One of the most common questions asked about living in the Philippines is how much do you need to live well.
Is it possible to live in the Philippines on $1000 a month? Or do you need $3000 a month to live comfortably? The great news for travelers, expats, and retirees is that living in the Philippines on a budget and in luxury are both possible options. So let’s look over these budgets in more detail.
Living In The Philippines On $1,000 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.
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.
How Do I Know My Cost Of Living Will Be In The Philippines?
There are many ways you can calculate the cost of living in the Philippines as an expat. The first step is deciding what kind of lifestyle you wish to live. For example, are you looking to travel around the Philippines, or do you wish to be based in one area? What area do you plan to be living in and do you wish to buy or rent a property?
Let’s do a simple calculation based on retirees living in Cebu City. This retiree (let us call him Bob) lives an ordinary life. He doesn’t want to live anywhere fancy or busy but wants to feel safe and doesn’t want to feel bored during his retirement. So what costs will he incur?
- Rent: $550
- Food $350
- Transport $65
- Visas & Insurance $45
- Tour, Fun & Entertaiment $100
- Utilities $85
- Laundry $45
- Phone $35
As we can see from the example above, the cost of living in the Philippines for Bob is relatively low. Depending on your lifestyle and location, you may find that your expenses are slightly higher or lower than Bob’s.
One thing to remember when living in the Philippines as an expat is that the Philippines offers a great deal of diversification. If you wish to live in a cheaper area or lower your cost of living while in the Philippines, it is possible to do so.
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