The Cheapest Places to Live in the World – 2015

cheapest places to live in the world

[Want a later version of this? See the cheapest places to live in 2016 post.]

If you’ve been following this Cheapest Destinations Blog for a while, you know that every year I do a post on the cheapest places to live in the world. It’s not that things change so drastically from year to year, but there are political and exchange rate changes that can make some places fall out of favor and others fall in. There are also changes in visa policies, banking regulations, or the environment for foreigners that can change the landscape.

This year is a bit different in the sense that I’m celebrating the release of my new book, A Better Life for Half the Price. Subtitled “How to prosper on less money in the cheapest places to live,” it’s a comprehensive guide to the why, how, and where on moving abroad to cut your expenses in half. There you’ll find more detailed info on the cheapest places to retire around the world, as well as the best places for location independent digital nomads, business owners, and families.

And yes, in any of the countries outlined below, you can easily cut your monthly expenses by 50% without trying very hard. You can “Cut loose instead of cutting back” because unlike most of the advice you see on frugal living blogs, I’m not telling you to give up what you enjoy or to sacrafice now in order to have a richer retirement (or an early one). If you just change your address, you can live a much better life: go out more, eat better, have a nicer apartment, and hire people to do things you would rather not do yourself—like clean the house. All while spending significantly less each month on bills than you’re spending now.

Here are the best bets for cheap living abroad. Sign up for the newsletter for regular updates and a free report, or get great detailed advice with the book or more advanced packages.

Cheapest Places to Live in Latin America

For Americans and Canadians, Latin America is the easiest region. You don’t have to deal with jet lag, you can usually find flights for a price that won’t kill you to go back and forth, and if you’re trying to run a business you don’t have to radically alter your schedule to attend conference calls or get in touch with those wanting to hire you for a project. The countries here are used to dealing with foreigners and have fairly straightforward residency application paths. They all give you at least 90 days as a tourist also, which makes it pretty easy to do a temporary move or a trial run.

cheap living Argentina

Argentina
When it comes to current events making a place more attractive for foreigners, Argentina is in the top spot this year. Combine a strong dollar with a local financial mess and you get a great climate for someone entering with foreign currency. You need that money from elsewhere to get the full effect of this though, so it’s best to use a service like Xoom unless you will be bringing in a briefcase full of cash on a regular basis. that’s because while the official exchange rate may be 8.6 or so, the “blue rate” you get on the street is currently around 13. See more info on that in this post: Argentina is Cheap Again.

See this other post on the cost of living in Argentina, based on real numbers I got from people living in the country. Besides bargains on rent, good wine, and good food, this is a very easy place to set up residency. You can get legal if you have the patience for Argentina’s legendary bureaucracy, or you can just leave the country every three months (Chile and Uruguay are neighbors) to get a new tourist visa. If you overstay your visa there’s a fine of about $40 regardless of how long you’ve overstayed, so you could go for years if you wanted to test it. Just be advised that there are serious import restrictions in place and the country could collapse at any moment. Locals say there’s a crisis every decade or so and the way things are headed it’s a matter of when, not if…

Mexico
Always a great value on the USA’s doorstep, this favorite destination of both tourists and expats will be an even better deal this year. That’s because the peso is 14.7 to the dollar as I write this, way off its historic norm. Eventually prices will creep up, especially for anything imported or using imported ingredients. The main reason you can live a half price life in Mexico though is because of drastically lower rents, local food prices, and labor costs. Those three things will remain largely unchanged.

I’ve posted before on what it costs me and my family to live in Guanajuato, Mexico. This highland area is aided in costs by the fact that houses don’t need to have heat or air conditioning. The weather is nice all year round apart from some rain for a few months. Naturally if you want to move to Playa del Carmen or Puerto Vallarta, you’re’ going to spend much more per month because of higher utility bills and the prevalence of foreign tourists driving up prices. If it’s a place filled with gringos (including Ajijic and San Miguel de Allende in the interior), you won’t see the same savings as you would where there are fewer of them. You can still live a half price life in these places though—many easily do that—and you can always bring down costs by learning to communicate in Spanish and shopping/eating where the locals do.

half price living Granada

Nicaragua
Central America’s poorest country is a dream destination for anyone looking for a cheap place to settle down and live a laid-back tropical life. If you’re American or Canadian and you ask me where you could pack a few suitcases and take off with just a grand or two in your bank account, this is where I’d tell you to go. You can stay a while on a tourist visa, there’s a good expat support critical mass in place, and you can coast along for cheap while you get established. You’ll probably pay more to fly your surfboard down than you will for your first week’s meals and
groceries. The average after-tax salary in this country is around $600 a month, so if you’ve got just an average social security check to live on, you’re still going to be relatively well-off by local standards.

“My pension alone is 3-4 times what the average Nica makes,” American Jim Lynch told me over coffee in Granada. “We spend around $1,800 a month, which is extravagant by local standards. We live in a big air-conditioned house with a swimming pool. We eat out whenever we want, wherever we want. Medical care is so inexpensive here we don’t even have insurance. We just pay for things as they come up. I had to go to the best hospital in Managua for surgery and it was cheap enough that I put it on a credit card.” Gord and Elisha MacKay have lived in three cities in the country and have paid $300 to $500 in rent. They’re now paying $300 for a furnished house in San Juan del Sur and you can see a breakdown of their $1,400 in Nica living expenses in a typical month on their blog.

Ecuador
This favorite of International Living and the like has a lot going for it. The places where foreigners settle tend to be highland areas that don’t get too hot, like Cuenca, Quito, and Vilcabamba. So low utility costs are added to low costs for rent, labor, and food. The people I interviewed for my book were paying between $280 and $600 per month for rent in Cuenca, that last one being a house of 2,000 square feet. Many retirees have bought a house or condo outright for $100K or less and just have to pay maintenance charges. The family of three running the Gringos Abroad blog usually gets by on $1,000 per month—total. Nobody I talked to was spending more than $2,000 on living expenses, including the couple living in a luxury penthouse I visited.

There’s a lot to do in Ecuador at a variety of climates: you can hit the coastal beaches or jungle and be at sea level or head into the mountains and be at 10,000 feet or more. There are also good incentives for those 65 and older, like 50% off all national and international airfare, 50% off all cultural and recreational events, and 50% off some utility charges. As long as you can show $800 or more in monthly income, you’ll qualify for a residency visa. You don’t have to change money here: the currency is the U.S. dollar. Just don’t move here if you’re a lush though: alcohol prices are abnormally high. See more price info here: Cheap Living in Ecuador.

Panama hidden beach

Panama
This is not one of The World’s Cheapest Destinations for travel, but it is for living. That’s thanks to great affordable health care, terrific residency incentives, and generally reasonable living expenses. On the health care side, it’s not unusual to pay $20 to see a doctor (or $45 for a house call), $35 to see the dentist and get a cleaning, $350 for a crown, or a shade over $10,000 for surgery at the best hospital, including a couple nights in a bed there.

Panama has the world’s best pensionada program for retirees, but really you don’t have to be retired or even old. You just need to show $1,000 a month in income and you can import your household goods, import or buy a car tax-free, and get a long list of discounts. These include 50% off recreation and entertainment activities, 30% off inter-city buses & trains, 25% off flights, 30-50% off the rack rate of hotels (depending on day of the week), 25% discount in sit-down restaurants, 15-20% off medical costs, 10% discount for prescription medicines, and a 25% discount on electric and water bills. They use the U.S. dollar here, the government is relatively stable, and there’s a solid banking system in place. Copa Airlines is based here, so flight connections are good, and there’s a lot to see and do in the country and in nearby ones.




Colombia
This country of beautiful countrysides and beautiful women gets more popular each year as the safety situation continues to improve and the word gets out to more people. The favorite city for foreigners is Medellin and you can find out almost everything you want to know about that place from David Lee’s Medellin Living site. There are lot of posts on there with specific costs of living from him and others.

