Home Lifestyle How Much It Costs To Retire Abroad In These 33 Locales

How Much It Costs To Retire Abroad In These 33 Locales

Trista January 13, 2020

You’ve certainly imagined sitting at a beach instead of your desk. You’ve imagined your retirement and what you’d do to fill your days. Whether you love your job or not, you’ve had those days where you want just to throw in the towel and quit your job and never look back. Well, what would you do if you could?

Your dream of retiring early can become a reality, as long as you know the best places to go. There are places around the world that are so cheap. You don’t need to worry about finding a job when you get to your destination. If you are about to retire or want to put in your two weeks and enjoy the rest of your life in a new location, here are some of the cheapest places to live.

Who wouldn’t want to hang out at the Caribbean Island? Shutterstock.

33. Caribbean Islands

Quit your job and live in the Caribbean Islands? It doesn’t matter which one you choose because they are all reasonably cheap. About 25 million visitors head to the island every year. Between the crystal-clear waters, beaches, various cultures, and beautiful scenery, you’ll feel like you’re on vacation for the rest of your life.

On average, rent and utilities cost around $500, and your monthly grocery bill is around $200. You can get around through public transportation at about $80 and spend about $100 on entertainment to keep yourself busy. This gives you a monthly budget of $880.

Lay your hat down in a house on the beautiful Panama shores. Shutterstock.

32. Panama

Just below the hurricane belt, the area is typically sunny and warm. You receive low-cost medicare that’s high quality, and most of the doctors speak English. You can also keep your American money as it is Panama’s currency. Another benefit is that you don’t have to worry about paying taxes on any money you make outside of Panama.

If you want to live in Panama, you do have to watch where you decide to settle. Some places cost around $1,000 a month while other areas are closer to $3,000. Your rent will become your most substantial bill at about $650 for a one-bedroom.

The average rent in Ecuador is about $400 to $450 a month for a one-bedroom apartment. Shutterstock.

31. Ecuador

If you like the “old-world charm” of the early to mid-1900s, then you’ll find Ecuador charming. Not only are the residents friendly, but the air is clean, and the climate is something that you can’t resist between finding a hot beach to a more relaxed city to live.

A single person in Ecuador can live on a $1,200 monthly budget anywhere in the country. It doesn’t matter if you settle in a large city or a more rural area. Most couples live on between a $1,600 to $1,800 budget.

If you know the value of money, Peru is the place for you. Shutterstock.

30. Peru

Most people think of Machu Picchu when they hear of Peru, but the country has so much more. They also have some of the tastiest and cheapest cuisines you will find. You can live a life of luxury cheaply as you enjoy year-long temperatures ranging in the 70s.

You can also find a three-bedroom apartment in a historic neighborhood for about $400 a month. Most utility costs are about $50, with internet and cable coming in at around $10. In general, a single person lives comfortably with a little over $1,000, and a couple can live off of less than $2,000.

The World Health Organization states that Spain has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Shutterstock.

29. Spain

People call Spain a foodie’s paradise as it is among the favorite destination spots for many people living in Europe. It’s one of the cheapest countries to eat in the world and is rich in art, beaches, and small villages.

It doesn’t matter where you decide to hang your hat in Spain, the price of living is about the same. A single person can live comfortably for less than $2,000 a month. A couple usually spends about $2,500 on what they need and a little bit of what they don’t every month.

The national motto of Costa Rica is “pure life” or “Pura Vida.” Shutterstock.

28. Costa Rica

Other than looking at stunningly beautiful scenery every day, you’ll find yourself living outdoors here. Even when you can practice yoga or exercise inside, the warm weather and sunny skies will pull you outside.

You can make your dollars stretch, as most single people live on a $1,500 to $2,000 budget every month. A couple usually lives off of a $2,500 budget. If you don’t want to clean your home, you can hire a housekeeper for around $50 a month, head to the doctor for the same amount, and eat out for about $5 per person.

Bolivia is known as a country that gives you a big bang for your dollar. Shutterstock.

27. Bolivia

It doesn’t matter where you decide to live in Bolivia; you’ll find the location much cheaper than the United States. Many Americans move to Bolivia because of its low-cost health care and affordable restaurants. The weather is usually warm with green trees, grass, and sandy beaches.

Most restaurants serve chicken with a large pile of rice and fries for under $2. You can rent a place that will help you feel like you are living like a celebrity for about $500 a month. In the United States, similar areas cost close to $2,000.

In Colombia, a pound of chicken breast is $3, and a six-pack of beer is $3. Shutterstock.

