With the American dollar strong compared to other currencies, moving or retiring abroad could be a smart strategy to stretch your retirement savings further. To find the cheapest countries to live in, GoBankingRates ranked nations by four key affordability metrics provided by online pricing database Numbeo:
Even among the 50 cheapest countries, rent is at least 70% cheaper than rent in New York City, groceries are at least 40% cheaper, and consumer goods and services cost less by 30% or more. Local purchasing power does vary greatly among these cheap countries, however.
Scroll down to see the countries with the lowest costs, starting with the least cheap up to the lowest-cost country at No. 1.
Belarus is an eastern European country that borders Poland, Ukraine and Russia, and its major industries include metal-cutting machines, tractors and trucks. With about $450 in monthly estimated expenses plus about $440 in monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Minsk, a single person can live comfortably on under $1,000 a month.
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Monthly expenses for a single person living in Lima, Peru, average around $490, and rent is around $427 for a one-bedroom in the city center. Located on the west coast of South America, Peru has a population of 30.4 million and borders Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia. In addition to famous historical sites likeMachu Picchu, Peru is also known for its strong mining, mineral and metals industries.
Another eastern European nation, Lithuania borders Belarus, Poland and Latvia and is ranked as one of the cheapest countries to live. The Lithuanian population of 2.9 million should benefit from the relatively local purchasing power index, which helps residents’ money go further. Lithuania’s major industries include metal-cutting machinery, electric motors and TVs.
Croatia is located east of the Adriatic Sea across from Italy, offering a picturesque coastline. With a population of 4.5 million, Croatia has a decent local purchasing power, and its main industries include chemicals, plastics and fabricated metal. This country offers cheap living with rent that’s cheaper than rent in most of the 50 countries ranked here. In the capital of Zagreb, for example, a one-bedroom costs just $356 a month.
Morocco is a North African country that borders Algeria and, just across the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain. This country has a population of 33.3 million, and its main industries are aerospace, phosphate mining and processing, and manufacturing automotive parts. In the capital of Rabat, total monthly expenses would come to just $750 for one person.
Located next to Lithuania and Russia in Eastern Europe, Latvia has a smaller population of just under 2 million with about 32% aged 55 and over. Overall, living in Latvia costs half as much as living in New York City.
Portugal is a western European country located right next to Spain. With a population of 10.8 million, the local purchasing power in this country is closer to New York City’s than many countries in these rankings, which shows local incomes are higher and go further when paying for the country’s cheap goods, groceries and rent.
Located in Africa and bordering the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Libya and Sudan, Egypt has a higher population of 88.5 million. Tourism is perhaps Egypt’s biggest industry, along with textiles and food processing. Consumer goods and rent are cheaper in Egypt; a one-bedroom in Cairo costs just $350 a month.
Armenia is located in the Middle East between Turkey and Azerbaijan and north of Iran. With a population of about 3.1 million, its biggest industry is diamond processing. Residents of Armenia will get cheaper groceries and pay less for consumer goods compared to many other nations, putting it at No. 42 on this list.
Rent and consumer goods are cheaper in the Philippines, which help make it one of the least expensive countries to live. An island nation in Southeast Asia, the Philippines’ climate is tropical, but monsoons are known to occur from time to time. Its major industries include making electronics, garments, footwear and pharmaceuticals.
Known for its jute, cotton, garments and paper industries, Bangladesh is neighbors with India and has a population of 169 million. This country is also known for having mild winters from October to May and hot, humid summers from March to June. Bangladesh has a relatively lower purchasing power, which is likely tied to the nation’s lower GDP per capita ($1,087 in 2014). But, it has the sixth-cheapest rent index of the 50 cheapest countries; a one-bedroom in Dhaka costs just $154 a month.
Russia is fairly average across the categories this survey measured, offering both cheaper prices and a decent local purchasing power. Living in the major Russian cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg will be pricier, however, than living in other cities like Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk. With a huge landmass, Russia’s biggest industries center on its natural resources like coal, oil, gas and metals.
With a population of 9.9 million, Hungary is an eastern European country with strong industries in mining, metallurgy and construction materials. Cheap rent is one of its bigger selling points, with a typical one-bedroom flat in Budapest priced at $363 a month.
