The cheapest places to live in the world. $500 a month

Are you tired of busy cities, crowded streets, high rents and almost non-affordable mortgage? Well…there are places in the world where you can live well for less. The cheapest places to live are also the most beautiful and exotic destinations. So why not make your dreams come true, pack your bags and move to one of those paradise locations, if not for a lifetime, then at least for a year or two?

There are two simple rules to follow while searching for low cost destinations. Firstly: if you find a place cheap enough to travel to, then most probably you will also find it cheap to live in. Secondly: wherever you are, the further from the big cities and large agglomerations, the cheaper it gets.

Of course ‘cheap’ is a very relative concept, and what is cheap for you may not be cheap for people living some place else in the world.

But if ‘cheap’ means spending just a few dollars/euro/pounds a day, then these locations in Asia and Central America may interest you…


Have you ever been to Thailand? Do you remember that feeling of paying $1 (€0.70) for a glass of beer? Did you ask yourself then what it would feel like to pay that much for a drink back home? Or the other way round… what would it feel like to enjoy such prices on a daily basis? If your answers are yes, yes, yes …then why not consider moving to the Land of Smiles for a while?

Life is short and, really, no one forces you to spend your days sitting in the office with a computer as your best friend. Think about sandy beaches, constant sunshine and excellent food and realize that you can have it all for less than $500 (€350) a month.

Of course this amount will not pay a beach apartment but you can easily find cheap accommodation in places as beautiful as Chang Mai, up north, where you will pay around $30 (€21) a month for a small flat. Nearer the coast, a room in the apartments runs at roughly $90 (€63) upwards.

Cooking at home will cost you nothing as fruits, vegetables and meat at the local markets fall into the budget category. If you are too lazy to cook then try excellent Thai food from street-side food stalls. You can get spicy chicken with rice or noodles for around $1 (€0.70). Spending around $200 (€142) for food a month, you still have around $200 (€142) spare to enjoy local trips, restaurants, parties and some small shopping.


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Thinking about Cambodian history, the bloody regime of Pol Pot and poverty, no one would dare to call the country a paradise, but in terms of living cost Cambodia rivals Thailand. It does not have as great beaches as its Thai neighbor but, well, it is not all about beaches, right?  You can easily live for less than $500 (€350) in the country’s capital, Phnom Penh.

As there are more and more foreigners living in the town, the accommodation prices are getting higher – it would be hard to find something below $200 (€142) a month, but you can always reduce this cost by sharing a flat with a friend or some long-term travelers.

With $300 (€213) left, you can easily get by in the country. The food prices are similar or lower than in Thailand. Eating in local restaurants will cost you around $2 (€1.40) a meal and $1 (€0.70) a beer but if you really aim to trim your budget, you can try food from street stalls- simple but delicious. Traveling by tuk tuk will cost you several bucks/euro a day.

Living in Phnom Penh, the town of no McDonald’s and Starbucks, may be a life changing experience for you. Be aware that Cambodians are extremely poor but modest people, so treat them with respect.  Getting to know a few natives may help you to understand the complex history and tough life in the country. You can always teach English or get involved with some non-governmental organizations to help change the reality around you.

For visa details read an article at

You will find similar costs of living in nearby countries such as Vietnam and Laos.



Another exotic destination where life will cost you not more than $500 (€350) a month is the Philippines. Following the rule of getting away from big cities, Manila is not an option, as a rent prices start at $360 (€255) a month.  But if you head for Cebu, one of the most developed provinces in the Philippines, with sandy beaches, golf courses and great shopping, you can get an apartment for $150 (€106) a month. In other bustling towns, such as Damaguete City, you can easily rent a room for around $40 (€28) per month.

Food is also cheap. $200 (€142) a month will be absolutely enough to provide you with all necessities including alcohol and tobacco – a big glass of beer and pack of cigarettes cost $0.55 (€0.39) and $0.80 (€0.57) respectively.

Moreover, the Philippines offer a special resident retiree visa that you can get as early as at the age of 35, but you need to deposit $50K in a bank there. At the age of 50 and above you have to deposit $10K and prove a monthly pension of $800 single ($1K couple).

Malaysia, has a similar retiree offer called My Second Home program.


Just a few dollars/euro would be enough to survive in Costa Rica. And surviving in Costa Rica may be just a pleasure. The land has 12 different climatic zones and abundant wildlife, but in general, the weather is hot tropical and the natives (called Ticos) a
re very spirited and friendly people.

Prices in San José are low – the cost of goods and services is among the lowest of all cities throughout the world. You can easily live on $500-$600 (€350-€425) a month if you share a house or flat with a partner or a friend.

Obviously the further away from San José, the lower the cost of housing.  Around 75 km (50 miles) from the town you can rent a small or medium house for $250 (€177) a month.

