• April Plant Exchange and Swap - Mahalo Everyone

     

    plantexandpetMahalo Everyone !

    This month's plant exchange / plant swap was a resounding success thanks to you.  We were overwhelmed by the response, from those who drove from as far as Makaha, Wahiawa and Kahaluu just to participate, to those of you who volunteered to assist with set up and running the event.

    Here's a picture of me pet-sitting a guinea pig.  She and I got to be good friends.  My new buddy burrowed down and fell asleep while her owners browsed the ever-growing farmer's market.

    The next exchange will be May 2nd, the next first Tuesday of the month.  Hope to see everyone there!

  • Plant Exchange @ Kaiser H.S. - April 4, 2017

    Bring a plant, take a plant. It's an informal exchange for gardeners, landscapers and all plant lovers. Every first Tuesday, we host a plant exchange at the Kaiser High School farmer's market. This coming week we expect to start with:

    Walking Iris, Cosmos, Rosemary, Mint, Kale, Jalapeno, Pandan, Lipstick Palm, Citrus, Longan, Staghorn Fern, Kupukupu Fern, Twisted Sister: a Mother-in-law's Tongue variety), Aloe, Dracaena (Song of India), Air Plant varieties, Oregano, Garlic Chive, Succulents, Oyster Plant, Zinger Hibiscus, Red Dragonfruit, Alocasia and more.

    Any updates will be posted here at http://www.eastoahu96825.com/plants. List is, of course, subject to change based on what else is donated or exchanged. Come and see what's new.

  • Plant Exchange and Sale - December 6, 2016, Hawaii Kai, Kaiser HS

    Friends of Kaiser High School PTSA runs a farmer's market every Tuesday from 4-7pm in the school parking lot.  The market has piping hot food from Olay's Thai food and true farmer's stand run by Kay and filled with in-season fruits and vegetables. Recently, the market added a local egg producer.

    Every first Tuesday, we also run a plant exchange as a community service. I'm bringing my plants to exchange them with you.  You bring yours, take one of mine or someone else's.  Don't have any plants to give?  Bring empty pots so they can be refilled for the next event.  Don't have those either?  Just take a plant and leave a voluntary donation to Kaiser's PTSA.  It's that easy.

     

    Questions?  Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

     

     

  • Gas Grill Propane Options for Hawaii Kai

    New Grill?  Here are your local fuel options

    1. Buy a tank empty and fill it at one of these nearby stores
            City Mill - Hawaii Kai Towne Center
            Kahala Shell Auto Care - 4204 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816 - Across from Kahala Mall
    2. Buy a tank full and exchange it when it becomes empty
            Aina Haina 76 - at Aina Haina Shopping Center - Hawaii Gas PropaneXchange - 17# proprietary see-through canister
            Lowes or Home Depot - Nimitz by the Airport - tank exchange - standard 4.7 gallon canister

     

     Comparison shopping 

    As of September 2016, City Mill refills your tank for $6 a gallon (I'm rounding the pennies in this piece for simplicity.  Technically, it's $5.99).  For a 4.7 gallon standard tank, that's $28.20.  Tanks must be less than 10 years old.  The manufacture date is stamped at the top.

    Aina Haina 76 uses Hawaii Gas' PropaneXchange program, with proprietary see-through canisters.  The canister size is 17 pounds. Once you've bought their proprietary canister, refills are $30.  To purchase the initial filled canister costs $60.  You cannot refill these tanks once you've purchased them.  They must be exchanged at a PropaneXchange vendor.

    Lowes uses Blue Rhino service with standard tanks.  Lowes price is $22 for an exchange of your empty for a filled, or $50 for a filled tank with no exchange.  Filled is considered 15 pounds of propane.

    Home Depot uses AmeriGas service with standard tanks.  Home Depot's price is $22 for an exchange of your empty for a filled, or $53 for a filled tank with no exchange.  Filled is considered 15 pounds of propane.

