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How much money do you need to live in the Philippines?

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Updated for 2018

How Much Do You Need to Live in the Philippines?

Probably the most often asked question from people who are thinking about living in the Philippines is this – How much money do I need to have a good life there?

Well, to be honest, there is no single answer that can be right for every person.  “Living good” is a different concept for every person, and what is a good life for one person may be a life of poverty for another.  However, just because the amount varies depending on your lifestyle doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about general amounts that would be required to live here.

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The least amount of money that I would say a single person could live on and have a comfortable life is maybe about $1,000 per month or so.  For a couple, maybe $1,200 to $1,500.  Now, I have heard of westerners living here on $200 to $300 per month, but for most of us that would not be too comfortable.  Those who live on that kind of budget live the way that local Filipinos live – in a nipa hut, eating native Filipino food (mostly rice and vegetables), just an existance as opposed to a life.  At $200 per month you aren’t going to spend time in Malls, go to Movies, go out for entertainment and such.  Even at $1,000 you won’t be doing a lot of this kind of thing.

Now, if you can do $1,500 to $1,800 per month for a single person, maybe $2,000 for a couple, you can live a fairly nice life.  You can rent a decent house, eat a fairly good diet with plenty of meat and such, go out for some entertainment, maybe do a little travel around the Philippines too!  You can also get a maid to stay in and take care of cleaning and chores, maybe a little cooking too.  For this kind of budget, you won’t have to take care of much yourself in the way of work, you can hire it out.

If you want to live a swanky lifestyle (nothing wrong with it… I tend to live a pretty darn good life myself), for a budget of $3,000 to $4,000 you can live in style.  Nice house, a car, a couple of maids and somebody to wash your clothes.  You won’t be wanting for anything.  I am not ashamed to admit that I personally fit into this category.  I have myself, my wife, 1 kid and 1 niece living with me.  I guess we get by on maybe $3,000 per month.  I guess it would be said that we don’t really want for anything.  If there is something that I want or need, I buy it, and it doesn’t break the budget.  A few weeks ago our refrigerator was getting rather old and worn out, so we bought a new one.  Even with that expense, I will still live within my budget for the month.  If I want a new computer or laptop, I buy one.  So, I would say that for the standards of many back in the States, my lifestyle is probably excessive.  But, why not?

Some examples of things that you might wonder about when it comes to pricing (US Dollar prices):

Movie Tickets:  $3 for seating in the premium section of the theater
Grilled Chicken:  $4 for a whole chicken
Can of Coke or other Soft Drink:  60 Cents
Kilo of Fresh Tuna:  $8 (that’s about $3.50 per pound)
Kilo of Porterhouse Steak:  $10 (this is for the premium steaks… $5 per pound)
Kilo of fresh Potatoes:  $2.10
Kilo of fresh Mangoes:  $2.30
Kilo of Durian fruit:  $1.40 during this time of year when it is “in season”

If you feel like eating out, you can have a decent dinner or lunch for $5 to $8.  If you want “premium” western food, you might spend up to $10 to eat out in a nice restaurant (per person).  Here in Davao, for $10 to $15 you can go to a 5 Star Hotel, eat their buffet with maybe 50 different food choices, eat all you can including all courses.  Food is cheap.  Some other things are expensive here.  But, overall, you can live well on a much lower budget than you would in the States.

Posted in

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

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Craig
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You lucky fella! I've got the money…but my mother would have a heartache….having to be so far way from her grandchildren.

joe
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joe

Can you give me a rough price how much cost me for a 2 bedroom unit and a 3 bedroom unit in Manila

MindanaoBob
Guest

I’m sorry Joe, I really don’t have enough knowledge about the market in Manila to be able to answer that.

Bob
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Bob

Hi Craig – My mom was the same way when I moved here. But, what it came down to was that I have to do what is good for my family, and moving here was the choice. My mom came to accept it, and now she comes to visit here regularly. She has come to like it here!

Richard
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Richard

I am a disabled veteran and I get 1586 usd a month. And to live in ozamis city, mindanao. The wife she says that is close to lavish very comfortable. I have visited twice, loved it. But that will be ok, right? Not much on drinking, movies, rather a homebody.

Clem
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Clem

Bob iam disable veteran, I get 836.00 a month from Va, I also get ssi check from which is 1,081 dollors, I get total 1,917 dollars is that enough to live there

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Clem – You can live a pretty decent life here with that amount of money.

Charles
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Charles

I don’t think you can get SSI out of the United States. I’m almost certain of that you will lose the SSI, you better check that. Good luck

MindanaoBob
Guest

I am sorry, but you are incorrect. For some disabilities you must be in the United States to receive the benefits, but for other types of disabilities you can be anywhere in the world.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Richard – $1586 is certainly not going to provide you with a lavish lifestyle, but it is enough to live here. It is on the low end, though. When people ask me how much they need to live here, I always advise that they need a minimum of $1500.

