The funny thing about running a site like PhilFAQS, where I attempt to answer the questions people have about living in the Philippines, especially for retirement is .. you become “Internet Famous” for things you never intended to become “Internet Famous” for.
Fortunately, this hasn’t jumped up and bitten me too badly … yet … but one of the things this blog always ranks highly for in search results is “Living in the Philippines on$770USD” (per month that is).
I’m not the one who actually started posting on that subject … in fact the first time I saw the phrase “live” was on another bloggers site and I really I commented that while a foreigner certainly could live in the Philippines on $770USD per month, I felt that he or she would be cutting things pretty close, and that a better “safe” figure would be $1000USD or more.
In fact I routinely publish more comprehensive cost of living data here, just outside Metro Manila, than I believe anyone else does online. And if you follow the link:
You’ll see that my (Filipina) wife and I and our college-age niece who lives with us, routinely spend substantially more than$770 USD per month. See also Current Philippine Living Costs — End of August 2009
… and before the auditor and accounting types out there jump in my case about the figur4es being nearly a year old, let me assure you, they haven’t changed much. Electric bills have gone up the most … $20 t0 $40 a month, gas and diesel fuel has risen also (but I use very little of that) and the most uncertain thing of all, the value of the Peso has risen a bit (frankly, with the credit mess the US is in right now I’m surprised the US dollar can still buy 46 or more Pesos) … this is the unknowable issue for the future. While I have lived here in the Philippines in less than four years, the Peso has climbed to 40 to the dollar and shank back, once touching 50 to the dollar. No way of knowing what the long term trends will be.
That’s why I maintain that the real bottom line … not for luxury, but for safety, is $1.000USD.
Still a very nice lace to live for a retiree, though. No matter what these day-to-day fluctuations may hold in store for us, I’ve included the latest of my popular “Big Mac Index” charts. As you can see, a Big Mac in the Philippines (using the Big Mac as a quick and dirty world wide unit of comparisons, that is about the same in all countries) is at least 40% less than in the USA.
I don’t eat many Bib Macs, but I sure do enjoy the cost of living here in the Philippines … even if I spend more like $1200 USD than $770 per month.