There is no doubt that everybody is just trying to do the best they can when it comes to the cost of living these days. It seems like absolutely nothing is cost-effective. Every trip to the grocery store is likely to have you reeling when you go to pay for your purchases. The same is true with practically everything else you might need on a daily basis. Factor in major costs like housing and utilities, and you're likely to find yourself looking for more than a few total strangers to share expenses with, all so you can actually keep a roof over your head. It might also have you doing something else- looking for somewhere else to live that isn’t so expensive.
Below are the 20 cheapest places in the world to live. Even if you’ve never so much as entertained the thought of moving in the past, the current financial market might have you rethinking things. If that’s the case, here are the best places to start looking for a new place. The cost of living listed is calculated based on typically monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment, utilities and the average cost of meals for 30 days.
20. Philippines ($930)
Many people think that this is an area where you can spend a small fortune. To a certain extent, that is true, but only if you show up unprepared. As it turns out, this is one of the most economical places to live in the entire world. You just have to know how to avoid expensive tourist traps and deal with finding an effective (and cheap) means of getting from one location to the next. Like any other place in the world, this one comes with its fair share of challenges. Once you get things figured out, you can genuinely enjoy life, live in a decent apartment and eat well for less then $1,000 a month.
19. Ecuador ($915)
This country has a lot going for it. For starters, they have some of the best healthcare you’ll ever find. What if you’ve always lived in the United States but have also always struggled to have any form of healthcare because it’s prohibitively expensive? This might be your answer. That’s because they don’t feel like keeping people healthy should be a money-making endeavor. Instead, it’s a humanitarian effort. They also have amazing weather year-round. You can live there affordably, even if you want to live right on the beach.
18. Indonesia ($900)
Maybe you’ve always had a desire to experience everything that Asian culture has to offer. If that’s the case, you might want to consider moving to Jakarta. Of course, you can also enjoy the beachy lifestyle in Bali. After all, there is a reason this is one of the most popular tourist destinations available. It just so happens that it’s also one of the most economical places to live in the whole world.
17. Malaysia ($850)
This beautiful country has so much going for it. For starters, it’s breathtaking, especially in the major cities. They also have an extensive infrastructure, one that is well supported in cities as well as outlying areas. If you’re looking for beauty, fun things to do and a country that can meet your basic needs, this is the place to be. The best part is that it won’t cost you a lot of money to enjoy it all.
16. Portugal ($750)
You won’t likely notice a big difference in the infrastructure or in the way the country operates, especially if you’re moving there from the US or the UK. The thing you will notice is the stunning beauty this country has to offer. It’s also a place where you can live for little money. Even if you tend to splurge a lot, it’s not likely to put a major dent in your bank account.
15. Poland ($700)
Go to Krakow or Warsaw and you’ll have everything you’ve ever known in places like the United States. The thing that makes it so appealing is that it literally costs you about half as much here as it would in even the cheapest US city. There are also plentiful jobs to go around. Just in case you’re worried about packing up, moving to a different country and then finding a job, you don’t need to be here. You can even move there and work without a visa.
14. Thailand ($600)
Thailand has some of the best food you’ll ever eat. They also have beautiful beaches, clean water and a rich culture that will leave you wanting more. You can live there (and truly enjoy your life) for next to nothing. Even if you live right on the beach, it’s still cheaper than most of the supposedly “cheap” housing in the United States. There are loads of teaching and hospitality jobs available, too.
13. Turkey ($447)
Not everyone likes the idea of moving to Turkey, but it just might be one of the best decisions you ever make. There is plenty to do and see there. They have some of the most magnificent architecture of any location in the entire world. They also have a vibrant night life and there are plenty of jobs to go around. As you can see, a dollar stretches a long way here, so you can get a lot more than you can in many other places.
12. Peru ($450)
Peru has great food, wonderful music and rich culture. They also have some of the most breathtaking nature of any place in the world. Imagine what it must be like to live here, have enough money to afford a nice house, delicious food, and all the other amenities that make life more comfortable. Now imagine being able to do all that and spend a day hiking to place like Machu Picchu. It doesn’t get much better than that.
11. Nepal ($439)
Maybe you’re not really into living in places where the heat is more common than anything else. If that’s the case, then you might want to consider moving to Nepal. You won’t be able to climb Everest unless you fork over tens of thousands of dollars, but you can certainly climb other mountains and go hiking through the countryside. If cities are more your thing, that’s okay, too. There is the vibrant city life in Kathmandu. You can also visit gorgeous caves and even watch movies in the jungle.