As I write this Colombia is more attractive than it has been in years thanks to a rising U.S. dollar—currently exchanging for 2,364 Colombian pesos. (You might want to keep that calculator app handy when you visit the ATM.) This is the headquarters of Avianca Airlines, so there are great flight options within and out of the country. Nobody actually likes flying on Spirit Air, but they can get you in and out of Colombia for cheap, flying into multiple destinations direct.

Other Cheap Places to Live in Latin America
These are just a few of the options covered in detail in A Better Life for Half the Price. Also look at Peru, where the dollar is stronger than it has been in a while. Or Bolivia, which is super-cheap for a three-month stay on a tourist visa or a longer one if you can get through all the bureaucracy. Speaking of frustrating waits at government offices, that’s the toughest part about moving to Guatemala, another bargain. The crime rate is high there though, if you’re spooked by that, as it is in another bargain place to travel or live: Honduras.

cost of living cambodia

The Cheapest Places to Live in Asia

Whenever people ask me where the absolute cheapest places to go as a backpacker are, I’ve been giving the same answer for more than a decade now: India, Nepal, or Indonesia. Those also happen to be some of the cheapest places to live, but none of them make it easy for you to stay long-term. In general, unless you’re from there, have a work permit, or are married to a local, you’ll find it very hard to spend a long stretch of time in the country without doing visa runs. In the case of India and Nepal, you’ll also have to stay out a while too before coming back with a fresh visa to start over. If you’re a digital nomad though or you’re fine with taking off for a few months when the monsoon hits, the payoff is that you can live a good life for under $1,000 a month in any of the three. The dollar is quite strong right now against all three currencies as well.

cheap living abroadThere are some areas within these countries that are more costly than others, of course. Mumbai and Bangalore are quite costly by Indian standards and Bali is quite expensive by Indonesian standards. If you can venture beyond those, you’ll be much better off. For Indonesia, you’ll also have to factor in visa run expenses and for most people that means a flight to Singapore.

Cambodia
If you’re looking for the cheapest and easiest place to become a resident in Asia, Cambodia wins by a mile. You can buy a business visa that’s good for a year for $280 after arrival and you can get a new one easily (without leaving the country) when that one expires. And unlike in most other countries, here they don’t care if you work or start a business. As long as you don’t do anything to rub some official the wrong way, they’ll leave you alone. This is a rather libertarian country overall, with market forces guiding government decisions more than top-down planning. You can’t technically own land as a foreigner, but there are ways around that by setting up a corporation. You can easily buy a condo though or just rent.

A foreign hotel manager I interviewed in Siem Reap said, “I don’t know anyone paying more than $500 a month for an apartment or house.” If you go higher than that you’ll probably be sharing a huge place with a doorman and a pool. You’ll find some of the cheapest beach living prices in the world here as well. When I was doing research for my book, I found a whole slew of furnished houses for rent near Sihanoukville for $200 to $500 per month and one six-bedroom one for $600.

So what will it cost you to live in Cambodia? If you’re spending $1,500 to $2,000 here, you’re living large, like the elite. You could easily get by on half that amount and still live comfortably. Factor in flights to Bangkok though if you are going to need serious medical care. The hospitals aren’t exactly known for being world class.

Vietnam
Vietnamese spring rollsAs Vietnam’s economy has grown and the middle class has expanded, more foreigners have moved in and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is now a major hub for digital nomads. It’s an easy place to start or run a business, with tech-savvy locals who speak English to hire and fast internet connections. You can fly in today and be in a furnished short-term rental apartment tomorrow for $400 to $800 a month, including internet and a regular maid who will do your laundry too. In smaller cities you can find a whole family-sized house for that.

A lot of apartments don’t have kitchens because it’s so cheap to eat out. You can get a good street stall meal for a buck or two and a large beer or fresh-squeezed juice for a dollar too. The Vietnamese dong usually trades at around 20,000 to the dollar, but right now it’s at 21,276.

Thailand
I’m a bit reluctant to put Thailand in here this year because a bad visa situation has gotten even worse lately. This remains a very popular expat destination though for a variety of reasons. Prices are still relatively cheap, the food is terrific, and there’s a lot to see and do. Plus for many single men, the very liberal attitudes about sex are a big draw.

This is becoming a tougher and tougher place to live long-term, however, unless you’ve scored a work permit or are old enough to get a retirement visa. Otherwise you used to have to leave the country every two or three months and after doing that two or three times they wouldn’t let you back in anymore. Now it’s getting even more strict, so the days of unlimited visa runs are long gone. People keep coming though and there’s no deny that Thailand is a cheap place to live. Search “Chiang Mai $500 a month” and you’ll find all kinds of blog posts from people who have gotten by for that amount. That takes some frugal living, but $1,000 to $1,500 a month is easily doable while still eating well and having lots of fun, even in Bangkok or on Ko Samui island. Just be advised though you can’t just show up and start teaching English on a tourist visa. The good news is, they’re supposedly making it easier to get a work permit for this and it’ll be good for two years.

Other Places to Live in Asia

I also have detailed info on Malaysia in A Better Life for Half the Price and this is an easier place to get long-term residency than Thailand or Indonesia. If you’re of retirement age and are willing to buy property, you can get all kinds of incentives as well. There aren’t a whole lot of foreigners in Laos who aren’t working for some kind of NGO, but that’s another cheap option in the region if you’re drawn to there and are willing to put in the time and effort to get residency sorted out. Many older men looking for a  young wife are drawn to the Philippines, plus it’s a good place to set up a business that’s going to hire from the large English-speaking labor pool.

living abroad for less

The Cheapest Places to Live in Europe

Portugal
The Western Europe country of Portugal is a pretty inexpensive place to travel, but it’s an even better deal as a place to live. Some of the people I’ve interviewed who live there are coasting by on less than $2,000 for a couple and it’s relatively easy to find a nice house or apartment to rent throughout the country for 350 to 800 euros. Foreigners can also buy any property outright and with the country still trying to climb out of their financial crisis, there are plenty of bargains around. Prices have remained stable for years on staple items since the population can’t absorb many increases with such high unemployment. You can eat well and drink good wine for cheap within the country and the only things that seems outrageously priced are the toll road charges.

This is a very easy country to get residency in if you’re already from the European Union. It’s much tougher for those outside the EU, but it can be done. It’s also possible to get a six-month visa if you apply at the embassy in your home country—twice as long as you’d normally get anywhere in the Schengen countries. If you do want to stay long-term though, be prepared to shell out a good bit of money for an attorney and gather up lots and lots of documents.

Bulgaria
The gorgeous country of Bulgaria is the best travel bargain in Europe and it’s also one of the cheapest places to live in the whole world. You can buy a house on eBay for less than $20,000 and one couple I interviewed paid far less than that: prices were so low they ended up buying three properties and renting out the other two. You can buy a two-bedroom condo for less than $50,000 in a ski village and rents range from €150 to €500 throughout the country—that last amount being for a high-end place in Sofia. Here’s a recent guest post from a Bulgarian blogger on what you can expect to spend.

The people I’ve talked to who lived or now live in the country say that it’s quite easy to get by on $1,000 a month not counting travel outside the country. If you’re spending $1,500, that’s twice as much as the average local makes, so it’s not hard to be upper-class here on the equivalent of two social security checks. Right now the dollar is getting more euros than it did a year or two ago, which means you’ll get more local lev as well. Just be advised this a a real four-season country though, with relatively cold winters, especially at higher elevations.

living in Hungary

Hungary
This popular travel destination can also get cold in the winter, especially in Budapest, but the expatriates who live there say this is a fun and festive time at least. Hungary is a real bargain though if you want to live a European life at a fraction of normal European prices. It’s an even better deal right now for Americans, with the dollar fetching 260 forints. That means the hearty local food and excellent wine is costing less now than it has in quite a while.

