How much money you need to live in the Philippines?

How much money you need to live in the Philippines?

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.

Emergency Budget

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.

Travel budget

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:

Cost of living June 2017 on Siquijor Island

Cost of living in Cebu City Januari 2016

Cost of groceries July 2016

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:

SubjectAmount in PHPNote
TOTAL38,281646 Euro or 758 US$
Rent16,0002 bedroom air con cottage incl. internet, rent went up 1,000 pesos due to new barangay taxes
Electricity1,014I do not use the air con
Water180including drinking water
Fuel Motorbike720price per liter 42 pesos
Eating out7,4642 pax mostly
Groceries5,4692 pax household
Clothes3505 shirts in the Ukay Ukay, 70 pesos each
Phone400load cards for both Smart and Globe, promos used 99 Smart and 299 Globe
Sun Glasses1,600I got myself new Spyder sunglasses
Contact lenses3,550month lenses, soft, 3 pairs
Travel329Dumaguete trip
Maintenance Motorbike485185 motor oil
150 pesos tune up
150 pesos repair tire
Gaz720for 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


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2 thoughts on “How much money you need to live in the Philippines?

  1. From the looks of it. U are at least a middle class spender . the cost of living in the Philippines, is one of the lowest in southeast Asia, plus the huge difference between dollar to peso is a big plus for foreign tourists. Specially in US and Europe. We in the Philippines can eat decently for $1 per meal or 50php which I don’t know if u can do that on US or EU. The minimum wage here is just $11-14 per 8hrs of work which one of the lowest in Asian region so most probably the basic commodities or companies will adjust their prices or make some products that the average Filipinos can buy. For example, here u can buy shampoo perpiece for just 5php or $10 cents same goes to other products like toothpaste , coffees etc. Which Im not sure if there’s a similar scheme on the US or Europe which afaik people there tend to buy their stuff in bulk or in whole. BTW I’m so glad that u still chooses the Philippines as part,of ur tour eventhough most foreigns stereotype/generalize our country for bad things such as kidnap for ransom or terrorism etc,btw I hope ur enjoying ur stay , take care godbless

  2. About the prices for a meal being 50php…..yes maybe, I sometimes did that in eateries, but also eateries are raising prices. The Philippines minimum wages differ per region. And in some regions the minimum wages are less than 5US$.

    I dislike the little bags with shampoo and coffee. They are a strain on the environment. But they are a blessing to the Filipino people’s wallet.