15 places to Live Like a Top Percentile For Less Than $2000/Month

By Loraine
15 places to Live Like a Top Percentile For Less Than $2000/Month

One of the ways people are getting out of the rat race is by lowering expenses. Some might say its all about working smarter as opposed to harder. Many people are branching out into the world to live in places that cost less. You can still enjoy all of life’s pleasures, you just pay much less for it.

Moving from Vancouver, Canada to Chiang Mai Thailand will save you about $2,000 per month with similar lifestyles. While you might not enjoy the beach in the North of Thailand, there are plenty of mountain ranges and nature. There are elephants and perpetual sunshine. The cities both boast cultural events, art galleries, food of all kinds, and a relaxed vibe.

Sometimes, it’s not about working towards a raise at your current place of employment. To make more money, sometimes you have to think outside of the box. Imagine where you could live if you had more money? Why do that when you can go live in those places for less money and do it like a king. The wealthy country that you reside in is costing you a fortune for even a minimalist lifestyle.

How does living for less than $2000 sound? Some offer tax breaks while some have big exchange rate benefits. Here is where you can live like a king for much less.

1 Granada, Nicaragua

Among the countries in Central America, Nicaragua has the lowest cost of living. Sure, there are problems and one of those include poverty. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great place to be. There is a large group of expats living all over Nicaragua and they love it largely due to the kindness of people and it’s unspoiled-by-tourism charm.

Granada itself boasts incredible scenery and stunning architecture. There are colonial style buildings throughout the city. Although Nicaragua itself isn’t considered the safest country, places like Granada tend to be quite safe. People watch out for each other and there isn’t such a high crime rate.

One couple moved from the States to Granada and bought a 160 year old colonial house with a sprawling patio for the price of what you’d pay for an apartment back home. They opened up an art studio and gallery. They are close to the city and within walking distance so there’s no need for a car. Keeping life simple and costs low is allowing expats to have very little concern about money. Vendors come to your door selling produce and other essentials.

The prices for all aspects of living such as going out to eat, groceries, utility bills is all very low. There is still local culture and entertainment which adds an element of value to living in Granada. Also, it’s only an hour and a half from the beach. It costs about $1,000 US monthly to live in Granada.

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2 Coronado, Panama

The country of Panama is quite developed in many ways. You can also enjoy tax cuts if you’re continuing to make money. While the country does run differently than the cookie cutter first world country you might come from, the cheaper living makes up for it.

Coronado is particularly appealing because it’s peaceful, has a great climate and welcomes retirees with a culturally rich experience. Far more superior than living in an old folk’s home, the elderly have a good life here. Many have said it made them feel ten years younger to make the move to Coronado.

Coronado has places where people can come together such as golf tournaments, country club memberships, art and yoga classes, karaoke bars and mahjong clubs. Did we mention miles of beach as well? Panama is a great place for retirees mostly because of affordable real estate. The average price for a house in a nice neighbourhood is $185,000. Going to see a doctor starts at around $35.00 which is an important consideration for seniors.

Panama is perhaps so ideal for retirees because of their pensionados program. This gives retirees discounts on certain things and they simply make it easy for them to get a visa. Young expats live in Panama City usually and get big tax breaks while working remotely. It’s pretty easy to stay in Panama for half the year as you get 3 months on arrival and then just leave the country, walk back in for another 3 months. If you’re living the same kind of life you did back home, you’ll pay a fraction of the price to live here. Some places cost a lot more money to live than others. Coronado still boasts low costs and retirees can live for about $1,500-$2,000 per month comfortably.

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3 Ko Samui, Thailand

Ko Samui has an interesting dynamic in that if you’re coming to visit and stay in a hotel, it’s pretty expensive. If you find an apartment or a house away from the beaches, you can live for very little. As the island attracts high-end tourists, it’s quite manicured. You can go for expensive drinks, join a high brow golf club, or eat cheap eats at the market with the locals.

Ko Samui has an international airport and hospital which make it appealing for retirees. There is opportunity to work at a high-end hotel as an expat because they need someone to monitor the service level. The exchange rate of your dollar to the Thai baht is what makes Thailand in general such a reasonable place. You can be in the action in one of the cities on the island or you can head into the mountains and take in the peace and fresh air.

