Retire In the Philippines and Live On The Cheap

by Frugal Brian


Every year, millions of Americans venture out abroad to see just what the rest of the world has to offer. Some of them are retired and want to live a better life on what little bit of retirement income they have, while others just want to see and visit the world’s most exciting and mysterious places.

Today, there are more than 1 million Americans living in the Philippines. In a country which is composed of just under 100 million inhabitants, Americans, retirees and vacationers consist of more than 1% of the entire populous of this island nation.

But why would anyone want to move and live in the Philippines? What would motivate someone to venture half-way around the globe?

The Philippines is an island nation which is composed of 7,107 islands; some of which are inhabited and others that are just too small to be inhabited. Because of this reason, no matter where you are in the country, a beach is never too far away. Since the Philippines lies within the Pacific Ring of Fire, there are also many volcanoes across the nation; many of which you can actual visit and witness first-hand.

The cost of living is drastically lower than that of the United States and for a retiree who is living on a set pension, one can truly enjoy their golden years no matter how small their retirement is. However, there are some things to take into account when choosing to move to the Philippines.

1) Don’t Buy In Bulk

While living in the U.S., buying in bulk is a great way to save money. In the Philippines, this concept is the exact opposite. It is almost always cheaper to buy only what you need, when you need it. The first thing anyone will notice when they get here is that everything from shampoo to vinegar is sold in small single use sachets.

2) Live Healthier

Many retirees are enticed by the cheap prices of a bottle of beer and a pack of cigarettes. As a result, many pensioners become alcoholics, regularly found drinking early in the morning at any of the countless neighborhood convenience stores known as sari-sari. You can purchase an entire liter of beer for less than $2 and a pack of cigarettes for less than $0.25.

3) Eat More Vegetables

The cost of meat in the Philippines is often greater than it is back in the U.S. but the cost of vegetables can be substantially less. Sure as an American, the concept of biting into a juicy hamburger can sound enticing, but financially, it can get very expensive.

4) Become Humble

Yes, all of the creature comforts of home can be found in the Philippines, but only at a premium price. Many Americans cannot seem to live without air-conditioning, but the cost of operating a few fans all day long versus the cost of operating an air conditioner for a few hours is a quick way of saving money. The cost of electricity by the kilowatt is roughly the same as it is in the U.S., but most places do not have proper insulation, and even less places have double or triple pane argon-filled windows. With an air conditioner, you can expect electricity bills of more than $100, but when you chose to use fans, your bill can be as low as $20 per month.

Most of all, if it is convenient, it is expensive. To live frugally in the Philippines, you must start cooking your meals every day for yourself; or at least hire someone to do it for you. Cooking at home here is often 1/3 or less the cost of eating out for every meal. You can make a very large bowl of spaghetti for less than $1, but a small meal at McDonalds is still going to cost you $5-$10.

5) Travel like a Filipino

It is not only affordable, but you will meet all sorts of new friends and save a lot of money in the process. A taxi from the airport in Lapu-Lapu City to downtown Cebu City will cost you almost $10, but to take a jeepney, will only cost you $0.50.

The major forms of Filipino transportation are tricycles, jeepneys and ferries. A tricycle is a motorcycle with a sidecar and traveling in one is a unique experience. The drivers often load up their tricycle with as much as 8 people at one time. The jeepny gets its name because they are based on the traditional jeep-style buses that were popularized by U.S. forces in the Philippines from the WWII to Vietnam War era. A small jeepney can transport 12 people, while larger ones can carry up to 30 people. The ferries get you from one island to the next.

6) Just Enjoy Yourself

The Philippines has a lot to offer, but many Americans over-think and as a result become quite irate as some of the simplest things every day. The biggest problem many Americans face is common sense. The assumption is that since the Filipino does not think exactly like the American, that they lack common sense and that when they do something, they do not think about it beforehand. This of course is far from the truth. Always remember that the Philippines is a completely different country and the way things are done are never going to be the way that you are accustomed to back home.

Ready to travel to the Philippines, get travel discounts through Orbitz

When you are ready for your trip to the Philippines look for a Orbitz flight promo code through sites like They offer some discounted orbitz deals to not just the Philippines but other international discounts as well.

When you take the time to enjoy your life here in the Philippines, you will find that choosing to live here is an excellent choice. As for living frugally, it can be done easily as the entire economy is designed for the frugal person. An American, who is married to a Filipino, can have two children, two helpers/nannies in their home and be paying on a 25 year mortgage yet still live comfortably on less than $450 per month.

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