In the restaurants you can have an excellent meal with desert for about $4.00 – $5.00 (€2.8-€3.5). And if you buy food at local markets and from the street vendors, you pay less- a bunch of bananas will cost you $0.50 (€0.30) or less. Cigarettes are only about $1.20 (€0.90) per pack. In general, the prices in supermarkets are 30% higher than on the local markets and street stalls.


While in Costa Rica you can learn or develop your surfing skills as the coast has great breaks and excellent surf conditions. And if you’re not too lazy, you can learn or practice your Spanish. Lessons will cost you much less than back home or in Spain.

To find out more check the blog by Tim, who has lived in the country for several years.  It seems that he knows a lot about living in Costa Rica.

If you seriously think about moving to Costa Rica, you should also read ‘Living Abroad in Costa Rica’ by Erin Van Rheenen, who herself moved to live there and wrote from experience. The book explores the country’s history and culture, describes the nation and, of course, suggests a reconnaissance trip to Costa Rica before you decide to move.


Your dream of a personal heaven for a bargain price may also come true in Belize, which is considered one of the most beautiful countries in Central America. It has it all: great beaches, subtropical climate, and diverse wildlife. The official language in the country is English – that makes things simpler, doesn’t it?

The country is also a paradise for scuba diving and snorkeling lovers .The Belize Barrier Reef offers 127 offshore Cayes (islands) where you will find the best preserved marine ecosystems in the world.

The costs of living are similar to those in Costa Rica. For a large house in Cayo district, a one-hour drive west from Belize City, you may pay $300 (€210) a month and if you share with two other friends, it is only $100 (€70)!!!

Groceries are cheap when bought locally. Imported stuff is in general 50% more expensive so if you want to trim your budget, you should shop at local markets and buy from street vendors.

If you’re 45 or more you may consider retiring to Belize. The Retired Person’s Incentive Program may allow you to live a tax free lifestyle, which should definitely help you save up a few bucks.

Before you pack your bags, be aware that the country has dry and wet seasons so the weather is not always as perfect as you wish. The wet season starts in May and ends in October – it rains all the time and the hurricanes may occur, so if you want to spend just a few months in the country, go between November and April.
The world is changing fast and the bargain destinations may soon become less affordable, so go there before it is too late.

And don’t forget that the best things in life are for free. Living abroad for less than $500 a month is great but what counts most is the people you meet, friends you make, experience you acquire, places you see, tastes and smells you learn to recognize.

There are also countries in Europe and Africa where you can live for $500 a month. So keep checking the blog… the article is coming soon.

P.S. At the time of writing, the exchange rate was $1 – €0.71.



  1. I must defend author against all these naysayers, that is not possible to live in Thailand or in other countries for 500USD. I can live in Bangkok even with half, room in GH for 1 month is 3000THB, meals without beer let’s say 2000THB and there are free ecafe, free bicycles, free Bangkok post newspaper on street, water refill machines for 1THB per 1.5L bottle so it’s not problem to live on 5000THB per month whih is about 120EUR/172USD so if you want to have every day two more beers add 30*2=60USD and you have accommodation, meals, beers, intrrnet for 230USD and there is a LOT of money for fun and other expenses as clothes, hygiene, so you willbe still very far from reaching 500USD border. People who are writing is not possible just don’t know how to save money and don’t know how to adapt to Asia because they probably must have every day english breakfast, eat meals in farang restaurants and drink a lot of beers and spent money on other stupidities. Same as for Thailand goes for Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia (you can have house in Pangandaran for 400EUR per year! meals cost there 0.25-0.5EUR) or Vietnam. I’m right now travrlling in Asia so don’t bother try to tell me my prices are not up to date, from last places I’ve been I stayed in Pai and Chiang Mai in nice rooms for 100THB, Mae Hong Son not so nice 100B, Mae Sariang 130B, Kanchanaburi nice room with wifi 70B, Bangkok many guest houses for 100-120B 3-5min of walk from KSR. In Ko Phangan you can rent house with one bedroom, bathroom, kitchen with fridge, wifi and all energies included for 5-6000THB per month, meals are more expensive, dishes usually 40B at night market but they have Tesco where you can buy ingredients or already prepared meals for 10-25B.

  2. Thank you so much for this website, the wleath of information and your advice to lock up the Smart Meter. Great idea. I’ve written Edison and the CPUC that they may not trespass on my property to install the Smart Meter, that they must provide a viable alternative (which they have not done), etc. Just think of this: Joe is being charged with some crime. The prosecution introduces in court data collected by the Smart Meter as evidence against him. Joe cites his rights under 4th and 5th Amendments to block the prosecution from using that SmartMeter data. The judge refuses Joe and allows the data into evidence, saying: But Joe, you have already given up your constitutional protections from unreasonable search and seizure and self-incrimination because YOU HAVE ALLOWED the installation of the Smart Meter on your property. They are installing their Smart Meters ON OUR PRIVATE PROPERTY. We can refuse them on that basis.