26. Colombia

Not only does Colombia have nice and warm weather, but the residents are accepting of a growing population. A few of the best and cheapest locations to live are Medellin, Armenia, Pereira, and Manizales.

A single person can live comfortably in most locations for about $1,200 a month. A couple in a three to a four-bedroom home in a delightful neighborhood lives on a little more than $2,000 a month. It’s around $3.00 for a plate of rice with chicken or pork, cornbread, and soup or a salad $3.00.

Mexico is full of beaches, colonial cities, music, art, and colorful homes. Shutterstock.

25. Mexico

Many Americans decide to retire to Mexico because of its history, abundant land, and acceptance of other people. Not only are there several beaches, but Mexico has held on to its colonial past, and this includes many buildings.

A couple moving to Mexico can live off of $1,500 to $2,000 a month. A single person usually lives around $1,000 to $1,500 per month. It doesn’t matter where you settle in the country; the living wage is around the same. Even more expensive areas, such as San Miguel de Allende, are cheaper than the United States.

Vietnam allows for cheap living, natural beauty, and steep history. Shutterstock.

24. Vietnam

If you want to move to Vietnam for affordable living, then you want to stay out of the two most expensive cities, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Vietnam allows you to live and visit jungles, beaches, check out history wherever you go, and eat cheaply.

It’s about $800 a month for a fully-furnished 1,200 square foot apartment. This rent includes a balcony, parking, and two bedrooms. You also receive full access to the apartment building’s gym and pool. A similar place in the United States costs over $2,000 a month.

One of the cheapest countries to live in Europe is Bulgaria. Shutterstock.

23. Bulgaria

People usually don’t think of Bulgaria when they are looking for a cheap place around the world to retire. However, it is one of the most affordable places to live and work, especially if you want to live in Europe. As long as you can live among thousands of tourists every year, this is a beautiful place to settle. Plus, its history goes back over 8,000 years.

You can rent a one-bedroom apartment for a little under $300. Using public transportation to reach your destination costs around $1, and most meals are under $5.

Enjoy the many cafes and bars along the Portugal streets. Shutterstock.

22. Portugal

If you want to live in a slow-paced neighborhood that’s cheap, Portugal is the place for you. Not only are the residents friendly, but you receive excellent healthcare. People who moved from the United States to Portugal say they spend about ⅓ of what they did in the United States.

A single person living in Mafra or Lisbon spends about $2,000 a month on what they need. A couple only needs about $500 more a month to live comfortably. A typical coffee, soup, main course, soda or milk, and dessert meal costs around $10.

A general doctor’s visit in Thailand costs around $10. Shutterstock.

21. Thailand

You can choose to sit in the quietness of the country to find dozens of activities in a beach community or a big university city. Another plus is how cheaply the various activities are in the country. You can visit gold-gilded temples and markets full of fresh fruit, vegetables, and spices.

A single person can live comfortably in Thailand for around $1,000 a month. However, if you decide to settle in Bangkok, you’ll find yourself needing a little more. The average amount a couple spends is between $1,200 to 1,500 each month.

South Korea is a cheap place to live, work, and travel. Shutterstock.

20. South Korea

South Korea might not be one of the most affordable places on the list, but you can find much free education, and rent is still a fraction of the cost compared to the United States. For people interested in learning as much as possible, educational programs often offer free accommodations with a reduction in living expenses.

Even in areas where the rent is higher, most one-bedroom apartments are a little under $400. Meals at a local restaurant start around $6, which is more than worth it as South Korea’s food is some of the best in the world.

You can enjoy a meal at a restaurant for about $5 in Malaysia. Shutterstock.

19. Malaysia

If you don’t want to learn another language, Malaysia is an excellent location for you because English is the country’s unofficial first language. One of the best places to move to Malaysia is Penang, where you will find a lot of jungle, beach, history, and culture.

You will only pay a fraction of what you would pay in the United States on rent, public transportation, groceries, and much more. A single person lives comfortably in Penang for around $1,000 a month, and you’ll feel like you’re living in luxury for $1,500. A couple can live between $1,500 to $2,000.

Go to the opera for $6 in Armenia. Shutterstock.

18. Armenia

Armenia isn’t the cheapest location on the list, but you can still live there for a fraction of what it costs in the United States. The rent for a fully-furnished home in an expensive area is $600. People can live in cheaper areas and rent for about $400 a month.

You can buy a loaf of bread for under $1, a bottle of wine for $3, and eat at a restaurant for $10 a meal. You will never get enough of the national parks, resorts, and natural beauty of the area. People love to eat organic food and they sell it cheaply in Armenia.

A visit to the primary care doctor in India costs about $11. Shutterstock.