Syria, located in the Middle East, is a country in crisis, torn apart by civil war and radical Muslim sects, including ISIS. This crisis has deeply affected the Syrian economy, which has the lowest local purchasing power of any of the 50 cheapest countries listed here. So if you’re hoping to move to Syria, plan on living off of savings rather than earning a living locally. U.S. dollars will go plenty far in Syria, however, which has low costs across the board for rent, consumer goods and groceries.
A European nation bordering Croatia and Austria, Slovenia actually has a higher local purchasing power than most of the 50 cheapest countries. So for ex-pats who earn in the local economy, money will go further. Slovenia has a population of around 2 million and one of the highest per capita GDPs in Central Europe.
Germany is among the top 10 countries for expats, according to an HSBC survey that ranked nations on the economy, experience and family-friendly atmospheres. For those looking for a cheap country where they can earn a good living, Germany is a good bet. Local incomes are high enough that Germans can actually buy 50% more with their earnings than New Yorkers can, which is comparable to many U.S. cities like Baltimore, Md., or Lexington, Ky.
Tunisia is a coastal North African nation that borders the Mediterranean Sea, Algeria and Libya and has a population of 11 million. The country offers a low cost of living, particularly cheaper rent — a one-bedroom in the capital Tunis costs just around $280 a month — and consumer goods. However, it offers a worse local purchasing power than most other 50 cheapest countries.
With a population of 48.1 million, Spain’s main industries are textiles, apparel, food and beverages. Spain could be a smart choice for an expat who plans to work in their country of residence, as wages earn locally will give a worker a purchasing power that’s on-par with what New Yorkers earn. Rent costs in some Spain cities, however, are on par with typical rent prices in the U.S. For example, renting a one-bedroom apartment in Madrid could cost you around $800.
Estonia is located just west of Russia and south of Finland, and has a population of 1.3 million. The biggest industries of the Estonian economy are engineering, electronics and wood products, which helps give it a higher GDP per capita of around $20,000, according to numbers from the World Bank. This higher production is the sign of a strong economy, which gives Estonia residents better purchasing power than many other countries among the 50 cheapest.
Turkey lands among the cheapest countries to live or retire thanks to having some of the lowest rent costs among this list of 50. Istanbul rentals will be pricier, but rents in other major Turkish cities — like Izmir, Bursa and Ankara — will see cheaper rent prices. With a population of 79.4 million, Turkey’s biggest industries are textiles, food processing and automobiles, which helps this Middle Eastern nation maintain its higher local purchasing power.
Brazil is a major South American nation with a population of 204.3 million and an economy that centers on the production of textiles, shoes, chemicals, cement and lumber. This country offers decently cheap consumer goods and housing. In Rio de Janeiro, for example, a one-bedroom apartment will set you back only $540 or so. And with a mostly tropical climate, Brazil could even be a retiree’s dream vacation.
Bordering Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Georgia has a population of 4.9 million. This nation has some of the lowest consumer and grocery prices of any country. In the country’s capital, Tbilisi, the monthly expenses for a single person amount to around $360 a month. These low costs are, however, matched with low local incomes. Despite strong steel, machinery and electrical appliance industries, Georgia has a low GDP per capita of just $3,670, according to the World Bank.
Nepal has the second-lowest local purchasing power of any nation on this list, which squares with the nation’s GDP per capita that’s just over $700, according to World Bank data. For Americans looking to stretch savings in a country with dirt-cheap living expenses, however, Nepal will still be an attractive choice. It has the lowest rents of any nation surveyed, with a one-bedroom in Kathmandu priced at just $109 a month. The costs of groceries and consumer goods are also low.
Albania is a European country located just north of Greece with plenty of coastline along the Mediterranean Sea and a population of 3 million. The country’s biggest industries are food, tobacco products, textiles and clothing. Though the nation has a lower local purchasing power than most of the 50 cheapest countries, Albania offers low prices on groceries, rent and consumer services or goods, with the cost for all of these totaling around $630 in the country’s capital, Tirana.
Montenegro is a small neighbor of Albania and Serbia, located next to the Adriatic Sea. About 650,000 live in this country, which has strong metal and agricultural processing industries. Montenegro has a local purchasing power that’s around the middle of the pack for the 50 cheapest countries. Its prices are also some of the lowest of the countries surveyed, particularly on groceries.
