Our October 2015 Philippines Monthly Living Expenses

As previously noted (ad nauseatingly for those who have followed our channel for a while), the cost of living in the Philippines is one of the reasons economic refugees regularly wash up on the shores of the Philippines like so much flotsam and jetsam.  The cost of rent alone is a shocker to the uninitiated, with decent house rentals going for about 10-15,000 pesos a month ($229 to $330) and apartments even less. Food costs are also less expensive in the west, just so long as you are not addicted to steak and Froot Loops as imported foods is more expensive (and logically so) in the Philippines.  Labor is also another big cost saver here, with maids costing about 4,000 pesos ($88) a month and personal drivers (for the super cool expat) going for a bit more than that.  What does cost more in the Philippines (when compared to the US at least) is the cost of gasoline ($3.75 a gallon here compared to $2.25 back home), electricity (about 25 cents a Kilowatt/hour as compared to 11 cents in the US), quality electronics and – as previously noted – any type of imported food.

Not to go too off-topic, but I was just crunching the numbers of how much college tuition around Dumaguete costs.  Silliman University offers a pre-med degree here for about $3,200 a year and Foundation University offers business management degrees for about $1,200 a year.  Both schools are recognized by the US Veterans Administration and credits are readily transferable back to the US.  All of this goes a long ways in explaining why I am seeing more and more young foreigners in and around Dumaguete….

But back to the topic at hand.

Lets get down to this month’s breakdown.

BASIC LIVING EXPENSES – US Dollar/Philippine Peso Xchange at 46-1

Rent 174
Electricity 57
Internet 22 (SkyCable 3MB/.5 MB)
Gym 27 (World Fitness w/aircon)
Water 7
Visa Fees 0 (two month extension paid in late Sept)
Cigarettes 35 (barf…)
Phones 12 (SMART Mega250)
Dry Goods 55 (non-food shopping)
Laundry 12
Unaccounted 35*
Diesel Truck 0 (truck is SOLD)
Gas Motorcycles 20
Eating Out (16 times) 159
Groceries 144
Medications 35

* “Unaccounted” is the untracked difference between my starting bank account balance at the beginning of the month and the ending balance.  It’s usually small purchases at sari-sari stores, money for motor attendants and donations to the street poor.

RENT NOTE: Our rent is pretty much a constant expense and continues to be one of the biggest cost savings of living in the Philippines.  It was originally around $220 USD when we first signed the lease but was lowered by 2,000 pesos a month when we paid for the nipa roof over the carport (shade over entire west side of the house).  Since then, the landlord stated that he will keep it at 8,000 pesos as long as we live here as we are good tenants.  I haven’t told him yet that we are moving out as soon as we find a decent place (do to the continued burning trash and howling dogs), but since we are no longer under a lease, I really don’t need to do so.  We’re actually going to look at a three bedroom house this afternoon that is not too far from where we live now.  Which is convenient, as we have to pass on some candy to the folks at Kids House that Julie M. was nice enough to donate.

I just bought a 2014 Kawasaki Rouser 200 NS for 70,000 pesos ($1,500 USD), so next month’s budget is going to be well over the 800 bucks or so we spent this month.  I should be able to get about 35,000 pesos ($750) for my YBR, so the cost of the new bike will be mitigated somewhat.  We also upgraded our SkyBroadband internet from 3 MB to 16 MB which is going to cost us another $22 a month ($44 total for 16 MB/1 MB internet).


Moving 12,000 miles across the planet requires some setup costs once you find your rental.  Here’s a list of the setup costs that we incurred

1998 Pajero $6,500 (sold this month for $6,600)
2013 Yamaha YBR125 $1,500
2012 RUSI Scooter $500
House Furniture and Setup $3,200
LED TV $504
Good Desktop PC $840

rouser 200ns

My Rouser 200NS

July 2014     1,058

Aug 2014      940
Sep 2014     1,160
Oct 2014     1,113
Nov 2014     1,183
Dec 2014      1,198
Jan 2015       1,059
Feb 2015       1,193
Sept 2015     1,113
Oct 2015        794
     Average Monthly Expenses  $1,081

IMPORTANT NOTE:  The cost of living here depends on a WIDE VARIETY of factors.  We live a basic, lower middle class life here, and I am quite happy with it.  If you live in much nicer house, have the aircon on 24 hours a day, drive a big SUV around and dine on imported steaks and wine, you’re probably going to be spending more money here than you would in the west.

