cost, money, philippines, daily expenses, cost of living

My Cost of Living in the Philippines

Time for another update on the cost of living in the Philippines. A question asked the most is: can I live in the Philippines for …. X- amount of money. And my answer is always the same: that depends on how you want to live. What you need in life to be comfortable.

But to give all ye seekers for financial information for an expat life in the Philippines, here is what I pay for things and that should give you a picture of what you might need to make it out here in the sun.

SubjectAmount in PHPNote
Rent15,0002 bedroom air con cottage incl. internet
Electricity948I do not use the air con
Water190including drinking water
Fuel Motorbike757price per liter 43 pesos
Eating out9,0482 pax mostly
Groceries7,1812 pax household
Clothes2,449bikini, underwear in the Mall, t-shirts in the UkayUkay
Phone400Smart 99 / Globe 299
Travel610ferry to Dumaguete, 2pax, 2 x round trip
TOTAL36,798that is 663 Euro or 739 US

How do I keep track of finances?

I use a free app on my phone. Every time I buy something I add it to the app, in the basic setup of the app I entered the amount of money I can spend each month, how much I want to save up for unexpected costs, like medical stuff, and the app does the magic.

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I made categories that are useful for me so I can keep track of specific costs like groceries, fuel, and how much money I spent on gifts, clothes and eating out.
Always wise to have a total view at the end of the month to see if you can cut back on costs.
The setup is easy, it takes a few minutes and you can even do it on the go. For example, I did forget my Visa costs, and I added it while my visa was being processed.

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The app gives you an overview per month and the money that is left to spend, you can pass leftover money to the next month, or not, and if you tilt the screen you get a pie chart.


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Now my app is called “Spending Tracker” but there are many free apps available for both iPhone and Android.

I believe the power of surviving in a foreign country is to keep track of your money

Unexpected (financial) surprises lurk everywhere. Your laptop can break down, there is a maintenance man to be paid, and you can get sick. In my opinion, it is wise to know how much money is coming in and going out.
I see tourists getting stranded at the end of there budget wondering where all the money went, I hear terrible stories of expats ending up homeless because of mismanagement of their funds.

Be in control of your money and live accordingly to your income. Know what you can spend, budget and do not overspend (too often), says she who overspend in December on Christmas gifts for everybody but herself.

For me, that means keeping my spending tracker updated and divide the leftover money by the days that are left in the month so I roughly know my daily budget. For example:

After deducting all my spendings I have 15K left in my budget, and it is May 18…… 13 days left till June 1, which makes 15,000 divided by 13 = 1,153 pesos per day. Lucky me! That is a lot of money here on Siquijor.

Another thing I like to mention: the cost of living may differ from place to place and from island to island. Life on Palawan or Boracay or in Metro Manilla is way more expensive than in more rural areas, like Guimaras, Sipalay, Siquijor or any other place that has no Mall, no fancy hospital and no excessive tourism.
Eating out in resorts and Western orientated restaurants can put a huge strain on your budget while eating out in local eateries can give you just the extra money you need to rent that jet ski every now and then or go island hopping with a private banka.

Big La Laguna Puerto Galera

You decide what is plentiful for you, and that might have nothing to do with money!

I cannot tell you how much money you need if you want to live in the Philippines and if you can make it on whatever budget available for you. It all depends on how you want to spend your life here. But I can share with you what my daily costs are, so you can decide for yourself if it is worth the while moving here.

For those that love to watch my clothes, house and such: I made a vlog with the visualization of my spendings.

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Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher, and iPhone photographer. Always horizon bound preferably on a motorcycle. Currently, she lives in a desert village in Baja California Sur in Mexico. She is an emigration coach and works online.