Our December 2014 Philippines Expenses

Being an “economic refugee” from the United States, I take pains every month to track our expenses over the course of the last 30 days.  We’ve been doing this since July, and at this point we are averaging about $1,200 USD a month on all of our accumulated expenses.  Keep in mind that this is for two people, and we tend to go out to eat a lot as Michell is working, and I don’t expect her to be cooking all the time – plus we got the money, so what the hey…

People are always asking how much it costs to live in the Philippines.  “If I have XXXX amount , will that be enough?”  Again, the standard reply to that is “it depends.”  If you want to give up some Western things like steak, big SUV’s, and 24-hour air conditioning, you can do just fine on what we are spending a month.  If you insist on those things, you’ll probably be spending just as much here as you would in the West.

Things that are more expensive in the Philippines compared to the United States are gasoline, electricity (twice as high), and imported foods.  Things that are much cheaper here than in the US are anything involving labor (mechanics, hair cuts, etc.) or anything that can kill you (cheap booze, cheap cigarettes, and cheap, fast women….)


Rent 230

Electricity 53

Gym 28

Internet 22

Water 5

Grocery Shopping 205

Eating out 245

Diesel Truck 28

Gas Motorcycles 39

Visa Fees 63

Cigarettes 35 (Yuck!)

Phones SMART Mega250 12

Laundry 13

Dry Goods 32

Incidental Expenses 39

Christmas Party 64

Digital Camera 85


A great, free resource for checking out the cost of living in the Philippines can be had at www.numbeo.com.  Once there, simply plug in your home city and country then plug in a city in the Philippines that you would like to compare the cost of living to.  For example, compare New York City, New York to Dumaguete, Philippines.  The results will be pretty amazing.


Remember also that costs in city areas are higher than the costs of living in the provincial country areas.


OK, some subscribers are over cooking us dinner, so I’ll sign off for now.  Take care, ya’all, and see ya next time on Philippine Dreams!


**Thinking of taking your small pension or retirement account and moving to the Philippines?  Check out the pro’s and cons of such a move over here at myphilippinedreams.com!**


  1. Thank you for posting your monthly cost of living expenses, it’s really appreciated.
    I’ve been tracking each month and seem to be missing the November expenses, did I miss that posting or did you forget to put it up? Any chance of getting those numbers when you have time??

  2. I really like your monthly expenses segments. Someday I might retire there and it is good to know the prices. I have not been to dumaguete but have been to Negros and got as far as Isabela. You guys do a great show, keep up the good work.

  3. You have probably covered this expense in other monthly budgets (which I will catch up on as a newcomer to this site) but, how much should a person set aside annually for a couple of standard preventive dental checkups (including cleaning)?

    Also, where can I find some cost comparisons for standard high blood pressure medications that a person may need (before the natural de-stressing tonic of Philippines life style kicks in)?

    1. Dental work is CHEAP here. I think it was $18 for a screening and comprehensive cleaning. I am not sure as to high blood pressure meds – some meds are cheaper here, others are more expensive. You could always have your doctor give you a 90 supply of the highest doseage and just chop them up…

  4. Great post and love what you both do. Budget is key if you are single or couple, rich or poor. Great tool for me was financial peace university by Dave Ramsey folks can Google it. But if can ignore some of the religious references and see the budget and get out of debt way I think it might help some subscribers like it did for me. I love the site and great humor. Hope to be in your neck of the woods in 12 months or less retired 🙂

  5. Really love all of your videos and blog entries. Could you possibly elaborate on the “Visa Fees” entry from above. And, have you discussed the visa requirements for US citizens in any of your blog entries? And would you recommend the SRRV Retirement visa for anyone who can qualify for it?
    (I have read that tying up $10K in some Philippine banks may not be wise, as many are not insured like the FDIC does here.) I would like to get a feel for how your Expat friends live with their visa situations. Maybe this would be a good topic for a You_Tube vid. Many Thanks in advance.

  6. Thank you both for a very imformative blog and videos. Always enjoy watching the, good info for all.

    Question on your expenses you don’t have anything on Health Insurance so as someone who’s considering moving there like you how do you get by or how concerned are you about getting sick? I mena I’m fairly healthy but what haopens when you do get sick I saw that you had the boils and got it taken care of but god forbid something more major happens?

    So what is the procedure is there a Filipino plan that you can get?
    Or do you sign up for one of those International Health Coverage plans that reimburse you?
    Or do you just have enough credit card and Cash back up that you can just pay for the treatment/surgurey etc on your own cause in the end it will still be cheaper than lets say a international health insurance premium?

    Any insight or thoughts would be great.

    Additionally, would be nice to see a video that entails your process of getting your visa renewed. Issues? thoughts? Process?

    1. Hey Rudy. Visa renewals are VERY easy here. You just go in to the local immigration office, give them some money and you can stay up to three years. Money wise, it comes out to about $1.20 a day over the course of a year.

      We have Phil Health, which covers what I noted in the other comment. If something catastrophic happens, it’s always good to have access to cash.

      There are a number of insurance companies that offer medical coverage/reimbursement. Just Google “international travel insurance” for the latest news and offers.

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