If the steady upward march of inflation has you tired of living in the U.S., perhaps it’s time to start thinking about relocating to another country with a lower cost of living in order to manage your money better.
GOBankingRates checked out Numbeo statistics on the current cost of living to find out where you can live comfortably for less than what you pay for in the U.S.
It’s 51 percent cheaper to live in Hungary than in New York City. Enjoy a meal out with a view overlooking the Danube River that’s 63 percent less pricey before heading back to your apartment where rent is just 15 percent of Big Apple prices. A bonus: Hungary is also one of the countries where citizens pay less in taxes than Americans.
From national parks with wide-open savannahs and towering mountains to a thriving Lagos nightlife, Nigeria is one of the cheapest countries to live and work. Rents are 86 percent cheaper than in the U.S. city of New York and groceries are 64 percent less.
Straddling the equator, Ecuador encompasses diverse climates from the jungles of the Amazon to the Andes mountains. It’s also one of the countries with the cheapest cost of living. Rents are 89 percent less and a meal out costs just 30 percent of what you’d pay in the Manhattan.
You can live the Caribbean life you’ve always dreamed of when you move to an island or town along the Honduras coast. A bungalow costs 89 percent less than NYC prices, and the overall cost of living is 56 percent less.
The small island country of Taiwan is a shopper’s paradise because your money will go 6 percent further than New York. A bonus: Rents are just 15 percent of what you’d pay in the Big Apple.
As one of the countries with the cheapest cost of living, your budget stretches twice as far in Slovakia than it does in New York. Enjoy rents that are 81 percent cheaper and spend less time working and more time seeing the country’s many castles.
Sandy beaches and bustling modern cities aren’t the only reason to move to Vietnam. It’s one of the least expensive countries to live in, with a cost of living that’s 60 percent cheaper than New York City. Meals out cost one-fifth as much, and rent is a full 85 percent less pricey.
You can go on a safari on Kenya’s vast savannahs, walk a sandy coast or climb the heights of Mt. Kenya. As one of the cheapest countries to live and work, Kenya offers plenty of time to do what you love. The cost of living is 61 percent cheaper than NYC, and rents are 91 percent lower.
Groceries in Iraq are 62 percent cheaper than NYC. In the capital city of Baghdad, you can pick up produce such as onions, apples, oranges and tomatoes for 31 cents to 62 cents per pound. Rents are 87 percent lower, and the cost of living overall is 56 percent less. However, Iraq is on the U.S. Department of State’s “do not travel” list.
From the towering heights of Machu Picchu to the sandy shores of its coastal region, Peru rolls out spectacular scenery worth seeing every day. It’s one of the least expensive countries to live. You’ll enjoy rents that are a full 86 percent less than NYC and an overall cost of living that’s 60 percent cheaper.
Dramatic coastlines and rugged mountains concealing medieval villages are just some of the charm of the Balkan country of Montenegro. Rents are 89 percent of what you’d pay in New York City, making Montenegro one of the countries with the cheapest cost of living.
39. Czech Republic
Famous for its native beers and stunning castles, the Czech Republic is one of the least expensive countries to live in with a cost of living that’s half of NYC. Sip a beer for as little as $1.73 in the capital of Prague in an apartment that costs 81 percent less than NYC digs.
The dramatic volcanic islands that make up the country of Indonesia aren’t just a nice place to visit: The country also enjoys a cost of living that’s 60 percent cheaper than NYC overall. Its rents average 91 percent less and a meal out will cost you only one-fifth as much.
A trip to visit China might have you so enthralled with its dramatic natural beauty, ornate palaces and mind-boggling Great Wall that you’ll never want to leave. Shell out 82 percent less for rent and 52 percent less for groceries, making it one of the least expensive countries to live in.
36. Sri Lanka
Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the island nation of Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful and least expensive countries to live in. Rent a place to live for 92 percent less money than you’d shell out in NYC. There will still be money left in the budget for eating out with restaurant prices averaging 80 percent less.
Tucked between the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan rolls out medieval walled towns and modern cities. It’s also one of the cheapest countries to live and work with a 70 percent lower cost of living than NYC, including 90 percent cheaper rents.
Stunning scenery dotted with Greco-Roman and medieval ruins aren’t the only reasons you’d want to spend a lifetime exploring Armenia. It’s one of the countries with the cheapest cost of living, with rents that are 91 percent lower than NYC.
Uganda can be a money-smart place to settle down. The rents are 93 percent lower than NYC, and you’ll earn some of the highest interest rates in the world on your deposit accounts.
