Author Topic: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu  (Read 11932 times)

klein5

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Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« on: July 02, 2013, 10:03:00 PM »
Hi :)
We are moving to Oahu for my husbands job in a few months. I read thru the posts of Oahu and there was a bunch of helpful info!
Here is our situation...Hubby will be working in Downtown on the new hi-rises, to our understanding they will be in the Waikiki area.
We are a family of 5. Because of our children's ages and genders we would prefer to rent have a 4 bedroom apartment or house. Worst case we can do a 3 bedroom.
I am trying to get a general idea of the areas we need to be looking into that will fit most of our needs.
Needs...
1) OK commute to downtown/Waikiki (do people carpool from different areas, do buses run to ewa beach?)
2) Daughter will be taking gymnastics at one of the gyms on the island, practices are 3x a week for 3 hrs a day (put a link at the bottom for a map with the gym locations on it)
3) Son will be in high-school...I have found that some of the high schools aren't very recommended. Based off of my research some of the best test scores and reviews are Mililiani, Moanalua, James Campbell High--anymore advice would be great!
4) Budget for a 3-4 bedroom 2 ba is 2000 or 2500 if it includes utilities. 2800 at the absolute top.
(husband will likely be working overtime but we would prefer to base everything off of a 40 hour week!)


Ewa Beach seems to be the most affordable but what is the current commute time to Waikiki during rush hour? I've read lots of opinions but they are a few years old...

Thanks so much...
I sure could use some guidance :)
I have wracked my brain until its mushy lol!
https://maps.google.com/maps/empw?url=https:%2F%2Fmaps.google.com%2Fmaps%3Ff%3Dq%26source%3Ds_q%26hl%3Den%26geocode%3D%26q%3Dgymnastics%2Boahu%26aq%3D%26sll%3D32.576226,-86.680736%26sspn%3D5.414505,9.876709%26vpsrc%3D6%26ie%3DUTF8%26hq%3Dgymnastics%26hnear%3DO%25E2%2580%2598ahu%26ll%3D21.360744,-157.855243%26spn%3D0.199576,0.3578%26t%3Dm%26output%3Dembed&hl=en&gl=us
 
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 09:25:42 AM by klein5 »

ep114

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2013, 01:12:58 AM »
Ewa to Waikiki....that's a tough commute. Sorry. Maybe an hour ,could be more at the wrong time. And gas is pretty expensive in Oahu as well.  Have you looked at neighborhoods like Manoa or Nuuanu? They might stretch your budget a little, but are a lot closer and very nice.  Craig's List can give you an idea of rents in different areas.
But since you have kids that will be in public school (that was my impression from your posting) this will probably be your biggest concern. As you have probably heard, school quality varies in Oahu. I guess it makes sense to structure your research on good schools in neighborhoods in your price range.  And then get a car with really really good gas mileage.  There is a pretty good bus system also. Your husband might be able to take the bus to work.

***Also, I strongly recommend not telling people that you are looking for a "white" school, neighborhood, etc.  It's not a way to get off on the right foot in Hawaii. The state is multi-ethnic, and Asians are the largest ethnic group.  Hawaii has the smallest percentage of whites in the country.

klein5

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2013, 09:22:32 AM »
Thanks ep114,

I will check those neighborhoods out. The kids will be going to public schools. It's hard to pick out a school from online resources.

I reread my post and I clearly didn't use the best words to describe our situation and it sounded very racist and I am totally not lol!  My apologies for it coming across the wrong way :)  I have always got along with everyone from all different backgrounds but for some reason I am so worried about how the locals will treat us :(  I have heard that locals can be edgy towards new people. I can see why...so many of them coming in and out all of the time. Is this pretty true? I guess I get this impression from all the things that I have read online. This is where my concerns come from. Although, all of the posts I have gotten back from locals are always nice...so maybe I am over concerned??? 
One of my children is VERY shy. I am especially worried about her. I am hoping that the gymnastics will help her make new friends etc.

Any other advice I would LOVE!
Thanks

klein5

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2013, 02:04:37 PM »
Ewa to Waikiki....that's a tough commute. Sorry. Maybe an hour ,could be more at the wrong time. And gas is pretty expensive in Oahu as well.  Have you looked at neighborhoods like Manoa or Nuuanu?

