Sending Money/Girlfriend Allowance

I am new to the forum and this is my first post.  I would like to thank all of the active members who have provided a wealth of information in pasts discussions.  I hope to get to know many of you who are currently living in the Visayas. 

Like many of the members of this community I long hoped to retire to the Philippines when I finished my US career.  After some serious deliberation I made the big leap a few months ago when I took the initial steps of relocating to Cebu.  I spent a few months getting a feel for the city earlier this year before making the final move this October/November.

I had the good fortune of meeting an interesting girl from Cagayan.   I would like to provide some financial assistance to cover basic living expenses for her and her 9 year old daughter for the next couple of months when I am in the US.    She lives with a relative for free but needs to cover her own expenses including food, school costs for her daughter, transportation and cellular load so that we can communicate.

Does anyone have experience dealing with a similar situation?  If so how did it work out?  What kind of budget would suffice to provide a comfortable living situation given that she already has a room provided?   

Any other thoughts or advice?

Thank you

I am a veteran when it comes to sending allowances.

I would say where she is and with a daughter, P 15000 a month would be a pretty good amount.  A bit less and she will be asking for additional stuff. A bit more and she will be wasting it.

Generally, I found that for single mothers in provincial cities, either way you twist it, it comes to USD 300 a month.

Any other thoughts?

Yes, it appears that sending by is the cheapest way. 

Also, you should stick to a specific date as far as sending the money. Say, just send it the way a paycheck is sent out- on the last days of the month. 

Teach her to budget if she does not know how. Because their tendency is to overspend and then, they start asking for an advance. A big mess.

Do not send USD 600 or 900 for the next 2-3 months thinking that now you don't have to worry about sending money for the upcoming months. She will just end up spending it all in one month.

But before you set up this amount, talk to her on Skype or FB and make sure she calculates all her needs and that is the amount which is sufficient.

Tambok, Thank you for the quick and thoughtful response.  I requested a detailed budget from her and it comes in at almost exactly $300 US/month.  I was thinking about setting up recurring weekly transfers to ensure that she doesn't spend it all in a week or two, I recognize that this will not help teach her to live on a budget but I would prefer to defer this project to a future date.

Kimo Kiting wrote:

Tambok, Thank you for the quick and thoughtful response.  I requested a detailed budget from her and it comes in at almost exactly $300 US/month.  I was thinking about setting up recurring weekly transfers to ensure that she doesn't spend it all in a week or two, I recognize that this will not help teach her to live on a budget but I would prefer to defer this project to a future date.

This is a good idea, but the fees will eat into it big time.  Maybe, biweekly would be better.

I am aware of one company:

that allows you to have a standing order to send money to a person and you can schedule it to be withdrawn automatically.  Some $8 per remittance. With it is 3.99. Not sure if you can have a standing order with those.

If she has a bank account, it would be great. But they all require that she has some minimum maintained as well as to set it up.

And so it begins.....expect emergencies that require money. It will never be enough. What would she do if she didn't meet you? Get a job?

She can work and make P 3000 a month. 57 dollars? Get her some insurance and hedge her.

Call centers pay 60,000+ pesos per month if she has English, etc. skills.

Really? In Cagayan de Oro?

Nah, more like 15,000 a month minus tax. Those jobs paying 60,000 a month are exceptions to the rule. They exist somewhere in Manila, but not numerous.

if she were working as a yaya or housekeeper she would get max of 6000 a month. If she kicks in 1500 where she stays that would be happily accepted (im guessing).

So the numbers you mentioned are more than generous.

The Best thing is test her, ask her how much she needs?

I have lived here for 4 years and find the following:

I am not sure about her daughters school fees (it will depend what grade her daughter is in)  - but a quick google search will answer that, however remember she will not be lying to you if she says there are extras, the schools charge a base rate and then add on extra's for printing, activities etc etc, so expect to pay and extra 70% (of the school fees) for these thing.

- Food for her and her daughter PHP 150
- Transport cost around the city PHP 20 (a trike cost about 8php per one shared ride per person)
- General living cost PHP 20
- She may have to pay for electricity, and water for her accommodation (I do understand that she gets free board)
- Phone with load for internet can cost around 50php per day (if she gets a paid in advance (pre paid) it will be cheaper - jump on and google Smart (telecommunication company here) and that will show you the prices.
She may also ask you for family support - I budget about 3,000php per month (some expats will pay more and some less)

In the end she can life here with her daughter (not counting school fees) for about 200 to 250php per day.