Although the U.S. State Department advises against any travel to Syria, it’s one of the cheapest countries in the world to live and work. Residents pay 95 percent less rent than in NYC, and the overall cost of living is 72 percent lower.
Life in Kazakhstan could include a stroll on any number of picturesque beaches. The cost of living is 66 percent lower than NYC. You can spend more time exploring when you pay 89 percent lower rent and 72 percent less for groceries.
If you love poking through old castles and ancient architectural sites, living in Albania could be the right move — especially because rents are 93 percent lower than New York City and eating out will cost you 70 percent less.
Arts, culture, castles and ski areas make Serbia a getaway for the rich, but you don’t have to pay a king’s ransom to live there. The country’s cost of living is 60 percent lower than NYC, and rent is 91 percent cheaper.
Oman is a shopping mecca with a purchasing power index just 1 percent less than that in NYC. Groceries are 53 percent cheaper and rents are 80 percent less than in the Big Apple.
You’ll get a fairytale feeling living among the charming countryside, palaces and fortresses in Belarus. Enjoy “happily ever after” with a cost of living that’s 66 percent cheaper than NYC. Groceries are a mere 28 percent of NYC cost, and rents are 89 percent less.
Tucked between the Mediterranean and Black Seas, Turkey rolls out lavish seaside resort towns. It’s one of the least expensive countries to live in with rents that are 90 percent lower than NYC and an overall cost of living that’s 58 percent less.
Rich in music, dance, costumes and other culture, Bulgaria is one of the cheapest countries to live and work. With rents 90 percent lower than NYC, you’ll have room in the budget to enjoy its culture. Better yet, eating out is 45 percent cheaper.
The sandy sun-spanked beaches of the Philippines make it an ideal place to settle. Rents in this island paradise run 92 percent lower than in New York City.
The beautiful Persian empire country of Iran is on the U.S. Department of State’s “do not travel” list, but it’s still one of the least expensive countries to live in. Citizens of Iran enjoy a 66 percent lower cost of living than NYC with rents 84 percent less and groceries 69 percent cheaper.
Poland’s charm includes primeval forests and vibrant nightlife. A move there will reap you a 55 percent savings in the cost of living and rents that are 83 percent lower than New York.
Home to exotic cities such as Casablanca and Marrakech, Morocco is also one of the countries with the cheapest cost of living overall. Enjoy rents that are 89 percent lower than in NYC and a cost of living that is 63 percent less.
Spend a lifetime exploring Colombia’s sandy beaches or Amazon jungles on the cheap: The cost of living is 64 percent lower than NYC, including rents that are 90 percent lower and restaurant meals that are a full 73 percent less.
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Whether you just want to sit on a beach along the north shore of the Black Sea or explore forested mountains dotted with timeworn castles, Moldova delivers. Rent in the country is 91 percent lower than in the Big Apple, with an overall cost of living that is just one-third as high.
From the snowy heights of Mount Everest to lowland jungles, Nepal rolls out enough adventures for a lifetime. The country enjoys rents that are 96 percent lower than in the Big Apple and an overall cost of living that is 67 percent less.
With climate zones ranging from rainforest to desert to lofty Andean peaks, you’re sure to find the perfect locale to settle into in Bolivia. Rents in the country are 90 percent cheaper, and the cost of living 63 percent cheaper than New York City.
With a famous wine region, sandy beaches along the Black Sea and a cost of living 70 percent cheaper than NYC, Georgia is one of the most beautiful and least expensive countries to live in. Rent runs 90 percent less, and you can eat out for just 30 percent of what you’d pay in NYC. Add some wine for just $4 per bottle.
Malaysia rolls out terrain from tropical beaches to lofty peaks more than 13,000 feet high. The cost of living isn’t high, however, at just 45 percent of NYC. Cut your grocery bill in half, and enjoy rents 88 percent less than in the Big City, too.
14. South Africa
South Africa is still one of the least expensive countries to live in with a cost of living that’s 52 percent lower than NYC and purchasing power that’s about the same.
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13. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Charming medieval cities and storybook landscapes make Bosnia and Herzegovina a tempting place to settle down. Rents 93 percent less than NYC and an overall cost of living that’s 60 percent less make this a smart move for your wallet.
With a warm climate that stretches from the Sahara desert to the Mediterranean coast, Algeria isn’t one of the places where the cost of living is soaring. Its rents average just 6 percent of what you’d expect to pay in NYC, and you can dine out for 82 percent less.