     The Takeaway

    Both Lowes and Home Depot refill the tanks to 15 pounds, whereas City Mill just fills the tank.  A standard tank holds more than fifteen pounds.  A filled tank is closer to 20 pounds at capacity.  For my money -- and the Hawaii Kai convenience -- I like City Mill for propane gas.  I've also found that my "empty" tank is rarely as empty as I think, so a refill is a better value for me.

    I also have one Hawaii Gas PropaneXchange tank.  I got it when they were still exchanging standard steel tanks for their proprietary ones.  They don't do that anymore.  Visually, the tanks look great.  I like that I know when they are truly empty.  However, for the price, I can't recommend it as a value choice.  Honestly, I don't feel that they last as long.  It seems like I exchange it more often than other ones.

    Finally, a note about tanks older than ten years old.  If you have one, you can exchange it at Lowes or Home Depot.  Just be sure to exchange it for one that is newer.  I say this because I think I got an old tank the last time I did an exchange there, so when I went back -- well -- fair is fair.  The clerk was very understanding when I asked him to check the dates.

     

     

  • Pet food at Waimanalo Feed Supply

    eo waimanalo feed supply storefront

    Because I'm told that fish don't count, our family's first "real" pet is a rabbit.  He's a Netherland Dwarf, a tiny little black creature that lives in a three-story one-of-a-kind apartment.  I've always bought partial bales of Timothy hay for him on Amazon.  It seemed like a good deal, usually about $30 for ten pounds.  That was before I discovered Waimanalo Feed Supply.

    I pass by the store all the time.  It's just 20 minutes from Hawaii Kai and on the way to multiple destinations on the Windward side.  It's right next to Shima's supermarket and near the Jack-in-the-Box.  There is ample parking right in front of the store.  Inside, you'll find a variety of pretty much everything.  Most of it pertains to animals, but if you're short on time, you can also buy your laundry soap there, or perhaps a can of SPAM.

    Long story short, I bought a 3 pound bag of Timothy hay for $5.10 including tax.  Just to show you how much hay that is, I took a picture right next to our diminutive pet.  

    eo waimanalo feed hay

    Waimanalo Feed Supply is open Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday.  Be sure to check out their website for holidays and hours.

     

  • Hawaii Kai's not-so-secret gasoline price discount

    {jcomments off}

    Pile of Amazon Gift Cards

    I just returned from Safeway.  Once again, they're out of the variable value Amazon gift cards, so I had to hand enter a series of smaller denominations.

    Here in Hawaii Kai, where we have both a Chevron gas station (Koko Marina) and a Safeway (Hawaii Kai Shopping Center) -- not to mention a Costco that doesn't sell gasoline -- buying gift cards at Safeway is an easy way to save up to 20 cents a gallon on fuel.

    Pretty clearly, given the amount of times I couldn't find the right card or amount, it's not much of a secret.  All you have to do is buy your gift cards at Safeway and use your Safeway Club Card when checking out; you'll be given a discount on your gasoline price at Chevron. The standard amount is a discount of ten cents a gallon per $50 spent on gift cards.  

    There is a maximum of 20 cents a gallon per gas station purchase, but your credits accumulate so you can use them on your next visit.  They do expire two calendar months after being earned.  

    In addition to buying gift cards, you can also earn credits with your grocery purchase; it takes $100 in regular grocery purchases to earn a ten cent gas credit.

    Gift cards are more convenient, however.  You also earn credits faster.  There are number of cards that fall into the category of purchases one makes on a routine basis, for instance, Amazon gift cards.  Safeway Hawaii Kai also carries Petco, Lowes, Home Depot, McDonalds, Burger King and Bed, Bath and Beyond, just to name a few of the stores one might visit regardless.

    -----

    Note:  Just got a comment/observation from a reader.  Tesoro is usually at least ten cents cheaper than Chevron to begin with.  That's true.  Aloha Petroleum can also be cheaper to begin with.  Here's a link to http://gasbuddy.com, a site that tracks prices reported by readers.

