Aren’t you tired of overpaying for basic needs?
- Rent a room. $1000 per month gone.
- Buy groceries and eat out. That’s about $400
- Get decent utilities for $200
- Pay another $100 for transport
But wait, there’s more! Taxes are going up. And given the current situation, employment rates haven’t improved precisely.
So we find ourselves working harder just to keep what we have. And what’s next is paying extra for what once was much cheaper.
There are three ways to respond to it:
- You can complain about the problem and live miserably
- You can face reality and adapt to the harder situation
- You can move to another place and forget about the problem
If you live in a popular city, you know what that means. People overestimate how good these places are to live and work. Because so many people visit these cities, you almost always find yourself overpaying. Meanwhile, in other places, you can live like a king with the same standards.
$2000 in New York will allow you to survive the month. But $2000 in a cheaper city makes you the rich guy of the place.
Don’t be confused. Paying less doesn’t mean that something is wrong with the quality of life. But when you pay so much for basic commodities, you don’t realize how little it costs to produce those goods.
These places are an opportunity:
- With decent monthly income, living in countries like these is almost free
- If you moved to those places while paying what you currently do, you’d get so much more value for your money
- Local expenses may be low while income opportunities are high
- Most of these locate near the big cities for convenience
If you work remotely, the decision is a lot easier.
Here are nine countries you should know about.
Cheap Places to Live Around the World
Before you embark on your journey, why would you not find out and choose the best day to buy plane tickets and save money on your trip as well?
Whether you’re looking for work, raise a family, or retire, Greece offers great spaces to do so. This country proves that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to live comfortably.
This beautiful country has many big cities near the sea. These have a great climate, millenniums of historical background, and hospitable people. You’ll enjoy your stay at any month of the year.
In Greece, it’s cheap to eat healthily. For a few bucks, you can eat fish, traditional dishes, and everything included in the Mediterranean diet, one of the best ones worldwide.
Their selling point? If you invest over €250,000 in Greek property, you receive the Golden Visa card. It offers you a renewable residence permit for five years.
If you’re looking to raise a family, retire, or simply have a relaxing place to live, visit the cities of Ikaria and Naxos. But when your goals are professional, Rhodes and Thessaloniki will interest you more.
Although it depends on the area, the median rent prices at $650 per month. Add another $200 for groceries and $150 for utilities, high-speed Internet included. That’s about $1000 per month or less if you work from home or rent a studio.
You’d be surprised to know how many English expats chose to move to Portugal these years. Many people know it for its good climate and delicious food, and it’s recognized as one of the safest places to live in the world.
Life-quality standards are high, and you can expect to live comfortably for $750. That includes $250 for food, $100 for utilities, and around $400 for rent.
Some areas are more convenient than others based on what you’re looking for. For example, all the Algarve area (South) is very family-focused. So you can find lots of amusement activities, nice schools, and quiet neighborhoods. If you want more action, you can move to the busy commercial areas: Lisbon and Porto.
If you love nature, you need to visit Bulgaria. You can find some of the cheapest real estate properties in Europe. What makes it attractive is the rural ambient of cities, their history, and their people (some of which speak English). This peaceful country is a great choice for families and retirees.
If that’s what you want, the recommended cities are Stara Zagora and Varna. But you can also move to the big city centers for reasonably cheap. Sofia and Burgas have everything you may want from an urban city.
For a monthly budget, expect about $400 to go for rent, $150 for utilities + Internet, $250-$300 for food, and about $100 for transport. You can live comfortably under $1000 if you’re single. But if you travel with a partner, costs may go around $1300 per month in total.
If Bulgaria sounded attractive, Georgia is going to be even better. It’s one of the safest countries in East-Europe, and cities are green and super-clean. Georgia is also famous for its traditional foods and wine. Another plus: you can live near the sea, which offers a better climate.
Out of the 100K people who move here every year, most of them prefer to live in Batumi and Kutaisi. You can also move to the main cities (Adjara and Tbilisi) if you’re looking to work or do some business.
The median rent here costs $450 per month, utilities are cheap (under $100), and so is food, $200/mo. $700 a month works well for remote workers, but the other expats can still live well under $1K, or maybe a bit more if you travel with others.
Keeping on with natural spaces, it’s no surprise that Nepal appears on the list. This country has climate variety and is home to the highest peaks in the world (yes, Everest too). You can spend lots of time on outdoor activities like trekking.
