Top 7 Cities With The Lowest Cost Of Living


Affordability is often the single-most influential factor in choosing an overseas retirement destination. After all, who wants to spend their golden years counting pennies and wondering how far the next Social Security check will stretch? That’s the beauty of travel. You have the power to choose a country with a cost of living that suits your budget. 

While an affordable location can mean more pocket money for leisure activities, it can also ensure peace of mind knowing you are financially secure and can live comfortably on a modest retirement fund. Below you’ll find the most affordable expat havens we’ve found, places where your dollars will get you further than in the U.S.

#1. Cambodia

The small Southeast Asian country of Cambodia has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. The capital city of Phnom Penh has blossomed into a bustling city full of skyscrapers, malls, and upscale restaurants. It’s hardly recognizable from the ramshackle metropolis that it was just a decade or two ago. Fortunately, this city—and the rest of the country—still offers solid value for foreigners looking to live in a place with cheap beer, warm weather, friendly locals, and an active expat community.

#2. Bolivia

Bolivia is probably one of the most surprising expat destinations in the Index. It’s not a country that’s in the news much. It’s not on the radar of most people planning a retirement abroad. But it does offer some solid benefits for those who settle here. This little South American haven, wedged in between Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay is safe. The local Andean Indigenous culture is rich. The cities balance tradition and history with modern amenities and conveniences. The weather in most places expats settle is temperate for much, if not most, of the year. 

#3. Bali, Indonesia

The tropical Indonesian island of Bali, also known as the “Island of the Gods,” is one of the prettiest places on Earth. While only about the size of Delaware, this little paradise contains dozens of gorgeous white-and-black-sand beaches, incredible waterfalls, volcanoes, terraced rice fields, secret gardens, and primeval jungles.  

#4. Vietnam

Vietnam offers welcoming locals, gorgeous scenery, a unique culture, and an astoundingly low-cost, high-quality lifestyle. Expat couples can enjoy the benefits of living in modern, comfortably furnished homes and apartments in good neighborhoods, eat meals out regularly, have a housekeeper, and indulge in plenty of travel and extras, all on a budget that will probably never exceed $1,500 per month.  

#5. Canggu, Indonesia

Canggu is a small beachside town in South Bali where local Balinese and Australian and European expats live together in an odd harmony. It’s odd because the city welcomes foreigners. The economy depends largely on tourism to keep local businesses running – not to mention the exuberant friendliness of the people. This is a place for anyone looking for small-town life.

#6. Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as it’s still commonly known, is the original digital nomad hotspot of the world. It’s a large capital city of 8 million people and boasts a colorful history. A balance of chaos and calm, once you look past the crazy traffic, you will find that life actually moves quite slowly for its residents. The city is divided into districts with some parts being more cultural, more foodie, or more developed with large shopping malls, so you are bound to find an area that suits what you are looking for. 

#7. Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai always makes the list as one of the best cities in the world for location independent workers – and it does so for good reason. As a smaller city with about a half million people, you can live big for very little here. Chiang Mai is one of the cheapest cities in Asia and the world for living that still boasts first-class amenities. Accommodation can range from 100 USD to the thousands per month depending on your own preferences. Street food comes to as little as $1 USD for a meal.


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