A common question is whether or not Okinawa is cheaper than the United States. This is one of the difficult questions to answer because there are so many factors but I am going to do my best to give you a general idea.
Over all whether or not Okinawa is expensive compared to the US greatly depends on how it is that you want to live while you are here. If you live like the locals you will find yourself finding that yes it is much more affordable then living in the United States. On the contrary if you want to live like an American you can very much do that during your time here however you will find that some things are much more expensive then the same thing would be in the United States.
So let’s take a moment to talk about some examples. The first example is housing. There are two major types of houses in Okinawa; American style and Japanese style. American style houses and/or apartments have all of the feel of a home in the United States. You may also find that those houses have American appliances as well. Living in an American style apartment can be a comfort of home but there can be some financial downsides. First and foremost American style apartments can sometimes be more expensive rent wise. With the US Military here there are a lot of people who would desire this type of apartment so of course the cost is higher. Aside from the cost of the apartment itself there can also be a much higher cost in utilities. Being that American appliances draw more power the cost of electricity can be much more then you would spend with Japanese appliances.
In a Japanese style apartment and/or house there are many more considerations taken in order to deal with the weather that we encounter here in Okinawa. More natural light is available meaning less electricity is required. The appliances available in the Japanese style houses also require less electricity and therefore will not run your bill as high. There are also other ways that you can find yourself saving money if you choose to live like the locals rather than spending money on western style goods. For example if you choose to sleep on a western style bed rather than a futon you will find yourself spending quite a bit more money then if you were to just buy a futon.
The same concept is also true for food. Those who choose to eat the local cuisine rather than stick with an American diet will also find that they save a significant amount of money. This is not to say that there are not Japanese versions of American foods which can be enjoyed, however, to say that they are the same is just not the case.
Overall my answer is yes generally speaking Okinawa is cheaper than the United States if you live like the locals. If you find yourself wanting to maintain the lifestyle that you have in the United States you will find that it is going to be a lot more expensive.