BGC Living Expenses (Rough Estimate)

Man, I don’t think I’ve published a monthly expenses report in years! Truth is, we all know that spending habits are highly variable, and they will fluctuate tremendously from one person to the next. As such, the primary focus on this blog up to now has been to try and figure out a way to generate a lot more offensive firepower.

Of course, when it comes to early FI, we still need passive income/cash flow > expenses, or in other words:

Inflow > Outflow


Ideally, speaking:

Inflow >>>>>>> Outflow


Anyway, there’s a lot of nuances and different strategies an early FI enthusiast can employ to better stretch their $$$ as much as possible, and one thing that I’ve been trying to maximize over the last few years is the concept of Geographic Arbitrage.

Again, I’m a person who is just way, way, way more fixated on trying to find shortcuts to early FI via offensive means (whether through massive asset price appreciation or lots of cash flow coming in from sound investments), but still, you can’t be all offense and zero defense, either.

It’s a combination of the two, and if you can figure out a way to “master” both, offense and defense, you’re gonna be someone who is destined to achieve early FI.

With expenses, I really do believe that Geographic Arbitrage helps immensely (don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it!), and as unpopular a strategy as it might be to uproot yourself from your own home country and live somewhere entirely else, in this day and age where it’s fucking insanely tough to make it in this world, I think lots of millennials are opening up their eyes readily and realizing that this type of stuff is becoming more the norm than the abnorm.

Let’s be real folks — To get to early FI, likely, a lot of “sacrifices” will have to be made.

Just speaking for myself, I never expected to achieve “baller status” with my version of early FI utopia. Nah, I just wanted a “comfortable life” where I got to control my time, do what I wanted, and still enjoy some of the basic pleasures of life…

Like, being able to go to cafes regularly…

Own some decent furniture…

Eat out at a reasonably priced restaurant every now and then…

Maybe not quite every single meal, but enough to satiate any cravings…

Take a nice HOT rainfall shower (omggg so amazing!)…

Again, nothing too extremely extravagant going on here, just really basic, good living. I mean all things considered, this type of lifestyle still probably ranks better than, I dunno, 90% of what the world’s population gets to experience on a regular basis?!?

No complaints from me…

So, like always, it’s all relative, and it’s best to operate and go about things with a heightened sense of appreciation and gratitude!!

OK, with all that said, here’s roughly what spending might look like for a typical guy to live in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Manila.

Survey says — Just shy of $900 USD/month ought to take care of everything…

Please keep in mind, the living expenses above don’t account for rent-related stuff (rent, electricity, non-drinking water, internet, etc.)…

Also, it’s worth noting that BGC isn’t “cheap” by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, lots of stuff here costs more than it does back in California (e.g. furniture, appliances, anything imported from the West, really)…

~$28 USD for twelve rolls of 2 ply paper towels from the states?!?!

Are you freekin mad!?!

No way, Jose!

I’ll stick to the local brand, thanks… ~$2.18 USD for two rolls of 2 ply paper towels translates to $13.08 USD for twelve rolls…

The imported brand gives you more sheets, you say? Ok, then buy another two pack and let’s make it fourteen rolls… Still, it’ll only set you back $15.26 USD (much cheaper, still to stick to the local stuff)…

Worth noting, from personal experience — The local Sanicare paper towels are HIGH QUALITY and much better than the Kirkland stuff (not to mention ~1/2 the price!)…


But I digress.



Still, nonetheless, it’s still very possible for someone to get to early FI and maximize life here, in BGC, on a relatively low budget, all things considered.


Seriously, I’m sure there’s peeps back home from California reading this and they be like, “Damn dude, I spend more than that on my association dues alone each month! WTF!!!


Yeah, there’s a good reason why I’m NOT in California anymore… 😉


And hey, if BGC is too pricey for your blood, it’s all good, there are plenty of places even staying within the Philippines that are way, way cheaper than BGC, such as:

  • Mandaluyong
  • Iloilo
  • Cebu
  • Bacolod
  • Etc.


I’m in BGC b/c I’ve got this crazy insane affinity for: really shiny, clean, safe, modern metropolitan cities… Different strokes for different folks, so find what works best for you!


Fight On!

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1 year ago

Cheers Jay, thanks so much for that post! 🙂

Our lifestyles I expect will be pretty similar, so you’ve reassured me that my numbers will work. My plan is to pull the trigger in December, all that is left now is to get my primary residence rental ready and to add a bit more to my emergency fund. I’m super excited as you can imagine! I’ll buy you a drink in BGC! 🙂