This North African country borders the Mediterranean Sea, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya. With a population of 39.5 million, consumer goods are cheap in this nation. Not including rent, a single person’s monthly costs come out to just under $400 in Algiers, the nation’s capital.
Ukraine is another eastern European nation situated next to Russia and the Black Sea. About 44.4 million people live in Ukraine, whose industries include coal, electric power, chemicals and more. Local incomes are still low, which gives it one of the lowest purchasing powers of the 50 cheapest countries. Despite this, cheaper groceries and consumer goods put Ukraine at No. 24. In fact, residents in its capital, Kiev, face typical expenses of around $325 a month per person, excluding rent.
Azerbaijan is a Middle East country that borders Iran, Armenia and Georgia, and has a population of 9.8 million people. The biggest drivers of the country’s economy are its rich resources, including petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas. This country has some of the lowest prices on groceries and consumer goods, which makes it one of the cheapest places to live. For example, Baku, its capital, has a cost of living that’s 70% lower than New York City.
Mexico lands at No. 22 among the cheapest countries thanks to costs that are low relative to incomes. Costs are relatively low in this country, especially for rent and consumer services and goods. In the Mexican cities Merida and Queretaro, for example, monthly expenses add up to a little over $400.
Romania is an eastern European nation that has a population of 21.7 million. This country’s major industries include footwear, textiles and electric machinery. Rent is cheaper in this country than many other of the 50 cheapest countries. For instance, the rent in the capital of Bucharest is about $364 a month for a one-bedroom apartment. Consumer goods and groceries are also low-cost in Romania.
The biggest factor that put Bulgaria among the cheapest countries to live is its low rent costs. In Varna, one of Bulgaria’s largest cities, rent is $232 a month for a one-bedroom apartment. Food and consumer goods are also cheaper in Bulgaria than most other countries in these rankings. Located in Europe, Bulgaria borders Greece, Turkey and Romania, and has a population of 7.2 million. Its major industries include electricity, gas, food, beverages and tobacco.
Located in the beautiful Mediterranean with plenty of coastlines and islands, Greece is a major tourist destination that offers a picturesque setting at a low cost. Greece has a higher purchasing power and one of the lowest rents of any of the cheapest countries, with a median price to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Patras around $240 a month. Food and consumer goods are pricier compared to the other 49 cheapest countries, however. Greece has also faced a lot of economic turbulence due to huge government debts, which can mean unsure banking and financial services for those who move to Greece.
Serbia is a European country with a population of 7.2 million, and its major industries include automobiles, base metals and furniture. Serbia has the third-lowest rent index of the 50 cheapest countries, with typical costs for a one-bedroom apartment around $170 a month in Novi Sad. The country has low-cost groceries and consumer goods, though it also has a lower local purchasing power.
The most favorable cost factor that put Malaysia among the cheapest countries is its better-than-average local purchasing power, which is evidence of a strong local economy. The Southeast Asian country has a population of 30.5 million, and its major industries center on processing and manufacturing rubber and palm products.
Chile is a South American country that stretches along the continent’s west coast and has a population of 17.5 million. Chile’s biggest industries are minerals, including lithium and copper. The country ranks favorably thanks to a higher local purchasing power that’s not far behind that of New York City, as well as lower costs in rent, groceries and more.
Moldova is a cheap country that offers some of the lowest prices on groceries and consumer goods. In Chisinau, average monthly expenses for a single person are around $330 a month, and rent is also cheap at around $200 a month for a single-bedroom apartment. An eastern European country, Moldova has 3.5 million residents, and its main industries are sugar, vegetable oil and other foods.
Pakistan is located west of India and south of Afghanistan. It has a population of nearly 200 million people, with its strongest industries including manufacturing of textiles and apparel, food processing and pharmaceuticals. Living in Pakistan is pretty affordable, especially if you move to the city Lahore. Combined typical costs of rent, food and other goods and services for a month come out to about $530 a month.
Colombia offers low costs across the board, from rent to groceries and other goods. A typical one-bedroom in Medellin, for example, is priced around $140 a month while other expenses add just around $350 a month. Located in northern South America, Colombia has a population of 46.7 million, and its main industries include textiles, food and oil.
