Have you ever dreamed of uprooting your life and starting over in a new city? How about a new country? Although most of us daydream about doing this, what we don’t realize is that it’s possible. Even the first step of quitting your job might keep you tied to a place where the rent is high. However, more and more people are working remotely and able to live in the country of their wildest dreams. Not only that, but some places are so affordable to live that you could feasibly live off your savings for a while.
How many of your friends have gone on vacation to Indonesia? You might have even gone yourself, but have you ever thought about living there? Bali's reputation as one of the most beautiful islands in the world is a sound one. So much so, that even the idea of living here sounds like a dream. But it's a dream that can come true. With stunning, tropical beaches and friendly locals that have a laid-back way of life, it's hard to find anywhere quite like Bali or Indonesia in general. Not when you can live there on a modest $1,600 a month.
Portugal provides its residents with a slow, relaxed pace of life, a warm climate, and the ability to live comfortably for around $2,000 a month. In addition to this, Portugal has excellent healthcare and a great, neighborly vibe from locals and ex-pats alike. You can even live in Portugal's capital, Lisbon, for this, without needing to scrimp or save for food that isn't just affordable but delicious, as well. You wouldn't think land on the Algarve could be cost-effective, but it 100% is.
Much like its neighbor Portugal, Spain is a haven for ex-pats. As well as being one of Europe's favorite destinations, Spain is a cost-effective, comfortable place in which to settle. Spain has an equally glorious climate as Portugal making the standard of living here really high. So high, in fact, you'd imagine it would be much more expensive than it is. Spain is a relaxed foodie paradise with hundreds of beaches just waiting for you for as little as $2,000 a month.
Mexico is much more than what we see when we close our eyes. It's a country with an extensive history, culture, and rich heritage. For every beach, there are five natural wonders to discover. Mexico's cities are filled with arts and music, and the locals are no strangers to a fiesta. Because of how close it is to the United States, it's also really easy to get to and might not feel like big of a change. Where to live also depends on what you're looking for: the white beaches of Playa del Carmen or Guanajuato's mountainous inland. Regardless, all of this for less than $2,000 a month feels like a steal.
Thailand has a reputation for bright lights and big cities. While that's true in some cases, there's a lot more to the country than meets the eye. It's difficult to get bored in Thailand; in places like Bankok, it feels as though everyone is always on-the-go. However, if you do prefer a more relaxed way of life, there's a myriad of gorgeous beach towns like Hua Hin and the calm Chiang Mai. Maybe the best part about Thailand is the cost. After all, you can easily live there on a median of $1,000 per month.
Ex-pats have already started finding their dream life in Vietnam. Vietnam is a country with a forward-thinking, ever-expanding economy. It's also a country with numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites from Hindu temples to ancient cities. Vietnam's third-largest city, Da Nang, is a cultural hub. The city teeters between classic, retro sophistication and brand new skyscrapers, bridges, and financial hubs. What's more, is you can live there as a couple for just $1,175 a month. With that said, Da Nang just might be the cheapest place to live.
Costa Rica's national motto is, "Pura Vida," which means pure life. This is exactly what you'll get if you move there. In Costa Rica, you can go fishing, golfing, ride horses, and hike. You can also eat out for just $5-$10 each. Now, try to name the last time you were able to do that in the States. Costa Rica is a safe choice for a country to move to and your dollar will stretch further in housing as well as meals. Rents usually start around $500 per month, and in some places, you'll even be able to buy a house for as little as $200k.
Panama's economy has been growing rapidly since 2004. It's also topped plenty of "best places to live" lists. Most of us have heard of Panama, but chances are, we might not have thought about it. So then maybe it's time we did, don't you think? Panama has many benefits, especially for ex-pats. It uses the dollar, you don't pay income tax on money you earn outside of the country, and it's relatively easy to get a visa. The climate is also top-notch, with temperatures ranging from 65 to 86 degrees. Although the cost of living in Panama will depend on where you choose to live, you could be looking at between $1k and $2k a month.
Once you see all of the cheapest places to live together, it comes as quite a shock. Most of these countries are ones we might vacation to and fall for, not realizing we could actually live there. One of those places is Malaysia. Malaysia's unofficial first language is English, so you're already in the position to be able to communicate which also makes settling much easier. In Penang, there's something for everyone. It's a great spot to live and a hive of culture, beaches, and nature. You can also comfortably live there on a budget as little as $1,000 a month.
Thankfully, Colombia's sordid past is now history. Because of this, we can finally get to experience one of South Americas' most glorious countries. Furthermore, despite its location, its temperatures aren't too vast. In the countryside, it can feel like spring the entire year around. And what's better than being surrounded by green trees and bloom? The cost of living across Colombia is impeccable, with city-living in Medellin offering luxury accommodation for $1.2-$1.6k. But if you venture further out, you could be looking at even less.
If you look up affordable international retirement destinations, Ecuador is sure to show up near the top of your search results. This country on the Pacific side of South America offers a mild climate and modest costs for homes, food, and health care. In Cuenca, a growing ex-pat locale, a couple can live in a swanky three-bedroom apartment with maid service, eat lavishly, and get access to healthcare for $1,700 a month.
The country of Georgia still holds old European charm while embracing modern amenities. From the Caucasus Mountains to the western seaside, In the capital of Tbilisi, you could live quite comfortably for less than $1,100 monthly. In many instances, buying meals from a supermarket is cheaper than preparing your own.
Bolivia, in South America's interior, offers upscale urban living that's incredibly easy on the budget. As of December 2020, inflation is a mere 0.7%. With $1,550 per month, a couple can easily make themselves at home in a two-bedroom, furnished apartment. This figure also accounts for electricity, internet, cell phone service, groceries, and entertainment with $200 left for savings.
Sri Lanka, an island country lying just under the Indian subcontinent, holds exotic allure and an overall cost of living that's hard to resist. A modest one-bedroom apartment outside the city can cost about $114 per month while a downtown spot costs about $209. Add $26 for utilities for two. Here, you're more likely to save money cooking your own food in addition to riding a bike or taking the bus.
Bolivia's neighbor Argentina offers blends native South American and European culture with a significantly lower cost of living than in the Old World. Here in this incredibly expansive and diverse country, ex-pat couples in the cities can live well on $1,500 to $1,800 a month, and they can live on less outside of tourist districts. Even private preschool and designer clothes cost a fraction of what you'd pay in the States.