Furnishing a Home in Hawaii...On the Cheap

A few months ago we decided to leave Oahu for a spot where we could make a base.  We love Oahu but found it to be a bit busy and overwhelming for us.  The traffic is insane and the sheer number of people living on the island, not to mention all the tourists,  just makes things a bit crazy.

To live in a more remote area would mean a lot of money that we simply do not want to be spending right now.  We are from a very small town in rural Connecticut and so for settling down after all this travel we wanted something similar, where we are comfortable.

Perhaps our best bargain find, a huge trampoline from Craigslist for $60
I had been wanting to check out more of the islands in Hawaii anyway and with inter island travel so expensive we decided to just make a move to the Big Island.  From all my research it seemed to be a good spot for us; rural, far less expensive, a focus on alternative paths, and lots of farmers markets to quench our thirst for healthy foods.

We had been thinking of renting a home furnished but after searching we found there were not that many and if there were the furnishings came with a higher rental rate.  Usually they are crappy furnishings anyway, I mean who wants a wicker couch as their main living room set?  It's just not that comfortable no matter how much "island vibe" you get from it. Also part of the idea behind settling down is in wanting to have our own stuff without the worry of staining or ruining it like we have felt in the past.

Our most expensive item, a $500 couch bought on Craigslist
So while we were still in our short-term rental the hunt began to furnish our new home, the first time we've had to do it in 8 years and the first time back in the US since our mindset shift from all new items to greatly appreciating gently used items.  I was excited at the prospect!

On the Big Island of Hawaii there are 4 great resources for used goods:
We did buy 1 new TV which was more a timing thing while my SIL was here and we bought all new pillows and sheets.  That is it, everything else in our home is used, bought at one of the above-mentioned venues.

Here is a list of what we got and how much it cost us:
  • Black leather sectional couch (Craigslist) - $500
  • 5 fans (various tag sales) - $50
  • Coffee table, TV stand, 4 end tables (tag sales) - $30
  • Recliner (Craigslist) - $25 It's not that nice but makes a great outdoor comfy chair
  • Kitchen table w/2 chairs (Craigslist) - $25
  • Indoor recliner (Craigslist) - $150
  • 6 Pillows for couches (tag sales) - $10
  • 2 lamps (Craigslist) - $10
  • Garbage pails, kitchen, large outdoor, and 2 for bathrooms (garage sales) - $20
  • Washer and Dryer (Craigslist) - $125
  • Lawn mower and weed whacker (Craigslist) - $50
  • 2 desks and comfy chairs (tag sales) - $50
One of the desks with office chair, pretty nice right?!
  • Queen sized bed with frame (Craigslist) - $125
  • Full sized bed (Craigslist) - $75
  • Frame for Full bed (dump store) - $2
  • King sized bed, mattress, box spring, and frame (Craigslist) - $200 
  • 2 bathroom sets, shower curtain, toothbrush holders, floor mats (Craigslist) - $15
  • 4 Blankets (yes it gets cold here) (tag sales and dump store) - $10
  • 3 bed skirts to hide ugliness of used box springs (dump store) - $5
  • Dresser (tag sale) - $10
  • TV 32 inch for Xbox (tag sale) - $40
  • Plates, cups, bowls, silverware (Craigslist) - $20
  • Food processor, blender, small indoor grill (tag sales) - $30
  • Bread machine (dump store) - $5
  • Glass baking dishes, cookie sheets, etc (tag sales, Craigslist) - $30
  • 20 towels of various sizes (Craigslist) - $20
  • Cooler and water cooler (Dump store) - $10
  • Coffee pot (Craigslist) - $10
  • Organizational shelves for toys (tag sale) - $50
All the toys a boy who has had none for years could want, and all for under $50, even that guitar was only $2 at the dump store!
  • Various toys for 6 year old (tag sales, dump) - $50
  • 15 foot Trampoline (Craigslist) - $60
  • 4 rugs (dump store, tag sales) - $10
All that equal just over $1800!  Not bad to fill a home!  I swear I spent that much on my couch alone when we moved into our first home 12 years ago.  So here is proof that it can be done.  None of the items are fancy, well the couch is pretty nice, but they all serve their purpose and we are quite comfortable.

The best part of it all is that since we decided not to stay and will be moving on at the end of the summer, we can utilize the same resources to sell our items and hopefully make all our money back.  A lot of our items came from the same family that was leaving the island as we were arriving so my hope is to find a family like that!  There are a lot of us going in and out here in Hawaii so I don't think it will be a problem at all.

How do you think we did?  How much did you spend last time you outfitted a home?

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  1. Looks like you did very well. I agree with you that Oahu can feel pretty crowded'--especially Honolulu where we just spent 3 months. Still, my husband was quite sad to leave. He enjoyed working there-- Not quite as frenetic and a "commute", walking along the ocean through Ala Moana Park.

    1. Yes, Oahu was busy but man we miss it now:) Wish it was in our price bracket, one day it will be. I have no doubt in my mind that Hawaii will be where we head if we decide to live in the US again although I would never consider Honolulu in a million years:)

  2. That is awesome, I never thought about doing that, but way cheaper then "renting" furniture each month. Great post.

    1. Yes most definitely cheaper, but of course you need to be in one place long enough to make it worth it I am not looking forward to the work of selling it all.

  3. I am curious. Where are you headed at the end of the summer? I am new to your blog and have enjoyed it.

    1. Hi Misi, glad to have you here! I am almost positive we will be heading to Mexico in Sept or October. May hit up "home" first.

  4. Wow - you got some amazing bargains - nicely done! :)

    1. Thanks! I get a real thrill over saving money! It also helped that we had a vacation rental for the first month so I was able to take that time to accumulate all we needed that way when we moved in we were comfortable straight away.