Use this as a gauge: The wage for a nurse here is about 25,000 php a month (that is a good wage) this is considered a good job, unskilled worker will live on and support his/her family on about (10,000 to 15,000php per month)

But test that she is not scamming you and ask her to tell you how much she needs first, get her to itemise it (this will be new to her because Filipino's don't general don't know how to budget.

there is a good forum called

with thousands of people living in the PH

also a FB group called Foreigners in Cebu

The former is kind of tricky to post. You need to answer some posts before you can post. the latter is easier to post in.

There are thousands of men on those with GF's/wives there and they have been thru all this.

You can get a 2nd/3d/4th opinion on those.

Kimo Kiting wrote:

Tambok, Thank you for the quick and thoughtful response.  I requested a detailed budget from her and it comes in at almost exactly $300 US/month.  I was thinking about setting up recurring weekly transfers to ensure that she doesn't spend it all in a week or two, I recognize that this will not help teach her to live on a budget but I would prefer to defer this project to a future date.

$300 USD a month sound pretty close to the mark.  Sound like you have a good GF there.  As many of us do.  Unfortunately many have come undone.  But $300 USD a month is a fare amount and as she prepared the budgeted amount sounds like she is a nice GF.

Unfortunately this is why the Philippines will continue being a 3rd World Country. Why work when you can sit around and count on money from OFW's or foreigners instead of getting a job?

For all who replied, thank you for your time and your advice, I truly appreciate it.

To share a bit of the backstory; I am not really sure that she is a good girl but we have a lot of fun when we are together and I am looking forward to having someone waiting for me upon my return. 

She has intermittent employment in a family business and has been looking for a full-time opportunity.  However, I really enjoy keeping her with me and having the freedom to travel around the Philippines together so I prefer that she remains underemployed for the time being. 

Thank you for the recommendations on additional forums, I will plan to join those as well.  I have found making expat friendships to be somewhat challenging, I enjoy having some beers but don't really enjoy the Go Go Bars.
Can anyone recommend any active expat meet up groups in Cebu?

Thanks again for your time!!


If you are willing to help her and her child, a basic of 15,000 peso will be good enough but you must make it clear that you are supporting her and her kid only. Anything beyond is the limit.

Sad to say this, but when you get involved with her, means that you are going to get involved with her relatives too.

Then that's where the burden comes in. So be prepared, I have been married to one for the last 11 years and I thank god I managed to put my foot down and stand firm.

Your girlfriend comes from  Cagayan?   And before she met you, what allowance did she have for school fees and food etc.?  Most likely, a number closer to zero, while her relatives helped out financially as needed,  and she undertook chores around the house. 
I have been in and seen my friends in similar situations.  My suggestion is to reduce the amount to about 8 to 10,000 pesos per month and have her justify any additional amount.   Even that is very generous.
Do not expect your sweet Filipina to put together a budget.  She has never thought about or prepared a budget in her life!
Furthermore, to ask her how many pesos she needs ????   is like connecting a pipe from your bank account to hers....

As I said, expect emergencies that require money. It will never be enough. What would she do if she didn't meet you? Get a job? What did she do for money before she met you? Once she gets on your money train her family will pressure her for more. Foreigners and OFW's are enablers of future poverty because they take away the incentive to work. Why work when you can count on money coming in from foreigners and OFW's?  And guess what? It won't be long until she figures out what Filipinas call MMMM.....I forget what the words are in Tagalog, but the translation is More Men = More don't think you will be "The only one". Good luck.

Right you are.
Send NO more than $100 a month. Otherwise, whatever you think, you're simply paying for her boyfriend's beer and cigarettes.

I send my gf there 100 pounds a month that equals 6500 pesos she also works for 2000 pesos a month so its plenty,she has never pressured me for any money but shes happy what I send her

A wise man.

I send only 5000php, per month, pays for wifi, load, rice for family, diapers for grandma, i think a great deal, i stay with the family a few days each time i visit, i must , i love their cooking!,but i did pay for cousin school when father was hurt at work, 10php per day, i think im getting a deal, im building a small house near family soon

Many Filipinas have multiple foreigners sending money to them.
I would suggest waiting until you are in the Philippines and living together to start supporting her and her son.  She may also ask you to send support to her family.  Please be sure that she is not married.  (Certificate of Singleness).

