“I make a whole lot less than I did in New York City, but here my rent is only 1/5 of my income instead of taking up half of it.”

“In San Diego I was spending $4,000 to $5,000 a month. It was impossible to save as much as I do here on $1,400 a month!”


These are just two of the expat stories I came across while interviewing people who have moved abroad.

Are you tired of your spending a huge amount of money just on your monthly living expenses?

Would you like to live a richer, more fulfilling life and be able to comfortably put some money away for the future?

Would you actually like to enjoy the fruits of your labor instead of just working to pay the bills?

You don’t have to get a better cubicle job or double your hours to have more money left after the bills are paid. You just need to do what these people did: widen your horizons.

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When I lived in a mid-sized U.S. city, our rent was $2,100 per month, utilities were usually around $450, and a fifth of our income was going to health insurance–before co-pays and dental care. Then we moved back to Mexico and cut our total monthly expenses to less than what we were spending on rent before, all while eating out more and living in a bigger house.

I can buy a healthy sit-down lunch for three or four dollars, a large fresh-squeezed juice for $1, or tickets to the symphony for $6. I can walk almost everywhere where I live and a taxi across town is $3 tops.

expat stories of living abroad for less money

Now we can stress less about money and spend time enjoying life instead. We’re putting money into savings instead of just hoping to cover the bills. What we earned before seemed to never be enough. What we earn now buys a life of abundance.

Kris and Joel Cunningham were looking at working into their 70s if they stayed in Sarasota, Florida and were going to have to live very frugally there to make their savings last. So instead, when Kris was 61, they moved to David, Panama. They went from a $1,200 mortgage to a $385 rent bill for their home in a nice, safe neighborhood. “Fruit and vegetables cost a third of what we used to pay and our utilities are about a fourth of what they were.” A bus to Panama City and back costs less than what they used to spend just to fill up their car’s gas tank for the week. “You have to save such a huge amount of money just to get by in the United States when you finish working. It’s a lot easier to just change your neighborhood.”

Julie Fox and her husband are both teachers in Portugal, where they are working to live instead of living to work. “If you aren’t extravagant, you can live well on a decent wage here,” she says. “We put 1,200 euros a month in a joint account for expenses and occasionally there’s enough left over for eating out and a bit of travel. We could probably live on €1,000 a month here if we had to. We have a spacious three-bedroom house that would probably be 700 to 800 pounds sterling per month in England. We couldn’t afford it.”

By relocating to a cheaper country as an expat, you can easily cut your cost of living by half and end up with a more fulfilling life in the process. While spending half as much, you could eat better, go out more, and have a better place to call home.

“My pension alone is 3-4 times what the average Nica makes,” American Jim Lynch told me over coffee in Granada. “We spend around $1,800 a month, which is extravagant by local standards. We live in a big air-conditioned house with a swimming pool. We eat out whenever we want, wherever we want. Medical care is so inexpensive here we don’t even have insurance. We just pay for things as they come up. I had to go to the best hospital in Managua for surgery and it was cheap enough that I put it on a credit card.”

For 100+ expat stories with real prices, pick up the paperback, audiobook, or e-book package.


American Halona Black was having trouble making ends meet when she was living in the USA, but then she moved to Danang, Vietnam where she can get to a tropical beach in 10 or 15 minutes. “I’m spending less than $1,000 a month here not counting when I travel abroad for the visa renewal. You can spend $20-25 per week on groceries and eat great.
Steve McPeek, who is retired, lives in Medellin, Colombia and absolutely loves it. “I pay about $325 a month for rent (including utilities), $400 for food, and the rest for entertainment. I eat all lunch and dinners out unless I feel like cooking. I can usually live on $1,000 to $1,100 a month unless I decide to indulge. I walk every day and along with better food, I have already lost 10 pounds. Plus the weather in Medellin is the best I have ever experienced.”

For any of the countries featured in A Better Life for Half the Price, two people can get by on two average U.S. social security checks, or around $2,400 a month. In many places you can do it for far less. There are singles in the cheapest places to live in the world having a blast for less than $800 a month and if you’re pulling in $1,500 a month, you’re securely in the upper-middle class.

If your family is spending $5,000 a month now just to get by like mine was, you can cut that in half and finally feel secure about your finances instead of scared. Or you can spend the same amount and live like royalty in a place with better weather.

Ready for a better life for half the price?

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