“How Cheaply Can I Live In The Philippines?”, part 1of4

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  1. I don’t see why everyone wants to know total cost of monthly living when that is so dependent on life style. The bargains to me in the Philippines is cheap public transportation, labor, and rent. Having said that none of those are equal to western standards. I didn’t see food as being so cheap and your choices are different. Not good or bad just different. So a better question IMHO is how many grains of rice do you need in your meal. How much chicken? Legs, thigh or feet!!?

  2. No.. for a ‘general ballpark’ figure that would apply to any island, it’s $1,800 a month. In the later parts of the video I discuss a bare-bones, on-the-cheap budget of $800-$1,000 but with some caveats that go with it. $1,800 will allow a person to live on just about any island, any part of town with the same level of comfort they’re used to ‘back home’.

  3. In addition.. $1,800 a month also provides the amount of cushion for getting married, having a wife and kids, supporting the in-laws. Etc. A budget for a Single man is covered in parts 3 & 4 of this series.

  4. Very good point, Tom. There are a lot of variables, including what each person feels is a ‘comfortable’ lifestyle. I’ve seen videos of one guy living even more province-like (outdoor CR) than me. I love the province, but I gots to have indoor plumbing and electric. (about $50/month here) Some families have meat once a week, some.. meat every day. And then there are those in-laws to take care of. Never know day to day what that will cost. ha!

  5. 25,000 pesos a month works out to roughly $600/month. There are guys here who spend a third of that eating at TGIFridays per month. I know of a single-mom squeaking by on less than $200/month. There’s ‘living’ and then there’s ‘surviving’.. and even then, each person has to decide what their definition of that is. From some, a home without a swimming pool is just too much sacrifice. ha!

  6. Living in SE Asia should seriously be looked at by some retirees in the US struggling, no… starving on their ss income and pension. Imagine what $400-$500 USD will buy for a lifestyle in Bohol (provided they still have their wits about them and it is safe – provinces). May still be a struggle financially but it may be an option for some. A recent AP study revealed that 4 out of 5 are close to the brink of the poverty level in some parts. That is 46.2 or 15 % of the population. Scary.

  7. I agree except.. don’t ALL of them come to Bohol! haha! I like my sleepy little island. Iloilo, Gamaras, Dumaguette, Bogo, San Refujio and so many other places with great deals for living comfortably. Even at $1,200 in the USofA isn’t going to get a person much. But here.. so much more.

  8. I plan to save enough to build a small house in the province of Mabinay and then I won’t have to pay monthly rent. That seems to be the easiest way to go if I’ll be living on a Social Security Disability check each month. Get rid of all my American habits and live like the native people there. In theory, it sounds workable, but I won’t know for sure until I’m actually living there. I’ve done some searching as well and I’ve seen 1 and 2 bedroom apartments for $200-$400 per month. Wish me luck

  9. Once you’re here and have a couple people looking around for you, you’ll find something cheaper than that for sure. $250 in most places and you’re styling better than many locals. Then you can hunt around for a place to build a house.

  10. p.s. The places you find online are mostly represented by realtors or property managers. The real deals are found once you’re here.

  11. henry, briefly, lets create some boundaries to the context of budgets: needs, wants, luxury (categorized by A, B and C). how much do i need and how much will a life of luxury cost carry two different meanings. identifying what you need, and we really need very little in a tropical third world country, on a daily basis and not including emergencies, travel, flights,etc – monthly minimum might be at 300-400 dollars (u.s.). 800 a month is not only doable, it is pretty comfortable.

  12. A close friend:there are expats and there are expats; this one is the later. his email arrived today on his monthly budget in a small city of 150k pop. in his own house for six years: let me think, maximum 350 to 400 bucks, depends how often we go to the supermarket. The local markets are cheaper, but time to time I need some different food, such as cereal, cheese, salami etc.
    The electricity, water, phone and internet bill is maybe 50 bucks, if we using the air-con it’s more, but usually don’t.