So, that about wraps up October’s budget.  It’s lower than our monthly usual, but should give you a general idea of just how inexpensive life here can be.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to fire up Fallout 4.

Later all!




Comments 23

  1. Your right I am paying P10,000.00 for a 5 bdr, 2 bath tri level In Mabalacat. I do pay more for the use of air con, it too is only in the bedroom, I have two ceiling fans. I think it still turns out to be about $120.00 per month. Average temperature has been around 90.

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  2. I’m moving to the Philippines early next year and thanks to you and your Youtube channel, I was able to get a lot of important information. Thanks for your help and I too have to get back to Fallout 4. LoL

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      Your welcome – I am not an “expert” on living in the Philippines as a foreigner – all I can do is pass along my experiences, opinions and misadventures. I gave up on Fallout 4 – I have a good system (GTX 970, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, 3.6 GHz processor) but the 30 second load times between areas is driving me nuts. I am going to get another SSD soon with faster speeds, and try it again.

  3. Why do I want to live in the Philippines when I retire?
    $350 per week rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in Sydney
    $70 per week for food for one person
    Power same as Philippines per Kilowatt hour but then they charge a supply fee.
    Fuel for car – Same price as Philippines.
    Registration + Third Party Insurance + Comprehensive Insurance = $1800 per year
    Health Insurance – $1400 per year plus it is about to go up yet AGAIN (it only went up in April).
    Plus temperature that during Winter doesn’t get above 25 C Max and Min in single digits then Summer Max in the 30s or 40s C and Min in the teens.
    Plus the good looking women wont look sideways at me except to sneer unless I’m rich or young and handsome – neither of which describes me.
    Be there soon

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  4. I really appreciate the detail and vast variety of expenses you have provided here
    I like most older dissapointed western Men wish to find an affordable place to retire where the women are not swimming in the poisoned pond of feminist propaganda
    I intend to visit My GF near Pagadian city in mindanao December and ferry to Dumaguete with the view to checking out the lifestyle
    Thanks again for your informed posts
    Kind Regards Bloo

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      Thanks, Bloo. I hear a lot of foreigners saying they are sick of the feminism, but don’t get it twisted – Filipinas are not shy, shrinking little violets – they are very strong willed!! Oh, boy, can they be strong willed…… 🙂

  5. get a decent nights Hey there Ned
    First a big thanks to you & Michel for all the ffort you 2 put into your blog and your videos on You tube.I have leaned and been entertained so much about life in the Philippines.
    So bloody useful too…Again thanks..

    Reading your blog I saw occasional notes about you not being able to get a decent nights sleep. Well here is a suggestion : get a supply of melatonin.I get mine relatively cheaply from Iherb in the USA via their website. Not being able to sleep well is common among older folk as the pineal gland gradually shuts down as we get older..And one result is less capacity to sleep..( another is enhanced aging ! ).

    I am in Manila staying with my lovely Filipina assawa. Bhoebe from Naga has also really enjoyed your blogs & Youtube videos. I think it’s helped her understand the older Expat in her life. I am coming back next year to stay/live with her a year or two or three 🙂

    And I would like to take the ferry down to Dumagete..And meet you two there. The stereotype of the ugly ‘Kano” disparaging the Philippines and Filipinos is so real here.You instead are patient, caring and understanding.So it would be really good to meet you…

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      Thanks for that, Bill. I have tried melatonin before and did not have good results with it. I don’t have problems getting to sleep – it’s just staying asleep – I get up four or five times a night and I am wide awake. It takes a while to get back to sleep, and it kind of sucks here. Just avoid the negative dudes – yeah there’s a bunch of them here, and they can be pretty toxic. Just don’t think that I am “petnet, caring and understanding” all the time. Believe me, there are days when I have had my FILL of the Philippines and that can sometimes happen early in the day – I usually just go home, turn on the aircon and just relax. 🙂

      1. problem re the slow reply…That’s life…I take the 20 mg Melatonin capsules from Nutricology sold by Iherb..One or two of these gives me a great nights sleep. Five or six helps slow down the aging process considerably but has the unfortunate effect of completely shutting down the libido ! :-((( Not so useful when with the assawa here in Philippines .

