Cheapest Places To Live

Finding the cheapest places to live has been a big topic in some past post on this blog. In the coming weeks I am going to delve into it further and look at some of the details but for now we’ll take a broad look over the situation. It’s not entirely possible to find the exact cheapest place to live as much of the info is relative and can change daily!

Cheapest Places To Live

Working out what you need for your lifestyle is the first step in determining where you can live. This includes the type of work you do and if you need a house, condo, apartment. Do you have pets? Do you need to drive and if so how far do you need to drive? Also if you job is portable (online) this really helps you find a dirt cheap place to live. I work online and have lived in Cairo, Egypt, Canada before that and have been to the UK and am now briefly in USA. Early next year I head off to New Zealand.

First let’s look at the Cheapest Places in America.

It’s generally agreed that the cheapest places in the USA to live are in the Mid West. You may get low wages compared to the rest of the country but taxes are low and housing is comparatively very affordable. Even things like beer and food can be found significantly cheaper. However you may have to take into account crime and poverty, building quality and other aspects before making your final decision.

According to research conducted by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, the 10 most affordable states in the US in 2009 are:cheapestplaceusa

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Texas
  3. Tennessee
  4. Arkansas
  5. Nebraska
  6. South Dakota
  7. Missouri
  8. Kansas
  9. Georgia
  10. Mississippi

I wrote a more in-depth article on this subject and it’s also getting a lot of opinions and comments. So come learn more and join the discussion by reading the article: Cheapest places to live in America

Know looking at other countries


Canada really isn’t one of the cheapest places to live in the world but if you are wanting to be close to the USA either in retirement or for telecommuting and online jobs then it has some great options. I personally lived in Montreal and can say that things like dining out were affordable with many main meals being less than $10 USD. It’s reported that in provinces like Nova Scotia that lakeside homes can be purchased for around $10k and taxes are not too bad in my experiences. I also always found cheap places to shop for food. Many provinces tax high on booze and cigarettes so if you are hell-bent on living this kind of lifestyle it may not be a good choice!

Egypt, Cairo

Cheapest Places To Live
Cheapest Places To Live - Great Apartments Are Available In Cairo At Great Prices!! This is Maadi, the area I used to live in.
As I mentioned, I lived in Cairo, Egypt. I am lucky as I work online so was earning in USD and that is makes living in Cairo extremely cheap. If you had to settle for local wages then it could be said that it is more expensive to live in than anywhere in USA, at least if you want to match the lifestyle.

We paid $500 USD per month for a Western style 2 bed medium-sized apartment in a well-to-do part of town. This does not include bills but the rack up to less than $70 per month and that includes doorman and internet.

Food isn’t too much either. I could fill my fridge with veggies for less than $10, eat a local falafel for $0.50 and even get a nice Italian meal for $30 with a fair helping of South African wine.

Taxes are something I am not sure of, I was there on a visa with my partner who is a student. So not paying local tax and from what I hear most of the locals don’t pay tax either!

Transport is cheap with taxes costing less than a few dollars to anywhere in the city and a metro ride is only $0.25.

Cairo is cheap if you want it to be but offers all the luxuries of USA. If you land a job for an American or European company then it’s possible to get good wages and still have the affordability the city offers making it relatively definitely one of the cheapest places to live.

Note: Right now Egypt is obviously going through a lot of strain with the peoples revolution. I was present for much of the revolution and some time after and although I don’t advise to move there right now I would say keep it on your watch list.


Many Americans flock to Thailand… Some for its beauty and some for unsavory habits but there is no questioning that life for the average American in Thailand can be a hell of a lot cheaper than back home.

If you stay out of the main cities and move to the mid-sized villages (still chock full of Western amenities for tourists) then you can often find furnished accommodation for around $100 a month. If you eat local you will hardly feel the weight of food costs and generally the locals are reported to be nice to foreigners if you make the effort back.


I have a friend who lived quite a lavish lifestyle down in Mexico and she left an awesome comment on one of my other posts “Live In Topekaa For $850 a Month” Here is what she said:

Brilliant Jeni Says:
August 21st, 2008 at 11:56 am I have a friend going to college in New Mexico- $200 month for a 1400 sq foot home; balconies, fireplaces, granite countertops and all… I was impressed.I’m American but now live in Cabo San Lucas, where I moved from Puerto Vallarta. In Cabo, we actually bought a villa and rentals are quite pricey but in Puerto Vallarta- very nice condos for $400 a month and up, just a few blocks from the beach. Food and utilities are next to nothing. $30 dollars a week will fill your fridge for 2 ppl.
Inland rentals (by inland, i mean still walking distance to the beach) start at $200 and go up. Then, as an expat there are numerous tax benefits (great for bloggers and web publishers such as myself.)

On $850 a month, you could live a near-lavish lifestyle!

So imagine if you cut down on some of the luxuries!

