How To Live In The Philippines As A Foreigner – Home How to Make & Save on Living Costs in the Philippines – How Cheap Can I Live?…
People often ask about the cost of living in the Philippines. They want to know if their pension check or social security is enough for them to live here.
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This is a complicated question because everyone has their own “needs” and wants. Everyone has different “standard of living” requirements. I put these words in quotes because today we think we need it for our first 2 million years, we live without it. There is a major difference in need vs. If you are thinking of moving to a country like the Philippines on a small pension check, let me break down some facts so you know what to expect.
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(This post is a rambling collection of thoughts and really has no structure. The main purpose here is to explain the simplicity of rule 123.)
Everyone has a different perspective on the topic of cost of living. I suggest you read a lot of articles and watch YouTube videos published by expats so you don’t just take my word as law.
When I started writing this article back in October, we were staying in a room for $28 USD per month! I know it’s hard to believe that you live in the West, but 1, 500 PHP is how much we paid for our little beach condo. The water bill for the month is about $7 USD and the electricity bill is around $13 USD.
This is how I answer the question clearly. I mentioned Rule 123. Easy to remember and very accurate.
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The numbers are as simple as I can get. It’s Rule 123. You need $1,000 USD, $2,000 USD, or $3,000 USD per month to live in the Philippines. The amount depends on what kind of player they are.
“Damn it! I can’t believe you quoted that number. You just told me you live in a room for $28 USD a month! WTF? Why are you saying I need $1,000 a month? I don’t know.”
Does not change. Your environment changes, your way of life is different every day, and your life situation is not the same. This applies even if you move to another part of your country. But,
Don’t magically change overnight. If you’re used to eating at McDonald’s five times a week, and there’s a McDonald’s near your new home, you’ll find yourself eating a Big Mac several times a week. Humans are creatures of habit. Just because you can live cheaply here, doesn’t mean you can live cheaply here.
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These numbers, if viewed over a period of one year, will start. The reason is that things that are not planned, do and will happen.
You may have to book a flight back to your home country at the time of news because of the death of a relative or someone is sick. Last minute flights are expensive. For most of us, that would take $1,500 USD out of our pockets with the click of a mouse.
What if you lose your laptop? That’s another $500 to $1,500 USD out of pocket to replace the damn thing.
Factor immigration fees into your visa. If you don’t live near an immigration office, you’ll need to consider transportation and lodging each time you travel.
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As expats, we can’t live as cheaply as locals – over time. They don’t have any extra fees or conditions that I mentioned.
If you really believe you can live off $500 USD per month, I suggest you double it to $1,000 and then you will have a number closer to reality. I speak from experience, my friends.
Some of you won’t make it if you try to live like a local. It just won’t work for you. Let me be up front with that. It was hard for me at times as well. It had nothing to do with the condition of my room, no air conditioning or hot water, or the fact that there were thirteen roosters posted outside my window.
Living in a province where everything is cheaper is like living in the backwoods of Mississippi or Alabama. Not much to do. If you’re over 70, you probably don’t care. Anyone under 70 will get bored at some point.
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Another difficulty in daily life in the province is that everyone thinks I’m rich. Foreigners in this area are rich. That’s what the residents think and you won’t be able to convince them otherwise. While I was working on this article today, I had a neighbor stop by and ask for money because his daughter had a headache. Now, for the first time, her daughter doesn’t have a headache. He comes up with excuses every day why he can’t go to school. So, his poor mother thought he was sick and came here to try to get money for medicine.
My husband gave a sack of rice to his neighbor yesterday when I was away because he was too shy to say anything. When you live locally, you can not give people free money or loans. Once you give one person money, there will be a line out the door every day. I hate that I have to be like that but I’m not rich and it’s setting a bad precedent. I advise you not to lend money to anyone and certainly not to give money for free. Both actions are bad for you as a foreigner. If you give money to your husband’s family, give it to your mother or father. Do not deviate from it. If someone in the family needs money, they use the chain of command and you will be out of the bullshit and drama.
I like to help people when I have the ability. I hate having to be the bad guy and tell people no when they ask for help. It makes me feel like shit for the rest of the day. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but if you live cheaply you live among the locals. He had little money. They don’t know that you live among them because you only withdraw $495 USD per month from social security. He didn’t get it. Be prepared to tell a lot of people
We love staying at the beach condo, but there are challenges. We have moved out of our beach condo due to travel plans and are now in Angeles City. The accommodations here are more luxurious than those offered in beach condos. However, we miss the beach condo and hope to return at some point.
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You can get a decent enough condo or apartment for $250 to $350 USD per month. Everyone’s idea of what is decent is obviously different. The location you go to obviously also affects the price. However, at some price, you will be able to live quite comfortably in almost any part of the Philippines.
For $600 USD per month, you can get a badass studio condo in Angeles City, in a new building. In the place where we are now, there is a swimming pool on the roof deck, fiber optic Internet, new equipment, TV with all cable channels, etc. A single room in this building costs $1,000. USD per month. This is the top scale if you are trying to retire cheaply. However, if you want to change the geography but not the standard of living, a building like this is perfect. We even got a stainless steel gas grill on the roof available for use. When you stay in a place like this, it’s like you never left the West (you crib).
If you’re moving to the Philippines, you don’t need to buy a car. You may want to buy a car, but it’s an unnecessary risk and expense. Transportation here is not expensive. You can ride a tricycle, GRAB car, taxi, jeepney, bus, or plane anywhere for cheap.
When you buy a car, you’re running up the bill yourself for no good reason. The main thing about you buying a car is that you open yourself up to a lawsuit. However, the judgment here is as follows: You, a foreigner, have an accident with a local. The police show up and it’s your fault 99.9% of the time. Open your wallet and get ready to earn money to repair local vehicles, pay hospital bills, and pay the police. Why open it?
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