  6. ($44 total for 16 MB/1 MB internet).

    What is the data cap on that package ?

    Right now i have globelines in Bacolod paying 2300p for 5mb /1mb, Globelines recently increased the download speed but now they have a monthly data cap.

    My data cap is (10 gig daily) unless i move then i get upgraded (if you want to call it a upgrade) to the new monthly caps.
    According to Globelines web page the monthly cap is 100 gig for a wired 15mb dl package for 2888p. Not sure about the upload (prob 1mb)
    If you go over the monthly cap they reduce your download to 64kb for the rest of the month.

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      There is no data cap at this point. If you are DLing torrents, they throttle you to about 1 MB on your torrent – but other speeds stay the same. 10 GIG a day is actually a lot – you’d have to be DLing a lot or using Netflix (with a proxy) all day. Thanks, Ken!

      1. 10 gig daily i can live with, the monthly cap not so much.
        Streaming HD movies on high quality setting can use around 2 gig a hour i hear.
        Not sure, but there may be daily caps of 3 gig as well as the monthly cap.
        Wouldn’t using a Vpn allow you to dl torrents and not get throttled ?
        I use ExpressVpn, the data is encrypted from me to the Vpn servers and from the servers to me.

  7. Another comment Ned & Michel
    I would like to subscribe…But dealing with Google is just a waste of time for me..Just wasted 15 minutes trying to recover/change my password for my Gmail address/account which I have never used since setting it up years ago…

    Google is too fricking hard…

    PS no response to my email of the other day..

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      Just replied. Sorry, man – busy with work projects. You can always create a new gmail account – I use Google for virtually everything, and I can’t imagine life without it! Be patient when trying to get a hold of me, as again, I am a pretty busy guy. 🙂

  8. Thanks for your budget breakdown, I shall be showing it to the wife and asking how come we are spending about $2,000 a month. We don’t rent so there is no rent but an annual $250 land tax bill. Will admit the beer bill is about $120 a month and we do spend quite a bit on the monthly shop – mainly tinned, dried, spices, decent brown bread and proper coffee.

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      Thanks for the comment, Paul. Yeah, we don’t really purchase any “Western” goods, as I don’t really miss them all that much. That said, I will on occassion buy some Swiss cheese or yoghurt and have it every now and then. And you good noting the beer/drinks costs – even though beer is much cheaper in the Philippines than in the US, it can really add up. I don’t drink that much (more a calorie/weight concern than money concern), so it’s not really an issue.

  9. Hi Ned,
    I’m going to spend next Nov-Dec-Jan somewhere around Dauin and now I’m in “collecting info” period; your blog is very helpful.
    Maybe you know what is the average price for room+kitchen? I thought about a small house, but being a student makes me to search for smth cheaper :(.
    How about 3G/4G quality there? Need it for my remote job (and I read that cable is a rare thing), no big vids or torrents (I hope ME Andromeda won’t be released until I’m back home lol), just lots of pics.
    Any big meat-fish-fruit markets in Dauin or only in Dumaguete?
    Thank you 🙂

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      Hi Anastasia. The public market in Dauin burnt down about a month back. By the time you arrive, it will be rebuilt, I am sure. The prices for rentals vary greatly, but a nice place on the beach in Dauin can run from 12,000-25,000 pesos a month. The internet is also an issue – when we lived down there, I couldn’t work remotely half the time because of the wonky signal. Balancing nature/beach with internet/good electricity/lower rent is a tough one. You are probably best off just renting a short stay apartment and looking around for a deal. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

      1. Yeah, thank you, that’s the best way, I think.
        Btw, is it OK to brush teeth using the water from the tap, or it’s better to use the bottled one?

  10. Thanks again for all your information! It has really helped me understand The Philippines a bit more than most sites. My hope is to land in country within 6 months and check out the 3 different regions of The Philippines.

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