  13. if you come to istanbul.live in the city centre with 1700$ .you be the king!!! go out anytime you free,eat what you want,go with girls.they love foreigns usually.and believe me its not caotic or anything like asian cities.if i would need 1700 in phili wow.why would i go there.i dont believe it can be so expensive there

  14. A person “can” live in the Philippines on about $800 a month, it is possible. But I don’t make a practice of advising it because it’s good to have a financial cushion for emergencies.

  15. What I said is that for $1,800 a person could live just about anywhere in the PH with a very comfortable lifestyle. If their comfort level isn’t such a big deal, a person could easily get by on $900 a month. Again, this is why I cover a variety of factors, there is no one magic number that covers everyone’s budget in the PH. Or the U.S. for that matter.

  16. You won’t find them on the internet, most of those are from brokers looking for a big commission. Networking with local expats online, before you arrive, is the best way. Get to know expats on the island you plan to live on and they can point you in the right direction. There is a group of them on the Forum, at my main site; LifeBeyondTheSea(dot)com.

  17. well i can say.i was living in izmir when i was a student.spending 400 dolars a month.all included.everythng was fine.shopping vegetables and fruits for a week costs 20 dolars for a week 25 dolars is for the market stuff.i had girlfriends going out for partyng.wasnt rich but really gud.and they say philiphines so cheap.is there anythng same cheap like izmir.you can check numbeo and kind a sites but they are just fake.

  18. For a single guy, depending on much you spend on women/booze.. I’d say that $600/month USD is about as low as you want to go and still have some fun. Rent is about $120, food about $100/month, utilities about $50/month to give you an idea. That’s in an area like Cebu, Manila would be higher. Mactan would be cheaper. Tourist spot areas would cost more of course.

  19. Considering living in the phills myself but I only have 300k saved up and I m 48, so I know I need to save at least another 10 years ( 600 k is my goal). Anyway I love your video’s….

  20. What kind of life could I have in Philippines for about $50K a year?  If I didn’t live in Manila, where else would you recommend to live an upscale lifestyle?

  21. You can live in Indonesia on $600/month. A house outside the capital city or in rural areas is about $300 to $500/year for a small two bedroom (36 sq meters). A house in the capital is $2000-2500/year. Rented room, furnished, with air-con is $150-300/month. Unfurnished without air-con would be about $70/month. Food is $50-70/month if you cook all your meals at home. Cable internet (6mbps) with HD TV channels is $35/month. I spend $400/month and save $200-250/month. It’s not bad but the cost of living in the capital is a bit tough. I use Microsoft Excel (actually the free LibreOffice Calc) to figure out my budget. Where I live electricity blackouts happen once a week and last a minute or two but I’m in an upscale area. If you live in the rural areas there will be 4 to 6 hours of power cuts that happen 1-3 times a week. You can also live in the highlands where the weather is cool so you don’t even need a fan or air-con, such as northern Bandung or Lembang. Try Indonesia sometime. The advantage is there is almost no crime. The worst that I’ve seen happen is pickpocketing but it never happened to me. 11 years of experience here. If you’d ever want to live here I can find you a place. If you marry an Indonesian woman, you aren’t expected to give money to her family and if you did it would be thought of either strange or they would greatly appreciate it but never expect it. When a woman marries you here you aren’t marrying her family. Different culture. However, there is a lot of gossip among the women and little kids will call you Mr. Bean which is kinda funny. You pay quite a bit in the village.. $105/month for a small house. In Indonesia your place would go for $300-400 a year.

    1. @knightshade97 Im also intresterd in stay in indonesia for about 6 months…Iv been there about 2 years ago and really liked it…can you please please email me some links or more details about renting because I would like to rent a furnished 1 bedrum apartment or studio for about $200-300 /month… fungai_3@hotmail.com.. I plan on spending 6 month in Indonesia then 6 months in Philippines….:)

    1. can you email me ,,,tazmo1313@yahoo.com..an tell me what area ,,i have friend getting married in may ,thay live in carcar ,they work over seas

    2. It was only $106 USD per month, brand new.  Lots of good deals to be found, but not online.  You gotta go in person, ride or walk around and look for cardboard ‘for rent’ signs to get a good deal.

