It’s Thursday again, time, as always for some Philippine living questions and answers. Recently I had a reader pop this question out to me .. can I live in the Philippines for $770 a month? Hmm interesting question. And quite easy to answer: Yes, No or Maybe.
“Come on Dave, that’s not a helpful answer” I can hear many of you saying. True, but it is about the only definitive answer I can give.
I’ve written dozens and dozens of articles on the cost of living here in the Philippines … even including exact details of what my wife and I spend, specifically. That gives one set of real and true figures. You can read more in this “What Things Cost in the Philippines” article, as a starting point. (Hint: Read the related articles listed at the end of the blog post … they actually do lead to further information ).
But what my wife and I spend to live life pretty much the way we want to has very little to do with how much another couple chooses to spend. Just the simplest and most basic needs, like shelter can vary a lot.
We pay about $140 USD a month, just outside Metro Manila (by just outside, I mean a 24 peso Jeepney ride to the LRT/MRT, and thus anywhere in the main areas of Manila for less than a US dollar.).
I know of couples who lived for months on the Subic Special Economic Zone (the former Subic Bay US Navy base) for $90 a month … a single room in former US Navy bachelor officer quarters … and they were very comfortable there while they waited out a legal matter they had to come to fruition.
There are high-end condos almost within site of where we live that routinely rent for $1,800 to $2,000 USD per month … and the renters who are living in them seem to be happy with the deal they made … certainly I won’t say a word against them … if they are happy, I am happy.
Hmm … $90 USD per month, $2,000 USD per month, how can you make a price out of that?
The short answer is, you really can’t. What you who are reading this want for yourself and your family (and how much you are willing to pay) is undoubtedly different from the very next ‘you’ who reads these words, as well as what I want for myself and my family. Asking me to tell you what you need to spend is a bit like asking me how long is a piece of string … it depends.
Another thing which ‘depends’ a lot is if the person asking the %770 question is married or single, and if married, if the spouse is Filipino or Former Filipino. I could live here very nicely as a single man .. but I sure couldn’t live as cheaply as I do thanks to the diligent efforts, top quality Filipino education and downright ‘street smarts’ of my dear wife.
In summary I’d say this to the $770 USD question on living in the Philippines:
Yes, you certainly can. Millions and millions of Filipinos live here for less than the equivalent of $770 USD per year for goodness sake.
But the question you would have to ask yourself is, would you have the guts to do so, personally? This is a hard country to be poor in … people who are poor in US terms, on welfare or unemployment or Food Stamps (wow, what a concept they would be in the Philippines) are rich in Philippine terms … only you can figure that out for yourself.
And as a piece of unsolicited advice, why on earth would you want to live … anywhere … on only $770 USD per month? Get yourself into the portable income club … I write a lot on earning an income online and many other people do as well … here’s one guy who has been earning his income online for years whom I know well I recommend.
In my opinion, $770 USD per month is living way, way too “close to the bone” in any country … I’d suggest you make yourself a better income, no matter where you choose to live. Belive me, you’ll be glad you did.