It’s extremely safe and Thai people are wonderful. The pace of life is slow and this island is a true paradise. Pristine white beaches for miles, turquoise water, and coconut trees could be your daily reality for a fraction for the cost of your life right now. You can afford massages every day here and there’s always live music that attract other local expats. There are plenty of clubs and associations for expats designed to ensure you’re never bored or alone.

The monthly cost of a rental on Ko Samui is between 5,000 to 15,000 baht which is $90 – $300 USD. If you have more money, you can spend more money because it’s well-known for its luxury accommodation. If you came to live the simple life and can truly appreciate the exotic nature and beauty of living on a tropical island, it won’t cost you more than $1800 per month.

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4 Merida, Mexico

International Living has said that Merida, Mexico encompasses all the things one looks for when moving abroad. The 4 C’s, which are comfort, convenience, cost, and culture are all checked off for Merida. It’s pretty hot in the summer but everyone living here makes the most of it and heads to the beaches which aren’t far off. Otherwise, the weather is a perfect temperature of warm but comfortable.

Merida is nearly flat so you don’t need a car to move around. You can stay healthy by biking and walking everywhere. This has been a major plus for the retirement types that have made Merida home. If you’re flying in from the US, flights are reasonable so it doesn’t cost much to head home if you’re missing family. Though, it’s likely your family will be visiting you as often as they can.

Apartments here cost about $500 USD a month. Health care doesn’t cost much either because the government subsidizes it. Merida also has a lot of things going on so you won’t be bored. A lot of it doesn’t cost anything either. There are free outdoor concerts and plays and a mere 90 minutes takes you to the mysterious, world-famous Mayan ruins. All said and done, you could live well below $2,000 US here per month and have a great time.

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5 Penang, Malaysia

Penang, Malaysia is one of the most hospitable places in S.E. Asia. It has a true-to-life feel to it. Expats join country clubs that were established over a century ago when the British had influenced this area so much. There is a whole area of the city that is a UNESCO world heritage site. It’s also a seaside city which gives it a laid back feeling.

It’s historic, deeply cultural and the cuisine is incredible. Many people will come to Penang just to do a food tour as the food here is so diverse and delicious. It doesn’t cost much to rent an already furnished apartment. There are many local markets too which cost almost nothing.

The healthcare in Malaysia costs very little but it is top-notch, first class. There are plenty of expats living here that are young and old. Many young people will teach English while retirees will spend time with other retirees at the tennis club or their favorite watering hole. There’s a Little India and a China Town with well established cultures that have made Penang their home.

There are incredible cultural festivals like Thai Pusan which is a deeply religious festival for people from India. Then you have a very large Chinese New Year festival that wholeheartedly spans over 10 days. There is a legitimate Oktoberfest here to top it off. With over 6,000 German expats thriving in Penang, they fly in a true Bavarian Volkfest band, German beer and of course Bratwurst. The exchange rate coupled with the cost of living means you’ll pay less than $2,000 per month to be a part of this city rich in history.

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6 Cuenca, Ecuador

International Living has said that based on their credentials, Cuenca in Ecuador is the best place in the world to retire. It costs very little to live here. It shouldn’t cost you any more than $1,500 to enjoy all the luxuries in life. This includes a two-bedroom apartment that is luxury.

You can also enjoy maid service, eat well, own a car and maintain it, buy clothes, enjoy entertainment and have healthcare for two people for a total sum of $1,500. The city is very appealing too with its Renaissance style architecture. There are cathedral-style archways all over aver the town with terracotta roof tiles.

It’s at a high elevation of about 8,000 feet so it’s not too hot. The natural backdrop includes lush flora and fauna, babbling rivers and a relaxed atmosphere. It’s a countryside town that is safe and easy to live in.

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7 Corozal, Belize

Living on a beautiful island off the Caribbean Sea sounds ideal right? You probably never thought it would be possible. Corozal, Belize is a perfect destination for your dream of living the tropical lifestyle for less than your city condo. Most tropical locations aren’t easy to live in because it’s so touristy, you never feel like you’re just living a normal life.

