The Cost of Being Mobile

Are you curious what it has cost me to semi-wander, semi-stay put in the Phils while staying in hotels and pensionne houses? Me too.

I’ve been tracking my spending for over 20 years, something I’ve done since getting my first hand me down PC with Lotus 123 installed which coincided with being unemployed. After the first six months here I compared the net difference in my checking accounts to how much spending I recorded and they were within $4 a day with the spending record being the lower one.

These numbers are for January through July. I excluded November and December because those numbers included the higher costs of Luzon and me not knowing the ropes. August I kicked out because it was mostly travel in Thailand. Values are average cost per month in dollars.

Shelter 458
Household 9 Kitchen stuff while in the apartelle
Cell Phone 6
Laundry 16
Mail Forwarding 13
Eating Out 193
Eating In 34
Water 18
Visa Extensions 31
Transport – In Town 28
Transport – Between Towns 5 Buses and Ferries are cheap.
Entertainment 90
Dating 86 I’m not saying they’re not entertaining
Medical 58
Misc. 22



That comes to $1095 a month. Yes, US expats live here on just their Social Security.

It cost me less than I expected. Here are some possible reasons.

I lived in a cheap apartelle for a while. Most guys use hotels and pensionne houses while finding a place to rent.

As cheap as beer and rum are here, my not being much of a drinker helped lower the entertainment cost.

It didn’t take very long to confirm what I’d read in the expat forums about dating. There has been no shortage of semi-good (or is that semi-bad) girls who were ready, willing and able to make my life more comfortable if I increased the standard of living of her and her family. My expenses reflect that I have yet to take one up on that offer.

I spent less money in restaurants, probably because I find places that I like that do not cater to foreigners. Seems that one of the things most guys miss the most is western food and they pay the big bucks for steaks imported from New Zealand and US packaged foods like Oreos and Hagen Daz. That may also explain why I lost 10 pounds since I left the US. Gained it all back in Thailand. I think that was because of the big, cheap western breakfasts available everywhere.

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