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Top 5 cities with the lowest cost of living

Updated on June 2, 2014

Living in a developed country means you have to part with more of your hard earned money to lead a decent life. So, for those who have high paying jobs, this is not really a concern. But remember, it is not a concern only till you hold that job. Once you try to live off your savings, you will really start feeling the pinch. And for others, who are running a small business or are into more esoteric professions, lowering the cost of living can be a real factor in increasing the happiness in your lives.

Now, if you are living in a developed country, it is highly likely that the value of your currency is considerably higher than that of the currencies in less developed countries. This is the factor that we should try and exploit. So, if you can manage to work as a freelancer or as a remote worker, or if you are retired and are living off your savings, you can live in a country where your dollar or pound will get you a lot more stuff.

Here are the top 5 cities which are sufficiently developed (such that your lifestyle does not suffer) but have a low cost of living.

Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai

5. Chiang Mai (Thailand)

Thailand is one of those countries that allow you to visit the country as a tourist without a visa. Once in, find a job, get a work permit, and stay. A lot of people survive teaching English. The average salary of a local living in Chiang Mai is around THB 30,000 (baht). One dollar is equivalent to about 32 baht. So, if you earn around $1200 per month with just freelance work, or teaching English, you will be able to lead a very comfortable life. Food is extremely cheap and you have friendly people with a good community of expatriates.

Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires

4. Buenos Aires (Argentina)

This is a very affordable place with a rich and modern culture. Costs of accommodation are as low as around $250 to rent a single bedroom apartment, and about $50,000 to own it. All grocery items are very cheap, especially the vegetables and fruits that are available straight from the farms. A dollar is equivalent to around 3 pesos. There are several shopping malls in this city, so finding the stuff you want to buy is easy as well.


3. Belmopan (Belize)

A very beautiful capital with a small population of around 20,000, this place is a haven for retirees. There are no taxes if your income is less than $75,000 per year and owning a house is cheap, again with very low (if any) taxes. If you plan it right, you can live very comfortably for less than $1000 a month, enjoying the great weather and culture of this place. Cost of monthly groceries is low, and usually less than $300.


2. Ajijic (Mexico)

This place boasts of a big expatriate community, and is also among the cheapest places in Mexico. The whole of Mexico itself is much cheaper than the United States of America, but this little town, in Jalisco state is a lot cheaper. Most amenities are priced low, letting you lead a comfortable life at less than $1500 a month. Taxes on real estate are low as well. Even dining out is very easy on the pocket, with a good meal seldom costing more than $20.


1. Yaren (Nauru)

Yaren is the capital of a small island nation in the Pacific ocean (in Micronesia.) This is a really small country with a very small population. As there are no taxes, everything you earn is just yours. Keep in mind however that starting a business here is not easy. Being a remote worker or living off your pension are the best options if you decide to stay here. You also need to understand that in this small island, luxury items/brands might be hard to find, or might be costly. That said, the cost of living in Nauru is considered to be the lowest in the world.


Now you know something about the cheapest cities to live in around the world. Most of these have easy visa procedures too. In fact, if you are from a developed nation, most of them don't expect you to hold a visa. But don't burn all bridges and travel to these countries as they are still developing and you might have to travel to your developed country to avail yourself or your family of advanced health-care.


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    • sjb1983 profile image

      sjb1983 5 years ago from Bali, Indonesia

      Nice info! Had no idea about Micronesia being so cheap...!

      Feel free to check out my hubs for info on Bali - it's cheap too!

      Thanks again,


    • profile image

      wendy87 6 years ago

      mexico is place with low cost of living but full enjoy... people here enjoy life fully...