Retirement in the Philippines or Thailand?

Cost of Living in the Philippines

Would be Philippine retirees often ask if they can live in the Philippines for $600 per month or $800 or $1000 per month.  The answer to all these is yes.  If you are healthy, can be happy living in a rural area, riding public transport, shopping in the public markets, avoid imported foods and can get along without air conditioning and maybe Internet access (if you’re reading this maybe you can’t), you can live on very little.

Our budget in the Philippines.   The main cost of living questions you need to adjust for are:

  • Prescription drugs and medical care.  A $1,700 per month budget may cover routine medical and dental care for a reasonably healthy couple.  Someone requiring expensive prescription drugs or expensive medical care needs to adjust the budget accordingly.  A reserve account to cover emergency medical expenses is a must.
  • Support you provide to your spouse’s Philippine family — routine and special such as medical emergencies.
  • Family size.
  • Dining out, entertainment
  • Expenses in one’s home country.
  • Immigration fees.
  • Overseas travel.
  • Any installment payments such as for a motor vehicle.

Here’s our expenses for 2012 (in U.S. Dollars) 

(Note that there is no rent included as we own our own home)

Auto 659.52
Bank Charge 15.12
Books, Magazines, Music 488.46
Charity 380.22
Clothing 305.41
Computer 1,518.78
Dining 831.62
Entertainment 85.38
Help to our families 3,951.93
Gifts 112.50
Groceries 4,886.07
House Furnishings 512.59
House Landscaping-Garden 327.00
House, Maintenance 236.33
Household 679.03
Insurance 29.27
Interest Exp 19.00
Labor 483.32
Medical 2,651.42
Misc. 204.10
Photography 33.91
Postage, Shipping 324.18
Tax 102.62
Transportation 181.72
Travel 2,358.52
Utilities 2,169.16

TOTAL EXPENSES $23,547.18 or $1,962 per month on average.

Here’s our expenses for 2008 (in U.S. Dollars)
Auto – fuel and maintenance   449.94
Bank Charges    103.96
Books, Mags, Music, News    229.41
Charity    143.10
Clothing    182.33
Computer Expense    282.27
Dining Out    758.56
Entertainment    10.15
Help to our Families (US and RP)    3,107.81
Gifts    43.17
Groceries    2,886.83
Household    1,100.89
Insurance:    32.49
Investment Exp    48.85
Legal & Immigration    19.47
Total Medical & Dental    1,187.70
Misc    490.78
Photography    597.31
Postage-Shipping    226.37
Recreation    10.81
Rent    6,000.00
Subscriptions    138.00
Taxes:    524.98
Real property Expense    192.72
Transportation    53.75
Travel    359.67
Utilities:
Bottled Water    56.52
Electric    744.39
Propane    28.96
Telephone & DSL    518.11
Utilities – Other    1.59
Total Utilities    1,349.57
House Help  581.87
Expenses – Other    0.25

Total Expenses    $21,113.01