Discover the Top 6 Cheapest Countries to Live In Today

Road near a lake and mountains in the town, small village, travel concept, vertical, beautiful pine tree, Sorrento, Italy
Sergey Nemirovsky/

Written by Justin Sexton

Published: November 28, 2023

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The world has been dealing with plenty financially. Countries from all over are still recovering financially from the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affected international and domestic trade. Many people were laid off due to the pandemic and financial issues. Some countries have fully bounced back from the pandemic. However, inflation is at an all-time high in many different countries.

So why would people move to a different country? One reason can be that people don’t like the laws and regulations of their country. Others move to a new country for job opportunities. Another reason people move to another country can be financial reasons. Some people work in one country but live in another as they’re close to the borderline of two countries. This article will cover some of the cheapest countries to live in today.

Some factors that will be covered with each selection are living costs, groceries, healthcare, gas, and more. The currency will be measured in United States dollars rather than other currencies to keep a uniform measurement throughout the article.


Tula, archaeological cultural center in Hidalgo Mexico

Tollan-Xicocotitlan, now known as the Archaeological Site of Tula, was the Toltec state capital and the most influential urban center in the central region.

Mexico is one of the cheapest countries to live in today. Several immigrants will cross the border with special permission to work in the United States and return to Mexico during the work week. US citizens have moved to Mexico but still work in the San Diego/Mexicali areas to live comfortably.

American expats have said that they typically spend $800-900 per month on the cost of things they need. They can save even more if they take fewer taxis or live in more walkable places. A typical monthly budget for two middle-class people could be around $2000.

The Mexican healthcare is pretty great. Some SoCal residents will go to doctor appointments in Mexico to save more money. It’s more common to do dental work as that’s one of the main issues with American healthcare. Real estate and labor work are also cheaper in Mexico. One dollar in USD is the equivalent of 17.20 Pesos.

The cost to own a house is $200,000. Imagine how much money you would spend trying to buy a house in the United States. Rentals for condos can go less than $600. Most dinners at very nice restaurants can go for $20 to $30, while casual lunches can go for $2 to $3.


The back of the pilgrimage Naka cave giant snake scale stone. in the Phu Langka national park, Buangkan Thailand.

The back of the pilgrimage Naka cave is a giant snake-scale stone. in the Phu Langka national park, Buangkan Thailand.

Thailand is one of the cheapest countries to live in today. The country is vibrant and colorful in Southeast Asia. Thailand is surrounded around Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. Newer residents are much happier to move to Thailand as there are many different retirement locations on an affordable budget. The area has wonderful beaches and some islands that are great sights for visitors and new citizens of Thailand. Bangkok is popular for its lifestyle, tech gadgets, and fashion scene. The Northern Thailand area is filled with mountains, many rice fields, and a mix of Cambodian, Thai, and Laos cultures.

A modern one-bedroom apartment in downtown Bangkok can cost up to $626 monthly. If one wants a three-bedroom closer to the beachside, rentals can go for $475. The cheapest area people can find even more affordable housing is Chiang Mai. Apartments in those areas go as low as $184 per month. A three-bedroom can cost anywhere between $450 to $600 in the Chiang Mai area. For those visiting the Chiang Mai area, the five-star hotels can cost anywhere between $15 to $40 a night.

Thailand is known for its food culture. Street food can be bought for $1.72. To eat at a five-star restaurant, it wouldn’t cost no more than $50. Thailand also offers more than Asian cuisine. They have many Western food options, like ten-inch pizzas for $7. A hamburger and some chips would cost no more than $5.20.

In regards to healthcare, Thailand has some top-of-the-class healthcare facilities. An initial visit to a specialist appointment costs around $10. One night in intensive care will cost around $2000. Much cheaper than intensive care in The United States. Dental care is also great in Thailand, as a filling costs $30, and root canal work can cost under $200 at most dental facilities.


Colombia, Crude Oil, Gasoline, Gas, Finance

Oil refinery towers in the city of Barrancabermeja. Colombia.

Colombia might be one of the cheapest countries to live in today, if not the cheapest. The South American country has seen a wave of new incomers in the past decade like never before. The prices of things have gone up. And because of that, rent has risen to $1000 in larger cities like Bogota and Medellin. The costs of utilities can vary depending on the location. In larger cities like Bogota and Medellin, utilities like electricity and water can cost nearly $100 combined. Colombia’s population is 51 million, and 39% of its housing market comes from people renting.

The cost of healthcare can vary based on a few factors, like age, income, and type of insurance. They do have insurance for disabled veterans. Colombia is popular for its different activities. To attend a dancing class, learn an instrument, or even learn a new sport will cost around $10-$20 per class. Beers go for $1, and mixed drinks can go for $4 to $5. A bottle of rum is worth $15 at a bar and $7 from a shop.

