Our June 2016 Philippines Expat Living Expenses


Life is cheap in the Philippines.

As some may have noticed by now, that is meant in both a (unfortunately) literal and figurative sense.  We’ll save the literal part of it for a future blog post and stick to the figurative for the time being.

A few folks asked us if we could post up more monthly living expenses videos/posts.  We started doing them back in July of 2014, and some found the information there helpful.  So – in regards to that topic – here it is –  our June 2016 expenditures.

How Much Does it Cost to Live in the Philippines
After “How is Ned so stunningly handsome at 49 years of age?” the most asked question I receive is how much does it cost to live here.  And as we’ve mentioned before, it all depends on your budget.  You could make do with 200 dollars a month if you lived in a nipa hut and ate dried fish and rice all the time.  Or – if you’re a high roller and want  to live in a duplex condo in Makati, eat imported  Western foods, and party the night away in expensive clubs, you can easily burn through $4,000 a month.  Our average costs are about $1,100 a month – that’s inclusive of all our spending.

How We Live
Michell and I live simply but comfortably.  We have a decent two bedroom home on the outskirts of Dumaguete, have motorbikes that we use daily, travel locally a bit, use aircon in the bedroom and office (one on at a time for about 12-16 hours a day) and eat out a lot.  What downtime I have is usually spent relaxing with PS4 games (Borderlands 2 in particular) or watching movies on our big screen TV.  We don’t go out clubbing and the restaurants that we frequent are good and pretty inexpensive.

What’s Cheap in Da Philz?
Rent, any type of labor (carpenter, auto mechanic, maid, nanny etc.), some local vegetables, Chinese product stores (Unitop, et. al.).

What’s Not
Imported groceries of any type.  Eating at “American” restaurants like TGIF.  Electricity (twice the cost of the US).  Gas (as compared to the US). Name brand (“branded”) electronic products.

The Breakdown  $1 USD = 47 pesos

Rent                      212
Electricity            59       Using aircon a lot more.  April was $78!!
Internet               44        Skycable: Recently switched to PLDT which is $56/month.
Gym                      25
Water                   4
Visa Fees             66          1 month extension.  After this, 2 month for same cost.
Cigarettes            30
Phones                 12          SMART Mega250 plan for two phones – unlimited texts.
Dry Goods           21          Non-food items
Laundry               14
Gas                       19
Eating Out          145
Groceries            115
Medications       39
RUSI Repairs     29
Unaccounted     31
       TOTAL       $826

Initial Setup

The house we rent is not furnished, so we had to buy everything that you need to live (furniture, sheets, towels, kitchenware, hot water heater, aircons, TV and the like.  The total of that cost $3,200.   We also bought a brand new YBR125 ($1,500) and a used RUSI 125 cc automatic scooter for $500.  Our 47 inch LED TV cost $504 and the desktop PC I purchased was $840.



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
Jan 2016        958
June 2016      826

    Average   $1,049


What About July?
I am not tracking this month’s expenses.  Aside from higher internet cost (switched to PLDT for more reliable signal) and a $250 donation we made to the Suzanne Blaszak Youcaring site, the costs are going to be pretty much the same.

So, that’s it, and I hope the information here can be of some help for those thinking of visiting the Philippines!

Tomorrow is a scheduled 8 hour brownout. 


Which reminds me:  Yes, the cost of living is cheaper in the Philippines, but it’s also a lower standard of living as compared to the West – no matter how much money you throw at it.


  1. Thanks Ned;
    Much appreciated blog.
    Take a look at Nice France.
    Just to gain some perspective.
    Stay busy, stay safe.
    Keep on living and loving.
    I hope someday I find myself meeting you and Michell.
    We can in person share happy and sad stories, both a part of life.
    Regards and empathy to you and your friend Suzanne.

  2. I’ve been watching your website for about 20 months. I’ve learned a lot plus researching on my own. I started dating one beautiful lady about 16 months ago. I finally made the trip to Manila April, 2015 and we had a blast both there and in Boracay for the 2 weeks. Unfortunately, I had to return to the US to continue to work and we broke up several months later. I started dating another intelligent and pretty Filipina shortly thereafter. We got engaged on my second trip over Christmas holidays 2015 and finally married in April in Iligan. I couldn’t be happier. Working on getting her and 2 kids to US.

    When are you two going to make the plunge and finally get married? You both deserve each other. I can see the love in your eyes.:)). Plus you need to start to have a family of your own.

