Email Responses (2of2); Earning Income & Cost of Living – Philippines

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  1. Speaking of AdSense — there’s no ads on these two videos. Notice that? In fact, the other videos I checked have no AdSense. Hoping there’s not a problem there…

    1. @Vince Runza when they first appear online, it sometimes takes adsense anywhere from 5 minutes to a few hours to assign an ad campaign to it.  (they choose the ads based on locality and keywords)  on my dashboard i can see if ads have been assigned or not.

  2. I disagree on the cost of living here but I am living here for 900$ a month we have our 2/2 house paid for and 15753 sqm of land with most in rice fields my wife’s family lives on the land and takes care of it under my direction. Last season the rice fields did well but I took the profit from that and put it into building a piggery. we have living in our house her mother and one of her sisters and there are 5 other siblings and there familys living in nippa huts. I have told them that I wont support them but they can work the fields and the piggery and they are given a % of the gross. 

  3. I would say that most people would have a hard time with YouTube.  Most people just can’t do it.  Myself I am just not all that entertaining on camera.  My guess is that Henry works very hard and spends a lot of time for not a whole lot of money from YouTube.  There is no way I would think of trying to compete with Henry and Ned in this space.

  4. happy new year henry! I was wondering how many hours a day you were putting in. I have the joy of rental property too.ha ha  good thing I busted my ass when I was young and invested my money cuz the company I work for announced they were closing 300 people out of a job .march 13 last day. 30 years was enough !!!!!!!

  5. Your breaking alot of hearts with those numbers:)  But I guess it’s better than telling someone they can live on 800, and they get here and find out thats not true for them.  After my research, you can probably get by ok at 700-800 a month. 150-200 for rent, helps.  But thats really just getting by. But if you compare to trying to get by on that amount in the states, you can live a little better in the phillipines on that amount. But I agree with henry as a single guy who wants to have “fun” and not worry really what they are spending, doing a little traveling, and not living in a complete dump, and dating, 1300-1500 seems right. If you are supporting your womans family or have kids, then forget about it:)

    1. Ugh. Where did I say you can’t get a place for 150 or less? I think I have done enough research that my statement was filled with facts. What part of what I said indicates to you I have no idea what I’m talking about ?

    2. keep in mind. I havent spent  a day in the phillipines, I have just done alot of research. Henry’s opinion should have more weight, since he actually lives there, and seems to do what he wants there.

    1. +Bradley B. Speed is all the same. very very low and very sporadic. My 2min video upload took me about 10mins. downloading a hour and half movie took about 2 and 1/2 hours. (Download speed 4.18 Mbps / Upload speed 0.74 Mbps)

    2. Hi Fred, that would be a bit out of my scope as most of what I do (which is mostly on the development side) is aimed at the Film, TV and Gaming industries and my dance card is very full at the moment.  As Henry mentioned in this very video there are some contractors that could quote you on the project through the sites he showed (and others).  Just be careful to keep your proprietary ideas close to your chest when getting initial quotes… keep the quote request general and see what responses you get before moving forward with a more detailed quote.

    3. @Aprille Shepherd Hi Aprille,
      On an entirely different matter do you work in C++. Have a project in mind but I am only very amateur programmer. Can you contact me through my channel if interested. Thanks Fred

    4. We are in Manila (Caloocan) and we get 9/1 Meg with PLDT.  It seems to be a bit better than last year for brown outs in the early evening during hi use time.  We pay 4000 Peso (about 100.00 USD) but I am a programmer and developer and it is my income.  As back up… I also always carry  my little Huawei Pocket Wi-Fi which gets about 2/.5 Meg at top speed with Globe Tattoo (1 month costs 1000 Peso).  I also carry a battery charge brick (there are many under 100.00 USD)… mine is water resistant from Mophie.  I also have my Canada unlocked (Rogers with Asia Pack 45.00 CAD) phone Samsung Galaxy in a Waterproof/Shockproof (Military Specs) case from SEIDIO.  I also carry a secondary Duo (Dual sim) phone with both Globe and Smart.  So…. not all of you will need a bulletproof solution, but if you do… this is what I am packin.   Hehehe   Warning, with all these radio waves going on, I may not have any ovaries left in a few years! 

