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:
- Local purchasing power index: Measures the relative purchasing power of a typical salary in that country, compared to New York City. A lower purchasing power buys fewer goods, while a higher purchasing power buys more.
- Rent index: Compares typical rental prices in the country to New York City.
- Groceries index: Compares typical grocery prices in the country to New York City.
- Consumer price index: Compares costs of local goods and services — including restaurants, groceries, transportation and utilities — to New York City.
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.
- Local purchasing power is 59.9% lower
- Rent is 85.1% cheaper
- Groceries are 67% cheaper
- Local goods and services are 59.5% cheaper
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.
- Local purchasing power is 46.3% lower
- Rent is 84.4% cheaper
- Groceries are 61.47% cheaper
- Local goods and services are 58.3% cheaper
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 like Machu Picchu, Peru is also known for its strong mining, mineral and metals industries.
- Local purchasing power is 37.8% lower
- Rent is 85.1% cheaper
- Groceries are 61.8% cheaper
- Local goods and services are 53.3% cheaper
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.
- Local purchasing power is 36.1% lower
- Rent is 90% cheaper
- Groceries are 58.8% cheaper
- Local goods and services are 51.2% cheaper
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.