People are much happier living so close to nature in contrast to the big cities. And that’s why life quality is high and communities are welcoming.
The cost of living here is a total of $500-$600 per month. Expect to pay $200-$300 for rent, $50-$100 for utilities, $200-$300 for food, and $50-$100 for transportation, depending on your needs. Staying in a traditional hotel is about $12 per night.
The only concern is the country’s infrastructure. It’s true electricity and the Internet is limited in towns like Pokhara or Dharan. But if you move to the major hubs, you’ll have no problem. Those are the capital (Kathmandu) and the commercial area of Bharatpur.
Many people think of Thailand when they think of vacations. It’s hard not to think of those amazing mountains, crystal clear blue water, white-sand beaches, or their authentic food. But unlike many may think, you don’t need to drop thousands of dollars to live in a premium resort.
Why dream of beach vacations when you can move to Thailand? There’s nothing better than making your vacation destination your workspace. Life here is good, and for $1000 or less, you can do a lot.
Despite the touristic influence, the country still manages to preserve its natural beauty. This wouldn’t be possible without their amazing people, which also makes it one of the safest places in the world.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows here, but it’s definitely better than your typical American city if you know where to look.
To move here, consider Chiang Mai. Neighborhoods look like the American dream, except that huge properties here are a bargain. Many US expats live in this city, so language won’t be a problem.
If you look for opportunities, don’t forget Bangkok. It’s the biggest urban area in the country.
Another tropical paradise is Grenada, located in the Caribbean Islands. We don’t argue it’s a convenient trip from the US, but many know these islands for being expensive.
The good news is: Grenada is the exception. And it looks just as gorgeous as in those vacation magazines.
The island’s natural beauty is what attracts so many travelers, aside from the fact that English is the main language. If you want to live an adventure in nature, you can travel to Carriacou and the other islands nearby.
But if you want to live here long term, Saint George’s is the best place. The island isn’t that big, but the capital city has everything you will ever need, entertainment included.
The only complaint is the grocery costs. You will find that some easy-to-get products are overpriced (wow, $7 for a kilo of apples). But at the same time, products that are usually expensive in the USA/Europe are almost free (like $1 for avocados and mangoes). Let’s say the ups and downs compensate for each other.
Straight to the numbers, a single person can live here by paying $350 for rent, $300 for food, and $180 for utilities (the infrastructure on this island isn’t very good except for the main city). That’s $800 or less, or ~$1300 per month for a couple.
#8 Costa Rica
Grenada has gained popularity over the years, so prices may have raised a bit. And that makes Costa Rica the second-best alternative, which is almost just as near to the US. The climate ensures good weather for the whole year, which allows for many outdoor activities. At least 25% of this country is protected natural spaces.
If you consider moving, think of cities like Escazu, Heredia, or The Central Valley area in general.
The cost of living shouldn’t be very different from Grenada. Expect $450 for rent, $250 for food, and $100-$150 for utilities. A total of $800-$850 per month.
Some people have mixed feelings about Mexico. But this is common with giant countries. The more territory and people are there living, the more unsafe it seems. In reality, these countries have amazing places like any other, most of them with ground-zero crime rates.
Mexico used to have great vacation destinations such as Cancun or Acapulco.
But in the last years, they have turned into dangerous tourist traps and various travel scams are usually just around the corner. Meanwhile, there are other less-known cheaper cities where life is a lot easier. You can meet more expats there in Ciudad Del Carmen, Monclova, Pueblo Vallarta, or Lake Chapala.
You can move to the Northside of the country where the English-speaking areas are. At the same time, these zones have lovely weather and good living standards.
The median rent here costs about $500, then it’s about $250 for food (or less), $100 for transportation, and $150 for utilities. That’s $1000 to live comfortably or under $800 for a solo remote worker renting a one-bedroom apartment.
Cheap Places to Live in the US
So far, we’ve seen great alternatives. But traveling isn’t always easy, needless to mention it in 2020. Aside from the trip costs, it takes time to learn the language, get used to the time zone, convert currencies, and adapt to the new city in general.
Although you won’t find $500/mo living costs, you can narrow your search filters and still find cheap cities in America. In the following four locations, the average monthly expenses are below the national average by, at least, 15%.
Now, most expenses barely change from one state to another (utilities, Internet, groceries). So we will exclude them from the review and consider only renting costs.