  6. I have been to the Philippines several times… 1400 is a very very safe number for a single guy, who is not partying ever night… 1000 to 1200 I think is a better number and can easily be done… standard rent for a budget single guy is 200  to 250 a month.. add all the other stuff , cell phone, power, water , internet, another 200 to 300 , gives you about 500 for food, entertainment , which is plenty if you are thrifty.. Henry is putting out a very safe number but I would bet money he has lived on way less himself…

  7. As always, an excellent video.  Something that would be of interest to many I would think, how do you handle filing your taxes?   With the new laws, it seems it would be complicated and costly.  Keep up the good work.

  8. Hi Henry – thanks for your videos.  Just subscribed.  I live in SoCal, just a bit south of where you used to be.  I’m wondering if you ever get bored there?  It appears you can jump on your bike and go places – me, I am very near the beach now and would want that there too.  But just wondering if you get that “been there done that” attitude?  Be well, J

    1. @Jon Goron i can honestly say i haven’t had a boring day since i got here.  maybe if someone followed me around they’d get bored on some days.. but i enjoy walking the merkados, riding along the coast or the hills or even the luxury of a siesta to re-charge for the evening.  i’m never bored here.  now.. in calif, just going to the beach and back got expensive between gas, parking and lunch.   here, i’m never far from a bbq stand where i can have lunch for under 100p.  🙂

  9. Hi Henry
    I watched your “how cheaply can I live in the Philippines” videos in which you said that a single guy could live on around $1000 usd. You did say that would be provided that they were not island hopping and boozing it up all the time. I guess that those figures would flex over time if you take inflation into consideration. I notice that some westerners move to the Philippines to get away from the material world so that they can live the simple life “province style etc” like pop z. What kind of montly cost are we looking at to live more on the Philippine way of life assuming that you were married to a filipina and living in a province?

    1. @Paul johnson yes, the island a person chooses would make a difference.  back then i did it based on living in a rural place like bohol or even mactan.  but living in downtown cebu, manila or a tourist hotspot like boracay.. $1,000 is not going to be enough.  however, in a place like bogo, consolacion, argao, moalboal it would be more ‘do-able’.

    1. Strangers in a strange land for sure, these rules are what keeps it all affordable and potentially a good return. If expats could own many of these assets outright, they would quickly run up the prices. Just compare Dumaguete rentals, grocery prices with the rest of Negros. Any entrepreneur anywhere is opposed at every turn by confiscatory government interference. The problems in the Phil are anything but insurmountable. If “She” dies first will really be a mess, best to be in good with the kids i reckon.

    2. @Over The Rainbow – Philippines Exactly!  “She” can own the land (and the house defacto), the business, etc., but you can’t.

    3. Exactly, a nest egg that can be invested in leased agricultural land, a few taxi cabs, rental homes, etc. Many ways to make a living in the Phil, but definitely not the place to move if you need a “job”. 

    4. Strictly speaking foreign nationals cannot own land or 100% of any business in the Philippines. There are work arounds if you want to try that. 

    5. @mike k lots and lots of areas to cover.  i may cover those at a later time, but most expats are coming in with one nest egg and a monthly SS or pension of around $1,800/month.

  10. IMPOSSIBLE to answer because the definition of “comfort” varies so greatly.  If you need AC 24/7, and have a gaggle of free-loaders on the “payroll,” etc.,you will have dramatically higher bills.  

    I live for around $1k per month.  But have no one on the payroll, and leave my frivolous Western lifestyle behind. 