You won’t pay a lot for rent here, even in Budapest. It’s unheard of to meet someone paying four digits for rent unless they’re a foreign executive living in a huge luxury apartment or house. More commonly you’ll hear prices of $300 to $650 for a one- or two-bedroom place in a good district of the capital. Move to a smaller town and you’ll get something large with a yard for that amount. For more info, see this detailed post on the cost of living in Hungary.




Other Places to Live in Europe

There are plenty of other reasonably priced places to live in Europe, including Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the countries in and around the Balkans like Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania. From what I saw in Greece in October, for now you could probably live there (apart from the most popular islands) for half of what it costs in the U.S., Canada, England, or Australia with a little effort in finding a good apartment deal.

What About Africa?

In the book I feature Morocco as another place to consider for half-price living and at some point will have a guest post from an American blogger living there. Hobo Traveler Andy Graham has spent a lot of time living on the cheap in Togo. Most of the time South Africa—the most favored African country for expats who aren’t aid workers—has not been a half-price living option. But check out this chart of the rand rate vs. the U.S. dollar over the past four years. If you had your heart set on Cape Town, here’s your window.

South Africa living

There are probably dozens of places you could live for half price in Africa, but the challenge is doing it with the creature comforts you’re used to for that half price. The countries on this continent can be surprisingly expensive if you want to keep up your current standards in housing, internet access, and a balanced diet.

If you’ve made it this far and want to learn more, check out A Better Life for Half the Price or sign up for the Cheap Living Abroad newsletter and get a free report on where to stay four months or more on a tourist visa.

Comments
  1. Bob Weisenberg

    Thanks for another great article. You one of the very few writers on my “must read” list. Thanks, Tim.

    We’re in Italy (Pallanza on Lago Maggiore) now for six months, then on to Ecuador for three, then Brazil, then…not sure. In general we will stay in each place about 3 months at a time, and we want to live all over the world. That’s why I’m reading everything of yours I can get my hands on! Always wise, savvy practical advice.

    Thank you!

    Bob W.

    • lisa

      Hey bob…my husband and i are considering doing what you are doing…..how do you do it?

    • Mayank

      Bob who do you travel with?

    • Joshua

      I think this article is fantastic! Very informative and one of the most descriptive that I’ve read in quite a while. I wanna start moving around the world but just don’t know where to start! I’ve been to the Philippines, as well as Canada, but I still am not quite sure where it is I wanna go. Any advice to what made you ultimately choose one over another??

      Mahalo,

      Joshua

      • Bob

        I’ll be travelling with my gay lover, we met in Brazil and are going to travel the world together!

        • STANLEY

          omg u r so cute!!! ENJOY BRAZIL

        • JOhn

          aww sweet

      • Frederick

        As for me, I choose locations by natural beauty, and places to ,things to do! Which are plentiful in the Philippines !

    • Bill

      I believe I have decided Costa Rica -what are your thoughts ??

      • melissa

        My sister and her husband live in Costa Rica now and have for the last couple years, and from their viewpoint, the cost of living is far higher than it use to be, equal to or more than many pay to live in the states. Word has been out and demand has caught up with demand. It’s not doubt a beautiful place to live but no more is it economical, if that is what you are looking for, consider Panama or Nicuraga. Also very beautiful and much cheaper.

    • Anthony

      Hi bob I’m looking to travel but don’t have alot of money. Where would be the cheapest and a good place to go

      • Samantha

        I’m a firm believer in not paying full price for anything. You can travel like Bod and not have to break the bank doing it. His expert advice coupled with the right kind of travel membership will have you everywhere you want to be, when you want to be there.

    • Mike

      Hi Bob,
      Have you tried South Africa. Durban and Cape Town are beautiful Coastal Cities and the rand dollar exchange rate is 16 to 1. In Durban you could easily rent a 2 or 3 bedroom fully furnished apartment with daily cleaning service and Satelite TV, right on the beach for about $850 per month.

  2. Brian

    Sounds great Bob. I just got back from 5 weeks in Japan. Did some travel but was mostly there for family reasons and loved my time there.

    I came home and landed a job that is transferring us, expenses paid, to Honolulu, Hawaii. We’ll probably pay around $2000 a month just to rent a decent 2 bd. Yeah…

    The job pays decent so we’re going to enjoy it while it lasts but I wish I could have got a good online gig or business going while in Japan so we could live in some of these cheap places and bounce around. I work in IT support as a manager so it’s tough to find that online.

    Anyway Bob, sounds like you’re living the dream. Enjoy!

    • Adams

      I would like to travel and work too
      I am great at IT service desk
      Please help me out

  3. Jessica

    I posted this on your 2014 blog, thinking that was the most updated. I a reposting here: Great article but I have one extremely important question. Do you know anything about internet in these locations? My husband works remotely as a graphic designer and has immense internet needs. (Fiber optic at a very VERY minimum of 30 down 4 up). We currently live in Southern Chile and out internet is WAY better than when we lived in Montana so I don’t want to jump to conclusions that cheap places don’t have good internet. Any ideas? We are looking for someone to live for a few years so we can save money to buy a farmette/B&B.

    • Anthony Thomas (@djfourmoney)

      Eastern Europe has the fastest internet as long as your in a major city. I think Lithuania currently has the fastest connections and speeds in Europe, rivaling South Korea.

      I’m pretty sure you can get Fiber to Home in Colombia, Argentina and Brazil, but not in Central America. 4G is your best bet and I would seriously consider a Wilson 4G Antenna to make sure you have the best wireless connection you can get.

      You won’t get 30mb down but it will be faster than almost any DSL connection you can get in these countries. Down should be 1-2 mb, again not what you required but again better than basic DSL.

      Chile is one of my most costly countries in South America, I’d say Argentina is good bet to reduce cost and still get a good net connection.

    • rajesh

      Hi jessica,
      i live in brasil the internet is great costs about 30$ for internet 30 mega and fixed phone line
      Appartment 2 bed with swiming pool will cost you 200$ _ about 50$ condo fee
      i live in araraquara state sao paulo
      Friendly people. Poor neighborhoods are most of the time dangerous in brasil
      Good luck

    • Adam

      Jessica where are you living in Chile? I lived down south for two years a while back and loved it! Very beautiful and amazing people!

      Adam

    • shaun

      Look at south africa

  4. Tim

    Jessica, I cover that some in the book, but yes, that’s going to limit your options quite a bit if that’s your minimum. That technically means a really good (new) cable connection, a T-1 line, or fiber to the home. None of those are common in the developing world. Even in Mexico, you’d need to be in the center of a big city as Telmex hasn’t built the infrastructure for that in most areas. Nicaragua and some other countries are pretty much 3G or 4G only as they skipped the whole landline thing. Vietnam and Thailand are good bets, parts of Eastern Europe (especially Romania) and Portugal are good. In general, capital cities are going to be much better bets than small towns or resort areas. The best plan is to check local message boards and ask.

  5. richard

    Nice article.but I live in granada, nicaragua and can tell you that the average nett income here in granada is not US $600 but more like 150 to 200 US $. And those are seen as the better jobs, for skilled or connected

    • Chris

      How long were u there for and how did u like it? How was the crime?

    • chris

      Thank you richard for that clarification , quite a bit different

    • Dave Williams

      Hi Richard, I recently left the military after 30 years of service and have a pension of about $2000 per month. Is it realistic to consider a move to Nicaragua?

      • Mushtaque

        Hi Dave,
        I would suggest Philippines. Friendly people. English speaking. Cheap cost of living if you live in a small town. Need $20000 to get retirement visa.
        A $1000 will do you fine. Save the other $1000.
        Good luck.