  • Friends of Kaiser HS Plant Exchange and Sale - August 2, 2016

     

    The Friends of Kaiser PTSA just held a plant exchange at their Tuesday Farmer's Market.  It was definitely a success and we'll be doing it again on August 2, 2016.  So, until further notice, FIRST TUESDAY, 4-7 PM, school parking lot, we'll be there.  

    Here's how it works.  You bring a plant and exchange it for something else.  Or, you bring pots or other gardening supplies.  Alternatively, just leave a donation to the PTSA in an amount of your discretion.  It's all good and everyone benefits.

    I must say I was pleasantly surprised at the turnout and participation at our first event.  We may have had over dozen or so people show up with exchanges.  I even received these plants shown above, which by some miracle remained at the end of the event.  They're going to be perfect for my natural rock landscaping: a little color among a sea of red rock and lush green ferns.

    The point is that there's a little something for everyone.  The Christmas cactus brought in was scooped up promptly.  The pink pommelo (jabon) has a new yard.  The mint, thyme and green onion went to homes needing culinary herbs.  You just never know what will turn up.  We even got a fresh supply of pots.  

    I've filled them with new plants for August and here's what I'm planning on bringing.

    • Papaya (seedling) - highly prolific.  We've been eating fruit and giving away for years now.
    • Alocasia - Excellent landscape plant, tolerates indoor sun.
    • Lemongrass - Good to have on hand for SE Asian cuisine.
    • Oregano - Excellent edible ground cover.  Grows well in partial shade.
    • Ti Leaf (green) - Lovely tropical plant for landscaping, leis and cooking.

    The list is subject to change, of course, but I'll keep this post updated so you have the latest information.  Again, for those that participated this week, MAHALO.  It was a huge success and thanks to generous donations -- both in plants and cash -- there's also some extra money for the PTSA to use in the school community.

    [comments]

     

  • August 20 & 21, 2016: Next Hawaii Kai Petco Low-Cost Animal Vaccine Clinic

    Looking for parking at Koko Marina the other day, I thought the mall seemed busy for a Sunday.  Turns out that Petco, in conjunction with the Oahu SPCA, was holding a low-cost pet vaccine clinic.  The cashier informed me that the next one will be held on August 20 and 21.  Here are the details:

    Date: August 20 and 21, 2016

    Hours: Saturday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm / Sunday 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

    Services: Vaccinations $25 each / Microchips $25 / Comfortis flea treatment (under 30 lb) $20, (over 30 lb) $30

    Call 808-754-1519 for more information or follow-up treatments

     

  • Your Costco Card is Valid at Sam's Club through July 4th

    Via Twitter:

  • Warehouse Club Tip: Bulk Onions

    Living here in Hawaii, aren't you envious to find that onions keep for months on end in a Midwest cellar?  Here's are three ideas on how you can preserve your round onions in our humid paradise without waste.

     

    Preserving Bulk OnionGrilled Onion

    1.  Simply wrap each one in newspaper and store it in your refrigerator.  It's as good as a cellar.  The onion won't sprout and keeps for at least 3 months or more.  Trust me, this one works.

    2.  Onions don't do well in the freezer as the water content causes it to become soft and mushy.  However, if you grill them beforehand, you can freeze them in portion-sized clumps and they're very convenient for burgers, vegetables or whatever you would normally use grilled onions for.

    3.  Make a duxelles out of them and freeze.  In addition to preserving your onion, it preserves your mushroom too.  It's great for stews, shoyu chicken and anywhere you need a flavorful broth.

     

  • Plant Exchange and Sale - July 5, Hawaii Kai, Kaiser HS

    Friends of Kaiser High School PTSA runs a farmer's market every Tuesday from 4-7pm in the school parking lot.  It has piping hot food from Olay's Thai food and true farmer's stand run by Kay and filled with in-season fruits and vegetables. Recently, the market added a local rice producer who imports high-quality grain from Hokkaido and processes it here on Oahu less than 24 hours before sale.

