Our Philippines Monthly Budget Reports

One of the most asked questions we get is “How much does it cost to live in the Philippines?”  My answer is always the same – “It depends.”  If you want to live the exact same sort of life you lived in the West with steak and 24 hour air conditioning and a gas-guzzling SUV that you ABSOLUTELY have to drive every day, it’s probably going to cost about twice what we are spending.  We live a simple but comfortable life – we go out to eat a lot, go on trips around the islands, have AC but use it sparingly, and subsist on locally procured foods.  

Here’s a series of videos on our monthly budgets.  The link to the full breakdown for that month is right beneath the video (opens in a new window).  We have been keeping track of them since July of 2014, and  thus far, it’s coming out to about $1,200 USD a month.  Depending on your tastes and expectations, your mileage per dollar may vary.

February 2015 Expenses  – Read the full breakdown of this month’s expenses by clicking HERE.

January 2015 Expenses  –  Read the full breakdown of this month’s expense by clicking HERE.

December 2014 Expenses –  Read the full breakdown of this month’s expenses by clicking HERE.

November 2014 Expenses – Read the full breakdown of this month’s expenses by clicking HERE.

October 2014 Expenses – Read the full breakdown of this month’s expenses by clicking HERE.


September 2014 Expenses – Read the full breakdown of this month’s expenses by clicking HERE.


August 2014 Expenses – Read the full breakdown of this month’s expenses by clicking HERE.

July 2014 Expenses (two parts) – Read the full breakdown of this month’s expenses by clicking HERE.


  1. Hi Ned & Michele.
    I have just turned 58. I get an occupational pension of £10,000pa about $15,000pa.
    I got this pension because I was made redundant last year. I walked straight into another job, so I am doing ok. I also make about £3000pa on dividends with my modest share portfolio, so in theory I should be able to move to the Philippines, but to be honest at the moment I do lack the balls. I feel that once I can get £18,000pa as a minimum, then I can make the move. Not that I need that much, but I want to feel secure financially, I also want to tour other parts of the Philippines and neighbouring countries, also if there is an emergency then if I dig into savings, then I can replenish the money. I don’t know how my fellow countryman A Brit in the Philippines manages on a few hundred pounds a month…he has my complete admiration.
    My plan is get to 60, my portfolio should have increased along with dividends, sell my house pay off the mortgage and with the substantial balance invest in more shares and have some cash for emergency. I did think about paying off the mortgage and renting my house, but if I did that I am halfway round the world and its not easy to deal with problems.
    So I think its best to but money into shares ( I know you could lose everything ) but since 1900 there has only been one 10 year period that house values grew faster in value than the UK Footsie 100, so in theory I can return back to UK and still be able to buy a similar standard of home.
    I just need the balls to do it…we shall see.

    1. Hey Gerry.

      I don’t think it has anything to do with “having balls” but having the smarts to know when you are ready to undertake such a life changing event. Finances weigh heavily into this equation, and I have noted before, I would never recommend anyone making such a move with less then 25-30K in USD savings and a steady income of around $1,500 USD. Too many guys come here underfunded, and that is a life that I wouldn’t want for myself – I like my air conditioning, resto food, gadgets, traveling and not having to live in a nipa hut. I think what you are doing is very smart! I would also recommend trying to secure a skill that you can use online to supplement your income. While you are still in the UK, why don’t you get certified as an ESL teacher? That is a job that you can do online, and even though you won’t get rich, it will keep you busy and put some extra pesos in your pocket.

      Thanks for contributing that – it’s an important topic, and one that I will probably address in depth at some point soon.


      1. Hi Ned.
        Nice to read your thoughts.
        I forgot to add that when I reach 66 years old my UK state pension kicks in currently just over £7,000pa, but like you American citizens us British subjects will have to pay tax once we pass a certain earnings threshold, even though we no longer live in our countries.
        The Philippines is a beautiful country, but because it’s not a first world developed country, it is unforgiving if you have no money.
        As Ex pats we will need money for medical expenses ( something I don’t worry about in the UK since health care is free in the UK ), and other unforeseen expenses or emergencies, then the question is how much cash do you need in a bank for emergency ?, also in my view you need an income greater than what you need to live on, again that is to allow for currency fluctuations, also I want to live, I don’t want to survive.
        You make a great point about having another source of income stream, possibly teaching English, thats something that can work for some people if they have the aptitude for it.
        Also Ned what I like so much about yourself ( and Henry in Life Beyond the Sea ), is that you are not like these sites Live like a King in paradise on less than $1000, they also don’t tell you the pitfalls only the positives. Its important to state the negatives.
        Finally Ned what Michelle and yourself did raising and contributing money to build a home, is a wonderful achievement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *