For most people, being able to live on $1,000 per month (or less) without heavily giving up on luxury and entertainment sounds like an impossible dream. Maybe you’ve heard that it might be possible in some South American countries, or somewhere in South Eastern Asian countries… but you still don’t quite believe it.
But what if if I were to tell you that even the presumably too expensive Europe is a place where you can easily live on less than $1,000 per month?
Well, that’s what I am actually saying and I have a list of countries that allow you to live decently for $1,000 per month in Europe, and your life might just change after reading this article!
It’s worth having in mind that these countries are good options to retire to or to move to if you already have your own source of income (like a pension, social benefits or other sorts of income from your current country). Don’t expect to come here and earn a fortune – relying on local employment might not actually help you make those $1,000 per month in the first place!
But if you have at least this amount saved up or available monthly, you’re all set for an… European dream! So let’s see the countries where you can make that happen!
There might be a bit of turmoil in Greece nowadays since the country hasn’t entirely recovered from the recession, but they are doing better and as an expat you won’t really be involved here. Plus, the protests are generally around Athens, the Greek capital, and you’ll probably choose one of the many Greek islands as your place to live in.
Although you won’t be able to live in a holiday resort for $1,000 per month, you can live somewhere nearby in a small, charming village by the sea. I have a friend who’s enjoying a decent life in Thessaloniki (one of the larger cities in Greece) for around $550 per month. He’s very frugal, but I think that paints a pretty clear picture of the prices there…
With one bedroom flats coming for as low as $150 per month and eating at local restaurants for as low as $7, you have a lot of room to play with your finances and get a lot for your thousand dollars.
Tip: although it sounds better living on the Greek islands, many of them “shut down” during the cold season because of the lack of tourism, so don’t exclude continental Greece. It’s also cheaper than the US or most of Western Europe!
It will be a bit of a stretch, but with careful planning you can make it even in sunny and beautiful Portugal with $1,000 per month, as long as you have nothing against living in smaller towns or villages and staying away from the more touristic areas.
I have one friend who manages to live pretty well for a bit over $1,500 in Lisbon, so it’s clearly doable in smaller cities. Rent will be the biggest cost here together with food: expect to pay around $300 for a one bedroom outside the city center and have about $300 more for food.
You won’t be eating out a lot (a regular meal at local restaurants will set you back around $10) but you will be able to enjoy life in sunny and relaxed Portugal for $1,000 per month with some careful spending!
Basically, every Eastern European country is a country where you can easily live for less than $1,000 per month. Eastern Europe might not sound too welcoming for many, but the truth is that many expats are having an awesome time in the region as the locals are friendly and the cost of living is extremely low.
Romania is clearly my pick for you since I happen to live here. If you’re not insisting in living in the capital – Bucharest – you can find a studio for as low as $100 per month.
Food is pretty cheap too, and a budget of $300 would probably be more than enough for one person who doesn’t eat out too often.
Utilities, internet, cable and phone should set you back a maximum of $200, and you will have a lot left for entertainment. And I promise you that Romanians know how to have fun!
It might be a bit more difficult to get to Serbia since they are not part of the EU yet, but their prices are even lower than what you see in Romania.
The Serbians themselves are great hosts and extremely happy people and just like in Romania, most of them know how to speak and understand English.
I personally considered moving to Bulgaria during the summer: you can find apartments for rent in their touristic destination for cheap (as low as $300 per month for 1 room apartments), and $700 would be more than enough to have a great time: spend most of the days soaking the sun, eating cheap local food and enjoying their extremely cheap beer.
Of course, if you want to go for a year-long stay, you can avoid the touristic destinations, but I really see no point in doing that!
Latvia & Lithuania
Both countries are really similar and if you prefer a cooler climate, this is the European destination for a cheap lifestyle.
Since the local median wage is of around $700 per month, if you are ready to live like the locals, you can obviously make it on less than $1,000 per month.
The downside here is that they have no sea for your holidays. The good thing is that, just like most of the European countries, Hungary too comes packed with a ton of things to see as it was one of the greatest powers in Europe during the medieval times.
Monuments, castles, the delicious goulash and a great health system are all part of Hungary where you can easily live off less than $1,000 per month is you stay away from the capital city, Budapest, which is becomig more and more expensive as it draws more tourists each year.
Generally, as I already said, all Eastern European countries are countries where you can easily make a decent living for around $1,000 per month. It’s even easier if you are not alone: two people (a couple, for example), could easily live on $1,500 per month and enjoy a good life, taking the total amount to $750 per person. So if there’s two of you, the actual cost of living per person per month will be a lot lower.
That is because many of the expenses will go down: even if you upgrade from a one bedroom to a two bedroom, the rent won’t double and you’ll end up paying LESS per month per person. Same goes for most of the utilities and even the food. So who said that being in a relationship is expensive?
Would you consider retiring to a place where you can live for less than $1,000 per month but which is far away from home? Many people did it and have no regrets – just better lives!