Corozal is different in this regard. You can still rent a place for around $500 a month and there aren’t so many tourists here. This translates to restaurants that don’t cater to rich tourists. They cater to locals so prices are much less than anywhere else in Belize.

Meals can be as little as $6. Another import aspect to your comfort level of living abroad is the language. Belize is one of the places on this list where the language is English. No barriers. Whatever you need, you can ask for it with no “lost in translation” issues. So you can take in the Caribbean laid back lifestyle and enjoy the pristine beaches and ocean for as little as $1,300 a month.

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8 Davao City, Philippines

Davao City is grandiose which is good if you like the fast paced life with plenty of things to do. It’s actually the largest city in the world but that’s accounting for its land size and not the amount of people who live there. It’s much less populated than Manila and Cebu so you feel like you have space to move.

It’s really affordable too so you get that metropolitan feel without paying big city prices. There is a very impressive airport attached to this city with excellent travel facilities. Some people come for the healthcare as it’s renowned in this part of the world. Not only is the medical system cheap, they have excellent facilities.

Noteworthy benefits about living in Davao City is its away from the typhoon belt. This makes it environmentally safer than other areas in the Philippines. It rains during the nighttime hours often. So while you won’t usually see rain in the daytime, it’s lush and green everywhere. There’s access to beach and mountains too.

The local government has set Davao City apart from other places in the Philippines. It is one of the safest places you can go in the country. It’s cheaper than Manila and safer too. The culture here is flourishing and there’s no end to the entertainment options. You can definitely live here for under $2,000 a month and never run out of interesting things to do.

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9 Calitri, Italy

Who hasn’t dreamt of spending some time in Italy in the countryside? Sure, the Euros is stronger than the American dollar but it’s much less than it used to be. While Italy isn’t known to be the cheapest European country, Calitri happens to offer some reasonable real estate that might be too good to pass up. If you love the idea of eating fresh vegetables kissed by the sun and never having a bad glass of wine, why not consider living in Calitri?

It’s known to be a wonderful place to retire. It’s not spoiled by overdevelopment or tourism and here, you can get a true taste of Italy. Classic building design, incredible food and wine for very little is what makes Calitri so enticing. If you want to purchase an apartment for restoration, it could cost you as little as $15,000. A house can be as little as $42,000. You have a piece of history in this romantic setting.

You are surrounded in nature here too with lush forests and green fields. The rolling hillsides Italy is known for surrounds the village. Taking a walk is like living in a postcard. If you happen to become a European citizen through purchasing your home and retiring here, you get free health care. You can live for about $2,000 US per month and maybe even less if you put in the initial investment of buying an apartment.

10 Sucre, Bolivia

South America boasts many wonderful places for an expat to hang their hat. One of those places is Sucre in Bolivia. Firstly, Bolivia has a reputation of having the kindest people in the world. When you move here, you have a built-in family regardless of where you decide to live.

There is a feeling of calm here. No stress, no drama. People care about one another, even in largely populated areas. Sucre has around 200,000 people living there and is quite cheap. It’s around $300 per month for rent and you can buy your produce on the street for pennies.

The temperature is manageable here thanks to how it’s positioned to the Andes Mountains. The region is beautiful and there’s a sense of modern appeal here too. You can comfortably live here for $1,500

Sucre can be appreciated by expats both young and old. It has colonial architecture throughout the city with manicured parks for chilling in the shade. The whole are is just aesthetically beautiful. You get a sense of old-world charm. Couples will enjoy ice cream in the sun and kids will play as everyone enjoys the plaza as much as you do. It’s also a university city so there’s a young person vibe here too.

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11 Vienna, Austria

If you love culture and the finer things in life, you will love Vienna. Austrian people are also some of the most fun-loving people you’ll ever meet. They are festive and enjoy the finer things in life. Just outside of the city is pristine wilderness. The Alps aren’t far and you can fish and ski during the winter if you’re into that.

