Living In The Philippines On $1000 Per Month

It's quite possible to live in the Philippines for $1000 a month if you approach the task level-headedly, research the locations and all available options.

Let’s face it 1000 dollars isn’t a vast amount of money. So is it possible to live abroad anywhere on that amount of cash per month, or are we talking cardboard boxes under flyovers?

Well, you can live in the Philippines on $1000 per month and here’s how.

The Philippines is one of the cheapest countries to retire to. It’s also very affordable if you want to relocate to a warmer climate close to a beach and take your family and business with you.

The first thing you’re going to need to sort out is your accommodation. 

A stunning sandy beach of the Sumilon island near Oslob, Cebu, Philippines
A stunning sandy beach of the Sumilon island near Oslob, Cebu, Philippines

Obviously, there are plenty of houses for rent throughout the Philippines.  A small house in Manila might set you back to a minimum of $600 per month – which is going to eat into the budget quite a bit. 

So, if you want to be living in the Philippines for $1000 per month or less, you need to be getting away from the capital city.

You can rent a centrally located one-bedroom apartment in cities such as Davao City, Baguio, and Dumaguete for about $250.

A one-bedroom apartment in the center of Cebu, one of the most developed provinces in the Philippines, can be rented at an average of $510 per month.  Not that Cebu is particularly off the beaten track. 

Cebu City boasts 5-star hotels, casinos, shopping malls, golf courses, and sandy beaches.  If you’re prepared to make further cost savings, you can rent a room in a house.

A room with a shared bathroom in a location like Dumaguete City in the province of Negros Oriental can be had for as little as $150 per month.  But don’t think you’ll be living in a flea-infested backward city at this price!  Dumaguete City is one of the fastest-growing cities in the Philippines and is known as the “university town” as it has seven universities and colleges.

Home to around 115,000 people, the city also offers nearby whale and dolphin watching and excellent beaches. Dumaguete City is fast becoming a prime location for expat retirees in the Philippines. It has a large number of medical clinics, good city amenities, as well as a laid-back lifestyle.

So we can tick off housing.  You can find accommodation cheap enough to allow you to live for less than $1000 per month in the Philippines.

Next, it is on to groceries. If we are living in a rented room, we have around $850 of our $1000 budget left. 

Starting with the essentials, a pack of cigarettes will set you back around $2, and a 1/3 liter of San Miguel beer for $2.1.  So to live a typical expat lifestyle of 2 bottles of beer each night costs around $130 per month.  We are down to $620.

Next, on to the secondary products such as food! 

Let’s say you use half a liter of milk per day, 3 liters of bottled water per day, breakfast on two boiled eggs, buy a kilo of rice every three days, and usually eat out every lunchtime and evening at a local roadside stall – something like sizzling pork cheeks or Tapsilog (beef fried rice and eggs), and you obviously get through a kilo of coffee a week, average costs for a month would run to around $350. 

So a month’s worth of groceries plus accommodation costs would still allow you to live on less than $1000 per month in the Philippines.

We’re now down to the final $270.  A 5-kilometer taxi ride costs around $1.64, so you can either go on an 823-kilometer taxi ride with the rest of your money or splash out $40 (£27) on Brazilian wax and head for the beach with a sizeable chunk of cash in your pocket.

You can see from the above figures that living on less than $1000 per month in the Philippines is possible.  Obviously, you won’t be saving an awful lot of your cash, but then, the sun will shine, and the beach is free!

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6 Comments

  1. I don’t know when this article was written but it needs to be revisited by the author. Philippines is no long a cheap retirement option as of Dec 2022 price rises on most commodities have risen drastically and a lot of expats are leaving and moving to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. having visited the Philippines for the last 15 years I have watched why it has become more and more un-afordable especially if people are planning to retire there now.
    I have always rented a condo for a coupe of months each time when i first visited to today prices have doubled and tripled in some cases. Medical and Dental use to be cheap now prices have increased a lot. The price of rice has increased to where its the same price in my country taking the exchange rate into consideration. Fuel costs have gone up drastically so getting a taxi, or driving is now more expensive. I would suggest anybody looking at retiring in the Philippines to actually visit and have a good look around. A lot of the cheaper places to live in the Philippines are cheap for a reason being lack of healthcare, airports and basically lack of infrastructure we take for granted in 1st world countries.

  2. I’ve been living in the Philippines since 2019 it’s 2022 as I write this. The exchange rate is around 59% which is great but inflation is out of control too. But I’m doing well here on 954 usd a month. But it all depends on this level of living .

  3. Interested in taking a trip back to the Philippines been watching videos on YouTube place called Siquihor? I’m very interested in coming to live there on NY disability check so any info on this possibly would be greatly appreciated ty interested in how do I go about visa ,passport run down of col expense ty

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