Patrice
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Patrice

Hi Bob,

Regarding the renting of a house there how much should I expect to pay. At first we wanted to buy one but I like your Idea since we never know what can happen so I think renting will be better for now anyway

Bob
Guest
Bob

Hi Patrice – You must be enjoying the site! This is your second day in a row to leave a comment! I like that! 😉 Of course, renting a house can have a large price range, it just depends on what you want to spend. I have a friend who lives in a smaller 2 bedroom house (which is near the beach) and he is only paying about $150 per month. On the other hand, I have a very large house (about 4000 square feet) right in the city, and I pay around $600 per month. I need a larger… Read more »

don huff
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don huff

Bob
i'm interested in retiring to digos city where my girlfriend lives amwondering if you can give me any information about costs safety housing and if there areany links for this city that i could goto for further research. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated
sincerely don huff

Bob
Guest
Bob

Hi Don – Nice to meet you! Digos is about an hour south of Davao City (where I live). I have passed through Digos many times, it's a nice little place. It is safe there, and living is inexpensive. You can rent a decent place to live for $150 to $300, I'd say. As a matter of fact, I have an American friend who just built some Apartments in Digos, but I am not sure of the price or if any units are available. I would say, though, that if it were me making the choice, I'd probably choose to… Read more »

hamish robb
Guest

how much cash you nreed in bank philipines so you can live there

MindanaoBob
Guest

It depends what type of Visa you are seeking to live here. Most visas don’t require to have any money in the bank.

harry
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harry

MY wife and I would love to move to davo city. What are all the requirements to gey dual citizenship? we would love to come visit and have you show us around for safety housing etc?

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Harry – If you need somebody to help you see the area and such, we would be happy to do so, and help with questions. If you want to move to the Philippines, there are many things to find out about, and to do in preparation for the move. I have come up with a series of electronic books that will provide you with all of the information that you will need to make the move easy and smooth. There are a total of 31 eBooks in the set, you can find out about each title at my website:… Read more »

Thomas J. Martin
Guest
Thomas J. Martin

Thank you so much for providing and honest and informative site. I have lived in the Philippines for four years and have lived in Davao for one year. This is the first site I have found that someone can rely on the information you provide. I get so angry when I read where people can retire to the Philippines and live like a King on $200 a month. I recently saw a post on Yahoo Information site where a guy from the States ask could he live in the Philippines for one year on $100 a month. I was amazed… Read more »

robert legans
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robert legans

I went to Cebu in may of this yr. for 10 days and i spent 600.00 dollars for a hotel which wasnt a cheap one,food(eating out) and going shopping in the mall and i even went to the black market area to buy stuff there . Im engaged to a lady over there and i am trying to get her over here, but ive been looking on moving over there so that is why im looking at what the cost would be for me to move over there and live the comfortable life. I wont need maid or cooks.

Bob
Guest
Bob

Hi Thomas – thanks for your comment, and the nice things you said. You know, the funny thing is that a lot of people (ex pats) who live here are proud for living on very little. It's like they think it makes them better, the less they live on. I don't go for that. I can afford to live a super lifestyle, and I do! I have no qualms about it. Regarding some of the places I have photographed near my place, there is one that is like a 3 or 4 bedroom apartment, and it's around P15,000 per month… Read more »

Miguel
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Miguel

hi bob, Iam spanish about to move to davao for work and surfing the net come up with your site. I was precisely looking for a fair information about the costs of living in there and got amused by your information. I will be around at 4000 USD and with no extra cost since will live in a hotel for the next month. Having lived in spain most of the time I was in mexico for 3 years and live was not that easy (in terms of costs) but I have got a question I think it is important How… Read more »

Bob
Guest
Bob

Hi Miguel – You mean that you will be spending about $4k per month? That is a huge amount of money here! Of course, if you are living in a hotel, that can add up quickly. In Davao, you probably won't have a chance to use your Spanish, unless you happen to hook up with an ex-pat from Spain or Mexico, or some other Latin American country. If you take a trip to Zamboanga City, you can speak there with Filipinos who speak a derivative of Spanish. It's not a perfect match, but you will be able to understand each… Read more »

Mike
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Mike

Bob one point you have overlooked. If one is thinking of moving here I would agree $1500 would be the bare minimum for a retired couple to live here in somewhat comfort. If one is has limited savings or is without medical insurance and relying solely on a pension, a major illness could possibly prove fatal. Sadly I have seen foreigners in this situation before..

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