Thanks and a big tip of the blog hat to frequent reader John form Austria for sending this my way. It’s a really kewl tewl put together by just one guy with a sense of purpose, and if we can get enough people participating it will become a very useful tool for expats here in the Philippines and allover the world as well.
What is It? A website and cost of living tool called Expatistan.com (gotta love that name, eh?)
Who Built It? A fellow by the name of Gerardo Robledillo. Big thanks and a double tip of the hat to Gerardo!
How does it Work? Here’s the basics from their FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):
How do you find the prices?
Short answer, I don’t. You do.
Expatistan is a collaborative effort. Prices are added and improved by other users of the website, just like you. Think of it as a Wikipedia for prices. At the moment, there are around 18,300 prices entered by 5,000 users for 289 different cities.
Some of the prices are wrong. Will you fix them?
Well, you can fix them yourself. And entering the correct prices online is probably easier, faster and less boring than having to type and send an email with a long list of prices in it.
How do you know that the prices entered are correct?
By relying on the power of big numbers, and collective wisdom. If you ask one person what is the price for a beer in New York, he may be wrong, he may even be wrong by a long shot. But if you ask 150 people, and you average their answers (in a clever way), then there’s a very good chance that the answer will be pretty accurate.
Anyway, whenever there is not enough data for a city, or if the application suspects that the data is incorrect in any way, there will be a prominent warning in the page alerting of that.
Can you add my city to your index?
Probably, but you will have to ask.
I have started by adding the biggest 850 cities in the world (since I had to make the cut somewhere). I have done that to try to minimize the dispersion of the price entry. The smaller the city, the more likely that only a small number of people will enter prices for it.
Of course, there will be exceptions to this rule. There are some smaller cities that are very popular among expats, or are important in some way. Zürich is a perfect example. It has an official population of only 350,000 people, but it’s quite an important city, with a huge expat community.
If you think that your city may fall in this case, then please, let me know about it (using the contact form at the bottom of the page). More often than not, I will add your city.
Pretty interesting if you ask me … and one of those “head slapper”,”Why Didn’t I Think of That” ideas.
Now I know, immediately, I’m going to get mail and comments from folks who say, “It doesn’t list my city”, or “the prices are too high, too low”, etc.
Well re-read the above Q&A and you(we) can fix it ourselves. I’ve already updated a bunch of prices for Manila, if you are interested in prices in other Philippine cities, just make a request, as Gerardo suggests.
Go forth, compare, enjoy.