Our Philippines October 2014 Budget

A frequently asked question we get is “How much does it cost to retire or live in the Philippines?”  A lot of these questions come from guys at or nearing retirement (or in possession of a pension and/or retirement) who are seeking a change and trying to research accordingly.  In order to answer these questions, we have been keeping a fairly exhaustive account of all our monthly expenses since this past July.    Over the previous three months, our expenses have looked like this:

July: $1,058
August: $906 }
September $1,160  

Keep in mind that these are totals of basic living expenses and additional purchases of things that are not necessary to simple survival – gadgets, gym memberships, cigarettes, etc. 

Basic living costs (rent, electricity, food, gas, and the like) run about 70% of our monthly budgets.  Like I have said previously, you can live in the Philippines very cheaply – a nipa hut, a little dried fish and a sack of rice and you’re golden.  To actually live well, you’re looking at around $1,500-2,000 USD a month.   And after keeping painstaking track of our continued monthly expenses here in the Philippines over the course of October 2014, here the breakdown for the month (Philippine Peso/US dollar conversion rate 44.7 as of 11/4/14):  


Rent 10,000/229
Electric 2,442/55
Water 184/5
Eating Out 9,387/210
Groceries 10,325/231
Dry Goods 4,917/110
Gas Truck 3,576/81
Gas Bikes 1,788/40
Phone Load 500/11
Laundry 270/6
Unaccounted 1,922/43

LIVING EXPENSES TOTAL 45,311 pesos/  $1,013    

RUSI 2503/56
Phone 8,000/180
PC 34,000/762
Laptop Video Card 7,152/160
Gym 1200/27
Smokes 1342/30 (Yuck…)
EXTRA COSTS TOTAL 53,729 pesos / $1,202

USD TOTAL EXPENSES FOR October 2014:   99,040 pesos / $2,215 USD  

This is for two people – Michell contributes a percentage of her earnings to our expenses, but she pretty does what she wants with most of her money.  We ate out too much again this month, but with her working (and me being lazy and not knowing how to cook), it’s all good.  We have a number of good and fairly inexpensive places to eat out at, and it’s just nice being able to go out and not have to worry about cooking and doing dishes.  The PC purchase was a necessity – my income comes from the internet, so I need a reliable and decent system.  This one should last a few years at least, and I can always upgrade certain components of it as time goes on.  We’ll also see our “old” ASUS once the new video card is installed on it, which should allow us to recoup part of our costs for the new computer.    

**Tired of the rat race and considering check out the gecko race?  Contemplating what to do in your retirement and considering the Philippines as an economic refugee?  Able to work from your PC and dreaming of white sand beaches?  Subscribe to our site to see the in’s and out’s of living in the Philippines!**




    1. Hey, Merv. We put about $150 into the house – not a whole lot considering the savings in rent we have. Things have gone downhill since we moved in, so it would be good for us to find a nicer place that has road access and no crazy neighbor. I lost some weight due to the staph infection and my back issues, but I am gaining it back. Should be getting the dive certification this week or next week.

  2. This is the best post ever, written about daily costs in the Philippines!. Smart move to keep track of expenses and share them with us. Over here in Holland it’s so difficult to find the right amount we need per month is we want to live over there. Thanks a bundle for this information!! 🙂

  3. Great post as always Ned! I will admit that it was your post about monthly breakdowns that first drew me in to subscribing to your YouTube videos. I was one of those who was constantly trying to research what it takes to make a regular living in the PI having visited there numerous times but knowing vacationing is not the same as living there. Although it might feel intrusive, I really appreciate how you include in the breakdown any personal and unforeseen expenses that we all should be prepared to plan for. As for for making a living there, I already knew that I did not plan to try and find work in the country and had begun to play around in the real estate market here to create a rental income that I am slowly phasing in to lesson my need for an actual job. Your site really gives me some hard numbers to understand where my comfort zone would have to be in order to make the move abroad.

  4. I like your expense report. It allows me to project the savings and pension I will be needing in five years. I really appreciate the time and effort of this endeavor.

  5. I am Australian. I’ve been living here in La Union for 4 months now, and I also lived in Thailand for a few years, and I like your informative videos. I would say your expenses are on a par with my own. I’ve had a couple of health issues, due to a fall, and I don’t drive, but it’s about the same. However, one thing I find a bit annoying is the way it’s broken down into $US. You take money from an ATM, it’s in pesos, you spend money, it’s in pesos. Why then do this unnecessary conversion into dollars? It’s just confusing to anyone who isn’t American.

    1. Thanks, Peter. The vast majority of viewers are American, so I just go with dollars. It’s easier for all of them to not have to convert than to have a much smaller number of people have to convert dollars to pounds or Aussie dollars or dinars and the like. I’m not doing it because I am perpetuating the whole arrogant American thing – it’s just easier for the viewers.

  6. Ned well i haven’t been on much but looks like you guys doing good.
    I saw you getting your diving cert go for it if you can go up to the dive master level and you can at least help fill in at a dive shop part time.
    Your expenses are about 1/3 of the basic lving where I’m at.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Jason. I still haven’t gotten certified, but it will be done soon. Our expenses are actually kinda high compared to a lot of guys here who are living a more simple (or single) life. 🙂

  7. Ned, I just viewed your youtube video regarding you being here 1 year now and some thoughts you have. I moved here September 2013, so just over 1 year ago now.
    I have experienced some of the same thoughts and feelings you have. I have no intention of ever returning to the US as there is nothing I forgot there and I only have 1 boy living in Alaska and we are just a bit estranged..Anyway
    I often ask my self if it is ever going to get much better. For the whole time I have lived here I have been living in Jagna and I have been a bit disappointed. I like the smaller towns, never want the big city. We are moving next month to the other side of Bohol and I am so looking forward to that.
    I have a gf that I have known for almost 2 years now and we are planning on a civil ceremony about the later part of 2015. Grace has 2 kids, boy and girl, 6 years and 5 years. That has been a huge adjustment for me. My boy is 36 so I haven’t had to raise kids in many years.
    Anyway Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed watching your video and will catch up on others and continue to watch future videos.

    1. Thanks for that, Ron. Yeah, some days are definitely better than others here, but most of the “bad” days are a result of my own failings to cope with what is going on around me. I myself have kind of discovered that I prefer to live on the outskirts of a larger town (like Dumaguete) – some folks can do the deep provincial thing, but it’s not really for me. I hope your trip to the other side of Bohol is a better place for you. Are you going to be living near Tagbilaran? I would also look into getting married outside the Philippines, in order to protect your better half if nothing else. Thanks again for stopping by and commenting!

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