Austria is about living and less about the rat race and this vibe is certainly contagious. Life in Vienna moves slowly but there’s no lack of passion for life in the people. Austria still has a royal family and Vienna showcases the centuries of wealth that this small country has enjoyed.

What makes Austria especially interesting for retirees is that’s its tax-free. The EU tried to force the country to stop offering secret accounts to foreigners. The finance minister of Austria pretty much ignored their demands. It costs under $2,000 per month to live here as a single person. The culture here will leave you feeling so rich that you don’t require too much to find your bliss in life.

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12 Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Bali is an island that is lush and beautiful in many ways. While the beaches and surf are the things dreams are made of, the inland towns and cities have incredible charm too. Canggu attracts many people, including a big expat community. It’s a beach side town that costs very little. You can negotiate for your accommodation depending on how long you stay. You can get a place for around $300-$500.

The food is delicious, dynamic and cheap. You can eat out for every meal for less than buying groceries at home. As it’s such a lush environment, there is no limit to the amount of fruits here.

There are co-working spaces that allow expats to work with high-speed internet and of course connect with one another. When not working, there are rice fields and mountains to explore. Canggu tends to promote a healthy lifestyle of surfing yogis. It’s a really cool spot with a lot of acceptance among many types of people.

All of this for about $1,500 per month. Not only do you thrive with your health but you also live for cheap.

13 Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai has been said to be one of the most livable cities in the world, especially when it comes to low-priced living. Even compared to other areas of Thailand, you get a lot of bang for your buck here. There are modern metro condos with swimming pools and security or you can live outside of the city in a jungle environment.

The public transportation is easy and abundant but a lot of people will rent a scooter or bicycle to get around. There are areas for any budget but you’d have a hard time spending more than $2,000 here per month. There are a lot of English teachers in Chiang Mai that make $1,000 per month and live well on that.

Housing on average will be about $250-$500 fully furnished. Food is a few dollars for a meal. You will never have to cook here and fresh food markets are around every corner. Massages are great here and cost about $7. There is WiFi everywhere so if you work online, you likely don’t even need to pay for it in your apartment.

While it’s cheap, it also boasts a diversity of things to do. You can chat with monks, go to a jazz bar, visit handicraft villages, go to digital nomad meet up groups, go to yoga classes, go clubbing all night, or join the golf club. Chiang Mai is exotic but it also takes pieces from European and North American cities making it comfortable for newcomers.

14 El Yaque, Venezuala

Venezuela has many great points as well as some bad ones. Perhaps it’s the bad points that have prevented anyone with a hint of skepticism to visit. For the ones who ignore what others say, they will be rewarded with the experience of El Yaque. While there is a high crime rate in Venezuela, El Yaque has a lot  security to ensure people living here are safe.

For a small amount of money, you can rent a luxury place. El Yaque is a beach community and probably one of the cheapest places you can wake up to morning waves in the world. It was originally a fisherman’s village and was popularized with the windsurfing crowd. The climate is ideal thanks to a cool breeze coming of the ocean even on the hottest days. You can live here like a god for $1,000 per month.

15 Chapala, Mexico

Chapala is a popular expat destination for good reason. There is a near perfect climate here with homes all along the lake. It costs very little the and thriving expat community is welcoming. Those who have already settled here call it their little piece of paradise. There are a few little villages with Guadalajara about 40 minutes away. You’re in peace and quiet but you have access to an international airport nearby.

The houses in the area are quaint and transportation ranges from donkeys to trucks. The pace of life is slow but there’s always something social going on in the expat community. Street markets sell you everything you could ever need and everyone says hello when they pass you by.

The lake area has plenty of recreational water activities and you easily live on a $2,000 budget without having to miss out on anything. The rent, utilities, food, and shopping is very reasonable.

Why not try being an expat?

Live by the beach. Enjoy exotic food. Take in new experiences and cultures while saving money. There are many ways people are living this life. You might be able to take your job remotely. Make the same money while living for less. You might be on your way or in the midst of retirement. Some countries are easy to live in while others require you to jump through a few hoops to stay long-term. In the end though, you will have more money when you live in the following places around the world.

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