17. India

There are 29 states within India, and you can save on everything in all of those states. While some areas are a little more expensive than others, you will always notice a savings no matter how luxurious you want to live.

A single person’s estimated monthly cost is about $700 to $1,000, and a family of four can live comfortably at $1,600. A fully furnished apartment is about $250 a month, and you can eat a whole meal for anywhere from $3 to $5. You can also buy a dozen eggs for $1 and a liter of milk for under $1.

Montenegro is not the cheapest area on the list, but it will still save you money. Shutterstock.

16. Montenegro

Montenegro is a small country, around the size of Connecticut, but this doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot for you to see. The mountains are some of the most gorgeous sights, and the coastline is a great place to relax. There are dozens of national parks, history, and culture.

It takes a little over $2,000 for a family of four to live in the country. A single person can find a comfortable place to live and pay for their monthly bills for a little over $1,000. Monthly rent for a furnished studio apartment is about $255, utilities around $80, and internet about $17.

Zimbabwe is one of the more expensive places on our list, but still cheaper than the United States. Shutterstock.

15. Zimbabwe

People know Zimbabwe as a more expensive tourist destination, but it’s relatively inexpensive to live here. A single person can live off of a little more than $1,000 a month. A couple will spend closer to $1,500 depending on how often they eat out.

The primary lunch menu is around $8 a place and cheaper than your fast food type places, which can cost you closer to $10. A trip to the doctor will cost you about $30.

South Africa is a cheap place to live with over 10 official languages. Shutterstock.

14. South Africa

One of the most affordable English speaking countries to hang your hat is in South Africa. Live in a high standard of living for a fraction of the United States cost without the worry of having to learn another language. However, if you want to, the educational system is cheap.

You will never find yourself bored in South African with its diverse culture, history, whale watching, zip-lining, and much more. You can rent a one-bedroom apartment for as little as $350, eat at a restaurant for under $8, and have a beer for under $2.

Travel back in time by hanging your hat in Nepal. Shutterstock.

13. Nepal

Nepal is a location that will give you everything you dreamed of – a cheap place to live and always something to do. While you will spend more money in the larger areas, especially during the heavy tourist season, it’s a great place to retire.

A single person will spend about $1,000 a month, while a couple will spend about $700 more to live comfortably. A family of four can live well for a little over $2,000. Meals are anywhere from $4 to $6, and a quart of milk is under $1. A fully furnished one-bedroom apartment is about $400, and a monthly transportation ticket is $14.

Have a local beer for $1.50 while standing barefoot in the sand. Shutterstock.

12. Grenada

It’s easy to lose the time when you are in Grenada, as there are so many places to visit from beaches to jungles. Of course, there are clubs, shops, restaurants, and other places to mingle as well. The most expensive monthly rent in Grenada is over $700, but the average amount of rent is about $550 a month.

You can find a restaurant to eat for as low as $5 and as high as $7. One pound of chicken breast is a little over $3, and 2 pounds of potatoes is a bit under $2. You can also hire a house cleaner for about $3 per hour.

Poland is a cheaper place to live than its neighbor, Germany. Shutterstock.

11. Poland

Another country that surprises people for modest living in Poland. One reason is that it’s less known than its neighbor, Germany. However, it is less expensive than Germany and a popular location for tourists. Even in the larger cities, you will spend half of what you usually do in the United States or even Germany.

You can eat a meal from appetizer to dessert for around $5 and find a 1-bedroom apartment for under $350. You can also visit its history for free or a small entry fee. If you do decide to work, you can find jobs that pay well for the cheap cost of living.

The first wonder of Latin America, Chile, is one of the cheapest places to hang your hat. Shutterstock.

10. Chile

One of the reasons Chile is so cheap is because of its strong economy and happy population. People enjoy where they live, and they don’t tend to feel pressure to work so many hours to make their monthly bills. Of course, if you want to live along the southern Pacific Ocean, Chile is a little more expensive.

The average amount for rent and utilities is around $600. Groceries will cost you about $200 a month, and a plate to a restaurant is approximately $3 to $5. Most people spend about $50 a month on transportation. The average monthly budget for a single person is a little under $1,000.

Georgia is a developing country with a new structure going up steadily. Shutterstock.

9. Georgia

No, not the state of Georgia. This area is one of the cheapest places to live in Europe and is often part of the world’s top 10 countries that people miss but they shouldn’t. Georgia is a progressive country with much history. It is rising on the list of must-visit countries.

The average monthly budget for one person is around $535. Rent is around $300, and this includes utilities and a place to park. You will spend about $15 on transportation, and most people set aside $50 for entertainment purposes. The grocery bill is about $170.

