Philippines - Filipino currency, Peso bank notes - photo by B.Henry

Our January 2016 Philippines Monthly Living Expenses – How Much Does it Cost to Live in the Philippines??

People are always asking how much it costs to live in the Philippines and we are always replying “Well, it depends…..”  Depending on your personal means and disposition, you can basically spend as much or as little as you want.  Want to live in a nipa hut and eat dried fish and rice?  You can get by with that lifestyle for about 250 dollars a month.  Want to rent a high-end condominium in Makati, ride around in a shiny new Fortuner and eat steak every night?  Ya better have ten times that amount.  Bottom line is this:  Yes, you will spend less money in the Philippines, but you will also have a lower standard of living in terms of internet, roads, pollution, electricity, chance of natural disasters, internet shopping, general cleanliness, communicable diseases and the like. 

But for some, the inadequacies we just noted are just part of the unique charm of living out on the edge – for some it’s what makes the Philippines the Philippines.

Sara and I live a pretty simple but comfortable lifestyle:  We have aircon when it’s hot, 16 MB internet (which is fast here), we shopping, eat out a lot, travel, have a decent, mostly drama-free home/neighborhood and aren’t hurting for anything.  We spend so little money here per month that it isn’t even something we think about – she is just as simple as I am and when she does splurge on something, she always gets the best deals. 

But even though we don’t really give expenses much thought, many of our viewers do, so over the past few years we’ve made pains to give you monthly “snapshots” of our living expenses.  We took November and December off (my bank account shows we averaged $1,075 for each month plus the $700 for the sexxay Rouser 200 NS in November) but we put our noses back to the grindstone to track our expenses for the first month of 2016.

So – without any further ado – here it is!


Rent 8,000 / $168
Electricity 2,400 / $49                 Aircon 6-10 hours a day plus gaming/video PC
Gym 950 / $19                               Long term members just got a discount!
Internet 2,00 / $42                       16 MB DL/1 MB UL Sky Broadband
Water 169 / $3.50       
Cable TV 0                                      I download shows and movies.
Groceries 7,400 / $155                  Hypermart, Daro Produce Market
Eating out 9,000 / $189                Harolds, Kamalig, MacDo, Essencia, etc.
Gas Motorcycles   1,200 / $22     Vroom! Vroom!
Visa Fees 2,930 /  $61                   Pay to stay, a dollar a day….
Cigarettes (Yuck!) 1,760 / $36      Yeah, yeah…..
Phones 500 / $11                            SMART Mega250 plan
Laundry 620 / $13
Dry Goods 1,975 / $41                   Sundry items from Unitop, etc.
Unaccounted 1,729 / $36*
Medications 955 / $20


*”Unaccounted” represents the offset between my month start and end banking minus the other expenses.  It’s usually paying the motorcycle attendants, grabbing a soda somewhere or other small things that I don’t record on my phone.

Rouser 200NS with top box
Another excuse to show the rouser…..

Now we have to add 4,500 pesos ($94) to the monthly expenses for the purchase of the custom back rack and top box that I got for the Rouser.

So, now our grand total for January 2016 is at $959.

Now let’s add the months that we have tracked thus far and see what the average is….

July 2014     1,058
Aug 2014     940
Sep 2014     1,160
Oct 2014      1,113
Nov 2014     1,183
Dec 2014      1,198
Jan 2015       1,059
Feb 2015       1,193
Sep 2015        1,083   
Jan 2016         959

10 MONTH TRACKED AVERAGE        $1,028/month

Not too bad…..  That used to be my monthly rent when I lived back in the good old US of A.

Again, if you are going to replicate a Western existence in the Philippines with super high speed internet, backup generators, big SUV, 24-hour air conditioning, imported meats, cheese and the like, you are going to spend more here than you would in the West.  But if you are willing to live a simple – but fulfilling – life comfortably and without all the stressors of Keeping up with the Jones, you might find it just your own little slice of (quasi)paradise.

We hope that this is of some continued help to folks who are wondering how much it costs to live in the Philippines. 

And if you have something to add, please make note of it in the comments section.

Philippines - Filipino currency, Peso bank notes - photo by B.Henry


++Dreaming on white sand beaches, sunny skies and pretty Pinays?  Possessed of a small pension or a portable career that allows you to work anywhere in the world?  Follow our (mis)adventures over at My Philippine Dreams to learn about the positives and the negatives of moving, living, working or studying in the Philippines++