How much money must I save for a month in SEA?!

I think the definite answer would be a lot. And with it comes certain sacrifices as well. Hmmm, maybe sacrifice is too harsh a word. How about deprivation? Do you think this works better? haha. Anyway, I guess it just means the same thing no matter which way I put it: Something’s gotta give.

Earn more = Spend less.

Live simply and frugally now = Have a freaking awesome time later.

Deprive myself of some luxuries and caprices for three months = Live an adventure of a lifetime for one.

Seems like my equations are correct. If and only if I can make it work that is. So, the first thing I would have to do now is to set my target.


My Passport and SEA currencies (PHP, SGD, RM, VND, KHR) plus USD in bills and coins

The guy from Flipnomad (sorry, I don’t know your name Sir!) told me that I can survive comfortably with just USD10-15 a day. This already includes food, drinks and accommodation. From my experience in my 4-day trip in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (I’ll make a post about this one soon, as I had my moment with my Starbucks 2010 planner turned into a “memoir datebook” where I kept receipts, tickets and pictures from our trip), living on a $10-15 budget was impossible.

BUT, since he is a “seasoned” backpacker already, what he’s saying is probably true. If I would be more pa-sosyal than him, let’s say it would be $15-20 per day for me. Multiply that to 28 days and tada! I must have $420-560 ready. And this does not include all the souvenir items and does not cover the transportation yet. Well, I can’t compute for that now since I still don’t know which way I’m going and what transportation means I would be taking.

What is definite for now is that I already paid for my ticket from Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Vietnam to Manila via CebuPacific when they had a zero fare sale. It was already billed in the last credit card statement that I paid for. I bought it in dollars (as I did not take the conversion of payment offered by CebuPac since I thought their exchange rate was higher) and it cost me $43. But I still paid for it in peso (converted by EastWest) with a lower price than CebuPac’s conversion (so my conversion math was a bit right. hehe).

My latest CebuPacific flight to Cebu in January

And just last Sunday, I booked for my outbound flight from what I can refer to as “international budget airlines airport” DMIA (Diosdado Macapagal International Airport), in Clark to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (Sabah/Borneo Side). This one costs P1270 (P1150 for fare and all-in taxes and surcharges plus P120 convenience fee). It’s definitely a lot cheaper than the prevailing price for CebuPac’s go lite even if they had the P499 sale to KK as those hole-in-the-pocket surcharges, taxes and fees are still added.

By the way, my outbound ticket doesn’t have a baggage allowance (so byebye umbrella and tripod–maybe I’ll get it in KK!). I only purchased a 15kg luggage allowance  on my return flight (worth $9) since I’m expecting to collect a lot of stuff from the countries to be visited.

Anyway, back to the topic. I think I would be spending about $200-300 on souvenir stuff alone (blame me for being a hoarder. haha). And then, I’d probably be spending about $300-400 on intercity/inter-country transportation. Given this (and except for the tickets I have already paid for), I am already between, ho-my-God!! I should have anywhere between $920-1260 in three months if I want to make this happen!

Hmmm. Can I make it?! Let’s see. I already have $140 ($100 as leftover from Sg-KL trip and $20 each from Lola and Tita Mel for my birthday). So that’s a good start right?! Hehe. 🙂 And then I plan to buy $100 each payday from my bosses (since their salaries are in USD). If I can keep that up, I’d have $600 by the end of September plus the $140 I have now, that would be $740. And my mom said she bought $200 from a friend. If I can get enough peso to buy that, I would have $940. And I’m in the inner circle already! Yey!

But then again, this is if I can earn all of it. Hell. I shouldn’t be thinking IF. So forget that. I CAN EARN ALL OF IT. So help me God! 🙂


3 thoughts on “How much money must I save for a month in SEA?!”

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