Is It Possible To Live In The Philippines On Just $1,000 A Month?

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It is surprisingly affordable to live in the city for under $1,000, you'll just have to manage your budget in other areas.

With the cost of living going up everywhere, it seems harder and harder for our income to keep up with our lifestyle. But if push comes to shove, do you think you could possibly live in the Philippines with just $1,000? We believe so. Here’s the cost of living in Philippines in US dollars and how you can live within these means. Live in Philippines 1000 dollars: Is it possible?

Live in Philippines 1000 dollars: Possible or not?

Live in Philippines 1000 dollars

Live in Philippines 1000 dollars: Totally possible. | Source: Unsplash

First things first, $1,000 is about Php54,000 (Philippine Pesos). That may or may not sound like a lot to you, so we’ll get into the nitty-gritty details so you get a fuller picture.

Housing and accommodation

Live in Philippines 1000 dollars

Live in Philippines 1000 dollars: Bulk of it will go into rent. | Source: Unsplash

If you’re a high flyer and used to the concrete jungle of urban areas, then going for a one-bedroom apartment in cities like Davao City and Dumaguete can range between $155 and $220 per month. However, if you really want to be in the heart of the action in Metro Manila, then your rent can easily go as much as $400 per month on a one-bedroom apartment. It’s pretty pricey considering the budget but if that’s how you roll, then be prepared to cut back on other costs!

Booking apartments in condominiums in more suburban areas are roughly 25%-35% cheaper which can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Utilities aren’t too pricey, as $30 to $50 will cover moderate usage of electricity and water. Unlimited broadband internet services costs between $35 to $45 monthly (see here for the best broadband packages). Utilities costs will increase if you stay in Manila and you should expect to pay around $80 per month, whilst internet can be $66 monthly.

City accommodation

  • House rent: $400
  • Utilities: $80
  • Internet: $66
  • Total: $546

Outlying areas from city

  • House rent: $155-$220
  • Utilities: $30-$50
  • Internet: $35-$45
  • Total: $220 – $315

Food and beverage

Live in Philippines 1000 dollars

Can you survive? Live in Philippines 1000 dollars. | Source: Shutterstock

Filipino food is delicious and varied. But what you eat will dictate how much you spend and vice versa. If you decide to eat at home and cook your own food, it’ll be easy to stick to a $200 food budget per month.

According to Numbeo.com, a dozen eggs cost $1.45, and a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts costs $1.38. Rice is normally bought by the bag is costs $0.50 per pound. Bread is $1 per loaf and cheese is around $2.65 per pound. Fruits and vegetables will vary depending on whether you buy at a market or in a supermarket, but it will cost less than the equivalent in the USA.

The food is one reason why people suggest that the cost of living in Philippines in US dollars is so low. Even if you decide to eat out regularly, you can afford it on a $250 budget. A decent meal at a food stall costs $2.78. If you decide to spoil yourself with a three-course dinner at a mid-range restaurant, you’re looking around $13 for two people. Alcohol is relatively inexpensive as well, as a pint of Filipino beer is around $0.93, while a 12-ounce import costs $1.72.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly advise buying bottled water. They warn that the tap water in the Philippines is unsafe to drink. But bottled water is cheap since a 1.5 litre bottle of water costs $0.62. Buying these in bulk or by the gallon reduces this cost even more.

Food costs

Water: $9.30 (15 bottles)

Beer: $13.95 (15 bottles of local beer)

Eating at restaurants three times a day: $250

Total: $273

Health care coverage

The quality of healthcare is very cheap as many of the doctors trained abroad in the US, UK and other reputable institutions. International Living magazine reports a lot of expatriates choose to not take up health insurance as they feel the cost of living in the Philippines in US dollars is very low. However, if you do choose to take up insurance, PhilHealth is the public health option that employees are entitled to. Private options are available as well. 

Additional expenses

Live in Philippines 1000 dollars

Live in Philippines 1000 dollars. | Source: Unsplash

A lot of the basic daily expenses for personal hygiene and cleaning products are very affordable. Clothing is also relatively inexpensive if you look for mid-range high street brands. A budget of $100 should be able to cover all the basic necessities. But if you have a finer taste for luxury brands, they will be pricier since they’ll be imported from abroad!

Public transport is developed and makes travelling very easy in the city areas, since everywhere is so well connected. The vehicles you can hire include taxis, jeepneys (jeep taxis) and public buses. A monthly pass costs $9.26. If you decide to grab a private taxi, the initial fee often starts at $0.74 and can cost $0.22 per mile after that.

Bringing it all together – the budget broken down

So based on our above calculations, you can easily live comfortably on $1,000 a month since the cost of living in the Philippines in US dollars is so low.

If you rented an apartment in Dumaguete or Davao City, your budget can be broken down as such:

Rent: $225

Food/groceries: 300

Utilities: $100

Internet: $45

Personal items: $100

Transport: $40

Total: $810

This leaves you with $190 to play with, whether you spend that on insurance or use it to invest in other projects or just put into your savings!

 

The next time someone tells you the cost of living in Philippines in US dollars is more than $1,000, you can prove them wrong! 

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Written by

Vinnie Wong