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Monthly Expenses


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68 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   TheMason

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 05:16 AM

I've been in the Philippines for 3 months now and I think I've got enough spending history to provide an accurate budget for our monthly living expenses. The expenses listed are for a modest lifestyle for my wife and I. We do not drink or smoke, we dine out 2-3 times a month, and do not purchase too many Western food products. When we shop, we almost always buy at the local market, not the mall. The exception is groceries, Our total monthly budget is 17,800 php or $371 ( 1 USD=48php)Rent- 5000phpOur apartment is a 2-bedroom about 65sqm in size. It's pretty basic with cement floors, no hot water and a Filipino style comfort room. When we need hot water for bathing or cleaning, we heat it on the stove. I attached pics of our apartment, but I lost the original image files and only had a Word Doc with the pics in it.Electricity- 500phpThe temperature is very mild in Baguio so AC is never needed. For 500 php we get normal household use including a 6.0 cu. ft. refrigerator and a laptop and modem running 24/7.Water- FREEWater is included in our rent. This does not include free drinking water. Drinking water is rolled up into our grocery budget.Cable TV- 550phpBasic Philippines cable TV lineup. Nothing special here.Internet and Telephone- 1800phpI do contract technical writing and medical transcription with various US based employers so I've opted for a 1mbps Internet connection, which costs more. A normal 384 kbps connection costs 999php.Groceries- 5000phpThis is the area that fluctuates the most, but we always spend 5k or less on groceries. We eat meat (chicken, pork, or beef)every day, sometimes 2-3 times a day. We buy very few Western brands, usually dairy products, condiments, or spices. We shop almost exclusively at SM for meat and dry goods. Produce and eggs we buy at the local market. Transportation- 2000phpThis includes taxis around town and bus fare to visit family in the provinces and Manila. We seldom take jeepneys. Baguio is pretty small and you can get most anywhere in town for under 70php one way in a taxi. For this budget, we get one out of town bus trip for 2 per month and about 10-15 round trip taxi rides.Misc- 3000phpThis is our catch-all category for things like clothes, medicine, doctor bills, LPG tank refills, family assistance etc. We have yet to spend more than 500php in any single month from this budget. What is unspent is rolled over to our emergency fund to cover those big unexpected expenses. Once we get to 50k in that fund, this monthly expense will be reduced based on historical spending.

Attached Files


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#2 OFFLINE   Buddy

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 12:12 PM

Wow TheMason! Great post :AddEmoticons04230: and you definitely show that one can live pretty inexpensively if one wants to. I am not sure how your electric is so low, because I see the refrigerator there but I would have to guess that power prices must be a lot lower where you live than in Cebu. Thanks for the info, I am sure many people will find it very interesting. Great pictures too! :th_Good-Luck: :th_thsmilies-29057:
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#3 OFFLINE   Jollygoodfellow

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 03:16 AM

I've been in the Philippines for 3 months now and I think I've got enough spending history to provide an accurate budget for our monthly living expenses. The expenses listed are for a modest lifestyle for my wife and I. We do not drink or smoke, we dine out 2-3 times a month, and do not purchase too many Western food products. When we shop, we almost always buy at the local market, not the mall. The exception is groceries, Our total monthly budget is 17,800 php or $371 ( 1 USD=48php)Rent- 5000phpOur apartment is a 2-bedroom about 65sqm in size. It's pretty basic with cement floors, no hot water and a Filipino style comfort room. When we need hot water for bathing or cleaning, we heat it on the stove. I attached pics of our apartment, but I lost the original image files and only had a Word Doc with the pics in it.Electricity- 500phpThe temperature is very mild in Baguio so AC is never needed. For 500 php we get normal household use including a 6.0 cu. ft. refrigerator and a laptop and modem running 24/7.Water- FREEWater is included in our rent. This does not include free drinking water. Drinking water is rolled up into our grocery budget.Cable TV- 550phpBasic Philippines cable TV lineup. Nothing special here.Internet and Telephone- 1800phpI do contract technical writing and medical transcription with various US based employers so I've opted for a 1mbps Internet connection, which costs more. A normal 384 kbps connection costs 999php.Groceries- 5000phpThis is the area that fluctuates the most, but we always spend 5k or less on groceries. We eat meat (chicken, pork, or beef)every day, sometimes 2-3 times a day. We buy very few Western brands, usually dairy products, condiments, or spices. We shop almost exclusively at SM for meat and dry goods. Produce and eggs we buy at the local market. Transportation- 2000phpThis includes taxis around town and bus fare to visit family in the provinces and Manila. We seldom take jeepneys. Baguio is pretty small and you can get most anywhere in town for under 70php one way in a taxi. For this budget, we get one out of town bus trip for 2 per month and about 10-15 round trip taxi rides.Misc- 3000phpThis is our catch-all category for things like clothes, medicine, doctor bills, LPG tank refills, family assistance etc. We have yet to spend more than 500php in any single month from this budget. What is unspent is rolled over to our emergency fund to cover those big unexpected expenses. Once we get to 50k in that fund, this monthly expense will be reduced based on historical spending.

This is always a topic that yahoo groups cant agree on, most say that you need 1500 US per month to live a basic life. Well here's proof that it can be done much cheaperthan that.Thanks for posting your budget http://philippines-e...tyle_emoticons/default/santa3.gif

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#4 OFFLINE   TheMason

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 06:53 AM

This is always a topic that yahoo groups cant agree on, most say that you need 1500 US per month to live a basic life. Well here's proof that it can be done much cheaperthan that.Thanks for posting your budget http://philippines-e...tyle_emoticons/default/santa3.gif

Yeah, I've seen those discussions as well and just don't understand how people manage to spend that much money, especially if you are married. I have a simple but pleasant lifestyle. I honestly don't know what I would spend an extra 40k a month on. The numbers I posted are actually a bit on the high side, especially for food. As my taste buds adapt to my wife's cooking we're spending less and less on food each month.We lived in Manila for a brief time and our budget was about 28k per month for a similar lifestyle. The biggest difference was in electricity costs. We used far more due to needing AC and the cost per unit was much higher.

I am not sure how your electric is so low, because I see the refrigerator there but I would have to guess that power prices must be a lot lower where you live than in Cebu.

We just got our electric bill for this month. It cost us 425php for the month. Our usage was 63 kwh. Here's the breakdown....Energy Generation/Usage: 389php (6.1773 per unit)Fixed Charges: 5 phpVAT Charges: 31php
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#5 OFFLINE   Buddy

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 07:25 AM

Thank you again TheMason, I will compare those to my costs when we get back to Cebu and report back, because we store our bills for Cebu there.Maybe in the meantime someone else who lives there can check their rates and post how they compare.

Edited by Mr. Lee, 10 December 2008 - 09:46 AM.


#6 OFFLINE   wallyperrier

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 08:27 AM

we live even little cheaperrent only 3500no internet, we go one time a week to café, 20 P a weekour budget is around 15000 P/month
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#7 OFFLINE   Steve

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 08:34 AM

Thanks for the great info TheMason :AddEmoticons04230:

#8 OFFLINE   Mike S

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 09:50 AM

This is always a topic that yahoo groups cant agree on, most say that you need 1500 US per month to live a basic life. Well here's proof that it can be done much cheaperthan that.Yes BM (BossMan) ....... we live on about $800 per month with no problem at all as shown in my budgets already posted ....... it isn't hard ..... it is all about priorities ...... and lifestyle ...... and now that the dollar is way up and my pay raise in SS next month ... which by the way will more than pay for my rent each month ...... I hope to save even more money ...... sorry but I couldn't live in the US like I do now with no headaches or stress in my life and really enjoy each and every day ...... damn ... why couldn't I have been able to do this when I was 30 ........ http://philippines-e...tyle_emoticons/default/christmas_emoticons_187.gif
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#9 OFFLINE   tom_shor

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 03:43 PM

Yes I've been looking and calculating a bit myself. I hope to have a budget around $1000 when I make the move. If I can make it less that is good too. As always it depends on how you live. The more western and upscale amenities you want the more it will cost you. Everyone has a different idea of what is a comfortable lifestyle.
Those who will trade liberty for safety deserve neither liberty or safety. Benjamin Franklin

#10 OFFLINE   tom_shor

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 03:50 PM

This is always a topic that yahoo groups cant agree on, most say that you need 1500 US per month to live a basic life. Well here's proof that it can be done much cheaperthan that.Thanks for posting your budget http://philippines-e...tyle_emoticons/default/santa3.gif

Well for some people that might really be the minimum according to how and where they live. Many Filipino families certainly live on a lot less than that. I have been looking myself at costs and I usually recomend to people to have an income of $1000 to $1500. This leaves some for emergencies too. I am willing to make some lifestyle changes to live in the Philippines but I also want to be able to enjoy my stay and be able to travel.
Those who will trade liberty for safety deserve neither liberty or safety. Benjamin Franklin





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