    In addition to the market's regular customers, I'd like to see more of you so we can get the momentum this market truly deserves.  On July 5, I'm bringing my plants to exchange them with you.  You bring yours, take one of mine or someone else's.  Don't have any plants to give?  Bring empty pots so they can be refilled for the next event.  Don't have those either?  Just take a plant and leave a voluntary donation to Kaiser's PTSA.  It's that easy.

    To start with, I know I can provide:

    I don't really have a green thumb, but I know these grow in Hawaii, and I know they grow well in my Hawaii Kai backyard.  In order, they are: Cholesterol spinach (edible), Creeping thyme (edible), Kupukupu fern (decorative), Mint (edible), Watermelon radish [seeds only] (edible) and Yomogi, aka mugwort (edible).

    I'll probably have another half dozen or so different plants to offer, so come by and check out the booth.  If it goes well, we'll do it again the first Tuesday of the next month too.  Questions?  Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

     

     

  • Costco Hawaii: Did You Know #1

    I just finished shopping at Costco and was pleased to see this display:

    Costco Pizza Preorder

    On the mainland, it was common practice to order food from the food court while checking out at the register.  Looks like the practice -- at least for whole pizza -- has finally reached Hawaii Kai. Notably, because there is a side window for pizza pickup, it means you won't have to wait in line outside again just to place the order.

    A couple of other tidbits I learned by eavesdropping these past few days:

    • Costco offers rainchecks on regularly stocked items that have run out.  This can be useful if you're using the coupon book and stock is out.
    • You can still get sauerkraut for your hot dog at the counter.  Just ask.  (The guy in front of me asked for the "white stuff in the container" and looked a bit baffled when the cashier asked if it was sauerkraut.  It was.)
  • Notable Events for June 2016

    June is here, and summer is in full swing.  Here are a few bargain events in or near Hawaii Kai this month:

    Every Tuesday and Wednesday, Regal Theatres offers one dollar ($1) movie matinees for the kids.  The Regal Theatre nearest to Hawaii Kai is at Windward Mall, but they also have other locations such as Dole Cannery. [Summertime 2016 Dollar Movie Schedule for Regal Theatres]

    Every Wednesday and Thursday Consolidated Theatres offers one dollar ($1) movie matinees for the kids.  The nearest Consolidated Theatre offering this special is at Koko Marina, right here in Hawaii Kai.  Tickets can be purchased in advance at the window and there is no extra service charge if you stop by in person.  Please note that not all Consolidated Theatres are offering this special.  Kahala Mall is excluded and the next nearest theater with the special is at Ward. [2016 Summer movies for $1 at Consolidated Theatres - Koko Marina]

    The Wildest Show in Town is back at the Honolulu Zoo.  Every Wednesday from June 8 - August 10, the Zoo is holding an evening music concert.  Admission is $3 and includes sightseeing in the park from 4:30 until the concert end.  Bring your own picnic or buy one on site.  [Schedule of Entertainers for the Wildest Show in Town 2016]

    The Hawaii State Library system kicks off its summer reading program on June 5.  Children bringing in their list of read books receive prizes and rewards for their effort.

    The Hawaii State Library also hosts a number of events for the month at the Hawaii Kai, Aina Haina and Kaimuki libraries.  Check their website for details.  Some of this month's events include storytelling, yoga, jazz and a harmonica concert.

    This month also features the Friends of the Library used booksale at McKinley High School.  Give to a worthy charity while enjoying the benefit of previously enjoyed reading material.  Sales begin June 18 and continue for nine more days.

    Saturday June 25th features the 3rd Annual Mini Maker Faire at Iolani School.  The event is modeled after other DIY maker movement fairs held across the country.  Admission is free.

    For details on these events and more, please check out this site's home page for calendar updates.

