The Philippines is considered one of the most beautiful countries in Asia, making it one of the growing popular destinations for expats and retirees.
But like every other place, it has its own unique challenges that can make living here very difficult for some people. One of the ways to rise above these potential issues is learning how to afford living here.
1. Live within Your Means
Many people prefer to immigrate to or retire in the Philippines because the cost of living is cheap. However, even if you can afford a lot, you will still find yourself in a tight bind if you don’t know how to live within your means.
Learn to control your expenses, especially if you’re new here and trying to figure out how far your money can go. Some excellent ideas include eating at home. You can also bring packed lunches to work. You shouldn’t feel too alien for doing this as many Filipinos do the same thing.
Create a budget and track your expenses. If you don’t know how to do this, ask someone who knows how to use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Try setting up an auto-debit account with your bank so that you can build good savings habits.
2. Choose Where You Live Properly
Often, people will advise you to live where properties are more affordable. However, it depends on what you need.
For example, Manila is one of the priciest capitals in Southeast Asia. But living in its cities can place you significantly closer to offices, leisure centers, and other essential amenities such as hospitals. In turn, you can still save on transport and enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle.
Moreover, you can be strategic and look for budget-friendly properties like a condo for sale in Makati. Usually, this property already includes public facilities like elevators, drainage systems, or even a swimming pool. Some may even have commercial spaces below, where you can shop, dine, or set up a business.
3. Think Like a Resident
If you want to avoid tourist traps, then you need to stop thinking like a tourist. Instead, observe how Filipinos live. Where do they go to eat? How do they shop? What modes of transport do they use?
When you pay more attention to how they behave, you will discover that most Filipinos do not eat out often. They usually cook their food at home and take it with them if they go somewhere. As such, mall corridors are for leisure and shopping, while jeepneys and buses provide the means to get around cheaply.
4. Live Near Your Workplace
Most cities in the Philippines are not very walkable. Thus, you’ll need to live near your workplace so that you can commute conveniently and eliminate wasted time and effort.
If you don’t own a car, then opt to live in a place that is near a train station or bus terminal. You can also commute by riding a tricycle – this is the cheapest mode of transportation in most cities. Of course, living closer to your workplace will result in more expensive rent. However, it’s still cheaper than the price of your time.
5. Budget for Taxes, Visa Fees, and Other Expenses
Living in the Philippines has its costs – even if you are an expat or retiree. For example, healthcare can become expensive. You can also find yourself paying for utility bills.
If you’re still in your working years, then you will have to pay taxes on your income. As such, it’s important that you factor these costs into your budgeting process. You may also need to apply for a resident visa or work permit if you want to stay here long-term.
Living in the Philippines is more affordable than living elsewhere. However, you need to be flexible with your expectations since it’s also cheaper to live here for a reason.
For example, you may need to upgrade the quality of certain products or services. You can’t expect everything to be as efficient or modern as it would be in your home country – that’s just being realistic.
7. Leverage on the Digital Economy
A lot of Filipinos now resort to online shopping, especially if they need to buy more affordable products from abroad. In fact, this is a great option for those who are looking for furniture and appliances for their homes.
Furthermore, you can also look for job opportunities online. In fact, some companies might even require less from you compared to what they would back home. In many ways, the digital economy can help you achieve financial freedom.
For a foreigner, living in the Philippines is easy once you get to know it better. You just need to think like a local and look for ways to make your money go further.