If you’re looking to live in the Philippines full time, you may wonder how much does it cost to live comfortably in the Philippines? Or how does it compare to life in the US in terms of living expenses?
We have recently updated this article to include all the latest prices covering some of the most significant household incomes and transportation costs.
We will also cover how much salary you would need to live comfortably in the Philippines (for expats & locals) by narrowing the question down and focusing on how much salary you will need to live comfortably in Manila. If you plan on retiring in the Philippines, you may want to read this article which provides an in-depth analysis of how much money you will need to retire in the Philippines.
Cost of Living in the Philippines – How Much Does It Really Cost?
When investigating how much does it cost to live comfortably in the Philippines, it is much easier to calculate the amount you will need by breaking down each category.
Of course, not all of these categories will apply to everybody. However, they will be essential when working out how much is the minimum cost of living in the Philippines for you and your family.
Here are the 8 categories to consider when moving to the Philippines.
- Food & Beverage Costs
- Insurance Costs
- Laundry Costs
- Leisure Activities
- Rental Costs
- Transportation Costs
How much is the average rent in Philippines?
For example, if you are looking to live in a small studio in the city, prices can range between 14,000 – 17,000 pesos ($288 – $350).
A one-bedroom unit in the city can range between 18,000-25,000 pesos ($370 – $514).
A two-bedroom unit in the city can range between 25,000 pesos and above ($514).
If you want to keep your rental cost down…
Another option available for expats and locals is investing in real estate by becoming an owner. Of course, there are indeed pros and cons. However, we have spoken about this in our most recent article titled – are condos a good investment in the Philippines?
Transportation Cost In The Philippines
There are many different options for transportation in the Philippines.
Private taxis are often the most convenient forms and transportation. But, they can be one of the highest compared to other public transport. Taxis often have a starting rate of 40/60 pesos depending on the area.
Numerous taxi scams are operating all across the Philippines.
Therefore, services such as grab have become extremely popular with expats and locals alike.
Grab is a similar service to Uber and operates across the Philippines. Grab offers transportation and other services. So whether you are looking for an SUV or a motorbike, you will find it with a grab. Unfortunately, in some remote areas, grab may not be available, but you will not have a problem if you are staying around the city.
On the other hand, Jeepneys are a cheap and convenient service that operates all across the Philippines. Prices typically range between 10/15 pesos for around 1.5 Km or so.
Food & Beverage Costs In The Philippines
Food costs are some of the highest household expenses for families. But food costs in the Philippines remain incredibly low, and there are a few reasons behind that. The first reason is that many Filipinos love value for money.
So it’s no surprise that many “all-you-can-eat” buffet-style restaurants are accessible all across the Philippines.
Reach financial independence went over this very point and added some extra information about food and beverage costs in the Philippines, which includes the following;
- Meat: $3.80 per kilo ($1.7 per pound)
- Fish: $2 per kilo (depending on what kind of fish, around $1 per pound)
- Banana: $0.4 per kilo
- Avocado: $1 per kilo
- Soda: $1.2 for 1.5 liter
- Beer: $1 for 1 liter
- Drinking Water: $1 for 1 liter
I would add that farmers’ markets are among the most value-for-money places where you can stock up on the latest foods. A single adult could buy a week’s worth of high-quality food for less than $40. Yes, $40! But of course, eating habits and lifestyles change. Therefore, food costs for foreigners in the Philippines vary.
Insurance Costs In The Philippines
There are many types of insurance, ranging from phone to health insurance. If you are an expat looking to live in the Philippines, insurance is often a wise investment. However, should you purchase insurance in your home country or the Philippines?
In many cases, you will find that insurance costs are much lower in the Philippines compared to Western countries.
Additionally, insurance premiums escalate when individuals move to another country. Some insurance companies also see the Philippines as a moderate-risk country, meaning that premiums will be much higher.
On the other side of the coin..
Insurance companies in the Philippines may not have all the features you require. Thus, if you are younger, you may be better suited to purchasing insurance in the Philippines.
However, if you have long-term health conditions requiring more coverage, purchasing insurance back home may be more appropriate.
Laundry Costs In The Philippines
When looking at how much salary to live comfortably in the Philippines (more about this later)..
In the most prominent cities across the Philippines, you will find many laundry services that wash iron and fold a small laundry bag for less than $15. However, suits and accessories can increase costs.
Leisure Activities In The Philippines
Leisure activities are a mixed bag when it comes to how much does it cost to live comfortably in the Philippines.
Why? Because there is a lot of variety at different costs.
A premium gym can often be at similar prices or, in some cases, higher prices than in Western countries. They range from $35-$60.
However, on the flip side, many free events, including outside gyms and free classes, are also available every other night.
