Jay Stainback has been writing a series of articles about living in the Philippines on $200 per month. I remembered that I had written an article a number of years ago (2008) about living on P10,000 per month (at today’s exchange that is roughly equal to $200). I thought I’d re-share it with you. Bob
Can you live on P10,000 per month? I can’t!
But, the Philippine Government’s National Statistics Coordination Board has recently pegged that amount, P10,000 per month as the amount that a Filipino family of 5 needs to remain above the Poverty line. Let’s see, P10,000 per month for five people? So, that works out to P2,000 per person.
I’m ashamed to say, but for me, that kind of money is just “fun money” that I don’t really worry much about. And, to imagine that if a person earns that amount per month, they are considered to be doing OK (not poor)?
If you consider nothing but the price of meals and assume three meals per day, and a month with 30 days, that works out to P22 per meal. If you spent P22 per meal for one month, per mouth, all of your money would be gone, if you were earning P10,000 per month. What about rent? Clothing? Transportation? School for the kids? Electricity? Water?
Let’s look at some of these other expenses. Let’s say that there is a father who is the only employed person in the household, he has a wife and 3 kids to support. That would be typical of the family of 5 that the National Statistics Coordination Board is talking about. If this working father pays P20 for transportation to and from work per day, P1,000 for rent on his dwelling per month, P50 per person per month for clothes, P100 per kid per month for school, P300 per month for electricity and P50 per month for water, that would total P2,500 per month in expenses (and I think that these figures are quite low). So that leaves him P7,500 to pay for food for 5 people. That means P50 per day for food for each person. P25 per meal if they eat twice per day, or P16 per meal if they eat three meals per day.
You know what? That figure of P10,000 per month for the poverty line is 16% higher than it was 2 years ago, so figure 8% inflation per year over the past 2 years (let’s not worry about compounding for this discussion). In the past few months, we have basically seen a doubling of the price of rice. Some other foods have more than doubled in price. I was told by a friend in Manila that onions there are more than P100 per kilo now!
I don’t see how poor people can make it in the Philippines today (and remember, if you make P10,000 per month for a family of 5, you are not poor!).
It seems like every time there is a financial crisis, increased inflation, lack of pay increases and such, the Government tells the poor people that they need to “tighten their belts” a little more. From what I can see, those belts are getting pretty tight, and I’m not sure how much smaller they can go.
What do you think?