Feeding a Family of Six on $200 a Month in Maui

For most people, Maui is not a cheap place to live. For our son Jonah and his wife Aja and their four creative children, it’s a different story. In December we visited them and their new life style after they bought and were in process of remodeling a dilapidated old historic home in Makawao, an up-country town in Maui.

Their commitment to living green is nothing less than inspiring!  Since we visited them in December, they have come a long way! They’ve added another old Mercedes diesel station wagon converted to greasel (oil from the Mexican restaurant a couple of blocks away) to their fleet. They haven’t bought gas for their extensive travels on the mainland and again in Hawaii for several years and figure that they have saved about 30-40,000 dollars by not having to pay for gas. The cars sure aren’t pretty but they sure are worth it! We must admit that they do smell a lot like cooking tortillas when they “fire up”!

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It’s almost unbelievable to think that this little family of six can eat like kings on about $200-$250 a month! They have a yard full of produce and fruit trees as well as chickens that produce from 13-21 eggs every day. At $6 a dozen that’s some very nice “spending money”.  Jonah makes bread and homemade granola every week and they always make their tortillas, naan and all varieties of bread from scratch. They buy staples in bulk and barter for meat and fruits and vegetables they don’t have.

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Their now lovely home sports beautiful bamboo floors and a new lanai as well as great looking subway tile that Jonah just installed in the kitchen.

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The house is entirely outfitted with goods from Craig’s list or garage sales. Aja has great taste and is a master of simplifying and prioritizing what is really important!  While they are waiting to create a painting, they are enjoying the beautiful grains of this piece of wood above their couch.

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Their oldest daughter Ana (11) did a live radio show with us on BYU XM radio and told the audience all about how she earned the money to buy her horse including the tack and feed and shots when she was nine. She is a delight and is about as far as you can get from entitled   She cleans the bathrooms and takes out the garbage at her dance studio to pay for her lessons and can find the most amazing things at garage sales, her favorite place to shop!

They have a stellar tennis teacher, enjoy their intense swim team (on which Aja serves as the chairman of the board), and love their dance classes. Camden (9) enjoys scouts and is learning a lot about how to fix cars and Elsie (6) is often up to her elbows in bread dough and her imaginary world!  Poem (2) is the delight of the family, is very self-sufficient and loves to undo almost everything they do in a hurry!

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This family is about as good as it gets when it comes to being green. The kids will look back and be so grateful for their idyllic childhood as they learn to prioritize and see life through a different lens. Their absolute favorite shopping place is garage sales, where they find absolutely awesome “deals” for almost nothing.

We love this great quote from Jonah and Aja: ”There are two ways to be financially independent: One is to have unlimited money and the other is to have very limited needs. We choose the later.”

Keep up with them on the blog at itsnotacompetion.blogspot.com

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