Thanks to apps such as meet up, there are also growing events. In addition, many of the Philippines’ major cities and areas make leisure activities more accessible and cheaper for many expats and locals alike.
Miscellaneous Costs In The Philippines
Investment / Financial Savings:
When looking at how much does it cost to live comfortably in the Philippines…
You may not need to focus so much on investments / financial savings. However, if you are looking to save or invest, then it is why is to add this into your financial plan.
Like investments and financial savings, pensions are an area that can be forgotten about when investigating how much it costs to live comfortably in the Philippines.
Still, if this affects you, then it is wise to add this into your final plan.
Utility Costs In The Philippines
Sadly, utilities are a high expense in the Philippines and have been pretty crazy in recent times. Check out the guide to inflation in the Philipines.
Inflation, Inflation, Inflation…. Anyways. Back to the utility costs of the Philippines for expats.
Water costs are often low, ranging from anywhere between $3-$15 per month. The significant expense tends to come from other utilities such as the Internet and electricity.
Please note the electricity price range considerably. Depending on usage, this can be as low as $25 up to $200 per month. Utilities are often one of the most challenging expenses to calculate as so many factors are taken into account.
Still, for a small condominium, you can expect to pay around $85+ per month.
For the Internet – Prices range from as low as 599 – 2500+ pesos. On average Internet tends to be around 1500 pesos ($30).
Considering mobile phone bills, utility costs can reach approximately 6300 pesos ($130) per month. Of course, this is based on today’s latest statistics and prices. But several factors can affect this rate, including personal usage and location.
Breakdown of cost of living In The Philippines [single person]
- Food & Beverage Costs = 10,000 – 12,000 Pesos ($206 – $247)
- Insurance Costs = 2000 Pesos ($42)
- Laundry Costs = 2500 – 4000 Pesos ($51 – $82)
- Leisure Activities = 4000 – 6500 Pesos ($82 – $133)
- Miscellaneous = 3000 Pesos ($61)
- Rental Costs = 20,000 Pesos ($412)
- Transportations = 3000-5000 Pesos ($61 – $103)
- Utilities = 6300 Pesos ($130)
- Total USD: $1,045 – $1210
- Total GBP: £750 – £880
- Total AUD: $1,368 – $1,585
- Total EUR : €875 – €1,013
The figures above include how much it costs to live in the Philippines but does not include many luxuries.
Therefore, looking at how much it costs to live comfortably in the Philippines, we need to consider added extras and expenses standards in expats’ lifestyles.
To live comfortably in the Philippines, you would need approximately $1200 – $1700 USD.
This includes the standard expat lifestyle. The total cost to live comfortably in the Philippines can be much lower or higher depending on an individual’s lifestyle.
As mentioned previously…
You can live comfortably in the Philippines for less than $1700, but many factors, such as your current location, and lifestyle, will influence your cost of living.
cost Of Living comparison Manila Vs Cities around the world
Take a look at this information a little deeper on Numbeo.
|Manila Vs. NewYork|
|Consumer Prices in New York, NY are 131.57% higher than in Manila (without rent)|
|Consumer Prices, Including Rent in New York, NY, are 178.30% higher than in Manila|
|Rent Prices in New York, NY are 262.72% higher than in Manila|
|Restaurant Prices in New York, NY are 289.71% higher than in Manila|
|Groceries Prices in New York, NY are 143.82% higher than in Manila|
|Local Purchasing Power in New York, NY is 460.90% higher than in Manila|
|Manila Vs. London|
|Consumer Prices, Including Rent in London, are 126.69% higher than in Manila|
|Rent Prices in London are 177.27% higher than in Manila|
|Restaurant Prices in London are 252.02% higher than in Manila|
|Groceries Prices in London are 55.46% higher than in Manila|
|Local Purchasing Power in London is 360.97% higher than in Manila|
|Manila Vs. Perth|
|Consumer Prices in Perth are 93.14% higher than in Manila (without rent)|
|Consumer Prices, Including Rent in Perth, are 67.93% higher than in Manila|
|Rent Prices in Perth are 22.38% higher than in Manila|
|Restaurant Prices in Perth are 200.63% higher than in Manila|
|Groceries Prices in Perth are 90.40% higher than in Manila|
|Local Purchasing Power in Perth is 447.43% higher than in Manila|
How Much income do you need To Live Comfortably In Philippines
The answer can vary depending on if you are a local or an expat looking to move to the Philippines.
Many Filipinos can live comfortably on a much lower salary than expats.
This is because of many factors, but one of the main areas is that expats often choose high-cost living areas such as Manila or Cebu.
30,000 – 40,000 Pesos is a good rule of thumb when looking at how much salary you will need to live comfortably in the Philippines if you are a Filipino.
If you are an expat and are working in the Philippines… Your lifestyle will often be more expensive, and thus the salary to live comfortably in the Philippines will also need to be higher.