10. Syria ($435)
It doesn’t matter if you choose to live in Aleppo, Bosra or Damascus, there is always something fun to do here. Enjoy shopping through the local markets, eating authentic street food, or listening to music that is native to the area. You can live and work in close proximity, effectively cutting down on both travel time and costs.
9. Algeria ($431)
It’s true that roughly 90 percent of the country is actually part of the Sahara Desert. Unless you really get jazzed by the idea of living in such conditions, the prospect of moving here might not seem so exciting. Rest assured, the other 10 percent of the country has a diverse ecological system. You’ll find a lot more than the desert here. As a matter of fact, you can enjoy some of the best Mediterranean food you’ll ever eat and even spend time by the beach. If you’ve always dreamed of living the Mediterranean lifestyle on a serious budget (without it feeling like you;re on a budget), then this is a place you’ll want to seriously consider.
8. Kyrgyzstan ($430)
Most people don’t really know what to think when others start talking of moving to this location. That’s because most people aren’t familiar enough with the country to know how rich the culture is there. They have clean, affordable housing, great food and a decent infrastructure that won’t cost you a small fortune to access. They also have a massive lake (Issyk-Kul) that is more than 100 miles long. Just in case you’re curious, it’s also more than 35 miles wide. The real kicker is that the lake has a depth of more than 2,100 feet at its deepest points.
7. South Korea ($375)
South Korea often gets a bad reputation that is completely unfounded. This beautiful country has some of the most gorgeous cities you’ll ever lay eyes on. Think about Seoul. The area is also home to some of the most breathtakingly beautiful countryside you’ll ever see. They also have some of the friendliest, most welcoming people in the world, along with some of the best food you’ll ever put in your mouth.
6. Costa Rica ($350)
People have a tendency to think of Costa Rica as a beachy resort getaway. To an extent, that’s true. That being said, it’s also one of the most beautiful places you could ever think of moving to. The truly wonderful thing is that even when you’re on the beach, it’s still more affordable than practically any landlocked location in the US. The weather is tropical, the water is warm and inviting and they have great food. Mix all of that with the rich culture and who wouldn’t want to live there?
5. China ($300)
Most p eople see China as a place where everyone is under strict rule and your every move is carefully monitored. China is also a rich cultural destination with great food and affordable housing. It’s true, they have become infamous for their tiny “houses” that are really nothing more than a bed with a curtain to separate it from the next room. However, that isn’t all the area has to offer. For very little money, you can find a nice place to live and enjoy the very best things the country has to offer.
4. South Africa ($300)
South Africa is a place where people can relax and go exploring to their heart’s content. There are all kinds of activities to enjoy there, both on and off the water. There is also a healthy city life. If you’re looking for a place where you can enjoy modern culture that has a distinct Western influence (and you want to do it on the cheap), then this is the place for you.
3. Bulgaria ($230)
Bulgaria has some of the most stunning architecture in the world. There are loads of buildings there featuring Roman architecture. In fact, much of the area has a distinct ancient Roman feel to it. They also have beautiful weather and tasty food. Imagine eating the best food and living in a spacious home for less than you would spend on a car payment in most other places.
2. Mexico ($200)
Ah, Mexico. If you go to the right places, you can enjoy the most pristine beaches and the best night life, all at the same time. You can also take advantage of the fact that you can purchase a sprawling home with every amenity you could ever want, for next to nothing. In fact, you can pay for such a property in full, often for less than you would spend on six months’ rent in the United States. Utilities are dirt cheap and so are groceries, but the food is absolutely delicious. This is the perfect place for anyone who wants it all without working themselves into an early grave in order to get it. It’s beautiful, the culture is rich, and your dollar goes far.
1. Vietnam ($200)
Before you decide that a move to Vietnam is just not for you, consider how truly beautiful many parts of the country really are. You can choose to live directly in the heart of a city if you;d like, but your best option is to spread your wings a bit and explore the outskirts of these cities. This is really where you get the chance to get to know the culture. The people are friendly and housing is extremely cheap. You can also eat authentic cuisine for very little money. In fact, you can do just about anything you want for a fraction of what it probably costs you now.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson