When it comes to the topic of what is the cost of living in the Philippines, nobody can ever answer the question and it will apply to everybody. Each individual has their own, draw their line in the sand, I am not giving this luxury up. Of course, everybody knows that luxuries are just that luxuries and luxuries cost money. For example, say expat A decides he can not live without air conditioning at night but expat B just uses a fan at night. It would make sense that expat A’s electric bill would cost more than expat B so expat A must budget more money for his electric than the other guy. So really deciding on how much is the cost of living in the Philippines ends up being a collection of personal choices rather than exact answer for everybody.
Regardless of where anybody’s line in the sand is drawn in regards to the cost of living, it is safe to say that it is cheaper to live in the Philippines than one’s home country. With that said there are items here in the Philippines that cost far more than they do back in my home country of the United States. For example anything electronic, be it tvs, computers, laptops or cell phones are going to cost far more here than in the United States because of the import tax and tariffs the country places on these items. Since I mentioned electricity, I might as well mention that electricity is far more expensive in south east Asia than in the western countries. In fact here in the Philippines, the electric company can raise and lower rates as they see fit without any type of formal approval. The common talk here in the Philippines is that as we head towards the end of the year, the rates always rise due to the allotment of bonuses that are handed out at year’s end. Whether that is true or not I am not sure but it is the general consensus of the people that live here.
In the following video I take a look at the cost of living in the Philippines by looking at a name brand clothing store that recently opened here in Bacolod City. The store, H&M is very popular with the younger generations of not only the western countries but here in south east Asia too. I decided to compare the price of the same article of clothing in the H&M store in the Philippines with the price it is selling for on the U.S. H&M website. Before getting my results, I just assumed it would be cheaper here than in the U.S. because the clothing is manufactured in China and the overall cost of getting the shirt from factory to the store is cheaper.
Here is the video:
Factors such as import taxes must play a part in the over all cost but perhaps competition helps set the price too. There is far more competition for the consumer dollar in the United States than there is in the Philippines. Bottom line is if you are going to be moving to the Philippines for a long term, be sure to get your name brand clothing in your home country first.