Colombia has many food options, including seafood, corn, eggs, arepas (crispy corn cakes), and more. Fine dining can cost $25 to $40, depending on the restaurant. Transportation is also extremely cheap. People can ride a bus for eleven hours for sixteen dollars round trip.


Via Latina at the University of Coimbra in the evening in Portugal

Via Latina at the University of Coimbra in the evening in Portugal

Portugal is the first European country on this list as one of the cheapest countries to live in today. Portugal is east of the Atlantic Ocean and borders the much larger country of Spain. One of the features that makes Portugal truly a place to live is their amazing healthcare programs. The healthcare industry in Portugal is one of the best in the world. Not only that, but it is one of the safest countries in the world. Portugal can also boast of having some of the best highway systems in the world and reliable utility systems.

To see a general practitioner in Portugal would cost $54. An emergency room would cost an average of $111. Most private health insurance can cost $100 but could change based on age and the insurance provider. Most expats could live in Portugal off a $2,500 monthly budget. The average would be a bit more if one lives closer to the coast, and the average would be less if one live closer to the country’s inland. The rent in most places ranges from around $400 to $1000.

Like most European countries, Portugal has a buzzing cafe culture. They also have many eateries and wineries that can satisfy anyone’s taste. The country is home to over 500,000 foreigners who have fallen in love with the country.


Varenna old town - scenic sunset view in Como lake, Italy.

Varenna Old Town – scenic sunset view in Como Lake, Italy.

Italy is the second European country on this list. To many people’s surprise, Italy is a very affordable place to live. It is home to many tourist destinations such as Venice, Tuscany, Florence, Rome, Milan, Naples, and Milan. Some tourist destinations are expensive, but Italy’s cost of living is half of the United States’s if someone wants to live outside the tourist destinations. A 2300 square ft., five-bedroom apartment would cost $730 a month. A three-bedroom, one-bathroom condominium averages around $415 a month.

Italy’s healthcare is ranked amongst the best in the world. The cost can vary greatly depending on several factors. Some of those factors are location and insurance type. Some people can spend $1700 a month on everything they need—the average income for families in Italy is between $35,000 and $26,000. Buying a house in Italy varies from $50,000 to $250,000.

Regarding food, eating the healthiest options could cost a similar monthly amount of $600-$720. The cost of a three-course meal averages around $17.50.

Italy has several different transportation options. To ride a bus for an hour and a half-trip to Rome and back costs $12. Trains are pretty cheap. A round trip on a train from Rome to Naples will cost $32. Car maintenance is cheaper compared to most countries.

Although this country isn’t as cheap as the other countries previously mentioned in this article, it’s still a cheap country to look into.


The moors of El Ángel, at the foot of the Chiles volcano, are covered by the famous frailejones, beautiful plants with leaves like rabbit ears.

The moors of El Ángel, at the foot of the Chiles volcano, are covered by the famous frailejones, beautiful plants with leaves like rabbit ears.

Ecuador is one of the smaller South American countries. It is also one of the cheapest countries to live in today. Ecuador is considered one of the most diverse countries in the world. It has over 25,000 plant species and over 1,600 animal species present. It has nine national parks, including the Galapagos Islands. Some of the main attractions are their mountains and museums.

The cost of living is relatively cheap compared to other countries. Rental prices are half the costs of the United States and Europe. Rent in certain places can cost up to $400, including utilities. A couple can live a happy retired life with an income of $18,000. A single individual can live off $1000 a month. People can live off $1000 a month from social security income and still have plenty of money to do things.

Public transportation is also relatively cheap. To get around in a taxi can cost $3.50. Public bus fare costs 35 cents. Entertainment comes cheap. A meal for lunch can cost $3. International restaurants can cost up to $7. Many of those restaurants have different eateries worldwide, like Italian food and Chinese food.

Ecuador is also a top place for retirees. Their government allows retirees to increase their travel with several retirement benefits that can give up to 50% off. Four-hour bus rides to different cities in Ecuador can cost a total of $12 for the elderly. The buses and trams are half off for the elderly. There is a public health system that’s very affordable for most people. The private health insurance runs anywhere between $50 to $200 monthly. Like other medical providers in different countries, the wait times can be long, and medications aren’t always ready. Many people prefer to move to Ecuador to enjoy the sights, food, and wonderful retirement benefits if they’re past sixty-five years old.

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About the Author

Justin is an A-Z Animals Writer that loves to cover places, unique natural disasters, and travel. He has eight years of experience as a writer in the medical and media fields. He wrote for the likes of VCU Health, theMSQshop, PayDay LA, and Comic Book Resources under the penname Jay Guevara. Although he's a full time writer, Justin graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2019 with a Bachelors in Health, Physical Education, and Exercise Science with a background in Community Engagement. After spending over two decades in Richmond, Virginia, Justin now resides in the suburbs of Rancho Cucamonga, California. He's a dedicated gymrat. He's also a two-time poetry author who's influenced by rappers Joe Budden and IDK along with Dante Alighieri.

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