        • Robert

          There is a little-known provision for US Vets that allows you to get a retirement visa for ONLY $1,000 in the Philippines! Unfortunately, it has changed a lot and has become more expensive and corrupt. Stay away from Manila which is the most polluted and expensive area. Dumaguete is your cheapest and best bet. Also, The internet and cell phone service there sucks!

        • sidra

          actually, being known of Philippines, $10K only for permanent residency if your wife is a citizen there. then, rentals vary from $200 up , depends by the size.

    • rick

      Hey Richard,
      Would like to chat about your experience there Wife and I lived in Gate. When younger and are looking for a great place to retire.
      Tx
      life1@sbcgloabl.net

  6. Margot N Sandat

    Great article – thank you!

  7. Eileen Vicente

    I have lived in Portugal for the past 10 years. It’s cheap if you don’t need a job. It’s great if you are anti-social, because the society is extremely unfriendly and xenophobic, especially in Oporto. The medical is OK if you are Portuguese. If you don’t like freezing cold apartments and houses due to bad constrution and a lack of ample electric for heat then live in Algarve. Be sure to listen to the way the language sounds, because unlike the Brazilian Portuguese, it is not a very pretty language. Good Luck!!!

    • Linda

      Eillen, I absolutely don’t agree with you. You’re generalizing your experience in Oporto to the rest of the country. I lived in Portugal for 32 years, never went to Oporto, so my experience is different. I agree Oporto and most of the North part of Portugal, have their own way of talking, Yes they are rude but for them it’s absolutely natural and non intentional to hurt others. And you also compare Oporto with Brasil… ( ??). By the way, in Brasil they don’t speak Portuguese ( according to them) because their grammar is different.
      My advise is come and see other places further down. Visit Ribatejo, Estremadura, e Alentejo , places where we have the warmest Summers in the country. You are right about jobs…it’s very hard, I know.
      And again I need to disagree with you about the “anti-social ” bit… it looks like you lived in the “dark side of the moon”. Portuguese are ” hot blood” people like the Spanish, not only because of their Latin background but also because of their mixture with arabics, which happened centuries ago. And finally, have ever lived with the French ? :)

      • Jerry

        “not only because of their Latin background ” – Portuguese are just hot blooded and transferred their ‘temperament’ to Brazil. Same for the Spanish bringing it too the rest of South America :-)

      • John

        Granda Nicaragua yes big giant Lake Sub tropical south dry north University in the center of Nic. Save and all medical and Internet good services, Backpackers Hostels best deal from 10$ per day swimmingpool includet. 3-5 $ a good meal Taxi 1-2 $ for a 10-15 min Ride. Av Income 180-300§ a month. very friendly +helpful people safe and very low crime. Bustranport Aircond. 10-20$ to Costarikca San Jose ore Uruquay stayd there for 3 month on less then 1000$ all expenses exept Flight. Best pick between Panama Costarica was Nicaragua for me.

      • John

        Hi Linda, i am an Austrian citicen, pensioner, who lives now in Bulgaria at very low cost for over 1year. The Winter is colder than I like, even it is close to Greece Thessaloniki with mediteran clima the winters are getting colder and aircond. ore electr. heating is not a choice I like.
        So this winter from November 5-6 month till April I am looking for an apartment ore living in place to stay.100-200$ ore less. I have an 80 m²Apartment now fuly furnished here. So I am looking for 2 5 to 40m² rentable rooms or apartment in the south not necesary in Lissabon.
        Ribatejo, Estremadura, e Alentejo , places where you have the warmest Winters in the country. Could you advice me?

      • pam

        i want mexico vera cruz,vera cruz

    • AM

      Agree. Been living in Portugal since December 2014 and find the people to be kind but not friendly. Friendships are hard to come by and there’s just a bit of an attitude against foreigners. Fortunately, I now have citizenship so medical is affordable. But do think of moving as a result of the xenophobia. Funny you mention Oporto. Their supposed to be the nice ones. Imagine Lisbon! It’s much worse.

    • Monika

      I am slovak and I absolutely love Oporto, is my favorite city in Portugal. I never met one rude person. I visit Portugal so often cause is my favorite language, when I first heard that I falled in love with it (and I really dont like the brasil second hand version of it).
      So, dont generalise, cause is just your personal opinion and I dont agree with one point you wrote.

  8. Julia Cynthia Kent

    Wonderful article and so well written, and obviously a lot of research done. I live in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, and have for eleven years…I love it, but as a SS, if my health gets bad I will have to go back to Dallas, everything great so far, although I was not born there…long story all in my TRUE international love story The Red Silk Robe on Amazon…check it out..many many countries mentoned in this book….and you will laugh and cry….I hope……..

  9. Dana

    Great roundup and food for thought. I’m getting really tired of spending so much every month just to pay bills and have two friends living in two of these countries mentioned. I think I need to pay them a visit and see how I could make it work. I’m telecommuting most of the time anyway, so it’s not like I have to be where I am now in expensive California.

    • Dawn

      My name is Dawn I am single no children never been married and no man I really want to live out of the United States for cheap somewhere where there’s a beach out my front door or fairly close and I’m trying to see how much money I would need to save up to do that I am not anywhere near retirement age I’m in my forties and when I get there I would like to work and I have licenses in cosmetology and I also groom dogs and I’ve waited tables for the past 17 years does anyone have any advice as to what would be the nicest coastal place to live friendly people inexpensive and them still letting me work so I can continue to live nicely any suggestions or advice would be appreciated and thank you for the article it was very informative

  10. herb

    The country is spelled Colombia.

    • Tim Leffel

      Herb – It was correct in two places but wrong in one, so thanks for the heads up and it’s fixed now. I review Columbia clothing at Practical Travel Gear, have a relative who went to Columbia University, have written about British Columbia, and have lots of old jazz albums from Columbia Records in my vinyl collection. So though I’ve been to Colombia a few times, I’m prone to mess that one up often… :>)

  11. Ecuador Dean

    I wish someone would publish a guide to all these cheap countries that states how long you can stay on a tourist visa with an: if/and when you can return to do it again. It would be kind of a ‘Permanent Tourist’ guide!

    • Tim Leffel

      You can find that in multiple books Dean, including Getting Out and of course for the cheap countries, mine: http://www.cheaplivingabroad.com

      (You’ll have trouble finding someone willing to do that on a pro bono basis though and keep it updated.)

    • Donna Davis

      Hi Dean, I published a book Retirement Basics: Help for Broke Baby Boomers last year. With the recent changes in Social Security and Medicare regulations it is out-of-date and I am currently updating it. It has a section on Living Abroad and I do discuss length of stay allowed in several countries. I’m happy to send you that chapter free. You can leave your email on the contact page of my website. http://www.boomerblasts.com if you want it. I will not use your email for any other purpose.

      One of the problems of publishing a guide is that things change frequently. I have found so much misinformation on the web it is frightening. Your best bet is to check with the embassies of the country to verify before making any decisions. I put the contact info for each in my book.

    • Franko

      The problem is these countries change their regulations almost on a daily basis.

  12. Karol Gajda

    I’ve booked a lot of housing in a handful of countries: US, Poland, Hungary, Panama, Costa Rica, Thailand, India. Anywhere from 1 month to 1 year in each of those places.

    And, as far as I can tell — and depending on how you look at it — you have bad data.

    You can’t ask just anyone who lives in a country how much they’re paying for rent and use that as the cost. Because for someone on a 90 day visa it’s going to be a lot more, easily 1.5-2x. You also have to consider furnished vs unfurnished because the lower cost unfurnished flats are not an option for short term 90 day tourist visa living.

    As a recent example, since it’s also an example you have in this article. I spent 6 weeks in Budapest (November to mid-December) and my total rent for a furnished flat in District V with all utilities and weekly cleaning was nearly $1100 USD during that time. (It worked out to $23/night.) The listed price for this flat was 700EUR per month, but I negotiated.