Cambodia often makes the top of the list for one of the cheapest places to live in the world. Shutterstock.

8. Cambodia

Located in the heart of Southeast Asia, people know Cambodia as one of the most affordable places to live in the world. Not only can you view some of the most exotic temples, but you have little islands, gorgeous beaches, and warm weather.

You can spend the whole day at the golf course for under $65. For an apartment with air conditioning, utilities, parking, internet, and cable television is a little under $300 a month. No matter what you want in Cambodia, you can get it for under half of the price you would pay in the United States.

Spend $50 on a doctor visit by moving to Laos. Shutterstock.

7. Laos

Laos is not only known as one of the cheaper places in the world to live but also one of the most peaceful and quiet areas. Of course, if you choose to settle in a busy city, you won’t find as much quiet, but there is still a lot of peaceful and beautiful scenery.

Need a haircut? It only costs you about $3 in Laos. You can spend $7 for two people at a local pub or around $5 at a restaurant. Utilities are a little under $100 a month. To live comfortably, most families spend under $3,000 a month.

If you still want to work part-time while living cheaply, China is one of your best choices. Shutterstock.

6. China

One of the most surprising places on the list of the cheapest places to live is in China. Because China’s economy is booming, Chinese salaries are some of the highest in the world, but this doesn’t mean the country raises prices. Of course, some cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing, are more spendy than others.

Living in a cheaper area in China means you spend about $300 on rent for a one-bedroom apartment. You can also get your next meal at a restaurant for around $3 and learn a new language for free.

Croatia is a newly independent country that is continually growing and developing. Shutterstock.

5. Croatia

Croatia is full of beautiful gothic structures and often considered “The New Tuscany” because of its luxurious properties. The Gothic churches are something that you will never again see in your life, and the weather is incredibly warm, especially on the Mediterranean beach.

Croatia gained its independence in 1991, which is one reason it’s still reasonably cheap to live there. You only need a monthly budget of about $900 as rent and utilities are about $550. Most individuals will spend about $70 on entertainment, $50 on transportation, and around $200 on groceries.

You can eat in Greece for about $5 a plate. Shutterstock.

4. Greece

People know Greece as a beautiful country with incredible beaches, culture, ancient history, and nightlife. It’s low on crime and full of friendly residents to keep the atmosphere relaxed. Some of the structures continue to stand after centuries, and you can look out to what seems like the end of the world from the beach.

A single person can live in Greece for under $1,000 a month. Rent and utilities are about $550, transportation costs a little more than $30, and groceries are anywhere from $150 to $200. Because of the active nightlife, most people set aside $100 for entertainment purposes.

Another cheap and little known country is Albania along the Mediterranean Sea. Shutterstock.

3. Albania

The largest, and probably the most expensive place to live in Albania, is the city of Tirana. However, it’s still incredibly cheap compared to the largest cities in the United States. The country is always warm, with cozy, sandy beaches and friendly residents.

At one of the cheapest places in the world to live, a single person only needs about $600 a month. Rent is around $275 with utilities coming in at about $50, if not cheaper. You can go grocery shopping at $170 a month and get anywhere you want for about $15. Most people like to eat out or go to the movies every weekend, and of course, hit a few clubs, so they spend about $50 on entertainment.

Live among the castles and ancient temples of Romania. Shutterstock.

2. Romania

Romania sits on the Black Sea and a little south of Ukraine. It’s known as a digital nomad’s paradise as the location is one of the cheapest places to live in the world with incredibly fast internet. Most people like to spend their time hiking in the dark woods of Transylvania.

A single person has a monthly budget of about $700 to live in Romania. Rent and utilities are about $400, groceries are under $200, and transportation is close to $20 a month. Most people spend around $75 on entertainment.

Thousands of islands make up Indonesia and one of the cheapest places in the world to live. Shutterstock.

1. Indonesia

One of the most well-known islands of Indonesia is Bali, but there are thousands more. The scenery amazes people once they enter Indonesia as it’s made up of mountain tops, volcanoes, rice fields, and jungles. If you are visiting, you can stay in Indonesia for $5 a night.

To live in Indonesia, you only need a little more than $500 a month. Rent and utilities are about $300, and groceries will cost you a little over $100. There is so much to do that you will want to save at least $40 for your monthly entertainment and transportation is about $15.


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“10 Cheapest Countries to Live and Work.” Jennifer Lachs, Go Abroad. September 2018.

“Cost of Living calculator.” Expatistan.

“31 OF THE CHEAPEST PLACES TO LIVE IN THE WORLD: UNDER A $1000!.” Nina Ragusa, Where in the World is Nina. August 2019.