Inflation and stagnant wages are dragging down the quality of life for millions of people in “1st world” countries. Thankfully, there are more affordable places to live.
The developing world, and even some developed countries, offer a much lower cost of living, while at the same time offering a much higher quality of life full of adventure and new friendships.
In this article, we share 10 countries where a single person can live on $1,000/month or less, and a couple can live on $1,500/month or less.
Each of these locations offers affordable housing, food, utilities, and healthcare, along with exciting cultural experiences and a welcoming expat community.
Watch Our Video About 10 Affordable Countries
Don’t be quick to write off Mexico just because popular expat areas like Ajijic, San Miguel de Allende, and Playa del Carmen have seen a rise in prices. Affordable havens such as Oaxaca, Huatulco, Puebla, and Ensenada still exist.
- Diverse geographical options: beach, mountains, big city, small town
- Fantastic weather – say goodbye to winters
- Close to the US, making it an attractive option for many
- Affordable and reliable healthcare
- Delicious food
- High crime rates and bad air pollution in major cities
- Water safety can be an issue
- Gentrification leading to increasing prices and unhappy locals in some areas
See Also: Live Abroad in Mexico
- Rich and diverse cultural and natural experiences
- A significant number of English speakers, reducing language barriers
- Reliable modern infrastructure
- Home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Dangerous driving conditions
- Concerning levels of air pollution
Thailand, the “Land of Smiles”, is another Southeast Asian country perfect for budget living. With popular expat areas like Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and Pattaya, it’s hard not to be charmed by this warm, tropical paradise.
- Friendly and welcoming local community
- Excellent, affordable healthcare
- Weed is legal
- Rising air pollution levels, especially in major cities
- Overcrowding in main cities
- Legalization of weed causing a surge in expats and consequent price inflation
- Extensive public transportation, including buses, trains, taxis, and modern metro systems in major cities
- Generally a safe country
- Often hot and humid
- Dealing with government bureaucracy can be challenging and time-consuming
Cambodia, located just next to Vietnam, is rich in history and cultural landmarks. Consider living in popular areas like Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, or Battambang.
- Laid-back lifestyle and friendly local people
- Plenty of activities and natural beauty to explore
- Delicious local food
- Language can be a barrier
- Hot and humid climate
- Public transportation needs improvement in some areas
Known for its stunning beaches and vibrant underwater life, the Philippines offer an incredible quality of life on a budget in cities like Manila, Cebu City, and Davao City.
- Reliable public transportation
- English is widely spoken, thanks to its history as a US colony
- Heavy traffic can be a problem
- Potential for culture shock for newcomers
- One-year tourist visa
- Stunning natural beauty, including amazing beaches and the Albanian Alps
- Rich history and archeological sites
- Safe and hospitable
- Language can be a barrier
- Economic development is still ongoing
- Limited and unreliable public transportation
Situated just north of Costa Rica, Nicaragua is becoming a popular choice for expats thanks to its beauty and affordability. Consider Granada, León, or Managua.
- Stunning natural beauty with beaches, volcanoes, and rainforests
- Lots of outdoor activities and exploration
- Laid-back lifestyle
- Lacks comprehensive public transportation
- Political instability and safety concerns
- Limited healthcare options
- Delicious local cuisine
- Enjoyable weather
- Warm, welcoming locals
- Multiple international airports for ease of travel
- Cities can be crowded
- High crime rate
See Also: Live Abroad in Colombia
Finally, Ecuador is a fantastic destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, birdwatching, and more. Cuenca, Salinas, Manta, Vilcabamba, and Cotacachi are some of the popular areas to consider.
- The economy is US Dollar-based, ensuring stability (don’t believe the conspiracy theories – the dollar isn’t going anywhere)
- Natural beauty and friendly locals
- Laid back culture
- Excellent private healthcare and great weather
- Increasing crime rate in some areas
- Bureaucracy can be challenging, especially regarding visas
- Frequently cloudy weather
- Live Abroad in Ecuador
- Cost of Living in Ecuador
- Top 10 Reasons Why We Chose Ecuador
- How To Travel to Ecuador from the United States
So, there you have it! A rundown of 10 affordable countries where you can live a high-quality life on a budget.
While each country has its unique charms and challenges, they all offer incredible opportunities for those looking to stretch their dollars.
Remember, research is key before making a move. Here’s to your next adventure!
Note: All prices and visa requirements are subject to change and can vary based on personal lifestyle choices. Always conduct thorough research and reach out to expat communities and official embassy websites for the most accurate, up-to-date information.
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Hola todos! Welcome to my author bio page! Let's see. Where to begin... I grew up in the country on a lake outside a small Kansas farm town. As soon as I could, I got the hell outta there! Since then, I've lived and/or worked in Kansas City, Washington D.C., Denver, San Francisco, and Ecuador. I started and sold a dotcom, wrote a book about it, started a YouTube channel, and now I write a lot. Amelia and I have embraced the Unconventional Life and we want to help you do it, too!