Cost of living in the Philippines is cheap and affordable.

The cost of living in the Philippines can vary widely. Not only must you consider where you want to live, but also what you’re comfortable standard of living in the Philippines maybe.

Trying to live as cheap as you can, because that is all you can afford, is destined for an unhappy outcome. Your motive for living in the Philippines must be more than it just being cheap. Although cheap and affordable are high considerations. The last place you want to be, is the Philippines if you have run out of money.

Work is not easy if not impossible to find for a foreigner, there are plenty of Filipino graduates pumping gas and working in retail. Your chances of finding employment are less than minimal and let’s face it could you work for $3.00 a day and survive, probably not. It would be best if you have a back up plan that allowed you an airfare back home, far easier to get a job there. Keep enough money for an airfare back home.

In giving estimated cost of living in the Philippines, I will use Pesos rather than any other denomination, you can always convert to your own currency to get a comparison between the two currencies.

Other measurements you should become familiar with in the Philippines are Kilometers, Meters, Kilograms, and Litres. It is not always easy to change a lifetime of thinking but it will be helpful.

Cost of Living in the Philippines - How far will my money go?

How long is a piece of string….

Not really trying to be silly but you have to understand that your money can go as far as you want it to go, or if you are frugal not far at all.

I will break down the cost of living in the Philippines into different categories starting with the big ticket item, rent.

Cost of Living in the Philippines - Rent

Not surprising, how much you pay for rent is going to vary from place to place. Rentals in Manila are by far the highest in the country. Regional areas can be significantly cheaper.

Another determining factor is what type of dwelling you decide to rent. A one bedroom apartment will be more affordable than a fully furnished five bedroom house in an expat village.

Cost of rent in the Philippines can range from P10,000 per month in regional cities to upwards in excess of P50,000 per month in Manila. For P15,000 a month you will be able to find something pretty decent.

Being a foreigner can make it a bit easier to rent as most landlords will view you to be a better long term prospect who will have money to pay the rent. Whether this it the case is not necessarily important, so long as the perception is there it will always help. The only negative is that you will be charged a bit more than a local Filipino family, but it will still be substantially cheaper than at home.

Cost of Living in the Philippines - Utilities

Utilities include electricity, water and telephone.

When you include electricity I mean running air-conditioning day and night, television, CD and DVD and all your kitchen appliances. The electricity is 220 volts so if you coming from the US you will need an adapter.

There are three ways which you can receive you water. Either through the mains, which is available in most major cities, via wells in the provinces, here you will need a small pump to drive the water into your home. The final way to get water is to have it bulk delivered.

The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) provides phone services throughout the Philippine islands and they supply both local and long distance phone calls. Calls are not expensive and line rental will vary depending on where you are. Anything from P700 to P1,000 per month.

All up for all utilities the cost per month will be around P7,000 to P10,000.

Cost of Living in the Philippines - Transportation

If you do not own your own vehicle, you will end being very familiar with taxis or jeepneys.

If you are going to use taxis you should demand that the taxi uses his meter and not provide a fixed cost for your journey, if the taxi refuses jump out, trust me there are plenty of other taxis keen for you business.

If you want to save more money catch the jeepney, they are very frequent in all cities and are user friendly.

For longer distances you have the choice of planes, ferries or buses. Depending on your time frame or budget all are reliable and will take you everywhere you need to go. Have look here for information on getting around the Philippines

Either way you should budget about P3,000 per month.

Drivers anyone?

The cost of living in the Philippines can increase dramatically if you get yourself a driver. In some cases it is better than driving yourself, but that is really a personal judgment. If you are not a confident driver then forget about driving in the Philippines. For starters it is pretty chaotic with most drivers ignoring the road rules, how there is not more accidents is anyone’s guess, I suppose they just don’t go fast enough in the cities to cause to much damage to body or vehicle.

If you do decide to drive yourself remember than even if you are not at fault in an accident you will pay. The foreigner will always pay for an accident.

Drivers will cost anywhere from P3,000 up to P5,000 per month, plus you will have to feed him during the day as well. I prefer to use taxis and jeepneys for short trips and hire a driver with a van for longer trips other than where I may need a ferry or a plane.

Cost of Living in the Philippines - Food & Groceries

Food and groceries are not expensive to purchase in the Philippines. If you are prepared to eat local foods then your food and groceries will be quite cheap. Even if you allow for a fixture of western style foods the cost will not be enormous compared with what you would pay back home.

It is not easy to determine how much food and groceries will coat you in the Philippines as every family varies in size and wants. Obviously if you want to eat out every second or third day your monthly budget will be high.

You do have a number of good quality supermarkets in the Philippines where purchasing food is a breeze, but do remember imported goods will attract a premium price compared with locally or home grown goods.

To give you an idea of costs in the Philippines you should budget between P25,000 to P40,000 per month.

Bottled Water

Being a humid tropical location, you need to keep your fluids up. When I drink water I only ever drink bottled water, I never drink the water from the tap or in the shower.

You can purchase bottled water just about everywhere from your street vendors through to the supermarkets. Water bottle sizes range from 6 litres down to your handheld 320 ml.

Budget about P1,000 a month.

Maid in the Philippines.

The cost of living in the Philippines would not be complete unless you had a maid. Maids are fantastic for doing and arranging all the jobs around the house that you do not have the time for or could not be bothered doing. She will do the cleaning, laundry, cooking, run small jobs and pay bills. Make sure you have a set of rules and an understanding of what is expected of your maid or domestic helper. Now finding the right one is the hard part but once you have the right one don’t let her go.

Some maids can take advantage of your generosity, racking up phone calls instead of doing the household chores or watching HBO instead of cooking dinner. You will need to keep an eye on them during the initial stages of your employee – employer relationship.

However the best thing about Philippine maids is they are cheap. In order to avail yourself of the services of a Philippine maid, you will be looking at roughly P2,000 per month. In some areas you can pay a lot more, but it really is not necessary.


The cost of living in the Philippines is considerably cheaper than in western countries. How frugally you want to live is entirely up to you, as the options are many.

No matter what you end up deciding, make sure you have an income source to sustain you during your retirement years, yes the cost of living in the Philippines is cheap but if you run out of money, the Philippines is not where you want to be.

Have You Met Your Ideal Filipina Yet?

Well if you haven't then you better start looking around these on-line Filipina Dating Sites.

No scams here, just trustworthy advice and beautiful Filipina's.
  • Cebuanas is a dating site where Filipinos can meet foreign men.

  • Filipina Heart is another great Filipina dating and personals site for single Filipina men and women seeking dating, love and friendship.

  • FilipinoFriendFinder has close to 400,000 members, got to be a match in there, surely.

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Search Hotels in Manila

Manila Airport
Pickup Service

Manila Airport Pickup Service

Manila City Tours

Manila Airport Pickup Service

Expat Training Manual

This is a must read if you are thinking of moving to the Philippines!