20 Great Places You Can Live for Just $2,000 per Month (or Less!)

By TAD Staff
November 2021

Eight bucks for the average McDonalds meal.

$935 for the typical full-day childcare program.

At least $1,350 per month for a well-located one-bedroom apartment.

Living in the United States is more expensive than ever! .

With remote work becoming increasingly popular, and with more and more people feeling completely over the traditional 9-to-5, it’s no wonder individuals and families are considering moving abroad. Though the reasons to do so are many, one of the primary factors that determines someone’s move overseas is money. 

That’s why Top Accounting Degrees went on the hunt for great places you can live well for just $2,000 or less per month. 

While “living well” can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, we considered the following when putting together our list:

  • cost of living in safe and desirable areas
  • good, available healthcare 
  • safety and low crime  
  • low or non-existent local income taxes for foreigners (you!)

To find the most accurate information on all of these considerations, we consulted Numbeo, a helpful website that calculates the costs of living in various places around the world. 

Note: The cost of living can vary greatly from city to rural area, one part of a country to another. Still, we list individual countries because they all have multiple areas that fit our criteria. For the sake of clarity, all prices are expressed as U.S. Dollars. 

Bulgaria 

For some reason, the Eastern European country of Bulgaria is still flying under the radar. The country is a fantastic option for expats and digital nomads, thanks to its affordable cost of living, laid-back lifestyle, and vibrant culture. Food and wine are a big deal in Bulgaria, as is skiing in the wintertime and outdoor socializing during the warmer months. 

The most popular places in Bulgaria include the capital city of Sofia, plus the cities of Plovdiv, Vama, Veliko Tarnovo, and Burgas. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $494.93 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $282.75 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $502.61 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $320.11 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $28.89

Chile 

Chile is routinely called one of the world’s most beautiful countries, and nearly every region is open and attractive to expats and digital nomads. Good food and wine, varied landscapes, and friendly locals make this a South American gem worth considering.

The most popular places in Chile for expats include the capital city of Santiago, Valparaiso, and Viña del Mar. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $602.52 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $395.54 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $677.77 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $328.36 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $43.84

China 

China remains one of the world’s most affordable places to live for expats. The history, the cuisine, and the friendly local population are all big draws to living in China. Cities vary from large metropolises to smaller, more rural towns and villages. This range allows for lots of variety when it comes to sticking to a budget.  

The most popular places in China for expats include Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Xi’an. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $558.63 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $509.33 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $1,124.08 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $502.68 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $25.10

Colombia 

Colombia is experiencing a major renaissance. Despite its rocky past, the country is now a top retirement destination for expats from both North America and Europe. This is partly due to Colombia’s top healthcare system. Vibrant cities and culture, plus lots of access to beautiful beaches are other draws. 

The most popular places in Colombia for expats include Medellin, Santa Marta, Barranquilla, and Bogota. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $370.26 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $250.30 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $457.20 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $152.84 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $18.12

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is full of expats from the United States and Canada, who move to the Central American country in search of its famous pura vida lifestyle. The country offers a healthy lifestyle, extremely affordable living options, and easy flights to the United States. No wonder Costa Rica is often described as “one of the happiest places in the world.” 

The most popular places in Costa Rica for expats include the capital city of San Jose and its larger Central Valley, Arenal, the Gold Coast, and the Central Pacific Coast. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $639.60 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $499.49 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $846.34 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $327.98 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $39.82

Croatia 

Croatia has become one of Europe’s biggest hot spots thanks to the likes of influencers and Game of Thrones. The small Eastern European country is nearly all coastal, with dozens of islands that attract tourists, digital nomads, and expats alike. Speaking of digital nomads, Croatia currently offers an easily attainable one-year visa for anyone interested in living and working in the country for a year. 

The most popular places in Croatia include Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, and Zadar, plus the island of Hvar. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $710.61 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $442.91 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $742.96 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $141.45 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $44.87

Ecuador 

No matter what kind of place you are looking for, chances are you can find it in Ecuador. This inviting Latin American country offers big cities and small beachside villages — plus tens of thousands American expats. The Ecuadorian people are famously friendly to those visiting and moving into the country. As an added bonus, Ecuador doesn’t charge any tax for income earned outside of its borders — great news for digital nomads. 

The most popular places in Ecuador include Cuenca, Guayaquil, and Vilcabamba. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $494.87 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $373.47 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $649.04 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $264.08 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $28.50

Georgia

The Eastern European country of Georgia has been working hard to establish itself as a hotspot for expats and digital nomads, and so far that hard work is paying off. It’s relatively easy to get a one-year visa, and nearly as easy to open your own business while in the country. Georgia’s major cities are modern and full of culture, while its rural areas are old-world charming.  

The most popular places in Georgia include the capital city of Tbilisi, along with Vardzia and Mtskheta, the latter of which is considered Georgia’s religious capital. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $405.19 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $292.58 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $530.57 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $136.22 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $20.83

Greece

Considering it is one of Europe’s most popular destinations for tourism, Greece offers incredible value when it comes to living abroad. Mainland destinations such as Athens are ideal for those who want the European lifestyle surrounded by ancient history. Greece’s many islands are perfect for anyone wanting to see the sea at any time of day. 