As we mentioned previously, around $1000 is needed per month to live comfortably in the Philippines, excluding any large luxuries. Based on today’s prices, if you were to live and work in the Philippines, you would need just over 50,000 pesos.
How Much Salary To Live Comfortably In Manila
Living costs in Manila are considerably more expensive than in other cities across the Philippines.
Therefore, if you are a local Filipino, you may need an additional 10,000 pesos more than in previous cities you have lived in to uphold the same lifestyle. As we mentioned above, living comfortably in the Philippines requires a salary between 30,000 to 40,000 pesos for locals.
But an additional 10,000 pesos would be recommended if you are moving to the Metropolitan area of Manila.
So a total of 40-50K Pesos would be needed to live comfortably in Manila as a local. If you are a foreigner and are looking at how much salary to live comfortably in Manila..
Then you may need to add approximately 15,000 pesos which would take your total to 65,000 pesos ($1350)
Can I live in the Philippines On $1000 a month?
It is often not recommended to live in the Philippines on a low budget of $1000. This is because extras such as insurance, visas, and travel costs can soon add up; however, expats can live on a low budget, such as $1000 a month. However, to successfully live in the Philippines on $1000, some sacrifices and difficult decisions will need to be made.
For instance, being situated in the main cities can be very challenging if you’re looking to live in the Philippines on a low budget. Therefore it’s recommended that expats live in a much smaller city or in the provinces as the overall cost of living in the Philippines is much cheaper.
I often recommend a minimum budget of $1300. The $1300 budget is because, during my years of experience traveling around the Philippines and with countless expats I’ve met, $1300 is a fair budget for living full time for an ordinary lifestyle.
This may lead us to another common question that many expats consider: what is the minimum cost of living in the Philippines for Expats? You’ll find that many expats can live on a very low budget of $800 or lower. It is not recommended; however, it is entirely possible. If you live outside the cities or with a partner, this price will naturally be lower.
Can you live on $500 a month in the Philippines?
There are many expats who can live on a very low budget of $800 or lower. However, it is not recommended. However, it is entirely possible – if you live outside major cities (including Manila) or with a partner where expenses can be split which may lead to a reduction in living expenses.
Living In The Philippines On $2,000 Per Month
Is it possible to live in the Philippines for $2000 a month? $2000 a month is a great budget for living long-term in the Philippines. $2000 will ensure you can live comfortably in the Philippines and have some cash leftover. However, due to the rising inflation rate and the overall cost of living in the Philippines, expats will need to be slightly careful If they are living in a more expensive area.
Makati, for example, is well known to be one of the most expensive areas in the Philippines for foreigners. The city is known as a business and investment hub. Therefore, food costs and accommodation costs are much more expensive in this area. Thus you will find your money doesn’t go as far in Makati compared to other cities such as Cebu, Davao, or Iloilo city.
This is one of the reasons why living in the Philippines on a budget is not so much about the money but more about the location. Statistically and historically, the cost of living in the South of the country is cheaper than in the northern regions of the country.
Living In The Philippines On $3,000 A Month
$3000 is a fantastic monthly budget to live on in the Philippines. The typical expat who lives in the Philippines spends on average between $1300 – $1800, so a budget of $3000 can go much further even in the more luxurious parts of the Philippines.
Depending on your lifestyle, you may still wish to budget $3000. The reason for budgeting is that even though the Philippines is a cheap country to live in, it’s possible to burn through a lot of cash, especially as an expat, so it’s always better to keep an eye on the income and outcome.
Living In The Philippines On $4,000 A Month
You may have heard of the phrase living like a king in the Philippines. If you wish to live in the Philippines for $4000 a month, you will certainly experience what life is like living like a king (or queen).
A budget of $4000 or more in the Philippines will go very far. This includes living in a luxurious part of the country, taking regular breaks and tours, and even having enough to invest or save.
Naturally, the lifestyle that foreigners live in the Philippines will impact the cost of living. Therefore, even with a large budget of $10,000, it is still possible to burn through this budget in the Philippines if money is not carefully managed.
Many foreigners living in the Philippines speak about the big money drainers, which fall into many categories such as western food, dating, alcohol, gambling, and so on.
Money-Saving Tips For Expats In The Philippines
The best way to save money for expats in the Philippines is to live as the locals do.
Schumachercargo.com spoke about this in more detail. To summarize, if you are looking to save money as an expat in the Philippines, it is recommended to avoid spending as if you were on holiday.
In other words…
Instead of visiting restaurants every other night, you could try some home cooking. Instead of having your shopping delivered to you, you could visit the farmer’s market. Instead of using private transportation, you could ride on Jeepneys, etc.
For more money-saving tips, feel free to take a look at our complete money-saving guide.
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