Manoa, any idea if the highschool is Kalani?

Trying to get this right

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2013, 08:29:14 PM »
Kalani is not in Manoa, it is further East. 

The traffic is pretty bad, but it is especially coming from the West side.  I used to live in the Waipahu area (but attended a private high school) and commuted into town for about 10 years before giving up and moved East.  There are express busses that do go through Ewa Beach- check out thebus.org.
http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/gridlock-paradise-honolulu-named-worst-u-s-city-traffic-article-1.1084552

Aiea or Moanalua may be a compromise- still kind of suburban but a fairly short drive into town.  From what I hear, getting a GE, or geographic exception to Moanalua may not be easy but doable.  Hopefully this is helpful: http://www.hawaiischoolguide.com/military/parent_guide/finding-schools/geographic_exceptions

The cost of everything is higher in Hawaii- my hope for you and your family is that you enjoy your new home but please be aware of sticker shock.  I'm not sure where you are moving from, but if you plan wisely, the benefits will hopefully outweigh the costs.  :)

With aloha,
Kabocha

P.S. Feel free to contact me directly with any specific questions- I would be happy to help in any way I can. 

mahina

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2013, 10:25:44 PM »
i live on the big island, so cannot respond to your specific questions about commutes and schools. but i want to join kabocha in suggesting you prepare yourselves for 'sticker shock'. it's a big ocean crossing for most goods that you will need for daily life, and that increases the prices on everything--from dishsoap to computers to gasoline to socks and shoes. since you're mustachian, probably you already practice careful spending. you will most likely need to kick those habits up another level to live within your means in hawaii.

if you try to import your mainland life, you'll find it's shockingly expensive. the good news is the beach is free, the hiking trails are free, the papayas and bananas and green beans and lettuce you grow in your yard are free(ish). sitting on your lanai in the evening with friends, some lemonade (from your homegrown lemons), and a ukulele is free. that's how hawaii people ignore the high prices and live a wonderfully rich life! and if you are friendly, respectful, generous, and modest (all important local values) you'll find hawaii's people are delightful friends and neighbors.

get ready for a wonderful, memorable era in your family's history!

Trying to get this right

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2013, 11:11:51 PM »
Agreed!  The local values of friends, family and aloha is what makes Hawaii paradise- and our beaches always make it to the top 10 lists too. ;)  Get ready to practice making friends again- the community here is amazing and friends become family to the point where everyone is considered an aunty, uncle or cousin- related or not.  The simple pleasures are cherished! 

Costco membership is extremely helpful here.  I purchase almost all the staples there (our Executive Membership has paid for itself time and time again) with runs to the farmers market and the drugstore.  In addition, we don't have all the mainland stores so though options are not completely limited, it is not as expansive as the continental US.  Summer is our mango and lychee season...OMG.  The locally grown fresh fruits are fabulous, especially if they are grown in the backyard (or the neighbors yard, or at grandma's house).  Year round sunshine does have its benefits- hiking, swimming, surfing etc are all available all year, weather permitting, of course. 

The mustachian skills will be put to the test, but it is totally doable.  Just don't get caught up in the case of the Jones' or have to haves and you and your family will be fine :)

Thanks for the input, Mahina!  I'll be heading to Hilo soon and am looking forward to the farmers market!

klein5

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2013, 08:57:18 AM »
Thanks for the info! Can you give me some advice on mustachian best practices for Hawaii?

We had savings built up but now since my husband is unemployed we are going thru the savings :( The best we can figure out is he will have to go over for a few months to work and send us back money. When we have enough saved for deposits, shipping our car over, airfare (myself and 3 kids!) the kids and I will go there.

It really stinks, we won't have a cushion when we get there. It's not the best circumstances at all!

capital

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2013, 10:40:00 AM »
Depending on how long you plan on living in Hawaii, pay attention to the rail line under construction:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honolulu_High-Capacity_Transit_Corridor_Project
When completed, it will enable an easy commute to downtown from many places at a low price. I would also guess that homes located near stations are likely to significantly rise in value when it's completed, as Honolulu seems like a natural city for a mass transit line, with awful traffic and the population concentrated mostly in a single long, narrow band.

klein5

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2013, 10:50:18 AM »
Ooh very good idea. I haven't heard of this.