  22. My life long dream is to have simple life there someday. Your videos are truly informative and entertaining. Enjoyed watching. 🙂 THANKS.

  23. i’m Asian and used to live in manila.  I talked to many families who live in manila and they tell me they need 150-200k p per month to live the same lifestyle as say seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, boston….etc..


  24. one thing that you need to keep in mind is that the inflation is higher, so ones quality of life can decline with time if they do not have a good financial plan

    the koreas and Chinese who move their have the right idea.  they go there fort he lifestyle but also to accumulate wealth and prosperity.

  25. Thanks for all the info. VERY helpful! At the risk of sounding nosy can you tell us what is the least amount of money you spent in a month and what is the most? Also what is the gong rate for a round of golf.. THX Bob in Texas

  26. Only problem here is if the expat falls into the cracks again. There is no welfare system here and no medicare. Those with diabetes who need dialysis will need 2,500 each time for treatment. That’s 65 dollars each time for dialysis treatment. Then there’s the medication, (although some medication here is cheaper than in the States), the electric bills, hospital bills (you can get medical insurance to save costs) etc etc. So the rough estimate is about $2000 dollars (that’s living modestly and not in comparison to standards in the U.S.) but you need to have to always put money aside from that pension for emergencies. Don’t come here without always having a backup plan. It’s like always making sure you have a life vest and a floating raft in case the boat sinks. You don’t jump out of a plane without a parachute neither right?  The key here is not to get diabetes so that means to watch your diet. There are lots of Filipinos now who have diabetes because of the consumption of white rice, indulgence in lots of Filipino sweets and lots of fatty meat like Lechon. Combine that with the over indulgence of alcohol, cigarettes and a lack of exercise then you have a guy waiting to drop dead in a second. I myself only eat brown rice at home and I keep away from fat pork. I always trim the fat and rarely eat lechon. I eat lots of vegetables in my diet. I only eat twice a day since I also skip breakfast because I sleep til noon most of the time. Like Henry, I also take long walks when I can. The key is to control your urges here. Alcohol here is very cheap compared to the States and the urge to eat as much as you want here is very tempting. I don’t drink alcohol as I have given that up a long time ago and I don’t smoke neither so I have no bad habits. Pay attention to your health and you will live a long healthy happy life here.

  27. When I was living in the Philippines with my brother and sister, my mom used to send us less than 600$ a month. 3 of us for just 600$ but we already have a house but the bills for electricity and water is not included. If I were you just live in Aklan, iit has good people and cheap foods with lots of super market and malls.

    1. yeah this is true aklan is just an hour away to boracay and you can find apartment now there about 100$-200$ a month…i suggest you base at kalibo,aklan cuz the mall,market,hospital, etc is just minute away if base at kalibo,aklan…and great people…not popular place but i highly recomended…and there are alot of other places to go at aklan not only boracay…waterfalls and cold springs is just on the same route when your going to boracay…PM me if you want some tips…glad to help…

    2. It depends on what city you live in. We live in a rural area, but close to Boracay. We are living on less than $1000/month and living a very high quality of life. 

  28. i was curious how much it would cost to live in the philippines in the province so i kept track of all my fixed expenses/groceries/restaurant trips/trycicles/bottles of wine/electricity/including food offered to people/dinners organized….not the buying mattress or stove thing…..just the typical expenses including visa permits….and so this is the result. in 30 days i spent 25682 pesos (590 US $) and this is the list
    for bongabong mindoro oriental province. These are the expenses for 2 people, me and my girlfriend. often we organized dinners with her relatives here and this has been put in the expenses. all groceries have been added.also we only drank mineral water not the free flow water which we used only for washing

    Rent                                     3000 (2 storey apartment (water fountain outside but  water  from pipes very rare) average cost of apartment around here 2500 pesos

    visa                                    3030
    trycicles                               770
    internet loads                       1690
    groceries                           10380  (we drank wine several times)
    fast food/restaurant            4527   (not many restaurants around here)
    propane tank                       830
    electricity                           400 (1 electric fan working maybe 14 hours/day and 4 bulbs)
    extra                                 1055 (some clothes etc)


