Cost of Living in the Philippines
Philippine peso notes and coins in varying denominations. Based on the current price of gold, the Philippine peso has now lost 99% of its original 1903–1949 value of half a US dollar.

What are the first-year costs in the Philippines? One of the more popular questions viewers of my YouTube channel ask is how much does it cost to live in the Philippines on a long term basis?  I have done other posts on the monthly cost of living in the Philippines using my real-life examples but today I thought I would do a Philippine cost of living example for an individual moving to the Philippines their first time.  As I have said many times, the first year of moving to any foreign country is your most expensive one, not only do you have a monthly budget but there is that first-year costs of buying items necessary to live.  I have broken down this into two parts, one is the monthly cost and secondly is the first year purchases.

We will begin with the monthly expenses first.

Monthly Expenses

  • Here is an example budget of your first-year costs in the Philippines.
  • To convert the Philippine pesos into USD or another currency use this link for the XE Currency Converter

Rent 8000 to 12000 pesos per month.  For a one-bedroom, one CR with a small kitchen and dining area.
Electricity 2000 pesos without air-conditioning and 4000 using air-conditioning.  Electricity is far more expensive and less reliable than in western countries.
Transportation – 200 pesos using jeepneys and 1500 using taxis.
Food 1500 -2000 pesos for cooking some meals at your apartment.
Dining Out – 1500 -3000 pesos. The difference is your diet, do you eat Filipino food or is your diet still with western food. Western food will cost more and everything will have to be imported.
Laundry – 200 pesos. The average rate for a drop off rate for someone to wash and fold at a laundry mat is around 40 pesos per kilo.
Internet  2000 pesos. For me, this is one of the must-haves in my life. I need it for work and play.
Cell Phone rate 300 -1000 pesos. For me running a YouTube channel requires having cell phone data. Ironically most here text instead of calling so go light with the call packages and heavy with the text
Entertainment 2000 pesos. This definition can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. If you are in the dating mode, then add more or if you like hit the bars several times a week add more.
Miscellaneous 5000 -10000 pesos. Here is the spot where you add medical necessities such as prescriptions, doctor visits, personal items. All medical care here in the Philippines requires cash upfront so try to fix any medical problem before you leave your home country. Get a good VPN for moving money your money from your home country bank account to your Philippine bank account. Do not move ALL your money into a Philippine bank account as these banks are not insured as they are back home.

First-Year Expenses

Most apartments do not supply stoves, furniture, bedding, refrigerators or appliances. You will have to buy these yourself so let’s look at first-year startup costs.
Rent – In most rental properties you will be required to put on first month’s rent along with two month’s rent as a deposit. So for an 8000 pesos apartment, you are looking at 24000 pesos to move in.
Refrigerator 6800 pesos for a small 2.4 cubic refrigerator.
32-inch flat-screen tv non-name brand will cost around 4900 pesos.
Air conditioner – small window style 1/2 horsepower 9000 pesos.
Cell phone -Samsung Galaxy J6 smartphone 10000 pesos.
Lenovo Thinkpad T540 18000 pesos. A laptop is considered above a desktop because of its portability in traveling, moving and the need to pack up fast and move it. I picked out a decent one, one I would like to own.
A backpack in 3500. Hawk bags are decent backpacks made here in the Philippines. Once you move into your apartment, you will need to prepare what I call a bugout bag. A bag that you can grab at a moment’s notice and move. Items include your important papers, your laptop, some clothes, bank cards, money, and passport. Remember you are only a guest here in the Philippines you really don’t have rights, first sign of trouble, bugout.
Two burner propane stove 1500 pesos.
Propane tank 1500. The tank can be refilled which currently costs about 750 pesos. Depending on how much in house cooking you do, it could last you over 6 months.
So I think we are around the 78900 pesos mark which is about 1500 USD for startup cost. For some, you can skip the flat screen and use your laptop if you still need to cut startup costs.