Living in Hawaii for over half a decade, we have discovered unusual products that help us live more comfortably in the tropics, save money, and keep healthy. We bought these products from Amazon Prime, which provides us free shipping to Hawaii for many products. We find it easiest to order on Prime using our Kindle Fire Tablet. We got a free month of Amazon Prime when we bought our Kindle Fire and quickly became comfortable buying products regularly that are very expensive or impossible to find in Hawaii. For us, the free shipping to Hawaii has made it worth the $79 yearly Amazon Prime membership fee.
Here is a list of our favorite products this month we have used to make our life more comfortable and low cost in Hawaii:
Temperature and Humidity meter
We recently purchased a AcuRite Home Comfort Monitor which measures temperature and humidity. We had a monitor, but it was analog and we found it hard to tell how much the humidity had increased. We have noticed that when we suddenly feel uncomfortably hot that the humidity has increased more so than the temperature risen. This monitor has a 24 hour maximum and minimum reading for temperature and humidity which helps us to track sudden changes during the day. Knowing that the humidity has spiked helps us figure out the best way to get cooler by taking a swim in the ocean or a shower. Just opening a window on the side of the house in the shade keeps the inside cooler all day by at least a degree or two. We have had a lot of rain this season and the monitor has shown that the increase in humidity lasts about 7 hours after which it dries out and we start to cool off.
This product is more about winning arguments than saving money, but it has made my life more fun. With the constant threat of a Tsunami evacuation in Hawaii, knowing the elevation of a place has become surprisingly important and a constant topic of conversation at parties with my friends. It is often hard to judge your elevation just by looking at the ocean. For my birthday I got a Casio Men's SGW400H-1B Sport Multi-Function Watch which I wanted because of it has an altimeter and barometer. Now I can tell the elevation where ever I am and I am finding it interesting to know just how high I have to drive to find a “leaving Tsunami zone” sign. No more arguments about whether a particular apartment or house is above the evacuation zone now.
Since we do not use Air Conditioning, we have become very particular about our Fans. Lasko Stand Fans are made of plastic and are incredibly light. They move a lot of air for a lower amount of electricity compared to other fans we have measured and they only cost about $30. We have bought two different sizes and have them located around our home. These fans are available from Amazon and we have also bought them at Home Depot in Kona. On hot days, we each have our own fan blowing on us as we sit on the couch and write.
Plastic Scrubby pads
The humid ocean air in Hawaii causes sponges to get moldy and metal scrubbing pads to rust. Only plastic scrubby pads stay usable for long periods of time. For whatever reason, they seem to always be short of them in the local stores so we now order SOS Tuffy Dishwashing Pads in packs of 24 from Amazon and save money.
Insulated Sippy cups
An icy glass of water will not stay cold long in Hawaii’s climate and as the water warms up in the glass, it leaves an annoying puddle of water under it next to our computers or important papers. We have come to depend on large insulated cups like the Smart Planet 16-Ounce Double-Wall Plastic Cold-Drink Cups with a reusable straw to keep us hydrated with cold water that does not leave a puddle on our tables. We have purchased these types of cups at several retail stores and the Smart Planet cup on Amazon. They are more expensive at retail stores running about $12 to $18 but we use them all day, every day.
Ice cube trays
Ice cube trays probably seem like a trivial thing, but keeping our insulated cups filled with ice has been a challenge. The ice maker in our refrigerator cannot come close to keeping up with our ice cube demand so we make ice using trays which we regularly dump into an ice holder. We have discovered that all ice cube trays are not the same. We have tried numerous brands and they break or are impossible to get out. These Sterilite Stacking Ice Cube Trays have been wonderful. The cubes come out easily and the trays nest well together so we can stack them in the freezer. We also bought their ice holder which holds ice from 4 ice cube trays.
Noise blocking Headset.
The Sync Noise Blocking Stereo Earmuff has been a great solution to our constant noise distractions. In Hawaii, landscaping is an endless task and the loud mowers, weed eaters, and blowers are one of the biggest noise generators that we have to deal with at home. Our windows are always open and we can hear conversations and TVs blaring when the wind is blowing just right. These headsets were a Father's Day gift and they are helping me concentrate and shut out distracting noises so effectively that I am coming to rely on them.
The Kill A Watt Electricity Monitor
We have written about the KillA Watt EZ Electricity Usage Monitor device in the past. It has saved us a lot of money over the years by convincing us to invest in more energy efficient appliances and use far less electricity. Measuring the wattage used by our appliances resulted in us unplugging appliances with a ghost load and throwing out older appliances that used excessive electricity. We save $20 a month since replacing an older fan. This device also convinced us to replace our LCD TV with an LED TV and switch out all our light bulbs with LED lights.
We enjoy the pursuit of an affordable, healthier, happier life in Hawaii. These are some products have helped us cut our cost of living and increased our quality of life at the same time.