Our January 2015 Philippines Living Expenses

Once again, the Dream Team has painstakingly kept track of its monthly expenses, in order to better inform our viewers as to how much living in the Philippines actually costs. 

An important thing to keep in mind is that you can spend any amount a month in the Philippines.  Want a luxury five bedroom house nestled against a white sand beach?  That’s gonna go for about 50-70,000 pesos a month (which is still a bargain compared to Western costs).  Do you HAVE to have a new Toyota SUV?  Get ready to cough up 1.8 millions pesos.  Can you not live without steak, mashed potatoes and broccoli every day?  That’s about 1,500 pesos just right there.  Need air conditioning 24 hours a day? Well, electricity costs are about double what they are in the United States – it’s about .25 cents a KWh, about what they are paying in Australia.  Gas and diesel are also more expensive here, and if you have to have Johnny Walker Black Label, that old boy’s also going to hit your wallet pretty hard.

Michell and I live simply.  Our biggest expenses are food – we eat out a lot because she works nights and can’t be cooking all the time, and I also have an addiction to Froot Loops and milk (the milk alone is about twice the cost of that in the US).  I don’t go out drinking or carousing at the local bars, so there is some cost savings there as well.  Together, we are both pretty frugal and are able to stretch out our peso for maximum gain.

I also take it easy with the aircon.  We have a little .5 HP Carrier Optima in the bedroom which is on about 2 hours during hot days and 6-8 hours at night (again, when it is hot and humid – some nights we don’t use it.)  Usually our electricity costs per month are about 45-65 dollars per month, which I think is well worth it.  I honestly couldn’t live here without my aircon.   🙂

But enough of that.  Lets take a look at this months expenses, tally up our average monthly costs since July, and take a look at some of our bigger expenses since arriving in the Republic.



Rent 230
Electricity 43

Gym 27
Internet 22
Water 4
Cable TV 0
Grocery Shopping 238
Eating out 235
Diesel Truck 52
Gas Motorcycles 32
Visa Fees 0
Cigarettes 35 (Yuck!)
Phones 12
Laundry 14
Dry Goods 58
Unaccounted 29*
Doctor and X Rays 28



*”Unaccounted” is the difference between my starting monthly bank balance and my ending balance that doesn’t fit into any of the other categories.  That’s mostly parking attendant tips, hither and dither small purchases (stuff at sari-sari stores) and stuff that I just forgot to write down.

OK, now that we’ve looked at our expenses for January, lets take a look at all the expenses that we have been tracking since July 2014:



July 14 1058
Aug 14  940

Sep 14 1160
Oct 14 1113
Nov 14 1183
Dec 14 1198
Jan 15 1059



Not to shabby, actually.


Let’s not forget that there have been some extra “set up” costs since arriving in the Philippines.  Here are some of the major ones that have accounted for a good deal of money.



1998 Pajero 6,500
2013 YBR125 1,500

2012 RUSI Scooter 500
House Furniture and Setup 3,200
Desktop PC 840
LED TV 504



The truck was an impulse purchase, and it doesn’t get used all that much.  As a matter of fact, I have to consciously make sure to drive it once a week when it is nice just to make sure that the battery stays charged.  It’s nice to have the truck when it is raining, but it doesn’t really rain all that much here on Negros (even in “rainy season”).  It’s also good to have for bigger shopping expeditions which we do about once a week.


So, that’s about it.  I hope we have been of help in giving you some sense of perspective of how many Benjamins a month living in the Philippines costs.


Got anything to add?  Leave it in the comments section.


++Is retirement looming on the horizon.  Do you have a small pension but are looking to keep costs down.  Looking for an inexpensive, tropical island to reside and hear that the Philippines is just the place?  Subscribe to our channel to get the good and bad of making our remote island Republic you’re new home.++


  1. I just wanted to say I love y’all’s videos , I started watching Henry’s and then found y’alls ,still watch Henry , but really like y’all’s best !!! I have been planning for ten years to retire to the Philippines but deaths and accidents got in the way, next year i will be 62 and im coming hell or high water. Dumagette sounds like the place to be kinda , like green acres huh ! Really enjoy your panel of experts hope things get better ,take care ,pops !!!