  • Costco or Sam's Club: Selection and Quality: An Oahu Overview (Part 2 of 2)

    Continued from part 1: Costco or Sam's Club: Convenience and Price: An Oahu Overview (Part 1 of 2)

    Selection

    To be fair, most of my Costco experience comes from the Hawaii Kai store.  The Costco Iwilei store has a broader and wider selection of goods than the Hawaii Kai one.  It is, after all, the Costco store with the highest sales worldwide.  With regard to Sam's Club, I've frequented both their Keeaumoku and Pearl City locations and they're a tad more identical to each other than the Costco locations which can vary in size.

    There are a couple of areas that Costco and Sam's Club differ in selection.  Costco has a wider variety of wine, a number of which falls in the under $10 category.  It also, coincidentally, has a wider variety of cheese; one presumes to go with the wider selection of wine.  In terms of other alcohol, both Costco and Sam's Club carry a wider variety than than most grocery stores.  Sam's Club has a wider variety of snacks than Costco.  This can be important if you're a Little League mom, or if you regularly need to contribute to the church potluck.  My son's eyes nearly popped out when he saw that he had a choice of not one type of Kit Kat, but four.  To be honest, the snack chip selection at Sam's Club is also jaw-dropping.  I like that they do sell boxes of one flavor rather than a variety pack.  With variety packs there's always one flavor no one likes, so that ends us sitting in the box while the kids have a fit because the ones they like are gone.

    If you're a business owner you'll appreciate the office supply section at Sam's Club.  It's bigger than Costco and carries daily supplies such as file folders in a variety of colors, envelopes of varying sizes and even different types of paper, like cardstock.  If you're a convenience store owner, you'll also appreciate the wider variety of beverages at Sam's Club.

    When it comes to produce, both Costco and Sam's Club keep a good stock of staples on hand like carrots, potatoes and celery.  Costco seems to pay more mind to organic offerings, whereas Sam's has a wider variety of unexciting but necessary vegetables like whole green onions and sliced cabbage for coleslaw.  Sam's Club also seems to keep more types of potatoes on hand than Costco.  Sam's usually has Yukon Gold, red, white, sweet and heirloom potatoes on hand in addition to Russets.  I'm not much of a potato person, but it's hard not to notice.

    As for the bakery, both offer nearly the same items.  Sam's Club seems to have more locally baked outside vendor products than Costco, for instance their hamburger and hot dog bun brand is Love's.  Sam's also seems to have more tortilla products, including larger flour tortillas for wraps.  The edge does go to Costco for In-house baked products, as they seem to have more of them -- in particular, varieties of cakes and pies.  Having said that, I like Sam's birthday cakes more.  I believe they still do buttercream frosting on it.  

    One of the areas that Costco does excel over Sam's Club is their limited-time, limited-quantity offerings.  By this, I mean items like furniture and clothing.  Costco is quite adept at picking out and merchandising attractive pieces for sale.  I don't necessarily get that same vibe from Sam's Club.  It seems to me that Costco sacrificed some of its floor space for these goods over the everyday, practical item shelves that define Sam's Club.

    One area I don't have enough knowledge of, is their tire departments.  Both Costco and Sam's have them, and both offer installation too.

    And as a last note, because my family seems to eat more pizza than any other family I know, Sam's Club's take and bake pizza is just $6.98 and is preferred over the Costco take and bake which is $8.99.  I believe they are roughly the same size.  

    Quality

    I'm going to give this one to Costco, only because if you don't like what you bought, Costco has the most flexible return policy anywhere.  In fact, if you don't like your membership, they'll even give you back the prorated portion of it.  Costco also has a program that automatically extends the warranty on a number of electronic items such as televisions and computers. With their new Citibank VISA you may be able to extend the warranty on all your purchases without an extra fee.

    As for individual items carried at both retailers, each has good quality tried-and-true products.  I guess that's what happens when you're Walmart and Costco, the number one and number two retailers in the country.  Surveys occasionally have the Sam's Club brand surpassing Costco in satisfaction surveys and both are always near the top of the major retail brands when it comes to customer satisfaction.

