5 Wonderful Countries To Live On $500 A Month

David Kipre


Moving elsewhere is usually very hard on our wallet. Here is a non-exhaustive list of 5 countries where you can live comfortably even on a reduced budget.

The Philippines

Clear blue waters, golden sand, birdsong and rainforest…this is probably what attracts you, so head to the Philippines. You can enjoy the sun and save money at the same time. Life is cheap, with a maximum of $600 per month, using a few strategies: avoid supermarkets, and prefer to buy fresh fruits, vegetables and fish in local markets, which allows you to eat organic, in quantity, with the choice, and the possibility to negotiate its prices and spend barely $150 per month on groceries. In addition, a meal in a local restaurant costs about $2, compared to $3 in a local McDonalds, so be sure to avoid junk food. For accommodation, a bamboo hut can be rented for $100 per month, and a fully furnished wooden house will cost $450 per month. For $10,000, you can even have a villa built, for at least $150 per night in a coastal hotel in Colorado.


This African island has a calm and exotic landscape with beaches, jungles, mountains and waterfalls. The tropical climate guarantees only very rare heat peaks, and it’s a great place to live. For $200 a month, you can rent a beachfront apartment, and with another $200, you can afford to eat well and a lot. Allow another $100 for frequent recreational outings; the fruit trees grow along the roads and belong to everyone, so you won’t even need to spend a dime on fruit. It’s better than paying $5 a kilo for potatoes like in the US! Tuition fees range from $3700 to $4500, so think twice before bringing your kids.


Even if this country sometimes evokes Rambo movies, it is not: it is a calm, civilized and comfortable country. It is possible to rent a house for about 200$ per month. For this amount, you can get a small apartment with all the amenities in a quiet neighborhood. If you want a more comfortable one near the beach, you can expect to pay around $300-$350. Buying food in Vietnam is very cheap; there is a huge range of exotic vegetables and fruits and seafood. If you know how to cook for yourself, you won’t spend more than $1 per day per person. A full meal at a simple Vietnamese restaurant will cost you $3-4 per day, and is a pretty healthy diet. The tap water is not safe to drink, but can still be used for bathing and washing. You can even buy a whole house there for $1000, or $2000 if it’s in the middle of town. Tuition fees are on average $5000 per year, but can be as high as $20,000 depending on the school.


This is a close cousin of Peru, offering a similar climate, culture, attractions and prices. A month in Bolivia will cost you between $400 and $500. The local cuisine is delicious, if a bit greasy: there is a lot of fried meat as well as fried potatoes, and even soup can contain fried vegetables. A simple meal in a regular restaurant will cost $3, compared to an average of $19 in California. You can even get a serving of stew for only 30 cents, and it is very filling. Housing is in the range of $200 to $350 per month, and you for your kids, $2000 per year is more than enough. Not bad, right?


Renting an apartment in the land of the Tepes family myth costs $300 a month for a studio in a big city, and it won’t be in a low-end neighborhood. Apartments in the suburbs and other locations can be as low as $100, although you can also buy a whole house for $500,000, which is not a bad price to pay for the beauty of the landscape, and the local cuisine, which is related to both Italian, Turkish and Greek cuisines, will only be worth another $100 to $150 per month, compared to the $3,000 required to eat as well as it is in the US. Many dishes are traditionally prepared over an open fire. Meats, cheeses and wines are of particularly high quality, but cooking yourself is still the cheapest option. Local schools will only charge you $2000 to $7000 per year.

We are fortunate to live in a world that is globally accessible to all; however, travel can be quite challenging when you don’t have much money. Fortunately, there are still countries where the cost of living is affordable. Most of them are fascinating, grandiose, relaxing, in short, ideal vacation destinations. Which one will you choose?


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