    1. @BLACKCROW WALKING Most likely you would need more if you have a wife or girlfriend. I think Henry’s estimate is a high end minimum to put it that way – but I am sure it would include a partner. It is better to allow for more rather than to plan for less. I totally get what you mean by living simply – for instance, giving up or cutting down on drinking – smoking – and running amok – using public transport and letting go of a lot of material things. Lots of things that cost nothing also. I would say Henry’s figure is on the money.

    2. @LifeBeyondTheSea – Philippines It’s amazing, also.  These dudes are living a minimalist lifestyle, for half as much as it would cost them back home, and always have a shit-eating grin on their face!

      I believe it’s because they are doing what they love every day, rather than doing frivolous things like chasing shallow, expensive punani.  If they’re interested in finding a good Pinay, their lack of money will not be an issue, anyway.

    3. @DemocracyDoctor1 on the lower-end of the spectrum, i’ve bumped into a few guys in the PH who i know are getting by on somewhere between $400-$500 a month.  but they aren’t able to do much other than kinda walk around.  no movies, no taxis, no dating.. just kinda ‘getting by’ in the most minimal sense.

  11. Hi all,
    To put it simply. What ever your monthly income is, that is what it will cost you to live here. Because most people spend all they have every month. The trick is to hold back 10~20% of that income every month and put it into some kind of investment that will grow and provide for additional income.

    The official minimum wage in the Philippines is around P300~350 per day(about USD $7.50). And they manage to live on that money. Plenty of Filipinos wish they had that much every day. BUT could you do it? Would you even want to? After all, anything more than that is usually just for “luxuries”.

    Take care,

  12. I agree with your comments about having an income going into the Philippines Henry.  I have looked at the proposition for almost 10 years now with an eye toward retiring there.  I have heard so many heart breaking stories of foreigners not saving enough or being too trusting with their money there.  Better to have a good income going in and prospects of growing that income to combat inflation over time.  Prices have increased substantially there in the 10 years that I have been visiting.

    1. @Paul Jackson even though a person ‘can’ eat cheaply here, you get tired of eating the same thing all the time.  groceries, especially fruits are very expensive in the supermarket.  (cheaper at the outdoor merkados).   some examples off the top of my head;  handful of grapes, $3.75 usd.  small jar of Skippy’s peanut butter, $4.25.  4 Apples, $2.75.  potatoes here are sold individually, not in 5 pound bags like in the states.  it’d be way too expensive to buy 5 pounds at once.

    1. @James Pratt yes.  there’s some wiggle-room there for the $80 renewal fees every 2 months, and the ACR renewal is about $150 or so, once a year.

  13. Living in the Philippines for $500- $1000 a month….. Yeah right!!! Build a time machine and go back to the 1970’s when it was actually possible.

    1. maybe not that long ago I remember going in the early 2000s for several years when the peso was 55p-57 esos per dollar plus everything was cheaper too the dollar just seem to go a lot farther than it did now and I used to buy plane tickets round trip for 550 to 600 bucks . That was only 10 years ago or so and it already seems like the good ol days . one of my favorite meals was a little restaurant inside of the hotel where I could get a chicken curry meal with rice and vegetables and iced tea for 50

  14. another thing to remember, is your 1st month, will cost a lot more, as you have to live in hotels/hostels until you find a place you are happy to live and rent in, also finding a decent  place  will take both time, and money whilst looking around, bit of advice, don’t just take the first place your offered, go back several times to get a feel for the area, it may turn out very noisy at certain times. Make sure you have amenities near by that you will need for your particular situation.

  15. How much you need is tough question to answer and it applies to many developing nations. Some things are far cheaper like food and labor. So you can hire a good maid to cook all the food you buy. Mine comes over 2 days a week. $1400 a month probably more than 90 million Philippines earn-Philippines just hit 100 million in population… Imported stuff is expensive. But ultimately it will be your threshold for tolerance as there could be culture shock for someone coming from Suburbia in USA.. Petty theft is rampant, business margins within the country are low. Lots of unskilled labor sitting idle. Unlike the States even a so-called wealthy person always sees poor people and suffering day after day. How you handle that is most important question and that cannot be answered until you visit. Central America is what I know and seems very similar in the Philippines. So these place are not for everyone. You have to self motivated and stay busy because boredom can set in. Reekay you are articulate and also Mexican which has its advantages as you can pass for Filipino and sort of blend in. Also you probably have seen real poverty in Mexico so you have been conditioned to that more than someone spent there whole life in the suburbs of the USA.