    While I did see a lot of flats in the 100,000 Forint range (~$370USD; how many currencies can I use in this comment?) they were for 12 month contracts, unfurnished, plus security deposit (1x one month rent; may be difficult to get it back), plus real estate broker fees (0.5x – 1.0x one month’s rent).

    I’m not saying finding low cost accommodation is not possible. But you have to make a distinction between someone living in a country long term vs someone on a tourist visa. Because the differences are myriad.

    Also, where are these sub-$20kUSD houses in Bulgaria on eBay? I’m ready to buy. (Yes, I’m serious.)

    • Tony

      There are plenty of sub-$20k USD houses in Hungary.

      Please email: info@myoverseasproperty.com.au

      for more information if you are interested.

    • Tim Leffel

      Karol – six weeks is a vacation rental, not a resident rental, so you’re right that’s going to cost more. But if someone comes and lives where I am in Guanajuato, Mexico for three months, they’re going to pay pretty close to what people on 12-month rentals do for a furnished apartment or house. As in $400 to $650 or so per month for multiple bedrooms. It just depends on how fancy you want to get and where you want to be. And how much you’re willing to wait until arrival to nail something down instead of booking the whole stretch in advance.

      Google “eBay Bulgaria Houses” and you’ll find plenty to choose from for cheap.

    • John

      Look at Sandanski Thermal area it`s a Tourist Town with Mediteran klima close to Thessaloniki 120Km Greek.South of Sofia Capital Bansko. Best and ceapest skiingin Europe. Apartements sure for sale from 80- 90m² .Houses in the north of Sofia and along the Danube River (Rumania Border) sale from 2000-35000$ depending on the location and Quality the last 2 jears winters a colder othewise 8 month a jear 25-35°cel. Income 200-450$ + less than that. Rent furnished 2 bedr. Appartments 150-300$ Elctr. Water Internet 18- 5-20$ a month. 3- 12 month rental all possible. Better speak bularien otherwise take a good translater from local english skools you may save 50% on everything. Best Supermarkets europe standarts, but smal lokal buisness markets and road-sales shops and food is cents not $ for in season vegi+fruit. I am living as a Eu citicen on a 5 year first residency. John

  13. Mike

    Hi Tim,

    Your generosity never ends year to year, congrats for your popular site and book.

    Am searching in Europe for the best country to live in for a family(with 2 young kids) long stay residence.

    Came across Greece as an appropriate country, though not sure what Greece cities consist of good public schools, to raise kids and still be on the cheap side of budget without scarifying my children future..

    Heard of Northern suburbs of Athens are the best, any idea?

    On the residence permit one year(subject to renewal) preferring to rent than buy a house, like you said, property in Greece still on free fall, will become more dramatic as the EURO dropping against the dollar, already low property prices plus exchange rate = Perfect.
    Besides, renting would be better in case my family found it difficult living in Greece during the one year period, new language, society..etc, can easily find another country(or back home) without worrying about selling a property!

    I’m open for your suggestions of other European countries that are worth to live cheaply for a family with good quality of life.

    Thanks, Mike

    • Tim Leffel

      Mike, I was in Greece recently and the prices are quite reasonable. Not as cheap as the ones I feature in the book, but it would still probably be possible to live a half-price life there with a family. Judging by how many people speak English well there, I’m guess there are ample choices of private schools that are all or in part in English.

      But also look at the ones I cover in detail in A Better Life for Half the Price, especially Portugal.

      • Mike

        Tim, any idea what Greece cities are best for a family and have good public schools. Private ones rely on English program(that increase the difficulty of kids ability to adapt to Greece society), you may be surprised I prefer Greek program but English being studied for many hours per week as second language(public offers this?

        Permit residence in Greece on independent means can be earned by 2000/month and 400/month for spouse, 300/month for each child, renewed the same way per year until the 5th year of unlimited residence permit.

        Do you know the requirements for Portugal? Really interesting country too, low taxes that make it a favorite over Spain. Tough match with Greece for a decision!

        Would you suggest one:) and why(pros, cons)?

        I appreciate your unstoppable efforts.

        Mike

    • Marius

      If you are open to other countries in Europe check out Brasov, Romania. It’s a relatively inexpensive and beautiful city in Trasylvania with lots of history, close access to ski resorts and many others. Take a look at this link: http://global.remax.com/Mansarda-de-Lux-De-Vanzare-Brasov-Brasov_440401005-501

  14. De'Jav

    Great article especially since been evaluating where my next location will be.

  15. Ecuador Dean

    Why don’t you publish the rules of these countries for how long you can stay and how soon you can return etc. ??? This is the type of information that is actually useful!

    • Mike

      Tim keeps such info to his book I think.

      Tourist visa or Visa free will let a foreigner stay in many countries up to 90 days.
      More than this period, penalties will start that reach to disallow of entering the country forever or even whole Europe if it happened under schengen visa.
      If you feel will stay in Europe for long than 90 days in one or more countries combined period, apply for long stay, not hard to get approval by independent means, show big amount in bank statement will guarantee you 1 year stay subject to renewal. under same procedures of bank statement proof and other documents..

      There are countries like Ecuador you can get the long stay for less amount in bank, like show in bank statement, you have $800 per month= $9600 per year only, add $100/month for family members and you’ll get 1 year residence permit.

      In Greece, it’s 2000 Eur= $2300, add to it 20% for spouse and 15% for minors.

      • Feilx

        Hey Mike, I don’t know, but I do not understand an amount U talking about – do I have to pay $800 a month to have an access to stay in a country f.ex. like Ecuador ( + ) a cost of living .. is it right ???

        • Tess

          no no! you need to show you have money available to you and that you won’t be another poor person in a country with too many poor people already!

  16. Deborah

    Nice to read this information! We are back in Australia after living in France for a few years, but we left when the taxes plus social charges added up to OVER 60% of our income! Renovating a house here in OZ, hope to have it sold and be headed back to Europe by the end of the year. We are quite keen to explore cheaper options in Eastern Europe for long term settling down since my husband has an EU passport along with a Down Under one and we can live and work anywhere in Europe as a result.

    Trying to find a good place to park ourselves for early retirement on a pittance of a self-funded pension. And an expat community, even a small one, where we could speak to people in English would be fab. I need a decent internet connection as a writer and photojournalist, so I was pleased to read someone else asking that same question.

    Thanks for the annual update. Much appreciated.

    Deborah

    • Lynn Gardiner

      Hi Debra! I have recently returned to Oz ( forced to : hip replacement surgery ) from living in Portugal. I lived 35 mins outside Coimbra — rented a cottage in a small village for €50/month. When I return , I will live in Coimbra : rent for a one-bed ” flat” in the city centre is about €200/month.
      Cost of a meal out ( soup , main , dessert , bread/olives , wine ) never exceeded €7. I did not meet a snotty Portuguese in 2 years — they are lovely , helpful and welcoming. I was part of a large ex pat community in the Serpins area — mostly Brits — all now lifelong friends. Everyone very supportive of each other. Good luck! Enjoy! Regards , Lynn

      • Lynn Gardiner

        PS : I had a dongle for Internet : €36/month Unlimited usage.
        Excellent speed and reception. Lynn

    • Mateja

      Deborah…can we just change our addresses? :) you want to come to Europe, I want to go to Australia…by the way…i am living in Slovenia :)

  17. Dale Reardon

    Hi,

    I am interested in finding accommodation to live Thailand (Phuket type areas) or Bali for 4 to 6 weeks.

    Are there Facebook groups or where is the best place to find accommodation for such a stay. Of course I want a private pool and good internet for working.

    Thanks,
    Dale.

    • Emma

      That’s a fairly short-term stay — when I’m staying that length of time in countries I usually just find a guesthouse that caters to tourists (instead of an apartment rental). You could look at sites like airbnb, agoda and craigslist. (And Airbnb will give you houses and apartments as well as guesthouses/hotels).