ep114

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2013, 04:39:35 PM »
are you sure you want to ship a car instead  of sell yours and then buy a new one here? also, keep in mind that shipping can take a while. mine would have been a month from the east coast. if you do go that route, I would recommend  spending some time figuring out the costs for renting a car in your current home vs. in Oahu.   If it's less where you are (which is very likely) I would ship the car early and pay for a rental in the mainland instead of here.  When I needed to rent here during my move, I couldn't find a rental for less than $500 a week. that adds up really really fast.

klein5

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2013, 05:51:33 PM »
are you sure you want to ship a car instead  of sell yours and then buy a new one here? also, keep in mind that shipping can take a while. mine would have been a month from the east coast. if you do go that route, I would recommend  spending some time figuring out the costs for renting a car in your current home vs. in Oahu.   If it's less where you are (which is very likely) I would ship the car early and pay for a rental in the mainland instead of here.  When I needed to rent here during my move, I couldn't find a rental for less than $500 a week. that adds up really really fast.

The idea came to ship after I read so many forums that said if you have a good reliable car that fits your needs it makes since to ship it. We have a minivan, fairly new. Good payment. Good gas milage. With 3 kids, its a good fit. My plan is to ship it and then sell it if or when we move back.

The car rental process sure makes a valid point! We are in Alabama. Not sure where we will ship from but I have asked for an estimate tomorrow. If the estimate is what I think it should be we do need to ship is as soon as possible. I would rather be without a car here bc we have family around that can help than there so I have to pay $$

Nords

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2013, 07:01:41 PM »
Hi :)
We are moving to Oahu for my husbands job in a few months. I read thru the posts of Oahu and there was a bunch of helpful info!
E komo mai!  You'll be fine.  Just be sensitive to the possibility that your spouse may initially be viewed as a short-timing carpetbagger who's snatching a good job away from one of the locals.  It'll take a few weeks for everyone to decide whether to invest their time/effort in getting to know him better, or whether he'll just get rock fever and run away fast. 

Humbleness goes far, as does asking co-workers about their families and their favorite activities.  Focus on the islands and what to do here, not on where you're from or what you did there.  "Talking story" is not a waste of time-- it's the cultural method of learning about each other and deciding what type of people they are.  It's probably best to keep checking with his co-workers on how things are done in Hawaii, and to never ever say "Well, back in the States on the Mainland we do it this way"...

Here is our situation...Hubby will be working in Downtown on the new hi-rises, to our understanding they will be in the Waikiki area.
1) OK commute to downtown/Waikiki (do people carpool from different areas, do buses run to ewa beach?)
Ewa Beach seems to be the most affordable but what is the current commute time to Waikiki during rush hour? I've read lots of opinions but they are a few years old...
I know your spouse will be "the new guy" and may hesitate to ask, but is his company helping in this?  They might run a van pool or connect him with co-worker's carpools or have other suggestions on the best times to commute.  They may even be waiting for him to ask for help... and be too polite to suggest that he needs it.  If he hasn't already he could call/e-mail HR about commuting options.

Ewa Beach to downtown ranges from an hour to two hours (each way) depending on the time of day and the traffic.  If there's a bad accident then all bets are off.  The earlier he's on the road (before 5:30 AM, before 4 PM) the better.  Express buses are better for the Zip and the HOV lanes.  He may also want to consider a bicycle (the buses have bike racks) to avoid some of the worst parts of Fort Weaver Road.

Yes there is a light rail project in the works.  It's already survived a couple of court challenges and there may be a couple more.  It may also be way over budget (hard to tell but widely anticipated) and disorganized (easy to tell and also widely expected).  It sounds like lifetime construction work but I'm not sure that it'll help anyone's commute before your son graduates from college.

We are a family of 5. Because of our children's ages and genders we would prefer to rent have a 4 bedroom apartment or house. Worst case we can do a 3 bedroom.
3) Son will be in high-school...I have found that some of the high schools aren't very recommended. Based off of my research some of the best test scores and reviews are Mililiani, Moanalua, James Campbell High--anymore advice would be great!
4) Budget for a 3-4 bedroom 2 ba is 2000 or 2500 if it includes utilities. 2800 at the absolute top.
(husband will likely be working overtime but we would prefer to base everything off of a 40 hour week!)
I'm biased, but I think that the critical factor in our daughter's school success was being within bicycle distance.  It avoided hours on the bus, made it easy to stay after for sports or study groups, and facilitated socializing. 

Mililani is one of the island's top public schools, but that's also why Mililani rents are rising so quickly.  Mililani is probably about the same commuting time as Ewa Beach.  I don't know much about Moanalua or Campbell, and that's probably because they're doing a pretty good job and thus staying out of the newspapers.  The closer you can live to these schools the better.  If you can't do that then you could try for a GE to another school (for German classes or marching band) but that will add a new commuting burden on your entire family.

2) Daughter will be taking gymnastics at one of the gyms on the island, practices are 3x a week for 3 hrs a day (put a link at the bottom for a map with the gym locations on it)
Island Tumblers and What's Up were both good 10 years ago.  Coach Utah at IT was a popular guy.  One question to ask them is which schools they fear the most at competitions, and then consider those schools too.

Gymnasts also do well here at martial arts like taekwondo and karate. 

ep114

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2013, 09:26:40 PM »
hhmmm. before you pay to have a minivan shipped across the world to a state with the highest gas prices in the country, I would reread the articles on this site about commuting/car ownership costs. 

klein5

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2013, 07:57:22 PM »
Thanks for all the great advice. As you can imagine I'm still trying to sort out everything in my head about our upcoming move

Hubby has spoke to someone from our union hall over there. This guy has been over there working for 5 years. He was very friendly and helpful. He offered to let hubby stay with him for a few weeks until he finds a temporary place to stay.
We still need a temporary place so we can save money for airfare and deposits.

I'm still looking at high schools. It looks like bc of the commute I have ruled out Mililani. The area I'm looking at now is in the Kalani or Moanalua High School District and McKinley being third option.

Anyone know where the boundaries are for these high schools or anything about them? I'm just going off of what I've found online and test scores etc.

The latest price on shipping the car is 2000. That sounded about what I was expecting. We will be choosing to ship our car. After consideration it is the most comforting solution for me. With 3 kids in tow and one of those kids being on my hip. (shes 8m old) I can't imaging purchasing groceries for 5, getting to and from school to and from gymnastics 3x a week and more with 3 kids. My sanity at this point is much more precious lol.

I do have a question about rentals.
In my head I'm thinking that when we get close to having enough saved to bring me and the kids over...I'll hopefully find a rental online, hubby will go and check it out. When we find one we like he'll make the deposits and handle whatever they need to verify like rental agreement, employment, deposits, credit check etc. Will that work? Without me actually being there? I don't work so I don't need to verify any income or anything.

I feel much better with the helpful replies I have got. Thank you so much. :)
 

ep114

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2013, 10:15:35 PM »
Sorry to harp on the car, but i still don't get how it's easier/more cost-efficient to pay $2000 to ship a car and be without one for a month, than to sell it the day before you fly out, and have your husband buy a new one (and hopefully more fuel efficient than a mini-van) that same day.  You'd have no time without a car, will have saved $2000 plus whatever the difference is in paying for gas every month.

Nords

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2013, 11:38:26 PM »
Hubby has spoke to someone from our union hall over there. This guy has been over there working for 5 years. He was very friendly and helpful. He offered to let hubby stay with him for a few weeks until he finds a temporary place to stay.
It's the aloha spirit, it's a great deal, and I strongly recommend you accept the hospitality.  Your spouse will learn local culture at a very fast pace, and the union will also learn about him just as quickly.  It's the fastest route to learn how to surf become one of the guys.  If he turns down this offer then the co-workers may leap to some mistaken conclusions.

I'm still looking at high schools. It looks like bc of the commute I have ruled out Mililani. The area I'm looking at now is in the Kalani or Moanalua High School District and McKinley being third option.
Anyone know where the boundaries are for these high schools or anything about them? I'm just going off of what I've found online and test scores etc.
I hear you, but keep it in your back pocket in case other locations don't work out.  The drive up H-2 from the H-1/H-2 merge is a lot faster than the drive out to Ewa Beach or down Fort Weaver Road.

I know Mililani well, but I don't know much about the others.  You really need to ask the schools questions on HawaiiThreads.com.  One of the members, Scrivener, teaches at a private school and will be familiar with all the public school locations, reputations, & issues.  The owner of HT, Ryan Ozawa, is a local media/tech personality who's also in touch with the schools.