    1. Thanks for that, Mike. Just make sure you visit first for an extended period of time to make sure that you can adjust to life here. Don’t forget, the Philippines isn’t all puppies and rainbows!!! 🙂

  2. First of all, I really enjoy your videos They have been very informative. I have met a really great woman in Santa Rosa , Laguna. She is great and I’m considering coming over there for a two week visit . How much money would you recommend that I bring with me ? I’ve never left the USA but I have lived in rough places like southeast Kentucky lol. I know what it means to see the harder things in life. I think that you both have something great going on and I wish you the best. I was also wondering what you do for work there to keep things going and paid. Any input you might be able to give me would be great , like I said, I’ve never done anything like this. I look forward to hearing back from you. Sin: Otis

    1. Thanks, Otis. Personally, I would bring about 3K USD for a two week stay. That’s too much, but I like having a good cash reserve. And bring credit cards for an emergency. Hotel: $22 USD/day, food $20 USD/day (overspending), scooter rental $8 a day, etc….

  3. This is my first time your new site and it’s extremely easy to navigate. I also have lower back issues and if I did not have health insurance I would be broke! I pay 20-40 co-pay however, the gross amount is in the 1,000’s for a x-ray, consultation and meds.
    I have been looking different countries to live in and I must say that The Philippines looks inviting. I’m also trying to live simple…Your doing a good service with your blogs and inviting those kids to learn, I have respect for your giving. I watch Henry’s channel and was trying to follow Mike but Mike seems a little over his head…Therefore, watching you 3 guys puts things into perspective. I have 2 questions…

    1. Other than Dumageta what 3 other cities/towns are similar in size, price, accommodations, etc…
    2. In general how much can a You Tuber make and is it worth it to you with all the computers, cameras, etc…?

    For a bit I was executive producer w/ http://highway29motionpictures.com/home/ Les the guy you see is a dreamer however, that’s a different story. With your different sites and family appeal you should consider blending/bifurcating all your eggs into one basket. 🙂 Try and embrace an interactive approach with your viewers…Not many have caught onto this however, there only so much you will be able to say until it gets dry. I have ideas that cost nothing that will get you more viewers, help others and increase your channel by incorporating some simple fun games that will allow your viewers to remain engaged.

    – Alksander

    1. Thanks again, Alex. Other than Duma, I have heard good things about Davao, Cagayan de Oro and the outskirts of Cebu (if big city living is more to your taste). The best thing to do would be to visit, travel lightly around staying a week or so in each prospective location and giving something permanent serious thought. Even with 5,600 subscribers, we don’t make a whole lot of money – it comes out to about $3.00 an hour – you can’t be doing it just for the money, cuz you’ll get frustrated pretty quickly.

  4. Ned and Michelle. I watch your videos with a lot of interest. I have been following your blogs re living expenses in the Philippines and both of you seem to have the right mixture and set up to enjoy a real nice living arrangements. I think it is important to have a stable life arrangement and partner/soul mate. It makes all the difference in the world. I live in Connecticut not too far from your home area (Boston). This time of year it has been real cold nights in the single digits. Boston got over three feet of snow two weeks earlier, and they are predicting another 6 to 8 inches Monday. My wife and I just got back from St Lucia in the Carribean. We stayed at a Sandals, somewhat expensive. Enjoyed the mid 80’s and beautiful beach, but you pay for it and now it is back to reality. I guess the important thing to keep in mind is enjoy what you have and never take anything for granted. I was in the Phillipines in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s with the U.S. Military. Always enjoyed my time there. Anyway keep up the great videos. Really enjoy it. Oh by the way I really enjoy your snippets with the kids. They are so cute and I hope they have a decent chance at a good future. I know things can get tough there so a lot will depend on education and factors they may or may not be able to control.

