Cheapest Places to Live in the World

By Rhiannon Davies Published on 12th January 2009 .

Cheapest Places to Live in the WorldWhat’s cheap to you isn’t necessarily cheap to me – and what’s cheap to us living in the West is highly unlikely to be cheap to those living in the poorest parts of Africa or Asia perhaps.  In other words, cheap is a relative concept which makes writing an article about the cheapest places to live in the world very tricky indeed.

However, assuming that the majority of our readers are from the West, from the UK, Europe and North America, means that in this guide to finding a cheap place to live in the world, we can at least make our selection with a relatively average wage and budget perhaps in mind.

Although, as we move through January in what is perhaps lining up to be one of the scariest years in terms of global economics of our known past, and as the British pound descends to ridiculous lows against the other leading currencies of the world, that which we may deem cheap today could be out of reach in a year or so!  Therefore, if you’re looking for somewhere affordable to move to abroad right now, hopefully this guide will be of use.  Whereupon, if you stumble across this article in 18 months time and you herald from the UK, you may be wondering why we’re mentioning the likes of Canada and France in our list of ‘cheap’ places to live!

Beginning then with Canada, there are some incredibly cheap pockets of this country to choose from when you look at the real estate you can buy and the land that comes with it.  In parts of some of the remotest provinces such as Nova Scotia you can buy substantial family homes for very little money, and benefit from the fact that the cost of every day essentials is similar if not less than one pays in the UK for example.  So, if cheap for you means cheap property, Canada could be worth a closer look.

The same goes for France – away from the South of France, the major cities or tourism routes, properties in France go for next to nothing – especially if you don’t mind living rurally in a home that needs some serious work!  Add to this the fact that many taxes in France are lower and the climate is often better, meaning you spend less on heating and you can grow more fresh produce, and you have a lifestyle that is more affordable than the one you lead now.

Alternatively, if cheap for you means getting by on just a few dollars/pounds/euros a day, perhaps somewhere like Nicaragua or Costa Rica could suit you – but then again, you really have to be able to adapt to a completely different way of life and adjust your standards of living significantly.  The payoff is that yes, a cheap way of life is certain, with the cost of day-to-day living so affordable that even if you only have a tiny pension, you will be able to survive.

If on the other hand you’re of retirement age and cheap for you is all about paying as little tax as is legally possible, then why not look at Malaysia or Belize – both have incentive programmes to attract retirees, both offer tax-free living as well as many other benefits, and both can offer one the chance to find cheap housing and to live on very little.  Alternatively, you can step up your standard of living according to what you want as both nations are also very sophisticated too.

Panama is another popular choice with those seeking a tax efficient way of life living in something of a paradise.  Or how about Brazil and Argentina – both emerging finally as stunning havens for those who love fabulous properties, wide open spaces, gorgeous countryside and a way of life that can be as Western or as local as you like!

If you want to find an affordable haven abroad, begin by thinking about what cheap means to you – this can then guide your search accordingly, because cheap to you might mean living in Asunción in Paraguay which came 143rd in the Mercer Cost of Living Survey, or it might just mean moving to Melbourne in Australia which is a little bit cheaper than Sydney!

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Rhiannon Davies

Rhiannon is the Publishing Director at Shelter Offshore. With extensive experience as a technical author, Rhiannon's expat life began in Frankfurt with Deutsche Bank. Later as a freelance writer she was able to realise her ambition of living in some of the World's most beautiful locations.

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