    Conclusion

    At the start of this two part article, I stated that the number one consideration to take into account when picking a membership is convenience.  If you live near Costco, pick it.  If you live near Sam's Club, pick it instead.  

    I'll end this with a bit of nostalgia.  I remember how hard it was to make ends meet before warehouse clubs.  Even after the advent of their arrival, I recall thawing a five-pound brick of NIQF (not-individually-quick-frozen) chicken thighs, splitting it into 3 or so portions and making food for the rest of the week with it.  Milk?  Out of the question.  My husband recalls growing up on Milkman (powdered milk) and going to a friend's house to snag the real stuff out of the refrigerator.  

    Milkman powdered milk
    Growing up in Hawaii do you remember Milkman powdered milk?

     

  • Costco or Sam's Club: Convenience and Price: An Oahu Overview (Part 1 of 2)

     

    Convenience

    Which one to join? The short answer can be found here:

    Costco Oahu Locations:

    Costco Hawaii Kai (East Oahu)
    Costco Iwilei (Downtown area)
    Costco Waipio (Waipahu/Leeward)
    Costco Kapolei (West Oahu)

    Sam's  Club Locations:

    Sam's Club Keeaumoku (Ala Moana)
    Sam's Club Pearl City (Leeward)

    Costco has four branches somewhat evenly spaced throughout the urban and suburban stretch of Honolulu.  Sam's Club has two locations, both centrally located in dense population hubs.  If you're only picking one and not the other, pick the one situated where you can most often enjoy the benefits.  Extended, that means that Hawaii Kai residents should most certainly pick Costco, whereas an apartment dweller near Ala Moana should pick Sam's Club.

    As for whether they're both worth it, In Hawaii it's a resounding YES.  If you're a Costco member and want to know whether you should join both clubs, fortunately Sam's Club has a way for you to find out.  It's called a One Day Pass (PDF), There's a small 10% upcharge, but at least you'll get a chance to browse the aisle to see the merchandise.  

    If you're a Sam's Club member and want to find out if Costco has what you need, you can get a Costco member to buy you a Costco gift card and shop without a membership. The cashier will ring you up under the member code #99.  Be aware that some have reported issues with the gift-card-only approach.  It may, for non-member shopping at Costco, be better advised to -- borrowing the slogan from a local competitor-- "shop with a friend."

    Or, if you're still sitting on the fence about both, use the One Day Pass at Sam's Club and a member-purchased gift card at Costco to explore.

    Price

    Membership clubs offer Hawaii residents a reprieve from crazy regular tourist retail prices.  As an example, a 1/2 gallon of lactose-free 2% milk might cost $8.50 at a normal store.  At Costco, you get three 1/2 gallon cartons of 2% lactose-free milk.  At an everyday store, 8-ounce trays of mushrooms are advertised at the SALE price of $3.00.  At Sam's Club, four times the quantity (a two pound container) is usually around $5.50.

    Membership Price

    It's pretty hard to not join.  Membership fees are generally low given the benefit they provide.  The lowest priced membership is $55 at Costco and $45 at Sam's Club.  It's not that simple though.  There are multiple levels of membership, some of which may end up saving you more than you paid.  

    For instance, with the $110 Executive Membership at Costco, we've received a merchandise check for all of our membership money plus more every year.  Add the upcoming VISA card they're offering with Citibank, and you could end up saving thousands of dollars on top of the price you paid.

     Sam's Club has its own branded credit card and a purchase rebate program too.  They also have specials.  For example, through the end of 2016 if you use your Discover Card to buy the membership, you can get a bonus Sam's Gift Card of either $10 or $25.  Sometimes,  you can also find deals on Groupon or LivingSocial.  In any case, $45 is not a lot of money relatively speaking.  Last year I bought an outdoor grill and I probably saved $350 or more over comparable models.

