Top 9 Places You Can Live Comfortably on $300-500 a month
If you’re looking to live on an insanely low amount of money, then this blog post is for you — we’ve traveled and lived in dozens of countries and being all-about-finance we often tried to live as cheap as possible.
You can find some pretty amazing places around the world that are cheap, but also have English speaking people, are relatively safe, are somewhat clean and nice-looking, and overall provide quite good quality of life.
All the below-mentioned countries we’ve met people or personally lived on $300/mo in these countries, although budgets are usually a bit tight and $500 a month would grant you luxuries and the ability to engage in lots of leisure activities.
Can you Live in the USA/Canada/UK on $300 to $500 a month?
Before we get into countries you can afford to live in I just feel the need to answer the most common question we get about this whole thing.
No, you cannot reasonably live on $300 to $500 a month in the USA, Canada, the UK, or any other large western country. There’s essentially nowhere you can find to rent that cheap, even if you are only renting a room – and worse yet your food will cost nearly your entire budget.
If you want to try to you can live in your car, or a van, or buy camping gear and live in the countryside it may be technically possible, but I’d argue it’s not worth it.
Anyhow, lets get into where you CAN actually live comfortably on $300 – $500 a month, albeit you’ll still need to be a bit frugal particularly with your hobbies/leisure activities.
#1 – Thailand, The Land of Smiles
One of the cheapest places with a good quality of life, especially for vegetarians and vegans, is Thailand. You can live there on about $300 a month with some difficulty – you won’t be able to get massages every week on such a budget, but you can get a local style apartment with air conditioning, fully furnished, on a month-to-month basis for around $100/mo — you can also get a big plate of healthy food (or not so healthy food if you want) for right around a dollar. A good cell phone plan is about $20 a month, and a bicycle to get around, or just your feet will easily do – and that’s more or less free.
Ultimately, there is a reason why most digital nomads and young folks looking to start an online business look to go to Thailand, if you want to live cheap you definitely can — and if your budget increases or is a bit higher you can live very comfortably.
While we have came into more money as of late and no longer spend so little when we go to thailand, we spent our first 6 months in thailand spending around $250/mo living quite comfortably in 2018-2019. You can live near the beach or near the mountains on such a budget, have air conditioner at night, have coffees out and food out multiple times a day – you just won’t get massages, vacations around the country, be able to stay at hotels (get an apartment!), go out for drinks every single week, or get food delivered all the time.
#2 – India & Nepal – The absolutely cheapest place with decent infustructure & safety
Indians are somewhat famous for having a very cheap life, but their quality of life isn’t that great — I say this as someone who considers India (and Nepal) my #1 place on earth, it’s polluted, dirty, and generally ‘overpopulated.’
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t amazing — the people are absolutely fantastic, English is widely spoken (albeit a bit differently), the food is the best in the world, and you can, given some legwork, live on $100/mo — although more realistically a $300 budget is a better starting minimum for living in India Medium-Long term. Obviously more is better, but $300 is easily enough to get by and then some in India (or neighboring countries such as Nepal).
The internet connection is not so good normally, but you can find a small single room apartment for $40/mo if you really search, even in big cities, and eat out for <$1 a meal, although you best be eating vegetarian in India if you’re on such a budget.
#3 – Albania – The Unknown Gem of Europe
Nobody ever talks about Albania, and that’s a shame because it has some of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe, mountain treks, wonderful weather, great friendly people, and of course a remarkably low cost of living.
Albania is known for having one of the cheapest costs of living in the world and you can live there on $300/mo easily if you aren’t in one of the bigger city centers — $500/mo would allow you to not worry about your expenses much at all, assuming you didn’t live in one of the ‘prime’ areas such as blloku in tirana. Your biggest costs will be housing though, but you can find housing for $80 -> $150 a month for a studio apartment in an older building in many smaller cities or even in the capital as long as it’s not a prime area.
#4 – Vietnam – A Safe and Clean Country For Cheap Living
Vietnam is a very cheap country with an amazing culture, weather, and landscape. You can find studio apartments for $50-$60USD in much of the country, and $100-200 apartments basically everywhere, including big cities or beach cities.
You can eat out for <$1 per meal anywhere in the country, and the internet is superbly good in most areas of vietnam, You can easily live on $300-$500 a month here if you want to live cheaply, although this is more of a place to live as a youngster than a place to live in retirement in my opinion — retirees would be better off in Thailand or Albania.