  16. henry, i think you over shot your number of $1400 a month for a single guy by quite a bit.. Ned and Michelle share their expenses every month.. They live in a house have a truck and two scooters and they average about 900 to 1100 in expenses as a couple.. I know you have lived on less than half of 1400 a month in the past.. i agree it depends on your. lifestyle .. but for a budget life 800 to 1000 is totally be comfortible.. and could still eat out and as long as you are being wise.. i know an american who lives on 4k a year in the philippines.. and in his island he is the rich american.. )

    1. @LifeBeyondTheSea – Philippines Agree with Henry here.  There is living and living with a reasonable degree of comfort and enjoyment.

      Anyone who watches Henry’s videos knows he is not living in the lap of luxury.  He is single however, which adds a monthly entertainment element into his calculations.

      The bottom line is that western style comforts cost roughly the same in most parts of world.  I am an older american who wants decent creature comforts and a reasonable entertainment budget. I’ve been to the Philippines 20 times, so know the country well.  For my permanent move there in 2 weeks, I really can’t see any way I can comfortably live for much under $1800 a month, an amount that would not include traveling.  For the 3 months a year or so I would be traveling around the Islands, my budget would be at least double that.

      Everyone has a different definition of living comfortably however.  To each his own.

    2. Henry  Makes sense what you are saying… I think you are correct about a lot of guys losing their direction and money manage skills once they arrive… You could have a 10k a month income and if you surround yourself with the wrong situations doing the wrong things you could burn through that as well… $1400 is high number but I get where you are coming from..

    3. @p smith the $1,400 is a conservative number due to the wide audience being addressed.  ned and i a good buddies and i’ve seen his budget videos as well, so i know it can be done with less.  but ned is a solid guy who manages his money well.  however, not all guys coming here have that skill or seem to lose it once they become starry-eyed with so many lovely filipinas at every turn.  🙂  i myself lived on mactan for about $700/month but largely because i was not dating and spent most of my time exploring around on my own.  it can be done, but not everyone can has the discipline to pull it off.

  17. $1400 is a great  monthly budget if you’re single and want to live well.  a more conservative budget is certainly doable as well.  rent and food will take a pretty good chunk of the budget but after that the rest of the budget is workable.  
    in the upper region of Northern Samar $1,000 is realistic but you’ll find yourself spending more for social activities after food and rent.

  18. I’m 46 and have two houses. One is a rental that bring me in $920.00 usd a month after expenses. The other my home. If I rented out my home it should bring in about $1000 usd a month. Together they are worth about $600,000 usd, or, maybe a little bit more. I imagine if I fixed everything up it would cost me about 50k. Eg new kitchen and bathroom on one and new bathroom on the other. I have shares, cash and other investments excluding my 401k worth about another $450k. My 401k is not worth mentioning as I worked in a country that does not have mandatory retirement savings and I would not be able to touch it’s small balance until I’m an old bastard anyway. I know that’s a lot more cash and assets than some but its also a lot less than it once was thanks to my ex wife who like many slaughtered me in a divorce and halved my assets. Is this enough to retire on in PI? I have spent about three months in the PI and love it there. I am timid about packing up because of money worries. If we quit I fear no more income from work and I will have to live on my accumulated assets till I die which who knows? God willing it won’t be for another 30-40 years. Please assuage my fears and let me know what you think? Should I run from this life of slavery in the west?
    Your opinions please??? It would be appreciated.

