How to afford living in the Philippines.

Mabuhay my fellow readers,

Here we are again with another segment of living life Philippines and today, we will talk about how to affordably live here in the Philippines.

I see, by the time you are reading this, you might be having problems with your finances now while living here in the Philippines. So let me tell you this, stop worrying for now and contact me as soon as possible by commenting below. Read this article and examine what went wrong. I assure you that I could help you.

For those who are reading this for the basis of how to actually afford living here in the Philippines, then you are in the right place.

Let’s start…

First of all, why is there question of affordability of living here in the Philippines? Mind you, living here is expensive if you are not careful with your finances. Why do some receive these problems? Because they do not have my ebook “Living Successfully in the Philippines” and so they fail to understand the basics of living here in the Philippines but also the system of establishing life in here. If you haven’t got my ebook, go ahead and get it now so you can learn the ins and outs of the Philippine way of living.

On my ebook I also discussed to live an appropriate life in the Philippines including living a frugal life. If you are thinking of lavishly spending every dollar or peso on daily/night buffets, red light districts, gambling, or expensive travels then you are in for the most epic nightmare ever.

That is not to say that those are the only reasons why you could get your finances in trouble here in the Philippines, so here’s the list on what to do to ensure an affordable = hassle-free living here in the Philippines.

1.Learn to budget a $500-$1,000 as your minimum for finances. In peso it is somewhere around 20,000 Php to 44,000 Php. If you haven’t learnt to do this then read this article: Retire in Manila and see to it that you learn from it. It is doable, practical and affordable. Promise.

2.Never buy ready-made food. This includes fast foods and ordered meals, they pile up real quick for the budget and is quite unhealthy too. If you follow the No.1 step, then you could still afford to buy grocers that you could get from the local wet-market. I do this and it’s quite fun.

3.Consider buying a condo or house if you have a Filipino partner, it will lessen the monthly burden but will also settle your abode. Renting is also an option but if you are paying more than 10,000 Php per month then that will totally rip you off. There’s a PAG-IBIG fund for buying houses in the Philippines for your spouse, use that too in order let your partner help you get a condo (only do this if married) or house if you totally trust in your spouse (which I do not suggest if you have just met). Remember that the law only allows Condo Units to be bought by foreigners and 60% ownership only to boot. No real estate allowed to foreigners, keep that in mind.

4.Get the basic needs and refrain getting premiums. If it is insurance then that is up to you but what I am referring is about domestic needs such as Internet and Phones. Do not get too much of those things if you could live by without them. They are just burden for the budget and gets in the way of affordability. Get a basic internet connection for business usage that costs 1,000 Php atleast and get a regular phone with Cellular Loads/Credits… you could just get them for 50 Pesos unlimited call and text for 3 days.

5.Stop wasting electricity and save it. Do not use too much air-conditioning, it consumes too much energy.Use the electric fan instead make them two; consumes only 120 watts. Water is relatively cheap so we could get massive on that. Maintain facility bills in a 3,000 Php scale. For left-over money such as changes, do not just neglect them, save them instead; I know this expat guy who gives out 500 Pesos as tips to the condo where I live and next thing I know, that guy was gone after 4 months in the Philippines- problem was finances. If only he got my ebook.

6.Recycle your stuff for money. I was quite amazed how much money I saved for recycling my papers that I used on my teaching and seminars. I earned 3,000 Php at one time in 2015 and I use that money to fund my facility bills. I saved money with the waste I just made.

7.Never splurge on expensive travels in the Philippines. You probably noticed this already, the Philippines relied most of its tourism economy from its inhabitants, and you are sure to be a target too. Instead, wait for a SALE ON TRAVELS like in expedia or metro deal. Also, once on travel, try not to act superior or input your standards from your own country; remember this is the Philippines, you will just get frowned as “mayabang” and some people will take advantage of that to get money out of you. I remember this big, chunky, Caucasian guy who rode a boat to go to Puerto Galera, he was complaining that the boat will capsize because of overloading but the boat was rated 100 Persons (we were at 70 I think that time). He demands to talk to the supervisor but got in trouble instead, when I came back to that port, one of the porters said that one foreigner paid 10 seats just for “peace of mind”. I never heard anything from that caucasian guy again.

8.Stay away from Familism. This is not only a problem but also a sure way to reduce your finances in a blink of an eye. Exactly 1 year or so. Foreigners, expats, and even Filipinos too are victimized with this mannerism blatant due to the close-ties of the Filipino Culture. In the Philippines, you have to support or provide for the people in the FAMILY, that includes your spouse, the siblings of your spouse, the parents, cousins, daughters, sons, friends… etc. within that circle. This often lead to unnecessary financial burdens and abrupt “emergency” needs of some members of that family circle- even though there was no emergency at all. Many expats and filipinos fall prey to this. Just remember, use that head given to you rather than using your pockets to receive favor, unless you want to really live an impoverish life.

9.Invest your hard earned money. On my ebook about living successfully in the Philippines, you need to use your finances to settle your life here in the Philippines; you can’t do that without investing. Use your money to invest on stocks, real estate property for renting per se, business, etc… Those investments will not only create profit but will also let you use your finances in the right way. Do not just use all of your savings for luxury, use it to work for you.

10.Accept a frugal way of living. I do not condone living an impoverish life. I hate it. You feel defeated and poor knowing that you can’t afford a single centavo of food. I have seen this nightmare to some of our poor ol’ expats. We can’t save them if they can’t help themselves… if only they had my ebook, they would have had the chance to know that living in the Philippines does not exactly mean living in extravagance and luxury. Nor gambling or going to the nearest red light districts as some of our retirees do. Live a simple, healthy, relaxing life. Have a trustworthy wife or partner that will not swindle you. Do not accept anything without written documentations. Do no splurge on shopping or wasteful use of finances. Most of all, maintain a budget that will not exceed 44,000 Php or 1,000 USD, and you will live an affordable and happy life here in the Philippines. (How to do this? read my article here on Retiring in Manila)


In conclusion, inform yourself with this very helpful tips and you can afford to live here in the Philippines without emotional or financial worry. Always remember that I encourage for you guys to get my ebook and know about the system here in the Philippines. Please comment below to contact me for your questions and ith that guys, I leave with you a saying that I often remind myself…

“Rich life is not exactly getting everything in life, it is about how happy you are.”



-live happy in the Philippines



"Jay Penn" is a Financial Literacy Mentor and Investor who is best known for his Book "Polymath's Profit". He is also an expert in the field of Maritime, Engineering, and Emergency Medical from his past careers. Experienced with Security Analysis, Crisis Prevention, Contingency Planning, and Global Maritime Distress Safety System. Currently instructs Nautical Sciences and is an avid Researcher of Business and Economics. He is also recognized as the "Top Maritime Instructor" for 3 consecutive years in the Maritime Education from 2014; raising the standard for the Maritime Industry and Training.

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