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One thing about finding the best countries to retire cheap is making sure you can get the best service that you can. Those annoying issues that you have right now at home can either be better or much much worse in a different country. Getting a maid for example can either be amazing or awful. Here in Cebu labour is cheap. A carpenter makes $10(350 php)a day, while a maid coming by is $4 (120 php) for 2 hours.

A friend of mine here had his fridge stop working and he paid a guy to come by repair it and put in a new part for $70 (2000 php). One cool thing was that he did show up 2 hours after the call though. If you’ve ever had a fridge guy at home come by in less than a day I’d be surprised.The guy didn’t bring any tools though. After the initial consultation he had to run out to get a part. That’s another thing here, they expect you to have what they need. I’ve seen it twice, where handymen show up without even a screwdriver.

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You can also choose how quickly you come. If you’re a foreigner and are willing to pay those foreigner prices you’ll be serviced first. An example of this is when the internet goes down. Just like at home waiting for an internet repair guy is a pain. First you call customer care, then wait a day or two for somebody to (maybe) come by at the scheduled time.

In the Philippines if you can get this guys number and call him directly, skipping the queue, he’ll be there lickitty split for the right price. $3 (100 php) generally does the trick. If you think about it, you can wait around and hope, or by paying someone on the side, no muss no fuss. It’s a great system if you have the cash. Of course you’d think the government or big companies might want to stop this, but that’s life.

I’ve heard you can even tip the police and “pay the fine” right there on the spot. Thinking of even offering money to a cop at home has me cringing, but here it’s doable.

One tip I’ve learned though for any service is to never pay in advance. My friend here told me, labourers  don’t plan that well ahead. One time he paid his maid in advance because he didn’t have change, and the next time she couldn’t show up because she had spent her bus fare 20 cents (7 php) already and had no way of getting to his home!

I hope these tips help readers as you search for the best places to retire. Enjoy!