Top 7 Places You Can Live Comfortably on $500-900/mo
You can live in many countries & places on less than $900 a month, and quite a few on $500 a month — however this list will be more about what countries you can afford to live in on a budget, not ones where you can live largely without thinking of the price of what you do/buy.
If you want to not worry as much about budgeting we’d recommend checking out our guide for where in the world you can live on $300 -> $500 a month, as in those countries/places you can live without worry about your expenses if you have $500 -> $900 a month to spend.
Whilst $500 a month can’t support you without the government’s help in many Western ‘1st world’ nations, $500-$900 a month can be sufficient enough to live in many developing nations. Those will largely be our focus.
Can you Live in the USA/Canada/UK on $500 to $900 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 $500 to $900 a month in the USA, Canada, the UK, or any other large western country. While you can technically do it by living in a tent or a car/van, it’s not a very secure way of life but rather is just ‘surviving.’ From our research (and experience) you’ll need at least $900 to $1200 a month to even start to scrape by in any part of western countries, and that’ll be a tight budget.
Anyhow, lets get into where you CAN actually live comfortably on $500, $600, $800, or $900 a month, albeit you’ll still need to be a bit frugal particularly with your hobbies/leisure activities — again if you want to live without the stress of budgets we’d recommend checking out our $300 to $500 guide, as in those places you’ll live in comfort with no real need to budget on $500 to $900 per month.
Colombia is one of the most appealing places to live in Latin America right now, for a number of reasons — namely you can rent an apartment medium-long term in any of the big cities, in an OK area, for $250/mo relatively easily — and that’ll get you more than a studio, you’ll get a place with a kitchen, private bathroom, a decent family room (maybe shared with the kitchen), and at least one bedroom. Usually just one.
Eating out in Colombia isn’t as cheap as some places, but it’d be within budget to be done once a day, and you’ll get good quality meals (generally speaking) for $3-$5. You can also shop in the markets, which are all over the place, and buy some groceries if you want for between $0.50-$1.50/lb depending on where you live and what you buy.
You can live pretty comfortably in Colombia on $600 a month, all up — including housing, food, transportation expenses, entertainment & leisure activities, etc.
Keep in mind of course that’s not including lots of expensive leisure activities, but rather just simple transport to hikes or a few drinks out once in awhile and a gym membership. Not partying or going skydiving or anything out of the norm.
Mexico is a brilliant place to live on a budget for both short-term & long-term living, with the Yucatan Peninsula being home to some of the cheapest places in the country (with good internet & safety), although if you want even cheaper Chiapas is the actual cheapest place, just be wary the internet isn’t that great there, so if you’ll be teaching English online or doing remote work you’ll probably prefer elsewhere.
You can easily find places for $200 to $300 a month throughout the country in medium-short term rentals, but it’ll be in a studio-style apartment. I’ve personally found places in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico City, San Cristobal, and Merida for these prices, but have heard others getting the same deals throughout the country.
As for food in Mexico food is reasonably cheap, you can eat out for $2 to $3 for a decent meal most of the time on the street or small restaurants, and $3 to $6 in more sit-down type of restaurants. There is cheaper, but if you go much cheaper than that in Mexico food quality issues begin to present their self.
A little disclaimer: Mexico is quite dangerous on paper, officially, so keep that in mind before committing to living there, but in truth it’s not that dangerous in our experience. So long as you stay out of trouble trouble doesn’t seem to find you, but staying out late at night walking the streets likely isn’t the best idea in Mexico. Just in case.
Now, Turkey is not the cheapest place to live in Europe (Albania and some bulkan countries are a bit cheaper). You’ll probably want to have at least $700-$900 to live there comfortably, but you can do it for less particularly if you don’t mind living outside the big cities of Istanbul and Antalya.
Food is absurdly cheap in Turkey, especially fruits and vegetables, and their delicious fresh bread of course, but delicacies like baklava and other high-end foods of course will cost more, so if you’re living in Turkey on a budget those should remain special occasion type of things.
Turkey is very safe, particularly when it’s day-time, however keep in mind the culture of Turkey is very different than western countries and English is not widely spoken so it may not be the best country for you if you aren’t used to traveling and living in strange places.
Yes we mentioned this in our guide for living on $300 to $500 a month, but we feel like we need to mention it here again as it’s an excellent country to live on a budget of any amount.
The big difference is on that budget you have to live simply like a local, on a $500 to $900 budget you can live in moderate luxury and not really think about how much things cost, with the exception of entertainment, as you’ll have a monthly spending amount as high as most middle-class thai people make. Maybe a bit less.
To be more specific, you can rent condos with a gym and pool in them walking distance to everything you’d need in any city other than Bangkok or Phuket (although a non-luxury building would be affordable there), and it’ll only set you back a few hundred dollars a month.
As for food Thailand is cheap, cheap, cheap. You can eat out or cook for yourself for between $1-$3 per meal on the street if you’re feeling adventurous and want that local Thai street food experience. Western or ‘special’ food is <$5 a meal easily even in Bangkok, so it’s just fantastic.
Malaysia is a cheap, cheap country to live in, you can rent a studio or 1bedroom building for as little as $300 a month even in Kuala Lampur (the capital), and if you’re in a smaller city (still good size) you can get a luxury building for about the same price — meaning one with a pool and maybe gym in it.
Food is similar to thailand, but with more Chinese and Indian food options, and prices being about 30% higher, meaning you’ll pay $2-4 per meal usually and $7 for a fancier place with an appetizer and the like.
Ecuador is an excellent country for budget-living in the long-term, you can live on $500 a month, but likely want at least $800 to have the added bonus of being able to afford entertainment activities.
Living in Ecuador you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment with a kitchen for between $250-$300 in most cities. Food in Ecuador is actually quite expensive when eating out (unless it’s unhealthy), but you can get a decent meal out for $4 or so.
If you’re not so much on the entertainment part of your travels and just want to live on a budget, Ecuador is perfect and and very safe country to do so with.
Brazils an amazing country and while this budget ($500 to $900 a month) would be quite tight, particularly on the lower end, it’s doable — the one caveat is you’ll probably need to make some local Brazillian friends and live like a local to get by on this budget.
For food Brazil is known for it’s incredible steak — but you won’t be able to afford those sort of fancy meals ($15+/meal), instead you’d be having rice and beans, meat and veggies with maybe some bread to soak up the juices for $3 or so. If you eat at home you can easily eat for <$1-2 a meal though.
You can probably find a 1 bedroom apartment in most bigger cities in Brazil for $300-$500, which would include utilities in most places, but if you prefer not to live with electricity it can be done for less than that. You can do it for less if you make friends with locals and speak some portuguese.