Can I Afford the Cost of Living in Kauai?

One of the most common questions I get asked, besides which side of the island is best, is: “Can I afford to move to Kauai?” People who are deciding whether or not to move to Kauai are naturally concerned with the cost of living in Kauai.

North Shore, Kauai

The Cost of Living in Kauai Hawaii

It is true that living expenses such as food, gas, and electric are more expensive than on most of the Mainland. There are so many more variables to consider when comparing the cost of living on the Mainland to Hawaii. Yes, our electric rate is higher, but we do not have heating bills in winter or air conditioning bills in summer. I know this is a cost of hundreds of dollars each month if you are living on the Mainland.

hanalei sunrise

Hanalei sunrise over taro patch

Yes, our gas rate is higher. We do not have freeways — it is a small island without too far to drive in either direction. Food in the grocery store is more expensive than on the Mainland; however, we have local farmers’ markets for produce offering a plethora of fresh, delicious local fruits and vegetables for any pallet.

Kauai has local farmers’ markets for produce offering a plethora of fresh local fruits and veggies

What is Living in Kauai Like?

Kauai life is simple and the climate tropical. You are not spending a lot of excess money on clothing and shoes. Kauai does not have amphitheaters, amusement parks, or large shopping malls. You are not spending money going to these places and events. Our entertainment, for the most part, is absolutely free. We have the most incredible beaches, mountains, hiking trails, bike paths, etc.. All of these magical breathtaking places are free for you to experience if you live in Kauai.

na pali coast

Na Pali Coast

If fancy restaurants are your thing then relocating to Kauai may not be a good idea since we don’t have a lot of dining options in comparison. We do have fun-filled BBQ’s — potlucks and gatherings with friends. The food is always amazing and the bond you feel from friends who truly care is hard to beat.

By the most recent numbers, there are just over 67,000 people who live on Kauai. The demographics are comprised primarily of people of white and Asian descent.

Young woman on a paddle board

I start every morning with an early SUP surf session

Our property tax rate is generally lower than the Mainland and our sales tax of only 4%. Kauai offers many clubs for all kinds of activities that would interest most any hobby or passion. The island is diverse with many residents in the local arts, natural healing, and we have phenomenal local musicians. The talent you can find here is endless.

Working in Kauai

With Kauai being such a small island, many may be wondering about what job opportunities there are on the island. This year, the minimum wage in the state of Hawaii was raised to $10.10. The average income on Kauai is $62,946, which is significantly higher than the U.S. average of $53,482.

Why Kauai?

The main reason I feel Kauai is a good place to live is for the lifestyle. Where else can you start every single day in the ocean by 7:00 am to get your exercise? How do you put a price on health and lifestyle? Where do you fit that cost into your budget when making your decision to move or not to move to Kauai?

Perhaps the better question you should be asking yourself is…”Can I afford not to move to Kauai?”

Can you afford not to move to Kauai?

When your response is: “No, I cannot afford not to move to Kauai,” please contact me or give us a call and let Hawaii Life show you properties to suit your lifestyle.

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Rochelle Masquefa

April 10, 2017

Rent $800?
But $275,000?

Carol Andrews

April 12, 2017

Hi Rochelle
Thank you for reading our Blog at Hawaii Life.
If you could be more specific o your question I will be better able to assist.
Please feel free to contact me direct anytime.


November 30, 2017

Want to relocate ..what kind of jobs are there..

Carol Andrews

November 30, 2017

>Thank you for the direct phone call this morning Robert. I hope everything works out for you and you fulfill your dream to move to Hawaii. I hope you found the information we chatted about helpful. Have a wonderful holiday season.
Warmest Aloha

Janlyn Myers

June 17, 2018

I want to move to Kauai sometime soon I just don’t know exactly when. Would I be able to get a good head start with $5,000… I probably would want to rent… by no means does it need to be glamorous… an efficiency would work for me…

Carol Andrews

June 24, 2018

Hi Janlyn~

Thank you for contacting me. Sorry about the delay in getting back to you I was off on holiday.

In response to your question about is $5,000 enough to get a start on Kauai….

I understand you are okay with a modest rental. Our rental market is a bit scarce.
When you are ready and when you find a rental I suggest trying to confirm it asap.
Depending upon where on the island you wish to reside will of course reflect on the price. The average one bedroom condo will start at a monthly of approx $ 1500-2000+ plus utilities. This would not be deluxe or ocean view. Rents may be a bit less on west side. North and south shores are comparable. East as in location are in the middle price point.
You would be required to put up first and last months rent. Or first and security deposit which is usually equal to a months rent.

We do not have a regular bus system here. You would want to have a car for transportation to get around.

I hope this helps. Not knowing you or your spending habits I am unable to confirm how far your $5,000 would go. You would need an income source to be able to continue your stay for any length of time.


Jubilee Shoals

September 9, 2019

A useful content. I want to talk. Please contact me by email danecypru[at]gmail.com


George F

October 24, 2019

Hello I’m graduating from college with a degree in structural engineering this upcoming May (2020). It’s been my dream to start work in Kauai however I can’t seem to find renting options that would make that a possibility. Do you know where I should look?

Carol Andrews

October 30, 2019

>Hi George
Congratulations on your upcoming graduation!.
I will send you a direct email reply to your question on rental property.



December 23, 2019

Hi carol;

I’m considering moving to Kauai; when I sleep, I dream of Kauai. Can we talk sometime via phone? I’m looking for someone who can help me move in the direction of my goals realistically.

anthony turner

January 25, 2021

oh pleeease let me know some options on living here, just had a look at my astrogeology map and the planetary alignments here are amazing, plus I’ve always desired a tropical climate to live in

Jerry C

June 13, 2021

What are the average relocation costs involved with moving to Kauai? Most home furnishings, one vehicle etc etc?

Carol Andrews

June 13, 2021

> Hello Jerry,

In response to your question….
The cost of moving varies greatly depending upon where you are moving from, size of container, size of vehicle ect….You would get the most current information by contacting your local carriers who you would be hiring to transport your items. You may want to also inquire on the length f time it will take for your items to arrive.

Venkata Areti

September 22, 2021

Thanks for the article. Three questions if you can respond.
1. What would a 2 bed, 2 bath 1/4 acre property cost approximately.
2 Can two people live on about $60K after tax income
3. Are there any emergency medical facilities on the island?
Thank you. Have a great day


April 11, 2022

Hello, I’m hoping you’re still there and in good health and happy, I have just hung up from an interview and could possibly be accepting an offer for a position on the island of Kauai, the pay is going to be around 5K/month after tax, if possible could you share some advice on places to rent when you have a few minutes of time, I would really appreciate it.

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