    25682  php pesos (452 Euros /590 Us $)

    1. @Like Winning the Lottery – How moving to the Philippines made me happier than a millionaire” just in front of mindoro province. on some clear days i think one of the islands i see from the beach is tabas island. will check your fb page, thanks

    2. Hi Luca
      We live on Tablas Island. You can see more about us on http://www.facebook.com/likewinningthelottery 
      Tablas Island is in Romblon province.
      It is designed for expats. mostly people who are stable vs the people that just want to party 24/7 at our neighboring island of Boracay (10 km south of us).
      Contact me via Facebook if you want more information.
      Join Us in Paradise

    3. @Like Winning the Lottery – How moving to the Philippines made me happier than a millionaire” thank you!!!which province do you live in? i guess i will check your channel , i’m curious

    4. That’s great! That’s about how much we spend living in the province, but we are a family of 3 plus a staff of 4. 
      Congratulations on your new life!

    1. @ Paul Fujiyama – You could live very well in the city on that amount of money. Global City is a prime location. What’s nice about that area is that you won’t need a car because everything you’ll need to shop for is within walking distance. 
      We Wish you Luck and Happiness

    2. @Paul Fujiyama you would be set.  on that income.. not even have to sweat it, at all.  many single expats live here on $1,400 month easily.

  29. of course you could benefit more by applying for dual citizenship before you get there,living in the provinces of dipolog,Mindanao $500.00 in pension allocation is a good start, the tourism program which is a project in 2010 is creating a financial development plan for future investors in minerals,oil, gold etc. I will go with you. I was born there 30 years ago, just stay away from the city, they are trying to copy new York,,expensive at $58K a wife with two teenager?

    1. @Joseph Weaver 
      i agree with JJ DF…Manila is a worst place to live…its better to live in a province than in a city…..Mindanao is the best place to live….but always becareful  and dont anyone abuse your kindness

    2. Joseph, that is more than enough to live very comfortable even with 2 kids in the Philippines, even living in Manila. However I advise expats to live outside Manila if you want to experience the true island life. Davao is a very nice place,peaceful and safe to raise a family. With that amount of money living in Davao, is like living in the US earning 10K + a month. With that said you’ll have enough left over money for savings.

  30. I shared this because I’ve gotten this question a lot and I just did a short in general answer video for the guy… so hopefully he watches you now since I recommended you as well as Ned and Michelle for a more detailed answer

  31. Bohol is nice island but l chose Davao, Mindanao…We haven’t had typhoon in 50yrs or earth quacks like Bohol.. You can live here on $200/mo basic living… I’m a minimalist survive on $100/mo but yet have net, electric, water, fan, refrigerator n bed with my Wife…

    1. Yep agree dava0 is no brainer typhoon free good weather very affordable rents there and hotels 700 800 for a very nice room.easy to get around .stay away from places that’ has threats of bad weather

    2. Its kinda hard to explain my minimalist lifestyle  because of all my knowledge about health, freedom and the world.. All l can say is l have enough to be comfortable but never paid much for it.. Even when l lived in NY, Ark, Fl my living averaged about $200/mo or was free… l never was supported by gov’t or anyone else..
      Here in the Phil its so easy because the climate is so great… All my life housing was free or worked out to be free..
      My wife is so good a person we bought a boarding house 2.5yrs ago and now it paid for itself and makes us more money than we spend..
      l have no lifestyle to support or addictions.. l have some comforts in life without expense.. Any body can come to Davao and rent a nice room, eat good, millions of girls, have cp on $200/mo..

  32. hi i wrote you on your other vid you was talking about finding something you always wanted to do do it while you living in the philipines. im a military retired 45 year old disabled iraq war vetran planning on living in makati. i’m thinking setting my own budget for a $1000.00 is that enough to live compfortable there. and i quoate i make much more than a thousand thats a budget im setting for myself to save alot of money

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