With the current economic stress in the United States, more and more residents are considering a big change in living arrangements. They are investigating to discover where exactly the cheapest places to live in the world can be found. There are many places that fit that description, but several factors must be acknowledged. While these countries offer as much as 50% less cost of living expenses, the trade off may be isolation, missing friends and family, seasonal weather challenges and doing without some of the things that we take for granted here. Education for your children, health care, and the potential to support yourself financially must also be addressed. Having said that, let the investigation begin. Wonderful, magical places await.
Thailand, whose capital is Bangkok, and who claims a population of 65 million or more residents is, in fact, one of the cheapest places to live in the world. As is the case in almost any scenario, this country has its expensive living areas in the cities and much cheaper places farther outside the city limits. You can spend from $30 a month for a mountain flat to $90 a month closer to the ocean to over $500 a month in the city. If you eat local mostly foods, you can probably budget about $200 a month. The great beaches are a major attraction, but there is the yearly issue of monsoons to deal with as well. It is very easy to find a job teaching English that will support you in Thailand, and many renters eventually buy property as a slow but steadily increasing future investment. Because of the language issues and for safety reasons, most expatriates live near each other in communities that can become a bit like a fishbowl. The expression “Familiarity breeds contempt” has been known to be true occasionally, especially when everyone is cramped together indoors during the rainy season.
For those wanting a drier atmosphere, Egypt can also be found on the list of cheapest places to live in the world. However, you will need your own income, payable in US dollars to make that work for you in this country. You can pay as little as $500 a month for a nice, partially furnished apartment in the better section of the city or much less if you choose to live on the economy. Food is cheap as are utilities, and no one seems to pay much in the way of taxes. Transportation is also very affordable with $.25 metro fare and relatively cheap taxis too. Of course, it is possible to find all the typical American luxuries nearby in the larger cities, but you will pay for anything that is imported.
Closer to home, Costa Rica, whose capital is San Jose, is home to about 4 million residents, 20,000 or more of which are expatriates looking for a cheaper place to live.. With 12 different climate zones and an average year round temperature of 72 degrees, this could definitely be considered paradise by many. Depending on how close you live to the city and your particular desires, a house or flat could cost between $250 and $3000 month. A bunch of bananas is $.50; a nice meal can cost $4.00 – $5.00. Unquestionably, this country is the most expensive one to choose in Central America, but as a result it also has the highest standard of living. The yearly rainy season runs from May – November, and that means rain every day, something to consider if you are thinking about this vacation playground.
Belize is a little country of almost 300,000 and definitely one of the most beautiful countries in Central America. Because English is the national language, Americans are really attracted to the beautiful beaches and subtropical climate. Of course, that climate includes the rainy season from May – October and the possibility of hurricanes. On the other side is the fact that this small, peaceful country offers much to those looking for a cheaper way to survive. Local groceries are cheap; the imported ones cost more. Cars are about the same as in the US, but you will pay more for gasoline ($3-$5.50 right now). Utilities are inexpensive, but the water tastes bad, so many homeowners invest a few thousand dollars in a cistern to catch rainwater. Housing varies from a few hundred dollars outside the city to more within the city limits.
Did you know that Mexico has the 12th biggest economy in the world? Depending on where you choose to reside, you can pay inflated prices because you have been identified as a “gringo” with money. This often happens if you plant yourself near other Americans. The prices for everything mysteriously start to rise. On the other hand, more isolated places are incredibly welcoming, and it is easy to become a legal resident in this country. Food is inexpensive and chemical-free, concerts are free, and your living expenses will be between 30% – 50% less than in the US. Health care is also great and inexpensive. If you stay out of the expensive areas, you might find a two bedroom place for $100 – $400 a month.
There are so many wonderful spots that could easily be identified as the cheapest places to live in the world. They all have both positive and negative aspects. Perhaps the safest decision would be to actually visit these countries and rent long enough to know if this is actually the right place for you and your family. Moving outside the United States is a huge adventure, but it is one that more and more Americans are choosing and loving.