Poland has one of the higher local purchasing powers of the 50 cheapest countries. Any incomes earned locally will go further, especially with the country’s lower grocery and consumer goods costs. Poland has a population of 38.6 million, and its main industries are iron and steel manufacturing, coal mining and machine building.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a European nation that borders Croatia and Serbia, and has a population of 3.9 million. Its main industries are minerals and metals, including steel, coal, iron ore, lead and zinc. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a decent local purchasing power, as well as low prices on rent, groceries and consumer goods. In the capital of Sarajevo, for example, the combined monthly costs of rent and other expenses is just around $600-$700.
Rounding out the top 10 of the cheapest countries to live in or retire is Macedonia, which has one of the lowest rents of the 50 cheapest countries. Groceries and consumer goods also cheap, which keeps costs low despite a middling local purchasing power. Macedonia is a European nation located just north of Greece and has a smaller population of 2.1 million. Its main industries are textiles, food processing and oil.
The Czech Republic lands at No. 9 thanks to a balance between lower costs and a higher local purchasing power. This European country borders Germany, Austria and Poland, and has a population of 10.6 million. It has a higher GDP per capita (around $19,500), according to the World Bank, which means that locals can buy more with their incomes.
A South American nation with a population of 6.8 million, Paraguay’s main industries include sugar, cement and textiles. The country has low costs across the board on rent, grocery and consumer goods. In the nation’s capital, Asunci?n, monthly expenses for a single person are just around $360 month, and rent for a single-bedroom flat is about $250.
Oman is a small nation with a population of 3.3 million that borders Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Sea. Like many of its Middle Eastern neighbors, Oman is rich in oil and gas resources that make it a wealthy nation that has the highest local purchasing power in the top 50.
Zambia actually has the highest rent of any of the 50 countries in these rankings. Yet, this African nation landed at No. 6 among the cheapest countries thanks to its high local purchasing powers. For those looking to relocate to a cheaper country, Zambia would offer both lower costs and local incomes high enough to help cover expenses.
Kazakhstan borders Russia and China, and has a population of 18.2 million people. The local economy relies on Kazakhstan’s natural resources like oil, coal and iron ore. Kazakhstan’s cheap living is most apparent in its costs for groceries and consumer goods, which are lower than most of the 50 cheapest nations.
Groceries are more expensive in this desert country than most other cheapest countries, as are consumer goods. But this Middle Eastern nation is fairly wealthy, thanks to its strong oil industry centered on crude oil, petroleum refining and petrochemicals. Plus, Saudi Arabia has a higher GDP per capita of $24,161, according to the World Bank. This helps give Saudi Arabia a local purchasing power that even beats out New York City.
Kosovo is located in Eastern Europe and borders Serbia, Albania and Macedonia. It has a population of 1.9 million, and mineral mining and construction materials are the major industries in Kosovo. When it comes to costs, Kosovo scores the best on consumer goods and groceries — in the capital of Pristina, expenses for a single person are just $324 a month. Rent costs are also low at just $275 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.
India is the most populous country among the 50 cheapest, home to 1.25 billion residents. Its major industries include textiles, chemicals and food processing. India also has a relatively high local purchasing power in the major cities surveyed. Living in India can be cheap; it has the second-lowest rent index of the 50 cheapest countries (after neighbor Nepal). India also has some of the lowest prices for consumer goods and groceries, with typical monthly expenses for these priced around $285 a month for a single person living in Kolkata.
South Africa is the cheapest country to live or retire. It’s also the world’s largest producer of platinum, gold and chromium, which goes far to enrich the country and its economy. This resulted in a local purchasing power that’s significantly higher than what New Yorkers face, which is the most favorable factor that puts South Africa at No. 1.
Along with a higher local purchasing power, South Africa also offers lower prices on consumer goods and groceries, and rent costs that are typical of the 50 cheapest countries. In the major city of Cape Town, for instance, monthly expenses total just under $400 while the average rent costs are reflected by the typical price to rent a one-bedroom in Durban of around $280 a month.
Here are the full rankings for all 112 countries surveyed by GOBankingRates, from the least expensive at No. 1 to the most expensive.