    1. Hi Jim. We are getting married in December. We will probably have our first kid in 2017 and will adopt the second (adopt boy if our first is girl and vice versa). Two kids max for me as I am a bit old…. Thanks for the comment!

      1. Hi Ned & Michelle,

        I’m Trey from Ohio. Congrats on your engagement, upcoming nuptials, and the success of your videos and website! Since I’m also considering moving to PH, I’ve learned a lot of valuable information for sure! I plan to visit this December, and Dumaguete is on my list!

        Like many of your inquirers, I have a lot of questions…but will ask one that’s been a concern: But first just a bit of background: I’m early 50’s and like Ned, eat right, workout regularly, and I’m in good shape. And I plan to keep it that way for a LONG time to come! That being said, do you have any thoughts on why the life expectancy for a male in the Philippines is only 65.3 years? This is according to wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

        I have some of my own theories, e.g.: overall quality of life, medical, balanced diet, lack of regular exercise, family genes). I’m just curious if you have any ideas on this since all of us want to live a long and healthy life!

        Thanks again for all the great info!
        Best regards,

        1. Air pollution, tropical diseases and infections, malaria, dengue, isolated medical care, super-high diabetes rates and lack of exercise all contribute to that. Don’t forget that at this point in time, the Philippines is still pretty much a Third World country. It’s economy is booming, however, so things will hopefully continue to improve. Thanks, Trey.

  3. I notice it seems to be getting cheaper to live by the trend in your costs.
    Is that because the exchange rate has improved or is Ned learning how to be a cheap charlie? Though the smokes and gym fees tend to point to Ned being a cheap charlie with other costs.
    I’m sure Michell and your Mum both want you to give up smoking as does my family wish I would give up smoking and my insane fantasy about retiring in the Philippines.
    If life gets any cheaper there I may start listening to them and look at Thailand again as a place to retire either around Hua Hin, Chiang Mai or Rayong.

  4. I enjoy your YouTube immensely .
    I am coming to the Philippines August 23 through September 11 hope to get Dumaguete on my itinerary . You, Michelle, Reekay, and Bud Brown are great . Very informative and entertaining . Maybe our paths will cross . Keep up the good work !

  5. I really like the way you don’t muck about and get philosophical when you answer questions asked of you. It’s just refreshing. Well written right amount of humor and a real honest answer.

  6. Thanks Ned and Michelle for your Videos. Your right about everyone has their own life style, so it’s hard to try and figure out how much it would cost to live in the Philippines. I’am just planning on a nest egg and S.S. try to live on S.S. and all ways have money for back up. Anyway that’s just me. Keep up the good work . Always looking forward to seeing you guys in a new video…Jan Cook

  7. All very true Ned…it will never be the same as the US but isn’t that one of the reasons we choose to live there….also at 2 grand a month from SSI it will not be many years before inflation will put me into real poverty in the US so I have to make a choice…live in the US and live in poverty or live in the Philippines at a fairly comfortable life albeit not at the same standards…right now my money is on living abroad…I have a wonderful pinoy wife who should make my transition easier…I suppose it is all a matter of expectations and perspective..Ingat

  8. Hi there!
    Any suggestion to rent apartments in the phill? Preferably by weeks that are not a too expensive ?

    1. Sorry, Xavi – you got to do that work yourself. Check out olx.com.ph for rentals. Best practice is to stay in a hotel or month to month apartment and look around (via rented scooter in the early morning – look for “For Rent” signs)for an appropriate place.

  9. Hi Ned! Please watch your own videos especially where it begins: Hi This is Michelle.

    I don’t care what you are spending because what you have is priceless.

    Every Thought flashes on her face. Meld with her. You have nothing to lose. and everything to gain.

      1. Your kind of marrying an entire family. 😉 I have been married to my lovely wife for 20 years who is from Siaton.

      2. That will be the 2nd Miracle.
        Which ones the Saint?
        Michell or Ned?
        Congratulations and Good Luck :–)

  10. Enjoy your perspective on your life in the philo…I’m curious as you have not included your cost of health care…can you let me know how your are dealing with providing medical care while you are living there..Thanks and keep up the good work

  11. Thanks for all the information…..Coming over in July for a month or two to check it out, Liz daughter and me..Any suggestions on where to stay for that short period to check it out?…..Any help will be appreciated.

    Big ,THANKS

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