In this article I will try to answer the most asked question in my mailbox and also the most difficult question to answer. How much money do you need to live in the Philippines?
When people ask me how much money they need to live in the Philippines I always answer them that that does depend on a number of thing:
- your quality of life: how much do you need to spent to live a happy life?
- where are you going to live in the Philippines and how?
- are you retiring or just a long short stay?
- your choice of visa
- your budget, because you can make ends meet here easily, depending on the four above.
When you plan on moving to the Philippines whether it is for long term or a longer short stay, I do advise you to make three budget-overviews: one for your initial travel and one for your daily expenses (weekly or monthly overview) and a budget for emergencies.
Keep those budgets separate.
Now let’s start with the emergency budget: you may or may not have a health insurance, but costs can add up, specially when you live rural and need to be relocated to a university or provincial hospital. And not all insurances cover those costs. Same with dental work or shots.
And there is the emergency escape. Supposse things in the country of your choice, say the philippines get rough and you feel you need to get away fast, it might be handy if you have some spare money laying around to make those arrangements.
Now this can be a credit card with a maximum withdrawal of 2,500 euro or 5,000 euro.
For the travel, you take a budget that allows you to buy (return) tickets to either Manila or Cebu and money to get to your final destination from there. Bus, boat, plane, rental car, whatever. Include in that money your first time visa extension. The website of the Bureau of Immigration will tell you all the accurate costs.
Daily expenses budget
Now here it becomes more personal. And a challenge for me to answer your question. For it all depends on how you live your life. I know expats that need an abundant life to live happily, I know retired people that really have to live on a budget to be able to live here. It all depends on you, your budget and the choices you make in life.
For a general overview of MY expenses on a monthly bases I gladly give you some links to blogposts about that:
These blogs and videos might give you some idea about the cost of living in the Philippines
The month of July was an expensive month for me. I decided I wanted contact lenses or new glasses, since headaches ruled my day. And I ran out of cooking gaz. I did save on fuel though, since the rain season has started I make less trips in the mountains. Here is the breakdown of my costs of living for Juli 2017 on the Island of Siquijor:
|Subject||Amount in PHP||Note|
|TOTAL||38,281||646 Euro or 758 US$|
|Rent||16,000||2 bedroom air con cottage incl. internet, rent went up 1,000 pesos due to new barangay taxes|
|Electricity||1,014||I do not use the air con|
|Water||180||including drinking water|
|Fuel Motorbike||720||price per liter 42 pesos|
|Eating out||7,464||2 pax mostly|
|Groceries||5,469||2 pax household|
|Clothes||350||5 shirts in the Ukay Ukay, 70 pesos each|
|Phone||400||load cards for both Smart and Globe, promos used 99 Smart and 299 Globe|
|Sun Glasses||1,600||I got myself new Spyder sunglasses|
|Contact lenses||3,550||month lenses, soft, 3 pairs|
|Maintenance Motorbike||485||185 motor oil
150 pesos tune up
150 pesos repair tire
|Gaz||720||for cooking, this will last me months!|
Now these numbers mean nothing for your spendings. Like I keep telling everybody over and over again. You may have a total different lifestyle than mine, and you might want to live in a big city or a touristic area which means prices are much higher.
What you need to take in account is that I do put some money aside every month for my visa and travelling to the Immigration Office. And I try to save every month a bit for ‘just in case’ like a laptop breakdown or major repairs on the motorbike or small medical issues.
Helpful for me is the chart I found on Movehub, they made a nice chart that shows the cost of living all over the world. It visualises perfectly whether or not you move from a low priced country to a lower priced country or a country with a higher cost of living.
The floor is yours: for questions, remarks and tips