The real title of this post: How Potatoes Made Me Realise I Need To Increase My Hourly Rate
There’s a misconception that “commodities in Philippines are cheap; therefore Filipinos should be paid less.” What people aren’t taking into consideration are “how cheap?”, “how long do Filipinos work just to be able to afford something?”, and “what standard of living is acceptable?”
The short answer is yes, it’s cheap…if you want to suffer and have a bad standard of living. Many Filipinos work for longs hours just for the sake of being able to buy basic necessities. Travel, gadgets, and other things that might actually be important for you, need years of saving. Or months, if you opt not to eat. Air-conditioner and even vacuum cleaner are considered as status symbols. Heck, even going to cinema can be a luxury already.
Wondering how much I should charge my clients, I did some calculations yesterday. If you still think Filipinos deserve low hourly rate just because they’re in Philippines, think again.
For these calculations, I used the info found on Numbeo.
If you want to have an idea how much a good standard of living in Philippines is, don’t use the average income in Philippines. These calculations actually show an average Filipino is underpaid. There’s a reason why Philippines is ranked low in standard of living lists. You have to wonder how long does it take for someone in a country with good standard of living to be able to afford something, then apply that ratio to commodity prices in PH. Because one of my clients is from Texas, I used that place.
What I did: get the ratio of another country’s commodity price to the average income in that city, then use the commodity price in PH divided by the ratio in that other city. That’s confusing, so just take a look at this computation:
(Prices are in USD)
This means if you’re earning lower than $15.90 per hour, you’re working way too hard just to be able to afford a potato!
Let’s take a look at how much you should earn to be able to afford these other things in Manila, in the same way an average McAllen Texas person can afford them. (Prices for these items in Texas and in Manila are found here.)
- Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant -$8.00 (This is the hourly rate that you NEED to earn.)
- Meal for 2, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – $8.54
- Combo Meal at McDonalds or Similar – $9.35
- Cappuccino (regular) – $10.98
- Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle) – $8.00
- Water (0.33 liter bottle) (This is in restaurants where water is actually mostly free, so I wouldn’t really count this.)- $5.81
- Rice (white), (1kg) – $9.05
- Eggs (12) – $14.79
- Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg) – $15.03
- Water (1.5 liter bottle) (The expensive water!) – $11.96
- Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – $10.01
- Gasoline (1 litre) – $25.13 (Gasoline in ph is actually MORE expensive than in Texas. A totally wtf moment.)
- Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – $17.59
UTILITIES (If you’ll notice here, utilities in Philippines are actually really expensive, thanks to our private companies profiting on the poor.)
- Basic (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – $12.74
- Internet (6 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – $22.08
SPORTS AND LEISURE
- Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult (way more expensive in PH than Texas!!)- $28.38
- Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – $8.42
CLOTHING AND SHOES
- 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar)- $25.57
- 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – $15.99
- 1 Pair of Nike Shoes – $18.23
RENT PER MONTH
- Apartment (1 bedroom)- $11.64
(I used 140 hours of work per month. Freelancers don’t have paid break time, hence, 7 hours x 5 days x 4 weeks = 140 hours)
So how much should you charge if you’re quite skilled, experienced, and want to have the same standard of living of those in Texas?
According to numbeo,
Hence you would need $1,773.93 per month or $12.67 per hour in Manila to “Maintain the same standard of life that you can have with” the average income $2,462.50 in McAllen, Texas.
In conclusion, I work too long just to be able to afford a potato. I need to remedy this.