As previously noted (ad nauseatingly for those who have followed our channel for a while), the cost of living in the Philippines is one of the reasons economic refugees regularly wash up on the shores of the Philippines like so much flotsam and jetsam. The cost of rent alone is a shocker to the uninitiated, with decent house rentals going for about 10-15,000 pesos a month ($229 to $330) and apartments even less. Food costs are also less expensive in the west, just so long as you are not addicted to steak and Froot Loops as imported foods is more expensive (and logically so) in the Philippines. Labor is also another big cost saver here, with maids costing about 4,000 pesos ($88) a month and personal drivers (for the super cool expat) going for a bit more than that. What does cost more in the Philippines (when compared to the US at least) is the cost of gasoline ($3.75 a gallon here compared to $2.25 back home), electricity (about 25 cents a Kilowatt/hour as compared to 11 cents in the US), quality electronics and – as previously noted – any type of imported food.
Not to go too off-topic, but I was just crunching the numbers of how much college tuition around Dumaguete costs. Silliman University offers a pre-med degree here for about $3,200 a year and Foundation University offers business management degrees for about $1,200 a year. Both schools are recognized by the US Veterans Administration and credits are readily transferable back to the US. All of this goes a long ways in explaining why I am seeing more and more young foreigners in and around Dumaguete….
But back to the topic at hand.
Lets get down to this month’s breakdown.
BASIC LIVING EXPENSES – US Dollar/Philippine Peso Xchange at 46-1
Internet 22 (SkyCable 3MB/.5 MB)
Gym 27 (World Fitness w/aircon)
Visa Fees 0 (two month extension paid in late Sept)
Cigarettes 35 (barf…)
Phones 12 (SMART Mega250)
Dry Goods 55 (non-food shopping)
Diesel Truck 0 (truck is SOLD)
Gas Motorcycles 20
Eating Out (16 times) 159
BASIC LIVING EXPENSES FOR OCTOBER 2015 TOTAL: $794
* “Unaccounted” is the untracked difference between my starting bank account balance at the beginning of the month and the ending balance. It’s usually small purchases at sari-sari stores, money for motor attendants and donations to the street poor.
RENT NOTE: Our rent is pretty much a constant expense and continues to be one of the biggest cost savings of living in the Philippines. It was originally around $220 USD when we first signed the lease but was lowered by 2,000 pesos a month when we paid for the nipa roof over the carport (shade over entire west side of the house). Since then, the landlord stated that he will keep it at 8,000 pesos as long as we live here as we are good tenants. I haven’t told him yet that we are moving out as soon as we find a decent place (do to the continued burning trash and howling dogs), but since we are no longer under a lease, I really don’t need to do so. We’re actually going to look at a three bedroom house this afternoon that is not too far from where we live now. Which is convenient, as we have to pass on some candy to the folks at Kids House that Julie M. was nice enough to donate.
NEXT MONTH’S BUDGET
I just bought a 2014 Kawasaki Rouser 200 NS for 70,000 pesos ($1,500 USD), so next month’s budget is going to be well over the 800 bucks or so we spent this month. I should be able to get about 35,000 pesos ($750) for my YBR, so the cost of the new bike will be mitigated somewhat. We also upgraded our SkyBroadband internet from 3 MB to 16 MB which is going to cost us another $22 a month ($44 total for 16 MB/1 MB internet).
INITIAL SETUP COSTS
Moving 12,000 miles across the planet requires some setup costs once you find your rental. Here’s a list of the setup costs that we incurred
1998 Pajero $6,500 (sold this month for $6,600)
2013 Yamaha YBR125 $1,500
2012 RUSI Scooter $500
House Furniture and Setup $3,200
LED TV $504
Good Desktop PC $840
TOTAL SETUP COSTS $13,044
MONTHLY LIVING EXPENSES
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
Sept 2015 1,113
Oct 2015 794
Average Monthly Expenses $1,081
IMPORTANT NOTE: The cost of living here depends on a WIDE VARIETY of factors. We live a basic, lower middle class life here, and I am quite happy with it. If you live in much nicer house, have the aircon on 24 hours a day, drive a big SUV around and dine on imported steaks and wine, you’re probably going to be spending more money here than you would in the west.
So, that about wraps up October’s budget. It’s lower than our monthly usual, but should give you a general idea of just how inexpensive life here can be.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to fire up Fallout 4.