While there is virtually nowhere in the United States that you can live for less than $500 a month, it is possible to find countries all over the world where living this cheaply is possible. If you’re dreaming of a new life overseas, we’ve got your ultimate bucket list. Keep reading to discover nine countries where you can live for under 500 USD. Perfect for anyone looking to stretch their dollar as far as possible.
Where can I live for under $500 a month?
#1 – Thailand
Thailand is an emerging economy, which means you can find necessities at a relatively low cost while indulging in first-world luxuries at a fraction of the typical cost. It’s possible to find a fully-furnished apartment, with air conditioning and other modern amenities, for around $100 a month if you’re willing to live outside the main population areas.
In cities, it’s possible to walk or bike to most destinations, and many people rely on a cell phones to provide their communication and internet access. Cell phone plans for smartphones with data start at around $20 monthly.
Food costs are meager, and if you’re willing to eat the local cuisine, you can often find a restaurant or take-out meals for less than $1 a plate.
Thailand is making a lot of investments in technology to attract young and upcoming digital entrepreneurs. If you manage your money correctly, it’s possible to live on less than $300 a month, but don’t expect to be able to do much more than living in your apartment and eat.
If you can increase your budget to $500 a month, you’ll be able to get coffee and meal delivery. Stay in a city with good access to the internet, and you’ll be able to keep your expenses insanely low while getting your new business venture off the ground.
#2 – India & Nepal
This region has a reputation for people living in extreme poverty and being overpopulated. While certain areas fit this description, there are also many areas ideal for living on a small budget.
If you stick to big cities, it is possible to find an apartment with a utility connection for around $40 a month. Be aware, however, that you may need to spend a bit more to guarantee continuous access to power.
In urban areas, it’s common for most people to speak English, but it will take a bit of time to get used to the accent and local dialects.
If you need a high-quality internet connection, expect to pay for it, but it is possible to find domestic help for insanely cheap. Food is mainly vegetarian due to local customs, but you’ll typically eat for around a dollar daily.
Living here for less than $300 is possible, but if you’re used to an American style of living, you’ll probably want $500 a month.
#3 – Albania
Albania is the only country on this list in Europe. Still, it gives you many advantages of being next to countries with very established economies without the high cost of living. If you’re willing to move outside the big cities, you can find a studio apartment for less than $150 a month.
While you won’t have the excitement of a city, Albania has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.
Albania can be an ideal place for artists and writers looking for a cheap place to live while they create.
Stay in the countryside, and you can easily live for less than $500 a month while still getting a few luxuries. You’ll also have access to European art markets by crossing the border.
#4 – Vietnam
Vietnam is another Asian country making significant technological investments to bring its people out of poverty. As a result, you can find relatively cheap apartments, utilities, and other basics while still having access to good internet and other services.
You can find studio apartments for $50-$60 in much of the countryside and $100-200 apartments in big cities or beach cities. However, the country’s culture is more focused on the young, so be aware that this might not make you happy if you’re looking for a place to retire.
#5 – Egypt
Egypt has gone through some political turmoil recently, but things have settled down a lot. The result is a surprisingly welcoming country to visitors from other parts of the world.
The country is generally safe, and its growing ties to other developed economies are helping pull it out of its recent slump.
If you stay away from the tourist areas, you can find a place to stay for less than $100 a month. The food is delicious, and many visitors can quickly adapt to the local menu.
Be aware that if you move outside of the cities, the culture can be challenging to adapt to if you’re unfamiliar with Arab culture. In particular, Egypt might not feel exceptionally safe or welcoming to single women.
#6 Bali Indonesia
If you’re willing to live like a local, you can easily live in most parts of Indonesia for $300 to $500 a month. Avoid the tourist areas such as Bali, and you’ll be fine.
Indonesia is a relatively developed country, and it’s possible to find furnished apartments with plenty of modern amenities for less than $100 a month. Cell phone plans start around $20 a month, and you’ll find food (with meat) for less than $3 a day.
Indonesia is a good choice for people who want to travel. You’ll find flights to Australia for less than $100 a seat, and you can easily travel to most Southeast Asia for about the same amount.
If you’re looking for a place to retire to with a lot of amenities and opportunities to see and try new things, Indonesia might be a good choice.
Malaysia is one of the most highly developed countries in this part of the world, yet it can offer cheap apartments and utilities. For example, renting a studio without a kitchen for less than $100 a month is possible.
Takeout food is around $1.50 a plate. In the cities, public transit and walking will take you everywhere you need to go. If you have a bit more to spend, upgrading your apartment is worth it.
There are multiple places that cost around $200 a month with gyms and pools. Malaysia is known for being very welcoming to people from many different cultures.
There is a strong influence from China and India in the country.
The Philippines is one of the friendliest countries to live in; many people are very welcoming toward visitors and excited to meet new people.
For $100 to $150 a month, you can usually find a one-bedroom apartment with a kitchen outside of the main cities. English is spoken everywhere, so it isn’t such a big deal to live outside the main tourist areas.
The main drawbacks are that street food is rarely very healthy (there are a lot of fried meats), but it costs less than $2 a plate. You’ll want to spend the extra money to get an apartment with a kitchen for this reason; groceries are relatively cheap, and you’ll be able to make whatever you want.
Despite some dangerous outlying islands, The Philippines is generally safe.
The country of Georgia isn’t exactly known for having a ton of stuff to do, but if you’re looking for peace, relative safety, and broader European culture, Georgia can be a great place to settle down.
Be aware, however, that this is the most expensive country on our list.
With apartments costing around $200 a month and restaurant food coming in at $3 a plate, you may need at least $500 a month to live comfortably.
Transportation is fairly cheap, however, and it’s easy to reach many destinations in Europe and Asia.