    Merchandise Price

    That leads us into merchandise prices.  They're different, as is the merchandise.  Sometimes the Costco price is lower, sometimes the Sam's Club price is.  One website did an extensive comparison table of merchandise which, while interesting, doesn't really address Hawaii prices at all.  

    In general, I think that Costco has better prices on liquor and organic food, whereas Sam's Club has great prices on Wal-food.  Staples usually overlap in terms of availability, but often come in different brands and packaging sizes.  For instance, at Sam's Club, flour is sold in 25# bags and at Costco the normal stock size is 50#.  Costco's 50# size may have better per unit prices, but really -- who needs 50# of flour for a household?

    Getting into specifics, for the sake of comparison, Yoshida's teriyaki sauce was $8.29 at Sam's Club and $6.99 at Costco.  Conversely, an eight-pack of sweetened condensed milk was approximately $1.50 per can at Sam's Club and a little over $2.00 at Costco.

    Which leads to another point.  Both companies receive routine price changes from headquarters and also have some flexibility in pricing locally.  When there is a large batch of perishable produce that needs to be sold, both will price it accordingly.  Interestingly, one blog explains how you can tell which items at Costco have been marked down and why.  Summarized, it looks like this:

    Reading Costco Price Tags
    .99 = item is full price
    .97 = a deal decided by the manager, usually on clearance items
    .49 and .79 = a manufacturer’s special
    .00 = the goods are about to expire
    * = the item is being discontinued

    For Sam's Club, another blog specifies:

    Reading Sam's Club Price Tags
    .01 or anything ending in a penny = clearance priced

    Letter on shelf tag (usually RH corner) is:
    A = Active Item (Something that they normally carry)
    N = Never-Out (Item should always be in-stock)
    C = Canceled (Store will no longer carry the item. If it’s not already clearance priced, it will be soon if not sold out)

    The point here is that prices are dynamic, so a point to point comparison today may change tomorrow.

    Before concluding, it would be hard to discuss gas prices without delving a bit into the subject of selection.  With the exception of the Hawaii Kai Costco, Costco offers a gallon of gas at a price normally 35 cents or so below retail competitors' prices.  I had heard that Hawaii Kai didn't get a gas station because the community opposed it, but I have been unable to confirm that that was the case.  

    Sam's Club Pearl City also offers discount gas at about 35 cents less than retail competitors' prices.

    According to GasBuddy, both Costco and Sam's Club were selling gas at $2.13 a gallon when the next competitor's price -- excluding Navy Exchanges, which are limited to armed service personnel -- was $2.50.

    NEXT POST : Costco or Sam's Club: Selection and Quality: An Oahu Overview (Part 2 of 2)

    (Due to amount of detail in this subject, it was separated into two parts.  This post addressed Convenience and Price.  The next post will address Selection and Quality.)

     

  • The Best Hawaii Souvenir is The State Library

    If you're visiting Hawaii, the best unpublished bargain is our state library.  If you're a resident and you don't have a card -- what?  Lolo? Go get one now. It's completely free for residents and just a nominal fee for non-residents.

    There are two types of library cards available for those who are not residents of Hawaii. The $25.00 non-resident card is good for five years and may be renewed for an additional $25.00. The $10.00 non-resident card is good for 3 months and may be renewed for $10.

    [Webpage]

    The only catch is that you need to apply in person.

    If you're like me and you like reading magazines, you can't go wrong.  There are nearly 200 titles, all available online through Zinio for reading on your iPad or Android and without charge if you use your library card. You can [browse] here.

    You can also borrow e-books  or audiobooks from Overdrive [browse] and OneClick Digital [browse]

    or even more amazingly, borrow a Netbook loaded with the MS Office suite.

    I don't understand why our taxpayer dollars go toward subsidizing non-residents, but maybe the library pays a flat rate and also receives federal dollars toward some services. Who knows?  All I know is that I'm into promoting literacy regardless of the source.