How to Afford Living Independently in Metro Manila

Living in Metro Manila certainly has its fair share of challenges, especially for those who live alone. Being the only one to deal with monthly bills and other necessities can make it seem like living comfortably and achieving financial wellness are both close to impossible tasks. But, even if things get overwhelming, know that there are steps you can take to improve your lifestyle.  

Regardless if you plan to move to Manila or have been living here for quite some time, we’ve got some financial tips that you can start applying today. Matching these actionable pointers with the right amount of planning and discipline won’t just improve the quality of your daily life; it will also pave the way for a brighter future.


The ideal home depends on several factors, such as excellent amenities, distance from work, and neighboring establishments. Even though prices vary depending on elements such as your preferred unit’s location and developer, the average cost will give you a good idea of how much the monthly rental in Metro Manila costs. 

Rental type

Average Monthly Cost

Studio or 1-bedroom apartment in the city center P15,000–P60,000
Studio or 1-bedroom apartment outside of city center P7,000–P24,000
Condominium-sharing P5,000–P8,000
Bedspace P2,000–P4,000

Source: Numbeo

There are little ways to lower your rent expense once you’ve moved in; however, there are many things under your control that can help you find a good deal. Before you formally agree to any contract, here are some tips to help you lower your monthly rental costs.

  • Don’t rush into your next apartment. It may take you a while to search for a nice unit, but you’ll eventually find a reasonably affordable one with the right amount of effort. Take the time to practice your negotiation skills, as well. 
  • When searching for an apartment, the unit must not exceed 1/3 of your monthly income amount.
  • Find the right balance between affordability and accessibility. A unit farther from the city may be cheaper, but you may spend a lot of time and money on your commute. A unit closer to your office’s location may have a high rental fee. Once you’ve gathered your options, doing a little math will help you find the best place.
  • Look for a roommate or two. Moving in with the right person can lower your rental and utility expenses. 

Looking for the living space that will match your needs is another topic on its own, but everything starts by seeing things through your financial capabilities. In case you need some assistance, acquiring a loan from a credible financial institution or a credit finance app can help you soften the blow. 

Utility Bills

Your monthly utility bills include electricity, water, and communication expenses. To help you get a clear picture of the average cost of each utility per month, take a look at the following breakdown. 

Utility Bills

Average Monthly Cost

Electricity P1,500–P3,000
Water P200–P400
Communication (Internet and Phone) P1,800–P2,700


Take note that the figures listed above may vary on several different factors, though these estimates can still serve as a guide to help you plan your expenses accordingly. Here are five things you can do to lessen your bills.  

  • Invest in energy-efficient appliances. LED TVs, air-conditioning units, and refrigerators that are using inverter technology can trim down your electricity bills significantly.
  • When taking a bath, use a bucket and pail instead of the shower. If you don’t mind cold baths, turning the heater off can make a big difference, too.
  • Make it a habit to pay your phone and internet bills earlier than the due date. Paying on time will help you avoid unnecessary penalty fees.

If you want more advice, take a look at this article: 6 Tips Para Makatipid sa Household Bills 


Your monthly spending on food can be trimmed down significantly if you eat at home. However, this doesn’t mean that abstaining from restaurants is an all-in-one solution. Everybody has different spending habits when it comes to the grocery, and the amount of each shopping cart you bring home can depend on several different circumstances, such as food and market price. 

Here’s a price list of common grocery items:

Common Grocery Items

Price Range

Rice (1kg) P45–P80
Chicken (1kg) P120–P260
Beef (1kg) P200–P450
Pork (1kg) P140–P210
Water (1.5l) P25–P60
Milk (1l) P70–P120
Lettuce (1 kg) P30–P130
Apples (1kg) P90–P200
Potato (1kg) P50–P100
Banana (1kg) P40–P120


Other than the food, you’ll also need to consider necessities like soap, cleaning detergents, and other household items. Here are some things to keep in mind the next time you visit the supermarket.  

  • Take note of the things you have at home before you head out. Having a shopping list and sticking to it will prevent unnecessary spending. Plus, knowing which food you still have in your refrigerator will help minimize spoilage. Otherwise, you’ll have more expenses on pest control if you attract pests inside your home. 
  • Never go to the grocery on an empty stomach. Seeing all those food options can make you crave for a lot of things and cause you to buy impulsively.
  • If the items you need can wait, hold off buying them. Purchase them when there’s a sale. You may even end up getting them for 50% off, or find a Buy 1 Take one promo.

Looking to trim down your grocery expenses further? Read this article for more tipid tips: 10 Tips Para Makatipid sa Groceries


Commuting in Metro Manila is not getting any cheaper. Whether you’re going to work or a friend’s house, you’ll need to find ways to minimize your transportation expenses. Here are the different transportation options in Metro Manila and how much they can cost you.

Transportation Types

Average Cost

PUJs P9–12
Taxi P45 base fair (P7–20 per km)
Grab P60 base fair (P13–19 per km)
Train P12–P30
Bus P10–P20
P2P Bus P80–P100
Gas for Personal Vehicle P50–P55 per liter

Owning a car will make things a lot more convenient. However, you need to consider the costs that come with it, as well. Apart from your monthly downpayment, you’ll need to factor in gas, daily parking fees, toll, insurance, registration, and periodic maintenance checks. Opting for public transportation is a lot cheaper, but there are times when it can be inconvenient due to long lines and the complications of rush hour. To help you minimize your expenses without sacrificing comfort, here are some things you can do.

  • Look for a carpool buddy. If you have a friend who lives in the same area, riding to work together can save you a lot on gas. 
  • Travel during downtime. Rush hour in the morning starts around 6:30 a.m., and peaks around 8:00 a.m. Noon and evening rush hours, meanwhile, start around 4:30 p.m. and peak at 7:00 p.m. Avoid traveling at these hours to avoid surges.
  • If the place you’re going to is just a kilometer or two away, consider walking or taking a jeep. 

Live Independently with Maximum Comfort

Being completely dependent has its difficulties. Hopefully, with these tips at the top of your mind, you can increase the quality of your life while taking bigger steps towards financial wellness. In case you need more financial tips, check our other articles on the Cashalo blog. 

Need to pay for something ASAP? Want to avail of a loan? Download our credit finance app to handle your emergency cash needs with ease.