Enjoy life on the cheap in Romania, where the cost of living is 60 percent lower than New York City. Enjoy castle or Carpathian mountain views every day when you settle down in this inexpensive country where rent is 89 percent lower.
With rents 93 percent cheaper than the Big Apple and an overall cost of living that’s 65 percent lower, Macedonia makes this year’s top 10 countries with the cheapest cost of living. An evening out costs 76 percent less than in NYC, and you can enjoy a nice dinner for two priced at just $20.
Home to Bengal tigers and vast scenic forests ribboned with rivers, Bangladesh is one of the least expensive countries to live and work with a cost of living that’s 68 percent cheaper than NYC. The uber-cheap rent is 94 percent cheaper, and a meal out costs 70 percent less.
Living in the land of the Great Pyramids is cheaper than you might think. Pick up groceries at a discount of 77 percent, or eat out for one-fifth as much. The country’s cost of living is just 26 percent than that of NYC, and rents are 95 percent cheaper.
Make a run for the border — Mexico is one of the countries with the cheapest cost of living. Pay rent that’s 90 percent less than NYC, pick up groceries for just 20 percent of Big Apple costs and eat out for 71 percent less.
A night out for residents in Ukraine might include a show in an 18th-century theater in Odessa, along with a meal that costs 81 percent less than it would in New York. Rent is even a better deal: Expect to pay just 9 percent of what you would shell out for a flat in the Big Apple.
Moving up a slot from last year’s survey into the top five countries with the cheapest cost of living, Zambia has a cost of living that’s 54 percent lower than the U.S. and a purchasing power that’s 1.26 percent greater.
Whitewashed communities along the Mediterranean Sea make Tunisia a picturesque place to settle, but it’s also one of the least expensive countries to live in. Rents are 94 percent cheaper in Tunisia, and you’ll pay just 17 percent of what you would eating out in NYC.
Life in Pakistan is 75 percent cheaper than New York City, putting it in the top three cheapest countries to live and work. Expect to pay 94 percent less for rent, and enjoy an evening out at a restaurant for 80 percent savings over the Big City.
2. Saudi Arabia
Although Saudi Arabia is one of the richest countries in the world, you don’t have to have millions to live there. The cost of living is 52 percent cheaper and rents are 76 percent lower than Manhattan. Head to one of the country’s luxe malls, and enjoy purchasing power that’s 31 percent greater than NYC.
New York City has amazing Indian cuisine, but you’ll save 81 percent on food when you move to India. Rents are 93 percent cheaper than the Big Apple, and the cost of living is just 27 percent of what you can expect to pay in NYC.
Countries With the Cheapest Cost of Living
If you’re living in a city with a high cost of living, you might want to consider moving to a cheaper city — or even a cheaper country. But before you make the big move, research cost-of-living factors such as rent, taxes, groceries and restaurant prices in the city and country you’re considering.
There’s another factor you should consider as well: salaries.
In an ideal world, you’d want to find a place that offers a low cost of living in addition to high salaries. However, there are some places where a low cost of living comes with equally low salaries. If that’s the case, it’s important to ask yourself if a move to another country would be worth it.
More on Cost of Living
- The World’s Most Expensive Countries to Live In
- The Cheapest Places to Rent
- This Expert Doesn’t Use the Popular 50/30/20 Budget Rule
- Watch: Paying a Home Mortgage Is Actually Cheaper Than Renting in These Cities
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Methodology: Using 2018 information from online pricing database Numbeo.com, GOBankingRates assessed foreign nations to determine which were the most budget-friendly. Measuring each against prices found in New York City, we weighted and ranked countries based on these key affordability metrics: 1) local purchasing power index, which measures the relative purchasing power of a typical salary in the country (a lower purchasing power buys fewer goods, while a higher purchasing power buys more); 2) rent index, which includes typical home rental prices in the country; 3) groceries index, which includes typical grocery prices in the country; 4) cost of living index, which includes costs of local goods and services, such as restaurants, transportation and utilities; and 5) restaurant price index, which compares prices of meals and drinks in restaurants and bars.
About the Author
Jodi O’Connell is a freelance wordsmith based in Sedona, Arizona, who writes about everything from vacation vagary and adventure sports to real estate and pets. She spent more than a decade in Arizona’s real estate industry advising first-time homebuyers and commercial investors before indulging her passion for the written word on a full-time basis. Her articles appear on websites as diverse as U.S. News and World Report, USA Today, Hipmunk, Roots Rated, and Travelocity.