      Although, what would be cheaper is to organise a few days accommodation before you arrive and then go looking for a more permanent place once you are ‘on the ground.’ It’s a much cheaper way of finding good accomodation. (IMHO!)

  18. Chris

    I am 35, and now looks like I have beat cancer. In have had a change in how I want to live my life. I was all about work but now want to enjoy my life and take things day by day and just enjoy beautiful weather. I have been looking for some possible destination south of Mexico to live where the crime is not to bad. Nicaragua has some appeal to me. Who can I talk to about making the move there from Canada? Or where can I find some real info? Can any one help me out?

    • Tim Leffel

      It’s all in one place Chris, here:
      http://www.cheaplivingabroad.com/packages/

    • Javier

      Hey Chris
      There are so many places out there you can check out , so many places where you can live a good life ,,,, very peaceful and around nature….. I’m from Costa Rica and I assure you that where I live it Might be appealing for you ,, there are many expats from the USA and Canada living here , some of them live on $ 1200 a month.
      If you have any question about what life style here is like .. I ll be very happy to answer them all!!
      Pura Vida
      Javier

      • AJ

        hey Javier, I am thinking about either moving there or Argentina. what do you think the better choice is money wise?

    • Viff

      CHECK THIS OUT IN REGARDS TO CRIME!
      http://www.expatexchange.com/expat/index.cfm?pr=myaccoun

      • Tim Leffel

        Oh my god Viff, have you seen the U.S. news this week? Or any week? The body count is astounding, and dwarfs almost any other country in this article.

  19. Mario

    Great round-up of places to consider. I’ve spent stretches in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panama and spent far less traveling around in those than I did just on rent and utilities in Los Angeles. I met lots of people who had moved to them too and seemed to be a lot happier than the rat race crowd I hung around with before taking off.

  20. Mike | VagabondingMike

    These are all great location options!

    I have a buddy moving to Bulgaria in May…in part for the ‘cheap living’.

    These options you give are even more relevant considering the way the dollar to XYZ currency has been shifting. More purchasing power abroad!

  21. Donna

    Hello,
    I am new to your wonderful information and am thankful to have a fresh viewpoint. I currently live in the Atlanta area, but lived the first 15 years of my adult life in Hawaii (originally from Ohio). I am weather and life pace jaded to say the least. My husband and I are in our late and mid 40’s respectively, love meeting new people and are both disabled veterans. Yet, after a head on car collision that has left me on a long journey to rehabilitation, I am ready to go back to easy living. Looking to live comfortably for about $1500 – 2000 per month and MAYBE start some sort of local business just to stay busy part time. I have a Masters in Public Health, but not sure if that would fit in as an expat or what. That said, are any of the places you mentioned or know of that are good beach places? Because of my Hawaii ties, I want to feel comfortable with the locals, not deal with a lot of crime and be near the beach. Any suggestions? Belize is the only place I have really looked into as we visited on vacation but were concerned about how poor the locals were; it made me sad actually. Thanks for any advice.

    • Trent

      Hello Dona

      I suggest to check Costa Rica.. Specially lake Arenal,,, you can find rentals from $400 – $700 and live on $1500 -$1800 a month ,, very comfortable !!
      People from teamrealtycr.com are locals and can help you out !!
      Trent

      • Tim Leffel

        Costa Rica is the most expensive option in Central America. But the Arenal Lake area is less expensive than other parts. Hard to get by without a car though, so you have to factor that in.

    • Viff

      $2,000USD is not enough to get a permanant Visa in Belize, AND the locals do view expats as ATM’s through petty crime! Beware! I have read this MANY times about Belize. Do your Research!!!

  22. Katrina

    Thank you for this article. I’m looking at a few places to vacation in this year (about a month or so) and I needed some ideas. I loved being in the Philippines in 2014–it was pretty cheap in my opinion. My husband and I looked up apartments in Manila and it only cost about $500/month USD. I would love to try Thailand or Australia for one month though.

  23. Vernon

    I have either visited or lived in many of the countries you have mentioned. However, you have not mentioned South Sinai, Egypt (Dahab). It is by far the cheapest place to live with many activities to keep one interested, like scuba diving, free diving, windsurfing, kite surfing, trekking, rock climbing. And, contrary to media fear propaganda it is very safe. There are any number of apartments and houses to rent very cheaply. Visas are easy and cheap. $25 first month on entry, less than $20 for 1 year with 6 months multiple entry. Only 2 hours to the Israel border if you feel the need for some Western living, very expensive there though.

    I previously lived here for 5 years, and am back again after living in Thailand, which is not so cheap anymore, except for food and transport. And I do not consider it a safe country as can be realized by reading the local English news.. The language and culture are such, that you will never be able to develop friendships with the Thais. Cambodia is so poor that it can be depressing. Vietnam remains communist and is totally unsafe on the roads unless you drive in a large car. In many of these SE Asian countries, the locals being poor, any kind of friendship formed is merely to extract what they can from you.

  24. Kristin McNeil

    Great article! Very informative. I’ve bookmarked it and referred to it so many times I can’t even count. I love all of your articles actually. My family (husband, myself and our 13 yr old son) is planning to move abroad and we are exploring our options right now. My husband is a manager in automotive sales/financing and wants to continue doing something similar. So we need to find a city with a large English speaking population for him to find work I’m thinking. What cities would you recommend that have a large English speaking population and lots of opportunities in Southeast Asia and Europe? Any cities in Spain? What about Amsterdam, Prague, or Berlin? I think I may be able to get around the work permit issues in EU by studying for a Master’s or maybe just a foreign language so then my husband can get a work permit (in many countries like Germany, UK and Spain this is possible). Thanks n advance for tips!

    • Tim Leffel

      I’d start with the jobs part first and then go from there. I know several expats living where I am that are working for GM, Nissan, Siemens, etc. Then dive into local expat message boards to find out about the number of English speakers.

  25. saba

    Interesting read and exiting topic that has been in my mind and plannings for some years now. I would like to know your thoughts about Sri Lanka, if you have experience any time there. Considering it’s dramatic and gorgeous nature and etc, is it cheap enough country to live in? or what was your thoughts about it. Many thanks if you could replay and very nice blog by the way.

  26. Peter Shanks

    My viewpoint is from that of a well off financially, snow bound super keen retired single male golfer. Desiring to play golf for six months a year during the miserable winter in their country, especially wanting to live in an English speaking tropical climate country and still physically young enough to wish for romance in their life.

    To me, Riviera Golf & Country Club, Silang, Cavite, Philippines, fits the bill… I appreciate someone may check and say, ‘that’s not cheap’ but I assure you it is if you are financially well off and used to paying to live at a comfortable standard and paying to play at ‘Top’ Championship golf courses. Superb housing is especially inexpensive compared to the UK, Europe and most parts of America.

  27. Steven Barker

    I would take Vietnam out of this list. My business partner lives in HCM and I visit occasionally. Prices rise there at a phenomenal rate. Postal prices go up every few months and a night out costs more than it does in the UK.
    I agree with Bulgaria on the list, although a couple can live on $350 a month including all bills. It would actually be difficult to spend $1000 a month unless you’re constantly spending on the house or if you live in a tourist area and are dumb enough to get caught for tourist prices all the time. We moved here (to Bulgaria) 6 months ago. The big house was $23,000 and has a massive garden. A similar house to this in the UK would have easily cost $400,000. Car insurance is unbelievably cheap and unlike the UK scam where the driver is insured, here you insure the car so anyone can drive it. We can call any European landline for 60 hours a month for about $9 a month.
    Leave the UK and never go back!

    • Tim Leffel

      I interviewed several people living in Saigon for my book Steven and stay in touch. They would strongly disagree with you. Vietnam is one of the best deals on the planet, whether you’re a traveler or an expat. They’re probably #1 when it comes to hotel value. The price is beer is one of the cheapest on Earth, so maybe your partner has expensive tastes. (And who uses the post office these days anyway?)

