From what I have gathered from many conversations and discussions over the last several years, many people around the world are looking for ways to save money and cut their cost of living expenses. In the Philippines, there are a number of ways you can cut the cost of living and I am not referring to just tightening belts and dropping down in your quality of lifestyle! Rather, I am referring to cutting out waste and utilizing what is around you in this wonderful tropical country!.
I think most who have retired to the Philippines will agree that spending for food is one of their largest expenses here. It is not necessarily because food is expensive, although it can be, but because most of us enjoy eating 3 meals everyday and most of us also enjoy a few snacks in between. Add your wife and add your child or children, if you have, and yes, you will be spending money regularly on food!
Electricity! It is not cheap in the Philippines. Water bills can also be high if you use a lot of water.
Medication can be more expensive in the Philippines unless you buy generic.
If you have a personal vehicle, the cost of fuel is also not cheap in the Philippines. However, I've got some good news! The cost of diesel recently dropped from P49 per liter to P44 per liter. That's great, isn't it?
If you are going to eat imported food everyday, then make sure you have the money to spend because it is going to cost you a lot to eat in the Philippines. There are many nice public markets all around the Philippines that can save you a bundle of money every month. To be completely honest, the pork chops my wife buys in her favorite market are not only a good bit cheaper than sold at SM Supermarket, these chops are tastier, too! The public markets are also teeming with fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood. There are a number of local meat shops that are also cheaper than the supermarkets. We buy most of our pork from Bahama Meat Shop in Bacolod. Pork steak, Brats/English/Italian Sausages, ribs, roasts and cutlets. We save a lot! In our opinion, Bahama has the best pork in Bacolod!
There are a number of local Philippine brands of food that are excellent quality and you are not paying up to 4 times more if you choose an imported item! My advice is to check all the major supermarkets where you live in the Philippines and compare prices, as all imported food items are not as dear as you think. I discovered a few months ago that Libby's Corned Beef is cheaper at SM Supermarket than my brother can buy in Florida at Walmart, by about $1 per can!
I still enjoy some imported food items. This past Sunday, I paid P240 for 4 cans of pinto beans, which are not common in the Philippines. I can prepare a lot of meals with those 4 cans of pinto beans! I made a pot of chili with one can just yesterday. Most of the imported food items that I buy are used in preparing the food I enjoy at home. Lea & Perrins, Louisiana Hot Sauce, HP Sauce, Jalapeno Peppers, Refried Beans, Deli Mustard and similar items.
I also buy Pinoy whenever I can. Magnolia Cheezee Spread, Fita Crackers, Pure Foods Hot Dogs, Pure Foods Deli Ham, Ram Italian Spaghetti Sauce, Fiesta Spaghetti, Mama Sita Buffalo Wings Sauce and a whole lot more. All at substantial savings!
Electricity! There it is again! If you buy an air con, I recommend the split type with the inverter. This type air con will save you a bundle of money. A window unit will eat you alive with the cost. If you build a house with central air, get ready to spend about $1,000 per month if you use it all the time. Or more! Forget about it unless you have money to burn. I would rather use some of my money every month for fun things!
We catch rainwater in large barrels and we have tight fitting lids to help keep the mosquitoes away. We use this water for washing the two taxis in my wife's business, for washing our personal vehicle, for general washing, including washing our dog, Tasha, a Belgian Molinois.
We use XP3 in our family vehicle, an Isuzu Crosswind. We add it to the tank when buying diesel and we get up to 6 kilometers more per liter by using it. Another savings and it only takes a second to put a Tiger in your tank!
There are still a number of other things you can do in the Philippines in cutting your cost of living without cutting your quality of life! The more money you save by cutting out waste will go a long way for more fun activities! It really is fun in the Philippines!