#1 Omaha, Nebraska
Earn more, pay less. Americans know Omaha for offering favorable tax/economic conditions. Which attracts many financial firms like the legendary Berkshire Hathaway.
This location isn’t very close to big urban areas, except for Wichita, Lincoln, and Kansas City. So you may think there’s not much action going on here.
Actually, there are many job opportunities and over 10,000 businesses in the area. At least one-third of the population is 24 years old or younger, which makes it suitable for living, working, and networking.
The median rent costs $920 per month, although a single-bedroom apartment in the suburbs can be $300 cheaper.
#2 Memphis, Tennessee
Many believe that cheap necessarily means living in the countryside or similar. If you prefer urban areas, you may want to move to the biggest low-cost city: Memphis.
Not only prices are low, but so are taxes! It’s so affordable that many startups move here every year. As for the job situation, there’s less than 5% unemployment with fair career opportunities. Median rent prices range from $600 to $850.
Memphis is located near Nashville and Birmingham. Better than Omaha, which is in the middle of nowhere.
#3 Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville may not be the most interesting place in the world. But if you live in any major American city, this is a low-cost city where you can feel at home.
One thing is this city known for doing very well: financial stability. Historically, this area of Kentucky has endured economic downturns very well. They also keep high employment rates all year long.
Real estate also costs less in Louisville. And that makes it appealing for living, real estate, or starting a physical business.
If you want to live in comfort, expect to pay $950 per month for the median rent.
#4 Columbus, Ohio
When moving to Ohio, most people think of Cincinnati, Toledo, Cleveland, those kinds of places. But when it comes to the cost of living, Columbus makes it affordable for most people.
Costs don’t change much from Lousiville’s, about $950 of rent per month, starting from $700. The difference is, here you have lots of national universities, museums, a great healthcare service, and lots of job opportunities. It’s big enough to feel like Chicago but without all the busyness.
Who works in Columbus? At least 20,000 small businesses, thousands of self-employed workers, and a bunch of Fortune 500 companies. Maybe they know something about the city that we don’t.
#5 Las Vegas, Nevada
It’s ironic that Las Vegas appears on the list because it’s the last place where people would look to live cheaply. But seriously, regardless of what you’ve seen in movies, living here doesn’t cost more than $750 per month (for rent).
The median rent is about $1100, which is about $1500 per month along with the other habitual expenses. How can this place be cheap, you ask? Perhaps it’s the fact that most people come to Las Vegas on a weekend for fun. Not many of them stay to actually live there.
If you avoid the popular areas (casinos, bars, malls), living for cheap is possible. But if you want to be where the action is, that might cost a minimum of $2000/mo in total. It must be fun to work here.
And if that’s still not convincing, you can move to any of the cities nearby: Winchester, Paradise, or Los Angeles.
What If I Can’t Travel?
There may still be cheap places to live in your city. Even the largest metropolis has bargain opportunities if you look for long enough.
Is it worth searching in the city center, or should you move to the suburbs? Mind that life is much cheaper when working remotely. You barely pay for any transport and have the freedom to move anywhere. Heck, you could even live in a cave as long as there is an Internet connection and a supermarket nearby.
If you’re reading this guide, we assume you’re looking for places where to live, not just visit. If so, why not think long term? The following guides will help you save thousands year after year, no matter where you choose to stay:
Also, don’t forget to check our ultimate passive income guide if you truly want to travel with freedom. What better way to move than making money from the Internet?
The Bottom Line
There are many places where you can live for cheap, and it’s a great idea as long as you do it for the right reasons. When you’re overpaying in your current city, it makes sense to look for other places. But if you’re spending a fair amount per month, it may not be worth leaving your hometown.
Unless it represents your ideal lifestyle, it’s not a good idea to limit your locations because of a low monthly income. Why settle for less when you can live better for a few bucks more?
If you’re single, it can be smart to move to a city like New York first. Give yourself the freedom to travel, and only choose your long-term location after you’ve seen enough places. Don’t discard expensive cities because of your income.
Because it can be an opportunity to increase your earning ability. When you pay $2000 per month but only make $2500 or less, that forces you to get creative on ways to make more money. High living expenses restrict you to live a simple life. And when your career is your top priority, that’s exactly what will help you focus.
Sure, cheap locations are amazing. But there’s a big difference between affording to live in that city and moving to a place you love.