I do have a question about rentals.
In my head I'm thinking that when we get close to having enough saved to bring me and the kids over...I'll hopefully find a rental online, hubby will go and check it out. When we find one we like he'll make the deposits and handle whatever they need to verify like rental agreement, employment, deposits, credit check etc. Will that work? Without me actually being there? I don't work so I don't need to verify any income or anything.
I feel much better with the helpful replies I have got. Thank you so much. :)
I think that'll work.  His name will be on the lease and the credit check, not yours, so the landlord shouldn't have an issue.  You can add your name when you arrive if there's questions about keys or access to neighborhood recreation centers or other permissions. 

You can probably do any signatures by e-mailing PDFs or using a fax, but it's also very convenient to give each other a general power of attorney for the period that you'll be apart.  For example you might need his signature on the van shipping forms if his name is also on the title or if the vehicle loan has his name as well as yours. 


hhmmm. before you pay to have a minivan shipped across the world to a state with the highest gas prices in the country, I would reread the articles on this site about commuting/car ownership costs. 
A couple comments on that generality.

I've been stationed all over the U.S., and the region with the cheapest monthly gas consumption has been... Hawaii.  Gas prices may be the highest in the nation, but Oahu is a 30x40 mile island and we drive far fewer miles here than San Diego, DC, or Texas.  Her spouse is looking at a bus or a carpool, so commuting costs are low.  During my working days I was also able to commute by bicycle every day of the year without having to be even the slightest bit badass, although some days combined the workout with a shower. 

She's mentioned that she's making payments on the van.  It's possible that it's upside down so it could cost her money to sell it.  If she's making payments then she also does not hold the title, so a buyer would have to trust her to clear the lien and deliver the title after the sale.  Faced with the uncertainty of relocating to a new state, I'd try to simplify a few areas of my life to reduce the decision fatigue.  Shipping the van may be expensive but it may be less overall hassle.  Selling the van before returning to the Mainland will be a lot easier because she'll presumably have title and a family-friendly vehicle.  Oahu has plenty of used cars but the family-friendly ones tend to be more along the lines of SUVs or pickups than vans.  Besides, a van might hold a standup paddleboard more easily than an SUV.

klein5

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2013, 08:14:34 AM »
I will head over to the HT site in a bit and check it out! Thanks!

Hubby will for sure take him up on the offer. He is already looking forward to it :)

Power of attorney. Oh my gah I didn't even think of that! If we ship the van as planned after he left I'd be stuck with it here bc it is ONLY in hubbies name. So glad you mentioned it. It will be going on the list of things to do for sure.

Minimizing all the decisions is one of the most appealing things about shipping the van. I know my van. It's a great vehicle. It gets great gas mileage. It has an affordable payment. It can easily hold all of my family members plus lots more lol. Plus, when I car shop it usually takes a while and I hate making decisions. Normally when I buy a car...I buy it thinking I will have it until it won't drive anymore. For me car shopping is a big deal...I don't take it lightly.

I'm really excited about the less gas consumption. I didn't think about that. Here I drive 11 miles one way to take the kids to school. I drive my daughter to gymnastics 2x a week and that's 40 miles a way. Most of my dr appointments are in a larger city, that's 240 miles round trip.

Gah normal week I drive 400 miles. That's a lot. Plus when hubby was working, he drove 495 miles a week.
It really adds up.

Nords

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Re: Commute vs Affordable Living?--Oahu
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2013, 08:51:24 AM »
I'm really excited about the less gas consumption. I didn't think about that. Here I drive 11 miles one way to take the kids to school. I drive my daughter to gymnastics 2x a week and that's 40 miles a way. Most of my dr appointments are in a larger city, that's 240 miles round trip.
Gah normal week I drive 400 miles. That's a lot. Plus when hubby was working, he drove 495 miles a week.
It really adds up.
Another item to add to your list, if you don't already have one, is a Costco membership.  If you have the membership over there (before you come over here) then that's one less thing to take care of here.  I'm pretty confident that you'll be buying the vast majority of your gas at a Costco station... where yesterday I paid $4.09/gallon.  That's a very good price.

I complain bitterly whenever I have to drive more than 50 miles (round trip).