  3. i live in guadalajara ,mexico have my house,and rent four roomssmall kichen for mexican $120 each include cabel elec..water gas refegretar..ext,food tacod 50c meal $2.

  4. Tricica, I have traveled to 15 countries and once you get to go on your 3 month trip, you will soon realize why the world thinks us American’s are spoiled. You don’t understand it now, but I promise you will…..

  5. I’m fed up with the nonsense in Britain and the weather ! Where can I go live for a year or so with £12 g in my pocket ? I’m single, no ties but heading for 50 !

  6. tom.I live in the filipines an have a pretty nice house for 200 a mounth but everything else cost out the ass.Ive been here 5 years.Im from the US.I spend about 1500 dollars a month here but I live good here an love it you would have a hard time living on that in the US.

  7. The Central Valley of California is starting to sound like a real deal after reading this. Rents in the 400 to 1000 dollar range with full American style amenities, electricity, cable tv, internet, telephone, it’s safe, familiar, the weather is tolerable year round. It’s a short drive to beaches, mountains, the bay area, L.A. Vegas. You can live pretty well for less than 2000 dollars a month, if you can share expenses a lot less.

  8. Venezuela used to be a paradise with a magical nature. It was expensive and a bit dangerous. But not any more, last 20 years thug&thief comunist-dictatorial goverment parties have destroyed every thing, incredibly included nature.

  9. Watch out! Someone suggest about Caracas, Venezuela. He explain it is the world cheapest place. It’s true with the gas, coke and some other items becouse the country has the world’ hightest inflation, but also should prevent about the danger, as it is probably the most dangerous place in the world (so many people murdered every day). The cities are dirty and ugly, where most people live afraid, so many are really very insolent, cheater and xenophobe. Yes the last 15 years a dictatorial goverment has destroy and ruin every thing: industry, family ecónomy (the monthly salary is about 17 $). Also promote hate to white person. Foreigners are putting themself at risk even if only go around during the morning hours.
    Just go out of the airport doors is dangerous.
    Only “Angel fall” and “Los Roques” are almost safe but visiting any other place or taken taxis or traveling by bus its daring.

  10. Admin / I was lost and at an endIt seemed so longI rlelay needed a friendWhy should I pretend?I couldn’t think I had to seeThat Southern Comfort comforts meI could be freeBut where would I be?Then you came alongAnd you sang your songAnd you made my dayIn your special wayThen I knewThat baby it’s youBaby it’s youYou know that it’s you I’m thinking ofBaby it’s youTry my best to get alongMake some friends, but something always went wrongI come on too strongThings were rlelay getting roughGetting tired of acting like I was toughI just had enoughThen you came alongAnd you sang your songAnd you made my dayIn your special wayThen I knewThat baby it’s youBaby it’s youYou know that it’s you I’m thinking ofBaby it’s you(Chorus x 2)

  11. Caracas, Venezuela is the cheapest place in the world with the dollar @ 600+ a price for a beer about 1/3 of a dollar, a coke goes by1/6 of a dollar, and gas price of 0,0001$ per liter

  12. It’s a lot “cheaper” to live in Belgium; on 800 euro a month, you can even have a health welfare Insurance … doctors for free, and good food, with some extra “good clothings” … and, it’s also ‘cozy’ during the winter, and clean bayside during the summer, and an additional : hobbys all you can! It’s a God – given Paradise on earth!

  13. There are fifty-one states in America. Surely there must be one area that is cheap, but habitable, to live in. I challenge anyone to look around and get back to me.

  14. I visit India every year. We live comfortably, hire car when go out of city.keep scooter for local shopping. Spend money with friends ,dinners out side, hotels etc. my wife hire maid service for everyday cleaning, cooking self.on average we are spending around rupee 50,000 per month which is 800-900 us$. So I think, if somebody try to live moderately and economically, he can live with $500 in India too.

  15. In India average pay of teacher is $700, engineer $1000, college professor$ 1500, govet doctor $1500, police constable $600, police inspector $1000. Servent in shop $150, maid $150 , private car driver $200, watchman $150, baby sitter $150, private hospital worker $200,truck driver $300 ,district collector $2000,software engineer $2000-3000 , these are some of the pay scales. Now think who can afford $500 and who can not.

  16. Now in India ,everything is home town is a small city with 75000 population.still $500 would be less than enough to live as foreigner and the fancy style.those who live in skid raw can live their life with $20 per month.

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