A Week in Hawaii on an ,000 Salary

A Week in Hawaii on an $80,000 Salary

August 20, 2021 Off By Sublaid

A Week in Hawaii on an $80,000 Salary

Welcome to Spending Notes, where we do a weekly deep dive into how our readers spend their cash.

Today: a social worker who makes $80,000 per year

Occupation: Social Worker

Age: 37

Location: Ewa Beach, Oahu

Salary: $80,000 (approx. $3,077 per pay period)

Day One

I recently moved to a new condo off Ewa Beach. It will be an adjustment from Ann Arbor, MI, where I’ve lived for almost a decade. I’m excited, though. Today, I have a day packed full of client meetings, with a quick break for some chicken satay mid-afternoon. After work, I head back to my condo, searching for the best auto insurance quotes Hawaii has to offer. I still have full coverage from my insurance company back in Michigan, but I hope my clean driving record gets me a better premium and deductible. I mark down a few options for the lowest rates I find with decent auto insurance coverage, then make some pasta and unwind for the night.

Total: $16

Day Two


Another workday ahead. Today’s focused on advocacy, wrapping my head around some of the policy issues I’ll be dealing with here in Oahu. I order something called a “potato dog” at lunchtime (a corndog wrapped in potato squares) and talk to some local legislators in the afternoon. Once I get home, I sit down to figure out the best way to improve my credit score. I checked my credit report while looking through auto insurance options last night, and I have good credit but want to make it even better. After dinner (leftovers from yesterday), I lay out my better credit game plan before bed.

Total: $12

Day Three


Today’s work is primarily organizational. I plan my upcoming client check-ins around meetings with local politicians and activists. I grabbed a Taco Bell combo meal for lunch, then had a few meetings before the day ended. Rent is due today, which reminds me I want to compare renter’s insurance options, too. I order a meat lover’s pizza and wings, then make a list of insurance policies to call and learn more about. I‘m regretting eating an entire large pizza and a dozen wings before going to bed.

Total: $3,151.50

Day Four


At work today, we’re dealing with an unfortunate crisis situation. There’s no time for lunch. It’s stressful, but the crisis is circumvented. There’s a relatively happy ending, all things considered. I pick up some Panda Express on my way home and set up on the couch to decompress.

Total: $26

Day Five


I fell asleep on the couch last night, so this morning is frantic. I get to work a few minutes late but start on my pile of paperwork right away. I want to get this done before heading home for the weekend. A coworker and I grab burgers for lunch, then back to paperwork. After work, I call my parents. If I don’t call them every week, they worry. No one wants the HPD dispatched to my condo. Today also happens to be payday, so I schedule my next phone bill, too. After, I order some Korean takeout.

Total: $164.50

Day Six


The first task this Saturday is heading to the DMV to move my driver’s license here to Hawaii. That takes a while, like every trip to any DMV. Next, I head to Safeway for groceries. I grab two sandwiches, chili, and jambalaya to split between lunch and dinner today, then take everything home to unpack. After lunch, I call a few insurance agents to dig further into the best rate here in Hawaii. Those calls take a few hours, but I think I have the best comprehensive coverage I’ll find. Then I eat dinner and watch the game before crashing for the night.

Total: $98

Day Seven 


This is my first Hawaiian Sunday not spent unpacking. Seems like a day in Honolulu is a good choice. I check out Manoa Falls and a few other must-sees, grabbing lunch in between and dinner on the way back to the condo. It’s kind of cool to be a tourist so close to home.

Total: $269

Total for the Week: $3,737