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Philippines – Cost of Living

If you’re considering moving to the Philippines, one of the most important factors to consider is the cost of living. In this article, we’ll take a look at the local currency, compare the cost of living in the Philippines to the UK and the USA, break down costs for singles, couples, and families of 4 in different categories, and explain the most common forms of payment in the Philippines.

Local Currency in the Philippines

The local currency in the Philippines is the Philippine peso (PHP). One peso is divided into 100 centavos. The Philippine peso is not widely accepted outside of the Philippines, so it’s best to exchange your currency when you arrive.

Cost of Living in the Philippines Compared to the UK and USA

According to the Numbeo cost of living index, the cost of living in the Philippines is generally lower than in the UK and the USA. The index takes into account factors such as housing, food, utilities, transportation, and entertainment.

As of February 2023, the index shows that the cost of living in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, is about 63.09% lower than in London and 68.25% lower than in New York. The cost of living in other cities in the Philippines varies, but generally, the cost of living in the Philippines is lower than in the UK and the USA.

Breakdown of Costs in the Philippines

To give you an idea of what you can expect to pay for different expenses in the Philippines, let’s break down costs for singles, couples, and families of 4 in different categories.

Housing


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Housing is one of the biggest expenses in the Philippines, but it is relatively affordable compared to other countries. The cost of housing varies depending on where you live and the type of housing you choose. According to Numbeo, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is PHP 17,500 per month. A three-bedroom apartment in the city center costs around PHP 42,500 per month.

If you’re on a tight budget, you may be able to find a room to rent for around PHP 6,000 per month. However, keep in mind that housing in the Philippines can be challenging to find, especially if you’re looking for a specific type of accommodation.

Food

The cost of food in the Philippines is generally lower than in the UK and the USA. You can expect to pay around PHP 100-150 for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant and around PHP 300-500 for a meal at a mid-range restaurant.

If you’re on a tight budget, you can save money by shopping at markets and cooking your meals. A week’s worth of groceries for one person costs around PHP 1,500-2,000.

Utilities

The cost of utilities in the Philippines varies depending on the size of your home and your usage. On average, you can expect to pay around PHP 5,000-8,000 per month for utilities such as electricity, water, and gas.

Leisure

The cost of leisure activities in the Philippines varies widely depending on what you enjoy doing. A movie ticket costs around PHP 250, and a fitness club membership costs around PHP 2,500-3,000 per month.

If you enjoy going out, expect to pay around PHP 80-100 for a beer in a bar or around PHP 250-400 for a cocktail. Entrance fees for museums and other attractions vary widely but usually range from PHP 100-300.

Transport

The cost of transport in the Philippines is relatively low, but the country’s public transportation system can be challenging to navigate. A one-way ticket on public transport in Manila costs PHP 13, and a monthly pass costs around PHP 1,200.

If you prefer to drive, you can expect to pay around PHP 50 per liter of gasoline. Car insurance is also relatively affordable, with an average cost of around PHP 10,000-15,000 per year.

Clothing

The cost of clothing in the Philippines is generally lower than in the UK and the USA. The prices of clothing items depend on the brand and quality of the product. If you’re looking to buy new clothes on a budget, there are several affordable chain stores that offer reasonably priced clothing.

For example, Uniqlo and H&M are popular stores where you can find fashionable clothes at an affordable price. A pair of jeans can cost around PHP 1,500-2,500, while a shirt can cost around PHP 700-1,000.

Household Goods

The cost of household goods in the Philippines varies depending on the item and brand. For example, a new television can cost anywhere from PHP 10,000 to PHP 50,000 depending on the size and features. A washing machine can cost around PHP 10,000-30,000, while a refrigerator can cost around PHP 20,000-50,000.

If you’re on a tight budget, you may be able to find used household goods on websites such as Facebook Marketplace and Carousell. Many people sell their used items at a fraction of the cost of new items.

Forms of Payment in the Philippines

The most common forms of payment in the Philippines are cash and credit cards. Most stores and restaurants accept credit cards, especially in larger cities like Manila.

Contactless payments and mobile payments are becoming more popular in the Philippines, but they are not yet widely available. Some banks offer mobile payment services, but these services are not yet widely used.

In addition to cash and credit cards, some stores in the Philippines accept payment through popular mobile apps like GCash and PayMaya.

The cost of living in the Philippines is generally lower than in the UK and the USA. Housing, food, and leisure activities tend to be more affordable in the Philippines, while transportation and clothing are comparable in price.

When it comes to payment methods, the Philippines primarily relies on cash and credit cards, but mobile payment services are becoming more popular.

Before you move to the Philippines, it’s essential to research the cost of living in your desired location and create a budget that takes into account your income and expenses. By doing so, you can ensure that you can live comfortably in the Philippines without breaking the bank.


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