The most popular places in Greece for expats include Athens, Chania on the island of Crete, Thessaloniki, and the island of Corfu. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $708.53 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $389.39 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $662.48 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $363.71 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $28.35

Hungary 

Oddly, the Eastern European country of Hungary is often overlooked by tourists, digital nomads, and expats. But don’t sleep on this beautiful country! Hungary offers an extremely low cost of living, a rich culture and history that rivals any country in Western Europe, and a friendly local populace. Though Hungary’s more rural towns are extremely charming, its cities are modern and upscale. 

The most popular places in Hungary for expats include Budapest, Sopron, and Gyor. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $533.39 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $367.76 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $632.05 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $261.86 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $31.19

India

In recent years, India has established itself as a go-to destination for both expats and slow-traveling digital nomads. The country is remarkably affordable for someone with their own income, and offers a vibrant and colorful culture, flavorful foods, and a wide variety of cities, towns, and villages. India’s spirituality is another big draw. 

The most popular places in India for expats include Bangalore, Goa, Mumbai, and Pondicherry. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $317.64 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $153.52 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $337.18 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $55.04 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $12.01

Indonesia 

Indonesia is becoming more and more popular with expats and slow travelers. International restaurants, lots of entrepreneurial opportunities, and good, affordable cuisine are just a few of the main draws. Another draw is some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. 

The most popular places in Indonesia for expats include Kemang in South Jakarta, Menteng in Central Jakarta, Cikarang, and Sanur. Bali is also a common destination for expats and long-term travelers. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $451.66 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $280.18 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $646.08 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $97.91 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $13.94

Italy 

Believe it or not, Italy and its dolce vita lifestyle are attainable for expats on a budget. In fact, because of its rapidly declining population, the country has been doing a lot to attract foreigners. Public and private healthcare systems are available throughout the country. And of course, Italy offers no shortage of culture, good art, and great food.  

The most popular places in Italy for expats include Milan, Lake Como, Liguria, and Padua. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $844.97 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $663.48 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $1,149.29 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $499.22 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $62.37

Malaysia 

Malaysia has a ton going for it when it comes to places expats can live well. Not only is English the unofficial language, but its outstanding healthcare system has placed it top of the list for medical tourism. In addition to its vibrant cities, Malaysia also offers luxurious island destinations and villages tucked into the rainforest.  

The most popular places in Malaysia include Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh, and Sabah, the latter of which is located on the island of Borneo. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $454.23 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $332.40 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $587.29 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $161.46 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $14.25

Mexico

As of 2021, it is estimated that somewhere between 700,000 and 1.1 million American expats live in Mexico, either full time or most of the year. Considering the country’s low cost of living, vibrant culture, moderate climate, and traditional cuisine, such high numbers should come as no surprise! 

The most popular places in Mexico for expats include Puerto Vallarta, San Miguel de Allende, Merida, Tulum, and Lake Chapala. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $437.56 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $352.90 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $698.78 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $171.42 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $27.55

Panama

Located less than 40 miles from Costa Rica, Panama has been actively working to attract expats for about a decade now. And it’s working! According to International Living’s Global Retirement Index, Panama ranks in the top five retirement destinations worldwide thanks to features like mountain towns, easy beach access, vibrant culture, and of course, overall affordability. 

The most popular places in Panama for expats include Boquete, Coronado, and El Valle de Anton.

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $686.03 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $713.16 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $1,325.29 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $360.50 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $45.00

Philippines 

If you enjoy beaches and a laid-back lifestyle, then chances are you’ll love the Philippines. With over 7,000 islands making up its borders, the Philippines offers expats a huge variety in locations and cost of living. While other Asian countries tend to have more flavorful local cuisine, expats already living in the Philippines love that other parts of Asia are so accessible. 

The most popular places in the Philippines include Cebu, Clark, Davao, and metro Manila. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $517.88 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $311.90 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $647.47 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $189.88 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $19.86

Portugal 

Portugal is another European destination where expats can live comfortably. British and American expats are especially drawn to Portugal’s warm weather, old-world charm, and relaxed lifestyle.  Healthcare is affordable here, though expats will want to know that the country does tax its legal residents on their worldwide income.  

The most popular places in Portugal include Lisbon, Funchal on the island of Madeira, and Ponta Delgada in the Azores. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $601.04 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $663.64 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $1,146.53 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $388.08 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $34.02

Spain 

Spain has long attracted American, British, and European expats. This affordable country offers culture-rich cities, laid-back beach towns, and even ski-crazy villages located in the north. Many expats are drawn to the typically European lifestyle in Spain, as well as the country’s quality healthcare and education systems.  

The most popular places in Spain include Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Grenada, and Sevilla. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $689.42 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $725.59 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $1,134.25 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $407.16 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $45.36

Thailand 

If Thailand’s welcoming people aren’t enough to convince you, then the country’s beautiful beaches, tropical climate, and low cost of living would surely win you over. Healthcare in Thailand is modern, yet much more affordable than most of the western world. Flying from Thailand to Australia and other parts of Asia is easy, and a big draw for those expats who want to be able to travel. 

The most popular places in Thailand for expats include Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Bangkok, and Phuket. 

Average Cost of Living for a Single Person (Without Rent): $531.20 per month
Average 1-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $359.93 per month
Average 3-Bedroom Apartment in City Center: $1,039.38 per month
Full-Day Private Childcare or Kindergarten: $319.07 per month
Three-Course Meal for Two at a Mid-Range Restaurant: $20.76

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