    • Paul Verano

      Yes Vietnam is not cheap, i don’t understand why people are claiming that Cambodia & Vietnam are cheap places to live.
      A vietnam appartement is not a western appartment so 500 $ could be overpriced regarding what you get for that amount, of course you’ll find cheap food in the street because noodle are cheap everywhere in the world. it is not mean that food is cheap try to get a meal with meat and you may find it expensive.
      With 1000$ you will not live a good life that is for sure, all Vietnamese and Cambodian cities are very expensive, if you chose a country side lifestyle you will pay cheaper for food & Appartment but the choice of food is very limited and you won’t have anything to do, no restaurant, no bars, no mall, no sightseeing, it is definitly boring.
      Thailand is the best choice in my opinion you may pay a little more but you will get a much much better life overthere.

      • palomnik

        Paul: I’m not sure I fully agree with you, but I see your point; Vietnam is going downhill. I lived in Thailand for three years and then moved to Vietnam, where I’ve been living for three years now. I live in a studio apartment right by the beach in Nha Trang where I pay $500 a month. Most months my wife and I live well on about $1200, although prices do go up continuously here; I could eat a good local meal for $5 three years ago but now it’s more like $8-9. Liquor is a problem here, so much so that I don’t buy it any more because the locals adulterate it. Thailand, on the other hand, is a great place to visit but I don’t want to live there any more; prices have climbed steeply there too over the last three years (I visited there in April), and the quality and variety of food doesn’t match Vietnam. Of course, the medical care is 1000% better in Thailand, which for a lot of older expats (like me) is a major consideration.

    • mr teuvo salmi

      Dear Mr Barker and family.
      I moved to UK 20y ago from Finland. Now i do not mind a cold winters so much if i can lit a log fire at the lounge in the evening for comfort, stuff my damp clothes into a utility room put my rope over and walking bear foot on a underfloor heated tiles to a sauna. (that is what all my mates have back there) not to point out if i need hoovering i just plug long hose on the wall at every room. I am sick of shiver all summer through here and what comes to children (got one) are asked to go to school in july ?? what the hell s that all about? I had my hols from mid june to mid august .Ok we did study hard in winter but still we had breaks as well like xmas break and easter etc. So you there 6months and it souds good so far.Good luck to you all.You gave me some thoughts thanks. Del

    • Maddy

      Hi Steven, with regard to living in Bulgaria, we did look at property about 8 years ago and then decided to go to Spain and had rented apartments, had to come back to UK due to Spanish economy down turn and being made redundant. We are currently undecided. I would need a good internet connection enough to use Skype and my partner would need fishing opportunities. Do you have any suggestions or advice. We have thought about buying a cheap property that needs renovating.

  28. mirma

    you really have not idea what you talking about i travel a lot every year and expending 2000 euros or usd each moth is not cheap, thailand is not cheap anymore, mexico is not so cheap anymore specially if you need to take bus from city to city , portugal in the eurozone it should not be include in the cheap , and indonesia you being to bali recently ,I did this year im assure you is not cheap, only nepal remain cheap. bolivia and peru i will go this year tell you later .

    • Tim Leffel

      I live in Mexico. And I have interviewed multiple expats living in Portugal after traveling there myself. Thailand is still cheap if you are smart—many people easily travel through there or live there for $1,000 a month. So yes, I do know what I’m talking about. (And I know how to use punctuation too…)

      • Marco

        Great (rounded) advice throughout the article, but a tad harsh on mirma’s grammar! Mirma may be wrong, but English is clearly not their first language- there’s nothing ‘big, clever or hard’ about teasing people writing in their non mother tongue!

        For what it’s worth, I live in the UK and I’m slowly reaching the conclusion that Bulgaria is the EU’s best value country to live in, although the crisis in Ukraine (and the potential future of the EU) may make Eastern Europe less attractive in the not-too-distant future!

      • Didier Hardy

        Even if you are smart, Thailand is much more expensive than 4/5 years ago. Of course you can live in the Isan province with rice farmers and buffalos, if this is your thing. After working 20 years in Bangkok, I am living now in Manila. The Philippines are less developped, but daily life is at least 30% cheaper.

        • Tim Leffel

          Here’s the breakdown from four years ago to now Didier. Looks like you left at the wrong time.
          http://fxtop.com/en/historical-exchange-rates.php?A=1&C1=USD&C2=THB&MA=1&DD1=01&MM1=08&YYYY1=2011&B=1&P=&I=1&DD2=05&MM2=08&YYYY2=2015&btnOK=Go!

        • don penrod

          oct. 21 2015
          hi, i live in northern thailand, in nongbualamphu. a small but really nice town.
          i live on a rice farm with my boy friend 20 mins. outside of town. i like the quiet life here and for more action udon thani is only a short drive away or 1 hour by bus.
          and i know it’s better than that shit hole manila and all those blood sucking people. if you know how to shop and where thailand is still very cheap and safe. and the dollar is getting stronger.
          30 % cheaper in philippines, what are you smoking.

      • Afitz

        Sometimes the message is more important than the small ” Shittt.”
        Thanks, Tim

  29. Aijika

    Great topic. Interesting information about cheap places.. and i love Philippines there so many places to live there at an Affordable price And Filipino they treat us in a very polite way. Have a nice day to all :)

  30. Sierra

    Really nice post! I would just love to go to these places! Not because they are cheap but because they are so interesting! I was in Hungary last year and it was gorgeous! Thanks for the post! Greets!

  31. Helena

    Eastern Europe is very interesting for me! Especially the Balkan countries! I am planning to visit some countries there this year! Thanks for the post!

    • Bohdan Szejner

      I live in Eastern Europe. As I write, my heart is sinking. I would like to live where there is peace and solitude. There is nothing of that in Poland, lest you are some home-owner montaneer. The life isn’t cheap. I pay over $330 to survive, unable to afford gasoline, and living literally inside buses. I dream of going some place, but to be useful to humanity since I am a doctor of theology. Thought of Siberia, driving there, but I am too old for such a frozen climate. There is so little people in the world supporting elderly doctors. I could teach languages and theology, instead I sit here in a country that is not interested in me, even though I was born here! Whjat I would need is a lonely, isolate lot where I can bring electricity and a small ready-made cabin. Any ideas?

      • Tim Leffel

        Bring your skills/knowledge to an online community instead of only thinking in local terms. You need to get that income up to live almost anywhere on Earth.

      • Sam

        Read your posting yesterday, about a year after it was written. Did you make any progress in finding a place? I, too, am looking for peace and solitude somewhere in Europe but a warm climate, I’m too old for the cold. If you like, let me know what you have done. It would be interesting to know. I don’t live in Poland. Thanks
        Sam

  32. DP

    Love the intention of this article, but the truth is that some of these countries are, well, less than safe. I wish this article were titled, “Top Ten Cheapest and Safest Places to Live in the World 2015” because the truth is, in a lot of these places, the safety risk is not worth it. For example, my first experience ever with machine guns occurred in Cuenca, Ecuador. In Quito, one of my friends was taken as a hostage and my father had to come and pay a ransom. We did get the money back, as their version of the FBI came in and slaughtered all the kidnappers. Because of the non-existing traffic laws, a friend of mine died in a car wreck (the other car was being driven by a 12 year old), and we had to do a LOT of bribing to get the body back to the USA. I could go on and on. Not for any amount of money could you get me to live in Ecuador. It is beautiful, but even with security guards and living on a compound, it isn’t safe. Who wants to live looking over your shoulder?

    • Tim Leffel

      And where you live is a blissful crime-free eden I presume? If I were only recommending perfectly safe places to go, that would be a very short list and would not include the USA by any stretch of the imagination.