There are lots more cheap places to live in this world but this post just gives you a taste of what is out there. Please leave an opinion or comment of where you think the cheapest places to live are, and sign up so you can keep up with future writings on this topic. Suggestions for posts are also always welcome.

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Hey, I'm Forest, owner and writer at I used to be a graphic designer but now I travel a fair bit and blog for a living. I love all the standard other stuff such as movies, music and socialising :).

78 thoughts on “Cheapest Places To Live”

  1. I see West Virginia is not on the list of least expensive places to live. Where
    does it fit into the list? It could not be too high because our taxes are very low, compared to other states. Please e-mail me the information.


    Dave Rice

  2. Hey David…. Be awesome if you could go post some figures over at the forum so others can see what sort of costs W.Virginia has for living… It’s hard to choose an exact place but be great to get all places talked about.

    1. I have lived in Texas ( San Antonio ) for 13 years. Taxes are at 8.125 not bad but the summers are HOT so I camp INSIDE ! MY a.c bill is 140 for spring and 300 for the summer. The city is growing so FAST! SO it is easy to find a new house and new school in the Northiside school Distric. MIddle class house of 120,000 to 180,00 would be the average. I need to look up the percent of property tax IT IS VERY HIGH compared to my Iowa years. I enjoy the city life but miss Iowa and I am planning to move back in 2-5 years.

      1. Hey Lora, the heat is the big big problem. I live in Cairo right now and I know all about heat!!! You become a creature of the night but that isn’t much better. Moving back to a more rural place can suit as you slow down life but I would miss the city too.

  3. you might find the 5th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey of 2009 helpful when determining cheapest places to live in USA, it states that Youngstown, OH and Fort Wayne, IN are the 2 cheapest, check it out and you’ll see the cheapest 30 urban areas. If you’re not looking to move to an urban area it will at least give you a guide to cheapest suburban areas surrounding the cheapest cities.

    The study itself is held each year and it’s a fantastic resource for anyone thinking of relocation to a less expensive city. It also compares other countries against USA too. I’ve found it extremely useful in our search for relocation.

  4. @Joe, Yes that’s an awesome choice. I did not list everywhere as it’s kind of not realistic to look at places to live in straight dollars. I’ll be writing more on the subject in the next few months / years so will get more detail and things along the way.

    @Ruth, Ha ha, it is certainly a good place for Internet Marketing but it does have pitfalls. Firstly almost all internet service is limited to a certain download amount so you have to pay over the odds if you download a lot. As a woman alone it can also be hard too but saying that I know plenty of women who live here without partners…. They just grow thick skins :(.

  5. Forest,

    China is a super, and fun, place to live. I lived there for 8 years and they were truly 8 financially stress-free years. I’ll move back there soon and begin enjoying that affordability again.


    .-= Jonathan´s last blog ..Can I Get My Ex Back =-.

  6. I hear Greifen in Turkey is quite amazing. I live in las vegas which has become burden on me

    my last blog
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  7. surrounding cities of vancouver bc are incredible to live. as vancouver expands, it pours into the surrounding cities and are quite cheap at the moment

    Terry Schumacher
    my latest blog
    How To Get Back Your Ex

  8. Hey How To Get Your Ex Back and Maria (I know you are the same person btw 😉 ). Thanks for your comments. Turkey and Canada can both be pretty Frugal places to live.

  9. @Tony, not too sure about Michigan… I heard houses are very cheap in Detroit right now… Will have to check it out.

  10. Hey How To Get Your Ex Back, The list as stated in the post is from “the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center”.

    Thanks for your comment.


  11. I can attest to Tennessee being one of the cheapest! 640 square foot apartment a mile from the downtown of one of the top three largest cities in the state, and my rent is $460 a month. (Which is actually high compared to other places, but I like the area so I’m staying.)
    .-= Red´s last blog ..Super Simple Month: Day 1 =-.

    1. Hey Red…. That is awesome! I will be writing about Texas soon and would love to have a photo to publish and get some more prices and things from you if possible?

  12. Out of all the comments and your info there is still a mystery with the best places to live in America? Whats the
    deal? Where is the best place to live?


    1. Hi F.L.Hill,

      To be honest it’s become even less clear since I originally wrote the article as there are too many factors to consider.

      Generally if you have a reasonable paying job then mid country is the cheapest area to live.

      I am actually also writing a new article about Texas soon as that has been getting some good words said about it.

  13. Pingback: Cheapest Places To Live: Texas
  14. I’m actually thinking outside the US is sounding better and better. I have an 11 year old daughter so safety is always an issue. I have been considering home-schooling her because of all the cut backs (living in KS btw), and I like the idea of getting out of here and getting her somewhere that life is not so materialistic. I happen to really love the bum’s life. Never was meant for rat race lifestyle!

    1. Canada may be an option if you have to stay near home but if you really enjoy the chilled life (and feel it’s good for your child) then maybe even going somewhere like France (although not always cheap) or Spain may be nice…. Thailand fits the bill too. Cairo, where I live, is cheap and can be relaxed but I wouldn’t bring up kids here as it’s very polluted amongst a few other things.