    1. @baretta duck i’ll just run through some simple numbers, on a conservative side that don’t account for medical emergencies.  let’s say after all the smoke clears, each year you live in the PH it costs you $17,000 usd, per year.  (roughly $1,400/month)  Not counting airfare or furnishing your first apartment.. let’s say you arrive with $450k and no recurring income.  divide it out and you get;  26 years, plus 6 months and then you are out of money.  Not sure if you find that to be good news or bad.. it’s just the math.  If you could find a way to earn income here, the money would go longer.  but if you lose your shirt in a bad business, that would make the money disappear quicker.  i’d say the best bet is to look into some sort of annuity that pays off in say, 10 or 15 years so that you aren’t just making withdrawals on your savings alone.  check with a financial planner (or see if you have one in your relatives) to get basic advice on an annuity that pays before you expire.

  19. Ah, darn it Henry! You made the same mistake everybody makes! How much a person needs to live in the Philippines? It’s not a finite number but a percentage! You live on $xxx in your home country? You will need (after buying furniture and a means of transportation) between 50 and 75%of that – depending on if you are relocating from an expensive or less expensive place AND if you are moving to a philippine metropolis or to the countryside/province! I know people who moved to the Philippines with a pre-move budget of $1400 and now live on less than $900 a month. And i know another who lived the high life and now can’t make due with less than $5000 US a month in Cebu!

  20. I live on about 1200 a month ssi.  I have a nice apartment for 160 dollars a month.  Internet and land line phone are 22 dollars, electricity about 50 dollars, and water maybe just under 10 bucks a month.  If you’re careful and budget your money you’ll be just fine.  I’ve lived here for about a year now.  You have to hunt around for a nice apartment and I got lucky when I found this one I’m in now.  But here’s the catch, if you have to go to the hospital and stay there then they want cash before you leave.  There are government hospitals here but I don’t recommend going there.  One dis-appointing flaw also is the fact that I’m a Vietnam Era vet and while in the United States, I could go to any VA hospital for a head cold or the flu.  The VA hospital here only sees Vets with service related dis-abilities.  You can go to SM Mall and get nice western food there but you’re going to pay extra due to import tax.  If you like mixed drinks then Gilbeys Vodka is very good and cheap.  I drink maybe one bottle a month.  Don’t expect to come here and island hop every week end on this amount or have a car.  I wouldn’t drive a car here for anything.  Actually you don’t really drive a car here, you aim it and pray.  As far as the women are concerned, they’re like buses, one comes along every 15 minutes and some of them are literally knock outs and others look like 40 miles of bad road.  But that’s true of anywhere you go no matter what country you live in.  Most important than any is to have money saved to get back home if you have to.  If you’re planning on staying here the rest of your life then it is paramount that you wrap up all business before you come here.  If I need to call the states then I go to 7-11 and get a calling card for 100 Pesos (2 bucks) and I can talk for a little over an hour.on my land line phone.  If you call the states on a cell phone it’s going to cost you 20 bucks for the same amount of time and reception can be terrible.  Hope this helps.

    1. @bob jones very true.  i enjoy having a scooter but a car will just get bogged down in traffic, guaranteed.  even so, riding a scooter in the PH is a higher gamble than most places.

  21. I have a monetized you tube site(that has not made any money yet)  however I am in the US now but will be in the PI in a year or so and was wondering does Google send direct deposit to a Philippine bank or does it just come as a check to someone in the US and they deposit it in a US bank for you?

    1. @My Paradise on Bantayan Island, Cebu, Philippines use the ‘support’ link i gave above, it will show you how.  basically you go to your adsense account (not your youtube account).. go to your account settings page and there will be a link for entering your bank info to receive payments electronically.

    2. @My Paradise on Bantayan Island, Cebu, Philippines i’ve found it easier (and a bit more secure) to have it EFT deposited to my usa bank, and then once a month transfer it to my PH bank via .  (fee is less than $8.)

