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A couple in the UK quit their 9-to-5 jobs to move to the Philippines. Now, they have no debt and their monthly utility bills rarely exceed $55 — see how they did it.

Amanda Goh   

A couple in the UK quit their 9-to-5 jobs to move to the Philippines. Now, they have no debt and their monthly utility bills rarely exceed $55 — see how they did it.
  • Adam and Jane Vizor moved to the Philippines with their daughter to lead a slower-paced, debt-free life.
  • They estimate they spent 9 million Philippine pesos, or $158,400, on their house — including land and furniture.

It took Adam and Jane Vizor almost 12 years to fulfill their dreams of moving from Bristol in the UK to a rural town in the Philippines halfway across the world.

The couple, who met in the UK and share a daughter, Isabella, were looking for a lifestyle change: They wanted to get away from the rat race, spend more time outdoors, and live debt-free.

Most importantly, they wanted to be near Jane's family, who lived in Ormoc, a town in Leyte in the Philippines. Leyte is an island in the eastern region of the Philippines, and can be reached by a one-and-a-half-hour flight from the capital, Manila.

"Jane had been in the UK for, at that point, 14 years. She'd been away from her family for so long, missed them, saw them every two or three years if she was lucky," Adam, 46, told Insider. "It was difficult for her to be away, especially since everyone's getting older."

Back then, Adam was working in the banking and finance sector, while Jane was in retail and customer service. The couple had considered moving to a different country with their daughter, but never really got around to it until Jane's sister reached out one day.

At that point, Adam had never traveled to the Philippines before but was open to the idea of living there.

"I'd always had an interest, but because of work and other commitments, I wasn't able to get time off to come over," Adam said. "But Jane always had an interest in investing in the Philippines for the future, and her sister found some land for her."

The Vizors ended up buying an empty plot of land in 2009 for 1 million Philippine pesos, or about $59,800.

The couple planned to build a house from scratch on the empty lot, which measured about 5,380 square feet, Adam said.

Since the couple was based in Bristol, Jane's sister oversaw the transaction, Jane, 39, told Insider: "She's the one who managed all of it, we just sent the money over."

The couple only started constructing the foundations of the house in 2011, but the project was put on hold shortly after as their lives in the UK got in the way.

It wasn't until 2016 that Adam finally set foot in the Philippines — and met Jane's family in person — for the first time.

"They were worried about how I would react to the way they lived there, compared to how it is in the UK and in Western countries," Adam said. "But the reality is, I saw how simple their way of life was, how down-to-earth and friendly everyone was, and it just made me want to move here even more."

With that, the couple decided to resume their construction project.

"That's when we really started again," Adam said. "And then over the years, we added a bit more and a bit more until the point in time where we were ready to finish the house and move over here."

The family of three finally moved to the Philippines in 2021 — almost 12 years since they first bought the plot of land.

Between 2016 and 2021, the Vizors still lived in the UK but flew to the Philippines during the holidays to check on the progress of their house.

They originally planned to finish up the home in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to put their plans on hold.

"We booked travel three times that year, and each time was canceled at the last minute," Adam said. Eventually, they decided they would move to the Philippines as soon as they were allowed to — even though the house was only half-finished.

The couple ended up quitting their jobs to live with Jane's sister in the Philippines in June 2021 — during the last leg of their construction project.

"While we were here, we painted it, we tiled it, we found all the furnishings and fittings in the last three to four months," Adam added. The three of them finally moved into their house in September 2021.

Their 3,230-square-foot house spans two floors, and it was designed with the help of an architect.

The layout of their home has been changed and refined multiple times through the course of their project.

"After we came to see the land, we worked with an architect to create a floor plan to maximize the layout of our house," Adam said. "We thought about what we wanted based on our house in England and based on things we've always wanted to have."

For instance, they saw having their own gym as essential because the couple loved exercising together, he said. Moreover, he added that there weren't that many gyms in the area where they lived either.

The windows and doorways were also laid out in a way that would maximize natural airflow and keep the building cool even without air conditioning.

"We don't have any air conditioners around the house at all. We basically use fans and open the windows," Adam said. "That way we can save on the cost of electricity."

Even though they had a professional crew construct their home, the couple picked up some DIY skills after they moved in.

"The very first day we moved into the house, we had no water at all. The plumber we had didn't fit it correctly, so it all leaked," Adam said.

