be able to sit there and not in some high rise feasting on a catered lunch.
4. You riffle through the “designer” clothes at Macy’s or even Ross and realize, “Who am I trying to impress? Is this even comfortable?” Then you go over to the active wear section and get a $15 sundress or t-shirt instead and feel lighter knowing people like you for you, not your brand wear.
5. Living small means having more time to enjoy life. Enjoying the passage of time watching the tide rise and fall at the beach. Watching a sunset. Living without that dreaded word in your head all the time, “MORE”, but instead with the feeling of “ENOUGH”.
Maybe that is the feeling so many people had during the lockdown days of COVID. When they had time to sit and think about their surroundings and their lives and realized the hamster wheel is an energy suck to nowhere.
I wrote this on my 365 Things to Do in Kona Facebook page and personal page and here were a few responses:
Marie- That is exactly what I was thinking this past week as I sat on my lanai watching the sunset, or when enjoying a dip at Kua bay, or dancing with the ocean breeze on my face or simply basking at Mahaihula Bay, watching turtles pop up to say hello or admire a Hao flower, taste some noni fruit or enjoying looking up at a Mesquite tree or riding through a bumpy lava road!! I trully have enough!
Eileen: My oldest daughter, 39 this weekend, is planning to move here in 2 years. She’s planning to pay off her mortgage, sell/give away her possessions, come here with her 2 cats and build a “tiny house”. simplify, simplify, simplify.
Gail: The kind of car you drive here matters to no one but you. Whether your house is big or small matters to no one. You do not need to buy many new clothes or any nice shoes. If you add up all the things you spend money on so you will “look good” one way or another, you can pretty much subtract all that from your budget and then see how it looks.
Tammy: The truth is, Hawaii is expensive (yes, I was raised on BI, lived there many years, have a small place there now), but what many may not understand is that many things are imported, so prices are high. And I’m talking basics like groceries and toiletries. What many don’t realize too is that stores, restaurants, schools, etc. may not be that “hop skip and a jump” away, so there may be a lot more driving (gas) and car maintenance (salt water). And if the industry you currently work in is not prominent on BI, that’s a big deciding factor. But many of my family members work 2 jobs to make ends meet and would never trade it for the world!
If you are wondering how I know about living small on the Big Island, you should read my memoir about the first year we lived here with two kids in a one bedroom/one bath condo in Keauhou! Read all about it in “1 Year, 2 Kids, 800 Sq Ft-The Adventure of a Small Family Family on the Big Island”
If you are considering purchasing a home (even if it’s small!) my husband and I offer real estate services if you are buying a home in West Hawaii and we have access to a group of trusted and knowledgeable REALTOR partners on the Big Island and around all the islands in Hawaii! Check out our website at MoveToHawaii365.com or email me directly at Julie@Ziemelis.com.