      • Beba

        Excellent blog thanks, so need it. My spouse and I, have been living in different places and when comes to safety yes, US has ups and downs but can not be comparable with Peru or Egypt. -both with very different risks- However, Singapour, UAE, certain Europe countries could be safer if are comparable with others. It depends of what you can endure. Colombia for instance, is not only very expensive, -contrary to some coments- but it is also very unsafe, you can be kidnaped at an ATM and force to give your passwords to empty your bank. Gun armed robbery is not uncommon either. Mexico is worst, so yes I think it would worth to talk about safety, and have some statistics so we can make informed decisions. Perhaps we will find an “eden…”

        • Ian c

          Nigeria is a very well kept secret. Lagos and Abuja are much safer than most 1st World cities.Good life style and amazing, loving people.

      • Jake

        Tim is not the authority on where to live on planet earth or what to do with your life. These are merely his opinions. This information is not scientific data. It seems most of his information is through his travels, experiences, interviewing some people from those areas and internet research… There are so many variables in traveling and living in various places. You must do your own research and do what feels right for you. There is do much information out there. Do your homework and than just go for it! The world awaits… Btw there are many amazing beautiful safe places in America. I moved to the Florida keys when I was 25 yro with $1200 usd back in 2000 almost immediately I started amassing great wealth. The climate is tropical, you can drive, fly, bus off the islands anytime. There is a lit of diversity, many europeans, central americans, cubans, dominicans, other islands and a mix of people from around the usa and world. Also one of the lowest crime rates in the world, crime almost does not exist and lastly one of the lowest unemployment rates in the usa. My opinion learn how to sail, buy a nice sailing yacht and travel everywhere. It is the best way to travel and see the world in my opinion. Bon Voyage! 😊

  33. Mike

    Very nice guide.
    I live and work for over 1 year now in Cambodia, which is really nice compared to Beijing/China where I worked before. The Quality of Life is great, especially since you find lots of western restaurants in a good price range. Visa is easy as a pie, you can travel to Vietnam or Thailand for holiday. But what you should include is definitely working conditions. I know many foreigners which work for NGOs here, or opened their own business. But few who work for companies. Me I work as a freelancer, otherwise, I think I couldn’t stay here, just no jobs available.

  34. manwithvanfinsburypark

    Bulgaria is a pretty place to move and stay! I’ve been there for a vacation and it was great! I highly recommend it!

  35. Erik

    I have been living in Vietnam for 3 years now. I used to rent a 2bed 2 bath apartment that was about 35 minutes from the City center, I paid $450 a month, if you want that same standard or quality in the city center you will pay at least $1000. Hanoi is a very expensive city to live in, it has some of the most expensive cost per square meter for residential, in the entire world. But between those two is so many great places that are inexpensive, clean air, less motorbikes on the streets, less headaches and even cheaper food and alcohol.
    I live in Nha Trang, Vietnam. I currently pay $340USD a month for a 4 year old 2 bedroom 2 bathroom house. $12 USD a month for Internet. I pay $25USD every 6 months for 73 channels that include HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax and everytime i pay for 6 months they give me a 24 Pack of beer. I pay about $20 USD amonth for electricity and i often run my 2 air-con Units.
    Vietnam is not easy at all to start a business. I am a business “owner” in Vietnam. If you are doing a big investment of Hundreds of thousands of dollars, or your business is in a locals name then it is “easier”, Otherwise starting your own legitimate business for a Foreigner without any local ownership/partnership is virtually impossible unless you are also paying a big amount to the authorities. The Visa Renewal situation has also become a nightmare as of January 1, 2015. Officially, Expats that have been living on a continuous tourist visa will no longer be able to renew a 3 month extension while in the country. Most of the business “owners” are operating illegally on Tourist Visas if they do not have a Vietnamese Spouse.

    • palomnik

      Well said, Erik. Like you, I’ve been in Nha Trang for 3 years, and I agree with everything you say.
      In a more general vein, if you want an expat life you should develop some kind of business you can do over the Internet. Vietnam is good for this, since the Internet is good here, and while there are occasional power failures, they normally only last a few minutes.

  36. Erik

    the 2 Bedroom 2 Bath i used to pay for was in HCMC.

  37. Orlando

    Portugal. This is the right time if you want to buy a house.
    You can buy a two room apartment for less than 60k euros. Or rent it for 350 Euros.
    If you work you need to pay a lot of taxes and yes, the tolls are stupidlyexpensive. You spend more in tolls than in petrol…
    As the clima is cool (75% spring) the houses are not well prepared for 2 a 3 months of winter and you need to pay more than 250€ for gas or electricity in that months.
    Very good food, fish, fruits, cheap. Amazing wine but, you need more than 2000€ to live here…
    I am living in Porto. the people are friendly and diferent from the ‘capital’ Lisbon. Behavior close to italians.
    If you like the mountains, nature, reserve parks, wild horses and amazing gourmet food, in that case, you can live in Geres Park for less than 1000€
    if you need ANY other info, just ask. I am just someone who live in Portougalfor more than 50 years… :)

    • Liz

      Orlando and Tim, thank you for writing helpful, informative blogs. I do have some other questions, if you have some time to answer? First, what might an expat expect for health care, which extends to care for older people if they don’t want to return to the prospect of a nursing home in the US (general General Practitioner and possibly specialized treatments, such as for cancer, etc.? Second, if an expat would like to travel and stay for 90 days, what types of health insurance should one purchase and from whom? Third, when the decision rounds out to stay in Portugal, what types of health care insurance or subsidies are available? Fourth, to stay an extended time, what is the best way of negotiating paperwork; then, with buying property (taxes, fees, etc.)? Fifth, what types of jobs can one expect for the over 50 crowd in Portugal? Many thanks in advance.

      • Orlando

        health care: You have good and not so expensive private hospitals. The not expensive public hospitals work fine also. Maybe you need to wait 2 or 3 hours for a doctor if your problem is not o urgent, but, it works fine.

        health insurance: if you want to live her for one year you can make a private health insurance for something like 50€ to 100€ per person /month and all is covered. all.
        For 90 days you have the international health insurances all over the world. I don’t think you need it…

        If you buy a property for more than 500K you will receive an VIP Visa
        http://goldenvisa-portugal.com/FAQ.html

        I spent many time trying to find cheap living abroad countries… and in the end I discover that I already live in one of the best places for.

        Also, if you like surfing or golf, this is the ight place. http://www.cm-nazare.pt/pt

        Just write GERES portugal in google and imagine living ther for 1000€ a months.

        If you need some help or avise about Portugal just ask.

        • Jo

          Hi , if I am looking to stay for a month during Christmas , into new year , how much will it cost ? I can’t stay away too long from work or I might end up staying forever .. Where is safe and how can I look for the cheap accommodation you mentioned ? Thank you

    • jane

      you talk in their money how does their money compare to ours.? so what is the lowest u need to live over there is what I would like to know..? I am on social security and its low but want out of American .. I am retired.. thank you for letting me know.

  38. Aaliyah Allen

    Nicaragua is wonderful! We’re planning to move there with my husband… It will be paradise! Thanks for the suggestions! I would love to visit all these beautiful places! :)

  39. kally

    i’m fresh graduate of civil Engineering looking for affordable country to do my masters and PhD. if possible will work and live there. Any suitable options will be highly appreciated as a single.

    • Puneet Singh

      Hi dawn . currently i am living in USA but I am going back home to India to retire very soon . the best area in India is goa . it has amazing beaches and very cheap to live their . its very safe and peaceful area . I was looking for a partner who wants to live together and enjoy the relaxed and slow paces life and have great local fresh fops everyday . I am a citizen of India so you won’t have any issues of livimg their for as long as u would like too . u can even open up a small hair shop if you want to do something on the side . my email is : ppss9353@gmail.com . if interested in starting a nice and peaceful life contact me and we can talk more about it . thanks. My name is Puneet Singh.

  40. Mohammed Abdalla

    I liked

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