Top 14 Countries with the Lowest cost of Living: With the prices of goods and services reaching an all time high as the days go by, it now takes a lot of money to just make ends meet let alone fund extravagant cravings. Going on vacations is now for the ridiculously rich what with the unbearably high cost of living in most of the choice tourist destinations.
There are however some countries that still afford visitors and immigrants alike, the good fortune of enjoying excellent facilities and beautiful sites and culture at the cheapest prices possible. They are the countries with the lowest cost of living.
Cost of living refers to the average cost of purchasing those goods and services which are included in an accepted standard level of consumption. There are limitless advantages that come with living in a country with low cost of living: you get to save up money that could have been spent on unnecessary expenses, afford a comfortable life and go on vacations. Avoiding pocket unfriendly destinations like Italy and Australia is your first step to finding a country with low cost of living. Below are the top 10 countries you should check out instead.
Top 14 Cheapest Countries with the Low cost of Living 2024
1. Vietnam: This country is known to be an exotic location but you don’t have to spend a fortune to get by there. It offers a lot of sites for sightseeing as well as lots of mouthwatering delicacies at pocket friendly prices. The main cities in the country are Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. While you can easily find work in these two, you would do well to avoid them as they have a higher cost of living than the less popular cities.
Popular jobs that you can get are teaching jobs like teaching English. Basic needs are generally cheap in the country with rent for a small apartment going for about $250 per month and a meal costs not more than $2 at street restaurants which is where you must eat at if you’re looking to save yourself some money. Public transport is also very cheap in this country.
2. Coasta Rica: This is the most popular country at the heart of the Americas. It’s well known for its lush vegetation, inviting beaches and the hospitality of the native people all make for a wholesome ‘Pura Vide’ vibe.
When travelling to this country, be sure to go on bargain flights that are more economical so that you start saving even before getting to the country. Attractive salaries also make up for any slight increase in the cost of living. Transportation is cheap and so is rent and food which goes for $2 for a square meal.
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3. Bulgaria: This may appear to be an unexpected addition to this list of countries with the lowest cost of living but the location of Bulgaria in Eastern Europe, in the midst of countries with low cost of living has endeared this country to many a traveller looking for modest living places.
This country offers rich culture of its people and that of neighbouring Greece, Turkey and Romania. The educational and tourism industry are surefire places to find work. Rent for a bedroom apartment costs about $230 per month. Food and transportation are relatively cheap as well.
4. Mexico: People living in America or Canada should have this country at the top of their list because of the proximity of this country to America and Canada. From the Mayan ruins in the jungle, turquoise Caribbean waters and beaches on the Pacific ocean to tantalizing street food like tacos and tameles which are as cheap as they are tasty are just a few of the exciting specs of the country.
Best places to go to are Merida or Guanajuato which are cheaper to live in than the bigger cities. There is always a job opening for babysitting and as a bonus, you can acquire a smattering knowledge of the lingua franca while on the job. Food is very cheap here, going for barely $1 for a meal and $200 is the average monthly rent for a bedroom apartment.
5. South Africa: This is an easy choice because it is an English speaking country thus dispensing with the language barrier. In fact, this country is one of he cheapest English speaking countries in the world. Because there is little or no language barrier, it is easier to blend into the South African society.
All the same, the country still boasts cultural and natural diversity which are evident in its side attractions like Safaris, ziplining, whale watching, river rafting and so on. There are mostly job openings in the tourism and international companies.
6. China: This is another seemingly unusual country on this list but you’d find that the country is actually cheap to live in and has a lot of opportunities to make money in considering the population and market available in the country.
The salaries paid to workers in the country are quite favourable also. Unsurprisingly, the big cities like Shanghai and Beijing are more expensive but this is compensated by the fact that the salaries paid there are higher than elsewhere. The country is also popular for its robust cultural heritage. Visitors and immigrants get to learn Mandarin whilst working as an Au Pair.
7. South Korea: While this is not exactly a cheap country to live and work in, shrewd living coupled with the mouthwatering paychecks make up for this and one can live on the low here. What more, most jobs here come with incentives like free accommodation which downplays the somewhat high cost of living.
This country has some of the most stunningly beautiful cities. The people are very friendly and their food is unbelievably tasty. Staple needs like food and transportation are generally on the low side.
8. Thailand: There’s a reason Thailand is known as the ‘Country of Smiles’. The country is one of the cheapest places to live on Earth. The cost of living is low even in its big cities such as Bangkok. It is home to some of the cheapest beaches to go to; with its sparkling clean water, amazing culture, sumptuous food, you can’t seem to get enough of Thailand.
The security here is also top notch. You can find work easily in the hospitality industry. From cheap transportation to almost free food and accommodation, this country is the go to place for cheapskates.
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9. Peru: Peru offers you the chance to live and work on a budget and with exotic side attractions like hiking the Inca trail, visiting the Machu Picchu, the Amazon rainforest and sand dunes of Inca, there is no dull moment in this country.
There are lots of employment opportunities in the marketing as well as the tourism industries for newcomers too. Basic needs can be purchased without making a dent in one’s pocket.
10. Poland: This is another wonderful choice country to keep in mind since you’re looking to live and work in a country with low cost of living. This country is like neighbouring Germany, quickly becoming a tourist hotspot.
The main cities are at par with other big cities of the western world. Professional services like customer care services are some of the jobs on high demand there. If you are an European Union citizen, you get a free pass as Visa is not required for EU citizens to go to this country.
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11. Ukraine: Ukraine is a fascinating and dynamic nation known for its natural beauty and plenty of tourism opportunities. Wherever you go, whether you want to stay close to the western shore or the city’s center, you will find fairly priced, modern lodging.The welcoming nature of the people, the temperate climate, the affordable cost of living, the access to modern amenities and healthcare, as well as the dynamic and rich indigenous culture, make Ukraine attractive to visitors. For those looking for an economical retirement in Europe, it is also the ideal location.
If you plan to spend the remainder of your life in Ukraine, be prepared to pay roughly $800 each month. It will cost you less ($650–$700) to stay anywhere else except the capital. But in Ukraine, alcohol is incredibly cheap. When buying craft beer in stores, a bottle usually costs $2. Internet costs $8 per month, and a one-bedroom apartment ranges from $300 to $400.
12. Romania: Romania is another affordable European nation that, by regional standards, is a great place to live. The nation offers mouthwatering meals, a fairly low cost of living, and incredible natural beauty. Retirement residents can travel more, pick up new interests, and generally live better because of Romania’s low cost of living.
Everyone can find something to like in Romania, and costs there are unheard of in the United States. Romania is the best country to live in if the environment and natural beauty are also important to you. The cost of living in Romania is roughly equivalent to that of Ukraine. A suggested $1100 monthly budget is needed to live in Romania.
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13. Afghanistan: As at 2023, the cost of living for foreigners in the city of Kabul (which is the capital of this country) is so low when compared to other places all over the world. For instance, the cost of alcohol and/or tobacco in this country is so low for its related products such as cigarettes, the cost of clothing is so low for items such as casual and children’s clothing, footwear and business.
Again, the cost of education in Afghanistan is so low for items such as fees for: creche/pre-school, primary school, high school and tertiary study. Also, the costs of healthcare in this country such as general heath care, hospital stays, doctor visits, medical insurance, and non-prescription medicine are so affordable today.
Again, as at 2023, the cost of household accommodation is so low for items such as: rent for houses or apartments, purchase of property, mortgage rate, and utilities.
Other items in Afghanistan that have low costs include: transportation, personal care (such as: hair care, cosmetics and toiletries), restaurants and hotels, culture and recreation (such as: cinema, books, theatre tickets and sport), and miscellaneous (such as: newspapers, magazines, linen, dry cleaning, postage stamps, office supplies.etc). Today, all these provide cheap cost of living for the people in Afghanistan.
14. Malaysia: Today, this country has mountains, temples, islands, caves, and prosperous city life for the people in it. Other attractions in this country that keep the people interested at all times are: gorgeous scenery, wildlife and new adventure on daily basis.
However, Malaysia is not only beautiful, but is also cheap to live in. Today, the required budget (with rent on monthly basis) for a comfortable life in Malaysia is not more than $1200.
Malaysian currency is “ringgit”, and its rate of conversion is $1 to RM4.20 today.
However, some of the cities in Malaysia with the lowest cost of living include: Kuala Lumpur (the capital city of the country) and Johor Bahru. These cities have cheap and affordable centers for shopping, botanical gardens, museums, tall towers, aquariums, theme parks, China town.etc. This means that you can experience all these attractions at low costs on monthly basis.
While looking for countries with low cost of living, you must have it in mind that you have a big part to play to be able to live on a budget. You must prepare yourself to adapt to live in a low cost country if you’re used to living large. Additionally, be sure to go for the jobs that pay high so that you can save, spend less and invest. Remember to have a great time enjoying the exotic sites and food in whichever country you choose to go to.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.