The interior of Haleakala Volcano on Maui Island, Hawaii.Here is an email with questions about moving to Maui… and my response below:


I read your book (so much great information)

I still have some questions regarding affordability to live in Maui. Well, me and my husband we are 35 years old with no kids. Currently live in Houston TX. I work as an Esthetician in day spa , also have experience working in animal hospital as an veterinary assistant and kennel technician. My husband is also in customer service.

Our question is if we move to Maui and get one bedroom apartment somewhere in Kihei area for about $1000 a month.

Could we live off minimal wages? I know that our jobs don’t pay a lot. But if we make together about $35 000 a year would that be enough to live on Maui? We are not looking to live rich people life but we also don’t want to be poor either. We visited Maui twice so far and we just love the island. We also have money saved and a house to sell.

I would like to know your opinion.

Mahalo :)


You have been to Maui twice and you love it… I love it too. Living on Maui was paradise!

Can you move to Maui and live off 35,000 per year as a couple? Is that after taxes or before? Makes a big difference, but I think you’re saying it’s before taxes.

35,000 x .28 maybe as a married couple? That’s 25,200 clear per year. If 12,000 goes to rent – You’ll have $13,200 left per year for everything else. That is $1,100 per month. You’ll likely need to (and want to) spend some for health insurance. You’ll need a car – which your savings can take care of. Gas is crazy expensive, as everywhere. You could probably save some money living on Maui by using two motorbike scooters if you wanted. I sure would.

Food alone is going to cost you more than $500 per month. I think it’s more like $500 per person per month, but I don’t skimp on food and I eat out a lot. You could budget and make meals at home and do it for less than that – I’m sure.

Electric, water, garbage… it all adds up.

Honestly, unless you are a couple that deals well with having very little money at all to do anything extra per month – I don’t know how you’ll be happy on Maui at that income level. Your apartment wouldn’t need to be $1,000 – you could find something for less if you look around a lot. Kihei is rather expensive… Kahului would be a little less expensive.

I’m not sure how easy it is to land on Maui and both of you find customer service jobs very quickly, having been on-island only a short time. Maui is not Oahu – where you could do it without too much of a problem. There are plenty of good customer service jobs working at the resorts – but, for the most part those good jobs are filled by locals that want to live on Maui. There are few jobs on Maui compared to Oahu – for sure. Be sure to check Craigslist Hawaii and to see what they have. Check there for cars, and everything else too – two great resources.

If you don’t mind spending some of your savings to keep you happy – I’d say, MOVE!

If you have minimal savings and don’t want to spend it, I would probably stay where you are and try to get some skills that would give one or both of you better earning power.

Don’t take moving to Maui lightly… everything costs. On the other hand, if both of you were committed to living a very minimalistic lifestyle – you could probably pull it off.

Best of luck to you…