      1. Thank you for the input. Thailand sounds wonderful. Also thought about Belize and Costa Rica. I will need a job when I get where I’m going. The only work I really enjoy is labor. I’ve worked with my husband for years installing flooring. I have no problem cleaning fish (my husband won’t) if that is an option. My entire goal is to make enough to eke by and still spend as much time with my daughter being happy. Family will just have to understand their lifestyle is not mine. Does that sound unfair to my daughter? I am 41. Maybe I should wait until she graduates then go by myself. Even my husband won’t go with me. Ah well, so much to consider… Again, your input is greatly appreciated.

        1. I have never actually been to Belize, Thailand or Costa Rica but I have heard great things about all these places…. Before relocating though I always recommend a holiday or visit first.

          As for your daughter and husband, you really have to talk to them straight up…. I can’t comment on the decision between you and your husband but with your daughter I think the final decision would lay with her, my mother left me at around that age and it was horrible, so for the sake of children I think it’s worth working hard to keep them happy and staying nearby at very least but in the long term you can still work towards your own goals and if she wants to come and start a new life too that may be awesome.

          I am not sure what the chances are of finding work are quickly so if I was you I would start getting on some expat forums and asking people who live in these places.

          Good luck with your decisions, I see you signed up to the mailing list do I look forward to seeing more comments from you hopefully.

  15. Pingback: Cheapest Places Retire USA
      1. Hi Richard, yeah I hear good things about China as a place to live and if you get a decent job I think it’s not bad going there. On a normal blogging income I am not sure.

        Thanks for commenting.

  16. One of the cheapest places to live is the Philippines, and it’s quite a beautiful country with very hospitable people. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Hello. I would like to know what you think about Belize as being one of the least expensive countries to live in? If you have any other info on this could you please send me an e-mail in regards to least expensive countries to live in. Friendly countries that is. Thanks so much.

    1. Hi James,

      I hear a lot of good things about Belize but don’t know too much myself…. I will be getting more info soon though. In the meantime this article may be useful:

  18. Look at RURAL PANAMA if want truly affordable living. We are just about to announce our small casitas at under $15,000.
    Check out the website easyretirementliving to find more details and contact us.,

  19. Thanks for this post. You were not lying about the houses being cheap. I checked online and yes some houses prices as low as $50,000 in some of the small towns. I live out west in the city and have two university degrees. I will never be able to buy a house here with an average of $400,000 per house.

  20. Hi this is great information. Didn’t realize there was such an issue with price difference between states in the USA. Thanks for the tips.

  21. Taking into account the cost of health insurance, which would be the cheapest place to live? As I understand it, TX has one of the highest rates.

    1. Hey Kate,

      That is an interesting and important variable. Hard to gauge as insurance is in the process of changing a lot and is very different person to person depending on health. If I get round to updating anytime soon I will try and look at this variable.

  22. It’s interesting that you have put in Canada on your list.. but I live in Canada, and Toronto area to be more exact. This place is not cheap. Anything BUT cheap. Since I haven’t visited nova scotia, i am not too sure.. but now that you have mentioned it, I think it’ll be a good choice for me to check it out on my next vacation.
    get your ex back recently posted..Get Your Ex BackMy Profile

    1. Hey Get Your Ex Back, yeah Toronto is expensive for sure and some think Montreal (where I lived) is too but I got by fine on a very small budget.

  23. Thanks, Just saw your reply. Even though NY is considered one of the most expensive for insurance, the state subsidises programs such as healthyny for people whose earned income is under a certain amount. Not referring to at the end the health insurance premium is relatively low compared to anywhere else in the US.

  24. Another cheap place to live in Canada is Manitoba. I know the winters there are harsh but the summer are really beautiful. There are lots of lakes, hunting, fishing, etc. In Winnipeg you can still buy a house for under $200,000 and there is a great university among other things. The smaller towns where I grew up are even better. In my small home town that I grew up in you can still buy a 1,500 square foot home for $70,000. The countryside is great if you enjoy 4 wheeling and ski doing.

    1. Hey Calgary SEO, I have heard the summers are amazing there. I weirdly like Canadian winter (I know I am odd!). Thanks for the tips.

  25. Is thailand really still that cheap? I was there recently and it seems that the cost of living has increased dramatically all across the country in the past few years.

  26. yes, Thailand is much more cheaper compare to the other countries you have mentioned. All though the standard of living has increased in big city like Bangkok, but, it is still cheaper compare to Canada/USA.

  27. I had lived in Arizona in the past and I’m amazed at why it doesn’t pop up on these lists. Yes, it does get hot during the Summer but if you have a pool and you work during the day, the house stays rather comfortable at 80 degrees. From October until the end of April, you don’t even need heat or the A/C. On top of that, the property taxes are very, very cheap!

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