#5 – Egypt – A safe, cheap, and quite interesting country
Egypt might not be the best looking country in the world, but it has a very low cost of living, lots of beautiful sites, and most importantly it is safe so long as you understand the culture and way of life in Egypt — you can live there for around $300/mo, although more is better of course.
Food out is $1-2 at most places in Cairo and around the country (by the sea for example), and while you won’t find apartments for $100/mo on airbnb you can find such places with a kitchen and furniture many times if you look locally and get talking — which isn’t too difficult as Egyptians often speak English (as well as Arabic of course).
The only real issue with egypt is it’s quite the culture shock for most people who haven’t lived in arab countries before, or developing countries in general. They don’t have the coffee-shop culture that the others on this list do, and life generally is just a bit different in Egypt, so try before you commit to it.
#6 Bali Indonesia, Beach Paradise & Cheap Flights from Australia
Really much of Indonesia can be lived in for $300-$400 a month, but of course that’s if you get a simple studio apartment like locals generally live in. You can find apartments for around $100/mo in most places, and food out for $1-3 a meal, cell phone plans with good amounts of data are only $15/mo, so everything is very affordable and you can easily live on $300-400/mo if you keep your leisure activities to the beaches, nature, and wholistic things rather than drinking, partying, or doing activities that cost money.
Bali is one of the most developed and westernized parts of Indonesia and you can find more expensive areas where tourists live (Canggu) on the island as well as places to live for cheap a little outside that area or on the other side of the island.
Another good thing is they have uniquely cheap flights to Australia, making it arguably the best or first destination for aussies wanting to live cheaply abroad. Another good thing about Bali is you can easily move to Thailand or Vietanm for a <$100 plane flight anytime if you want a change of scenery.
#7 Malaysia, the more multicultural version of Thailand
Malaysia is one of the most highly developed countries in south-east asia, yet still offers very cheap apartments and life, you can get apartments anywhere in the country for $80-100/mo (studio, often no kitchen), and eat out for $1-2/meal, take public transit for <$1, and overall get around walking to do most you need.
If you don’t mind living outside the city a bit you can get luxury apartments for a bit more than $100 a month that have a pool or gym in them and are quite new, although you won’t be near any subway stations or the like.
One of the benefits of malaysia is not only do they speak english but they are extremely multicultural in the sense that malaysia has lots of immigrants and influence from other countries and cuisines in the country — you can easily find amazing Indian food in the country, obviously thai food being a neighboring country to malaysia, and Chinese food is very common as well due to the large chinese population in many of the cities.
#8 Philipines, The other land of smiles
Philipines is one of the most friendly countries I’ve ever been to, and while I prefer India and Thailand, two other super friendly places, I only don’t prefer the philipines because I’m not a fan of meat and the philipines is big on meat-eating.
But if that’s not an issue for you the philipines is one of the cheapest countries in south-east asia with an amazing beach scene. Renting an apartment outside the main metropolitans centers (Manila, Cebu) for $100-$150 will get you a pretty basic place, sometimes house, with a small kitchen and sometimes a bedroom rather than simply being a studio apartment.
English is widely spoken and eating out is <$1 a meal usually, but not very healthy so you’d want to cook at home for a meal or two a day in my opinion, but that’s also quite cheap of course.
Keep in mind the philipines is quite dangerous, particularly if you’re a guy on a budget, as if you fall in love with the philipines you’ll likely start dating, and philipinos like to have children early – which will bust a $300/mo budget.
#9 Georgia – Not the US Georgia, the Country Georgia
Georgia is a little hard to see because it’s in the middle of the Caucuses, but it’s a cheap destination for retirees if you can get there. I specify for retirees, as it’s not a very interesting place long-term for a young man or woman, things are relaxed and life is largely simple. Renting an apartment in Tblisi or most other cities will only set you back around $150-200/mo, and this includes having a kitchen.
Food out is generally very cheap ($2-3/meal) in most parts of the country, and internet is quite good in most areas, you don’t need any transportation as everything is walkable being a european-built country, however as you can tell it’s a bit pricier than other places on this list, at least if you eat out. Eating at home is easily $1/meal or less, so living on $300/mo is doable if you eat at home, but we’d really say $500~/mo is more suitable for Georgia.