The couple ended up getting a different plumber in to repair things, but decided that it would be important to learn how to do some easy home DIY fixes to save costs.

"It's hard to find a tradesman here as well sometimes. We look long for certain people to do certain jobs, but sometimes it just gets to the point where you need to try and do it yourself," Adam said.

In all, Adam estimates that they spent 9 million Philippine pesos, or about $158,400, on their entire home.

This amount includes the cost of the land, the cost of building the house, as well as all their furniture, he said.

"An equivalent house in the UK, I would say, probably easily costs a million pounds," Adam added.

The couple has no mortgage since they paid for their house out of pocket, and this was made possible by making sacrifices and watching their expenditure carefully for a few years, he said.

"We cut holidays, we didn't go out to eat too much," Adam said. "We sacrificed probably about five or six years and all the money we had spare, we were putting in savings, or we were putting towards the house."

The family's monthly utility bills in the Philippines rarely exceed $55.

"Because we don't have air conditioning, our energy cost is very manageable," Adam said. "Our most recent bills are just under 2,500 pesos a month. It's actually less than we were paying in the UK just for electricity alone in a much smaller house."

Unlike the UK, they have no heating costs, since the Philippines is a tropical country.

Their water bills come in at an average of 138 Philippine pesos, or $2.43, a month, but could be less depending on their usage. The cost of water in Ormoc — the town where they live — is one of the lowest in the entire country.

The gas that they use for cooking comes from a canister that costs 1,040 Philippine pesos, or $18. Since they change the canister once every two months, the amount that they spend on gas works out to 520 Philippine pesos, or about $9, a month.

But at the end of the day, not having any debt is what makes life in the Philippines that much more affordable.

"Having no loans, mortgages or credit cards or anything at all is the biggest difference by far because there's no stress when it comes to paying the bills," Adam said.

Now, the couple is documenting their life in the Philippines on a YouTube channel.

"We class ourselves as retired at the moment. We were both working when we were in the UK, but we decided to try and retire early and move to the Philippines to live the rest of our lives," Adam said.

Although the couple uploads videos to their Youtube channel regularly, it's still only a hobby.

The Vizors started filming YouTube videos when they were still living in the UK, and it started out as a way for them to document their memories for their daughter and their families.

Back then, YouTube allowed them to show Jane's family what her life in the UK was like, Adam said.

"And then when we moved over here, we did it for my family so they can see how we live here now," he added.

Life in the Philippines is a lot more relaxed, and that means that the couple has more time to spend with their daughter.

Back in the UK, they were both working full-time jobs, and that meant that they only had one day a week to spend together.

Now that they're here in the Philippines, they have more freedom to do the things that they want — including spending time with Jane's family.

A large part of their day is also devoted to tending to the garden, where the family is trying to grow their own food, Adam said.

For Adam, moving from the city to a rural town across the globe has allowed him to feel more connected to others.

"In the city, we were so close to people physically — and it might just be my experience — but we didn't really know anybody in England apart from family. Like people can live on top of each other, but never speak," he said.

But in the Philippines, the community spirit is strong, and he added that people are friendly even to strangers like him.

"I think the world is so fast-moving these days that everyone's got their own problems, their own worries, their own sort of lives going on that they forget to sometimes just to stop and talk to each other," Adam said.

"But coming to a place like this, life is much slower, and people are so much happier," he added.

For those interested in moving to a different country, Adam suggests visiting the place multiple times before committing to the decision.

It's also helpful if the visits are spaced out at different times of the year — when the weather is different — in case they realize they have problems adapting to the climate, Jane said.

"Obviously, don't also just set up on the first piece of land you see, or the first house you see. Find something that suits you, because what one person likes the other might not like," Adam said.

For instance, the couple lives in a slightly rural area, and they love the natural breeze. However, for others, a place like theirs might be a bit too quiet, he added.

Anyone can dream of moving elsewhere, but the most important thing is to have a plan and be prepared to make sacrifices, Adam said.

"It might take you five years, it might take you 10 years, but if you stick to your plan, you will get there," he said.

"Everyone wants to have the latest this, the latest that, or have holidays here and holidays there — which is absolutely fine, but if your ultimate goal is to change your life by moving somewhere, then you need to make sacrifices," he added.