    3. @My Paradise on Bantayan Island, Cebu, Philippines EFT (electronic funds trasfer) is currently NOT available in the PH from adsense.  if you do desire a physical check be sent to you there are some issues to be aware of.  (a)  do not use the PH postal service.  chances are you will never get your check.  use DHL, which will cost about $23 usd fee.  (b)  upon cashing your check, it will likely have a 2-3 week hold for clearance with most PH banks since it is in USD.  A different option is to have it sent to you via Western Union, in the PH.  for detailed answers on how to use that option, visit here;

  22. Henry, could money be made as a kind of tour guide/minder to ex-pats?  I would imagine that some of the first time travelers young or old have a fair amount of trepidation when coming to the Philippines even on a vacation prior to possibly moving there.  A service could be offered to meet at the airport and nurse maid them for a few days until they are more comfortable. You could offer phone consultations should they need advice while there or person to person for an extra fee.   Make a website and advertise the service and costs.  If anybody uses my idea I want a commission (lol).

    1. @linda brown yes, it can be done.  the issue has been someone willing to devote breaking up their own schedule to accommodate incoming expats.  but if a person knows all the ins and outs of the city, where to get what, it could be a nice little side business.

  23. I have visited the Philippines a number of times and am thinking about buying a condo(already built, not future dev., read too many horror stories of financing drying up) and just sitting on the property for the time being.  I figure long term, it would increase in value and down the road that would solidify my housing expenses as well.  

  24. Arrive in the Philippines for a holiday and you’re the King with stacks of cash,
    Living here long term and the game changes, try and get out of the western mindset as quickly as possible and fit in as quickly as you can with the locals way of life and spending and your money lasts a 100 times longer!

    1. @Makoy Unggoy it helps to think of items in terms of pesos, rather than dollars.  also, think of pesos in terms of ‘daily wages’ (or percentage thereof).  200p is about $4.30 usd.  but in the PH, 200p is a day’s wage for many.  that makes a 120p fast-food meal ‘expensive’ by local standards.

  25. Good videos. Your thinking and sharing your views are good.  Can you update little more on type of accommodations available and rental/purchasing prices. Thank you.

  26. $1400/month in the Philippines! Too much! Coupled by poor food choices. I’m sorry but I’m taking the Philippines out of my travel itinerary.

  27. Hi Henry , so for a single guy living in the philiippines about 1,400 dollars a month , which is about 30,000 peso i think, living a basic life style.

    1. Hello Henry,

                 Have you heard anything about a SM Mall being build on the Dumaguete to Bacong road on a 1.3 hecter piece of land. I saw  something on a google search about malls in Dumaguete.

                          Regards  Chris.

    2. @chris chapman yes. some people may want more for more luxuries. some might feel they could live on less. but $1,400 usd for a single guy is sufficient.

  28. Reekay is just about dead on! Remember the closer you live to a large city. the more you will pay. Since I’m a spoiled American. I use the AC everyday. my electric bill each month is larger then my rent here. Don’t look for a job here, period! What Reekay is doing, is very time consuming, and he is not going to be the next PewDiePie on youtube. Sorry Reekay…haha!

    1. +LifeBeyondTheSea – Philippines—– I brought my Chihuahua dog “Paco” from the states. He will work for scale. I can’t help on the “pretty” part. ツ

  29. hello, we meet again….here in San Diego, very good info….to the point. The minimum is so much comfortable to swallow. I just retired from the Navy, some disability income…I hope that will be good for a good living in Cebu….Please send more on spending stuff, i.e., eating at a restaurant, internet speed and issues…..oh, my biggest wanna have in life. Thanks for the information u send….have a nice day….

  30. Another source of income in the Philippines is to start, but, open your own business.
    Foreigners, of course, are prohibited from buying land or having a business, however, foreigners can do so in partnership with a Filipino. Therefore, if you can find a trusted Filipino, the emphasis being on “trusted” you can open a business or, maybe, enter a partnership in a palm oil plantation or some other agricultural enterprise.
    If you follow this course be very vigilant in regard to the legal documentation. If the documentation is in a language other than your own have it translated through your country’s embassy.

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