The cost of living in the Philippines is less than the USA and any other Western country that I know of. I see many people complain that this is not true. They are wrong. I’ve never seen anyone that truly lives in the Philippines that claimed this. Instead, they are people that visit the Philippines. Some visit for long periods of time. A few even own property in the Philippines but still maintain a home in the country of their birth.

The Cost of Living In The Philippines is Much Lower

Cost Of Living In The PhilippinesSome will say you don’t get the same value for your money in the Philippines that you do in the West. That does have some validity. Products made in the Philippines are often not up to Western standards. I can buy an Apple iPod knock off here for $25. They work the same, they work just as good. The battery may not last as long but I can buy more than 10 of them for the same cost. :) A washing machine that you buy here will be housed in plastic instead of metal. I turned my noise up at that when I first arrived. Then I thought about it a bit. The metal doesn’t add to functionality. The plastic doesn’t dent and it doesn’t rust. Plastic is probably a better choice than the metal I’m use to. It is lighter and it doesn’t affect the functionality of the device. I paid less than $100 for a washing machine. It got a lot of use and lasted only about three years. One reason for this is that our maid was washing our neighbors cloths and charging them for it. I elected not to get it fixed when it stopped working.

Housing Cost In The Philippines

Living in Cebu City cost substantially more than living out in the province like I do. Housing in the Philippines is generally much cheaper than the USA. In 2011, there are still some very low prices in the USA due to the depressed housing markets in some areas. Still, I live in a spacious four bedroom home about a half mile from the sea. The cost of this home is less than $300 a month. Compare that to a home close to the ocean in the USA. You couldn’t touch a home like that for less than thousands of dollars a month.

Cost Of Living In The Philippines — Food

Food cost in the Philippines is also less than that of the West. I can go out to eat for less than $5.00 for two of us. I do it all the time and I have BBQ pork chops that are very good. I know a guy that was complaining about the price of chicken in the Philippines. When I found out what he paid, it was expensive. But he paid four times more for an uncooked chicken than I pay for a cooked one! Why? He went to the most expensive mall in Cebu City. A mall that caters to upper class Filipinos and Westerners. Okay, he wants to pay for that atmosphere then he should stop his moaning. SM Mall is just fine. It is a very nice mall. It is also huge! I would avoid buying anything there. I do buy many things there but I prefer to buy at the public market where things are much cheaper if I can find it there. The first time I went to SM Mall, I was saying, can’t we go some place cheaper. Malls are expensive! Still, many items are still cheaper in the mall than they would be back in the USA. In any case, food is substantially cheaper here. Some of the items you are looking for might be hard to find. I find it hard to find good cheese and cheese is expensive here. Most of it is imported. Eggs on the other hand are very common in the Philippines and they are very low priced. It depends on what you want. If you insist on no changes in your life, you’ll pay more here and imported items will generally cost you more here than they did in your homeland.

Labor Cost In the Philippines

Services and labor are very low cost in the Philippines. From doctors to carpenters to mechanics, you’ll pay much less for things like this. A doctor visit in a the best hospital in Cebu cost me about $12.00. Can  you believe that? A hospital room at the same hospital is about $40 for a private room and there is no additional charge for nursing.

Medical cost are very low here compared to the USA. This is one area though that I recommendFood In The Philippines you don’t relay on what you can get out in the rural areas. Medical treatment in rural areas is often not up to par. That is being nice. I’ve seen some pretty bad situations and heard of even worse when it comes to medical treatment in rural areas. Cebu City and Manila are the best places to get the medical care that you need. I notice that when powerful politicians need medical treatment, they often go to the USA to get it.

The cost of my medication went from $1200 a month to around $200 a month. Brand name medications will cost about the same thing in the Philippines as they do in the USA. Generics can usually be found though and the cost will be much less. Plus you don’t have to return to the doctors office when you need a refill for most medications.

Our maid cost us about $30 a month plus room and board. You could pay that in an hour in the USA. I can’t even consider having a made in the USA even though I’d need one even if I lived alone. Where I live maids are cheaper than in most places. The price would be twice that if I lived in Cebu City. If I lived in Manila, the price would be three to four times higher. Most things cost two to four times more in Manila than it does in Cebu Province.

Travel Cost In The Philippines

Another area for a huge reduction in your cost of living is with travel. Travel cost in the Philippines can be had at low cost. You don’t really need a car in the Philippines. There is plenty of public transportation available. However, it is very convenient to have a car.  One problem I have with using public transportation is sometimes getting there is not a problem. However, getting to another place can be a challenge. Transportation in some places is hard to find. I went to a resort not long ago. The tricycle driver was suppose to come back and pick us up. In the past, they always have but this one didn’t do it. It took us about 30 minutes to find a trike headed our way. Some places I’d like to visit, I’ve never been because I don’t have a car.

Travel In The PhilippinesThe cost of vehicles is lower in the Philippines if you don’t buy American or European made models. For those, you will pay more. A motorcycle can be had for $1000. There are also multicabs available. These are like the small Ford Rangers that were made in the 80′s. They are a bit smaller but you can have a new one for about $3000. Used ones are about half that.

A huge area of travel cost savings is with air travel. Not long ago I took a flight from Cebu City to Palawan for two and paid about $160 round trip for the both of us. That’s right, two round trip tickets. These tickets were purchased during a heavy discount period but the price is normally twice that. Even $320 round trip for two is much less than you’re likely to pay in the USA.  This trip was about an hour and half in the air, perhaps a little less. A trip to Manila would cost about the same.

Another option is to take a ferry. If there is a ferry route to your location then you can save even more. There are more ferry routes than plane routes so you can likely get a ferry to were you want to go. A two our trip from Cebu City in Cebu province to Leyte province is about P800 or around $15.00 per person.

A bus trip is in order for longer distances. I pay P120 for an air con bus from Bogo City to Cebu City. That’s a three hour ride and is about 120Kms. A couple of times I took a taxi back to Bogo City and paid P2000 or about $40.

Hotel cost in the Philippines also can be significantly less than the West. I can go to a budget resort in beautiful Bantayan Island for P800 a night. The upper end of the scale in Bantayan Island is around P3000 or around $75 a night. Now the cheaper room isn’t all that wonderful but I don’t find myself staying in the room very much when I’m at Bantayan. It has a bed, TV, air conditioning and private restroom. If I spend another P200 a night then I can get a refrigerator as well. The host at the cheaper hotel will treat you like a king. I think you’ll be happy there and it is right on the water. The name of the budget resort is Tristan’s Bantayan Island Resort.

If you are budget minded when you travel, look for a pension house. These will usually cost you less than P1500 or $35 a night. They are usually basic with not a lot of frills but they are fine and have an air con and private restroom.

View From Resort In Bantayan IslandIf you prefer to stay at more expensive places, that have more of the luxuries that you are use to in the West, you can do that. There is a Hilton in Cebu City but you’ll pay over $100 a night for a room there. It will be nicer. The point is that the option is yours to make. You can save a lot of money living in the Philippines. If you choose not too the cost of living in the Philippines is still less. A $35 room in the USA might be in a bad location. That is not necessarily true in the Philippines. I usually pay around P800 when I go to Cebu City.

The cost of living in the Philippines is less than it is in the West. Don’t let anyone tell you that that is not true. If it is not true for them, then they choose to pay for more expensive items. It isn’t required. I know I save a lot of money by living here. That savings in my cost of living allows me to travel the Philippines. My opportunities have increased a great deal by living in the Philippines. The main reason for that improved lifestyle is the cost of living in the Philippines.