Philippine Cost of Living

Planning your monthly budget when you relocate or move to the Philippines.


Pamela M.

7/16/20234 min read

Cost of living in the Philippines
Cost of living in the Philippines


The Philippines, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelago country in Southeast Asia. It is generally considered a developing country, resulting in a relatively low cost of living. The specific cost of living for an individual in this country depends on their desired lifestyle and job. For someone looking for a comfortable lifestyle, a minimum of around $600 would be sufficient. For a couple, an estimated $900 would cover their basic needs. However, if a person desires a more extravagant lifestyle, a monthly income of $1000 to $1200 would be more appropriate. Ultimately, the cost of living in the Philippines can be tailored to fit one's personal preferences and financial capabilities.

Eating out in the Philippines can be pricier compared to cooking at home. However, the country offers a range of cooking options that are surprisingly affordable. While there are certainly high-end establishments that come with a hefty price tag, there are also many budget-friendly restaurants where you can dine for less than $8. Additionally, if you're looking for a slightly more upscale experience, you can enjoy a dinner for two at a mid-range restaurant for around $22. So, whether you're on a tight budget or willing to splurge a little, the Philippines has something to offer for every palate and wallet.

Cooking at home is a much more cost-effective option compared to dining out, with potential savings of around 40 to 50%. You have the convenience of shopping at various supermarkets Such as SM Supermarket or maybe at Robinsons mall for a wide range of affordable ingredients. For those who wish to indulge a bit more, a budget of approximately $500 per month should be sufficient. Additionally, you can find small local bakeries in the neighborhood that offer inexpensive bread, perfect for your daily needs. There are also convenient/sari-sari stores, which are local variety stores, where you can purchase goods in smaller packages, allowing you to save even more. Overall, by cooking at home and utilizing the available options, you can significantly reduce your expenses while still enjoying delicious meals.

Transportation in the Philippines is not the most efficient or reliable. However, there are alternatives such as Grab Car or taxi that can be used to ensure a safe and convenient journey. It is important to note that using regular taxis in Manila may result in being overcharged. On the other hand, Jeepneys are a popular and inexpensive mode of transportation that can significantly reduce your travel expenses. Despite the challenges, transportation in the country is generally affordable. For instance, a monthly pass for public transport costs approximately $11. While it may not be the best, there are options available to navigate through the Philippines efficiently and affordably.

Utilities in the Philippines are notoriously expensive. It is not uncommon to spend around $100 per month on basic services. This amount includes the use of an air conditioner for about eight hours daily, as well as the cost of lights, gadget charging, TV usage, and hot water in an 85m2 apartment. These expenses add up quickly and can easily exceed the $100 mark. Additionally, the water bill alone amounts to approximately $5 per month. With such high utility costs, it is crucial for individuals and families to budget accordingly and find ways to conserve energy in order to minimize their monthly expenses.

Major cities like Manila are known for their abundance of large malls, providing endless shopping options for visitors. These malls not only offer a wide variety of products but also come with affordable prices. This makes shopping in Manila an enticing experience for both locals and tourists, as they can find high-quality products at budget-friendly prices. The prices of clothing in the country can differ based on various factors such as the quality, brand, and the specific store where you make your purchase. Typically, a basic white T-shirt made of cotton can range from $6 and beyond. It's worth noting that smaller shops and even open markets often offer great deals on clothing items. Additionally, it's quite common to come across second-hand clothing stores as well.

Renting an apartment in the city can cost a minimum of $100 per month. However, if you are living alone, you may consider staying in a boarding house or lodging house instead. The cost of an apartment can vary depending on the location within the city. If you have a preference for living in the city center, you can expect to pay around $350. On the other hand, if you are looking for a larger apartment to accommodate the whole family, the rental price will start at $400.

In larger cities, you can find condominium units scattered throughout. A studio unit, complete with a kitchen and one bathroom, typically starts at a price of $300 or more, depending on the size and furnishings. On the other hand, a two-bedroom unit, offering two bathrooms, a small kitchen, living room, and possibly a small balcony, can start at $500 or above. It's important to keep in mind that there may also be a monthly association fee that you'll need to pay to the building's administration or management. On average, this fee amounts to $20 per month. However, there are instances where the landlord covers this expense.


Typically, a single foreigner can live comfortably in the Philippines with a monthly budget of $1000 to $1500. This amount would cover basic living expenses, including rent, utilities, groceries, and transportation. However, if you have a more extravagant lifestyle and enjoy dining out frequently or traveling often, a budget of $1500 to $2000 would be more suitable. It is important to consider your personal preferences and spending habits when determining your monthly budget. Additionally, if you have a family with one or two children, it is advisable to have a budget of $2000 or more to adequately provide for their needs.