If you wish to send support 4,000 - 5, 000 pesos per month should be sufficient. 
Cellphone service, (Globe, Smart, and Sun), is prepaid 300 -500 pesos per month is sufficient.  (My cost when there is 400 pesos per month.)  A sack of rice is about 1800 - 2000 pesos, 50 kg.  A sack should last 1+ month depending on the family size.   Vegetables, fish and meats are sold per kilo, (2.2 pounds).  Filipinos eat mostly rice, vegetables, (fish, chicken and pork).  The only school cost is for supplies and projects.  Largest school costs are at the start of school,  (June - March).  Private schools are about 10,000 pesos per semester.

Do you plan to rent or buy in Cebu ?
Check out Philhealth if you will retire there.
I live in Bohol when I am in the Philippines.

I would like to thank everyone for the continuing input, it has been extremely helpful.

Based on all of the feedback received I decided to try a weekly remittance with a requirement to log expenses and keep a running balance of available cash.   This has been marginally successful with frequent reminders on my part.   I am glad that this a temporary situation, I wouldn't be willing to do this on any type of routine basis.


I am planning on renting initially but would be open to purchasing a condo in the near future once I am more confident on selecting a long term location.

And hopefully, you might begin with an amount of about $25.00 US per week !

  Good luck !

Take a look at the market before you go.

Also check out Wells Fargo Bank, (expresssend) … nces/asia/

Send the bare minimum if you feel you must send anything and make sure you are not paying for her other boyfriends beer and cigarettes.

I forgot to include what FortuneFavorsTheBold  just mentioned

Let us know in a few months who it is going....


i tried to explain that i would send her money only after seeing receipts, you thought i killed her dog, ,so now i pay for certain things like wifi, and phone, and she shows me receipts, for what she spends her allowance on, she is happy, i don't send as much

that is a great idea, but watch your cost to send,

Hi Kimo,
I send money every month to my wife's sister, because she takes care of my daughter. I send 10,000 peso a month, and there are three people. The allowance includes:

1. Rent
3. School allowance
4. Transportation

You are sending 15,000 peso for just two persons? You need to recheck that



I asked my girlfriend how much it would cost for us to live, including her two young daughters.  She said $300/month.  Of course, that's not the way I would be comfortable living, and she's a lot more frugal than I am.  I didn't inquire as to whether that would include indoor plumbing.

We rent a nice 2-bedroom 1 bathroom condo in Davao with ocean view and pool, $500/month plus around $100/$150 for utilities (not sure of the exact amount yet).  Food is about $8/day if we don't go to restaurants at SM, and I eat more than the other three combined :).  This is essentially upper-class living, not like your girl.

I send money from US via Wells Fargo ExpressSend (mentioned above) for $4/transaction and a better exchange rate than I've seen with others.

If you're not sure your girl is a "good girl," than the cautions mentioned above should be taken seriously.  "Not good girl" Filipinas are skilled at getting money from foreigners and are not what they appear to be. I've been around enough to know. Of course they're fun to be with. I've had fun with many and had a few serious girlfriends before I met my current one, now fiancee.  But this one is the first that's really a keeper.

Be careful.

I met one a about 2.5 years ago .. she never asked for anything .. she has a son of 9 and she says the father is not involved at all in his life.. I had her set up a bank account and she now has all her government id's and both visas .. she sends me a ton of pics .. after about a year and half i decided to start helping her out. I send about 400 to 500 usd a month and now i see pics of them eating well and her son has 2 new pair of shoes and some legos to play with .. im headed there to meet here in late august.. im not really worried of being scammed , i just enjoy seeing that im helping them out ..

I myself have had a couple of girl friends. The first one ask me for money right off the bat and i was questioning whether or not she was liget .  That relationship lasted about 2 months  didnt send a lot of money and then i met my FEANCIEE  ad she has never ask me for money i am going there to live in july and looking forward to spending the rest of my life with her there.  Great posts

Thank you

4 or 5 hundred USD a month, she is a Queen, most people that I know in the Philippines, earn less than 150 usd,,and live comfortably, with less

My heavens!    400 to 500 US per month ??  That is P 25,000 per month!  And all she can show is some food,  legos and 2 new pairs of shoes??
That is enough money to feed her parents, grandparents,  sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles including their kids 3 square meals a day !

We support my wife's family.  I was sending my wife about 40,000 peso's a month to support her and our son.  Some things, like electronics are very expensive because they are imported.  Other things not so much, the rent on the apartment is about $175.  If you eat at a mall, you're going to spend a lot for foreign food so I would suggest you two work on a budget together.   Now I'm sending the family 10,000 peso a month,   When we move back there, mom will live with us.  Her sister and brother if they want to live with us, I will ask them to help with the bills.