  5. Hi Ned and michell I hope all is well thank you for sharing your monthly expenses it helps me make a financial plan for when my friend Mario and I move to the philippines I was wondering if you know what it would cost to live in bulacan near manila just a rough estimate would work I also seen one of your videos and you are wearing a 82nd airborne t shirt if you don’t mind me asking did you serve in the military Mario served 4 years in 25th infantry and I served 7 years 3 at 101 airborne division and 4 years at 25th infantry thanks again for all the valuable information keep making videos

  6. Its always nice and interesting to see the weekly wrap up. But I miss retirement and health insurance costs in the monthly expenses. Or is it not necessary?

    1. I pay 80 dollars a year for PhilHealth. Basically, the expense listings we post up are for just basic living expenses. Living outside the US for over 330 days a year, you also don’t have to have American health insurance. I do, though – just in case. I also pay into IRA’s, but I don’t include that as a living expense.

  7. Thanks guys for your monthly budget update. Most people don’t realize how expensive electricity is in the Philippines with $.25-.30 cents per kwh. I have heard of some expats spending $300-400 per month for electricity in the PH. You guys are doing great at only $40-50 per month. Our electricity here in Las Vegas costs us $.08 cents per kwh which works out to $40-60 dollars per month from fall to spring. Summers are expensive though at $180-200 per month. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Robert. We only use AC from around 12-230 PM and then on and off (it is hooked up to a timer and fan) from 9 PM to 4 AM or so. When the real heat hits in April/May we will use it more. I have found that if you spend too much time in an airconditioned space, you don’t get used to the heat. It took me about a year, but I am finally getting used to it – 75 degrees Fahrenheit is now cold to me!

  8. Hi, just stumbled across your site, well done. Got a small place in Argao myself in Looc, the vid of the market is great, I love going there, haven’t been myself back there for a year due to illness and some family issues here in the UK but would love to meet up with you when back, pretty sure the girls would know each other it’s such a small town..
    Best Wishes

    1. I really like the Argao area on Cebu! Parts of it remind me of of places along the Mediterranean. Hope you can get the issues sorted out and take care! (And yes, we are always down with meeting with new people.)

    1. We have two aircons, each in a small Filipino sized bedroom. We run one at a time – the one in our bedroom MUCH more than the one in the office. They are Carrier Optima .5 hp units and I have them set on 5. After they are on for two hours, it switches off and turns on the fan. If it gets too hot, I will wake up and turn on the aircon for another two hours and so forth. I LOVE our little Carrier aircons – they sip electricity.

  9. $1000+ for a month in expenditures?! I am philippinies and never seen a single family run on that budget, even in the high end neigborhoods.

    This is an islands of poor people, dont you get it?? Where are those big bucks coming from anyway?

    To clarify, I write below some cost of living in which almost 95 percent of my country mates pay (on monthly basis):
    1. Apartment rent is below $100
    2. Food is $100
    3. Utility and other charges approximately $50

    In the end, do not be fooled by those who say philippines know English fluently, since english is second language here and pushed back.

    1. Yeah, I get it. Our expenses are what they are. Some folks pay more and some people pay less. I like my luxuries (aircon and high speed internet) and we also like eating out a lot. Your IP address is showing Iran, and it’s not coming over a VPN. Are you OFW in Iran?

  10. Allo kumusta
    I hope you are both well and hope to join you in September as an expat from England .
    I have found a wonderful happy friendly and beautiful woman in las pinas.
    Ingat ka
    Jimmy ????

  11. Hi guys
    just got back from a month in the philippines (Davao), down south.
    i stayed with my fiancee in tagum. Rent was $150 AUD a month which was a 2 bedroom place (no a/c) we used tricycles, and jeepneys which was probably 20pesos max one way, food was quite reasonable , there were no real restaurants as such but lots of pork, fish and rice on our diet, coffee was a pain as i like my coffee, so drank 3 in 1 but got used to it in the end. will definitely get a A/C in future.
    there was one night when we heard automatic gun fire and was warned by everyone to go out alone. another occasion a grenade went of about 1klm away.
    being australian was welcomed by everyone and felt welcomed too, but saying this was very tired of always having to be careful.
    i go back in about 5 weeks and plan to stay for a long time (get married). so we are looking at Iloilo to move to. it was a great time overall and definitely come to love these humble and caring people.
    we have a lot to learn from them.
    steve kelly

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