Living Solo: Cost of Living in Metro Manila?

I had a rather extended conversation with my mom and my sister the other day. Since they were preparing for their own trips to the Philippines (after 15, 16 years?), they naturally wanted to know how much things are back home.

Mom asked me how much my bills were in the Philippines. That made me think, since I don’t really keep a book on these things- I just pay the bills as they come or fork out some cash whenever we make a purchase. So here I am now trying to list down all my monthly expenditures.

Please note that these are MY personal expenditures. Some may actually spend more on certain things, others probably much less. Take this as a rough guide into the spending habits of a 34-year-old single ABC1 male with no kids and no dependents (unless you consider my 2 cats as dependents)…

The Basics

  • Rent. A studio down in Mandaluyong. Php5000/month.
  • Power. I have a PC that’s on the whole time when I’m at home, plus moderate use of a microwave and an airconditioning unit. Php3000/month.
  • Water. Not much. Php75 a month.
  • Broadband Internet + Landline. That’s a Globelines setup for ya. Php1700 a month.
  • Mobile Phone. A SMART Post-paid account. Php1200/month.
  • Cable TV. SkyCable- seriously considering letting go of it since I hardly watch TV anymore. Php1000/month.

So that brings the total amount of bills so far to Php11,975.00. Let’s round it off to Php12,000. And that’s just the basics. More stuff to shell out money for:

Variable Expenses:

  • Groceries per Month. Depends, really. But let’s peg it at Php5000/month. That should cover some food, personal care stuff, sundries, snacks, cooking ingredients, etc.
  • Daily Allowance. This should cover the cost of transportation, meals and other incidentals. I peg it at Php2500/week. That’s Php10,000/month.
  • Weekend Allowance. This should cover eating out, watching movies, buying clothes or whatever. I peg it at Php3000/weekend. Or Php12,000/month.
  • Laundry should be Php2000/month.
  • A haircut every 3 weeks: Php200, inclusive of tip.
  • Cat Supplies. Yes, I do have cats. The cost of litter plus cat food: Php1500/month.

Which means that should bring all those living expenses to Php30,700. Or Php31,000/month, rounded up. Combine that with the basics earlier on, that should be a monthly total of Php43,000.00!

Crap. So that’s where all my money has been going.

Since I’ve started working from home, however, the expenses have considerably gone down:

  • The basics- rent, power, water, broadband, phones, cable- remain fairly constant. So it stays at Php12,000/month.
  • The variables can be trimmed down to Php13,000/month. I don’t travel as much anymore, nor eat out as much, or have so much laundry done. With just about enough cash left over to enjoy the weekend or buy me stuff I want.
  • Grand total monthly expenditures of Php25,000, down more than 41%, for savings of up to Php18,000.00/month.

Amazing how working from home can really cut down on what you spend in a month.

Remember, depending on your lifestyle, or the kind of life that you may be accustomed to, you might spend much more than what I shell out every month, or even less (and good for you!).

Also: this doesn’t cover the cost of other things you allocate money to: savings, seasonal expenses (like Christmas or Valentines), travel, other investments or other monthly/annual obligations.  Though it’s always a good idea to set aside a considerable amount for these.

As long as you can live within your means- meaning, spending well within what you actually make- then everything is just fine.

Cheers, everyone!


5 thoughts on “Living Solo: Cost of Living in Metro Manila?

  1. hey alphasensei.

    yeah, i know. never knew how much money i was bleeding until i came up with this blog post. sometimes, ignorance is bliss.


  2. Hello Joseph.

    Help me help you out a bit better.

    Where in Metro Manila do you plan to move? I assume you’ll be doing so for work purposes. Are you based in Makati or Ortigas, perhaps?

    Usually, you’ll still want to look into the Manila Bulletin’s Classified Ads- specifically, the Saturday and Sunday editions. You will still get the better studios there, if you ask me.

    In fact, I’ll be coming up with a follow-up blog entry on the topic, and hopefully we address your concern.

    Thanks for dropping by!

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