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6 Towns So Cheap You Basically Don’t Have to Work

Updated: May 12, 2023

Depending on where you live, cost of living in the United States can drain your bank account. However, a few inexpensive towns around the world have housing as cheap as $250 a month. If you had enough savings, you might not even need to work! Read on to find out where on the map these places are.

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Masaya, Nicaragua. February 7, 2018. A local produce vendor's stall in the central market of Masaya
Wei Seah/Shutterstock

Masaya, Nicaragua

Just east of an eponymous active volcano with Apoyo Lagoon Natural Reserve to its west, Masay is the third most populous city in Nicaragua. Not only does it offer up-close-and-personal encounters with more than 200 species of bird and 500 species of plants, but a two bedroom can range between $300 and $450 a month, including utilities, according to Amy McDonald, a real estate agent with Triplemint. Not technically old enough to retire just yet, based on American standards? No worries. McDonald says to earn a residency as a retiree here, you only have to be 45 years old. It also helps that the U.S. dollar trades at 30 to 1 Nicaraguan cordoba, making it pretty darn inexpensive to buy, well, anything.

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MINSK, BELARUS - SEPTEMBER 03, 2016: Upper town, Liberty Square of Minsk, Belarus.
Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock

Minsk, Belarus

Need a map to figure out where this town is? Sandwiched between Poland and Russia, this country’s capital is historically known as an industrial city. These days, though, McDonald says this Eurasian city has mild temperatures for nine months of the year and many jobs in the user experience (UX) developing world. “This is a great place for people who want to be a part of an international community. It also doesn’t hurt that rent for a one bedroom ranges from $300 to $400 a month,” she says. These are the best inexpensive places to retire around the world.

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View of the colorful city of Guanajuato in Mexico. Every house is painted to different bright color giving a very cheerful atmosphere to the city. Captured on a sunny cloudy day.
Tunde Gaspar/Shutterstock

Guanajuato, Mexico

​This state in Central Mexico is mostly notably known for its cultural history and for the Festival Internacional Cervantino, named after the author of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes. McDonald explains this party lasts for the month of October, with 70 different venues across the state. Here, you could live in Leon, the largest city in the state where a one bedroom goes for $250 to $400 a month. You’ll get a lot of wear for your dollar too, since one dollar goes for 17 pesos.

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Uberlandia, Minas Gerais - Brazil. Sabia Park in a sunny day
Paulo Nabas/Shutterstock

Uberlândia, Brazil

With a population of nearly one million, making it the 12th most populous city in the country, Uberlândia is still surprisingly affordable, says Fernando Morais, a real estate agent with Triplemint. Even though there are plenty of businesses in this city, apartments are still inexpensive, with a two bedroom going for around $300 a month, Morais explains. And when the U.S. dollar trades at 3 reais Brasileiros, it’s easy to meet your other needs for not much cash.

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CHIANG MAI, THAILAND - FEBRUARY 3: Iconic traditional red truck taxi roames the streets on February 3, 2016 in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is a major tourist destination in northern Thailand

Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai, Thailand

Asia is not only a beautiful place to visit, but one that’s incredibly cheap to live in, especially if you do it the right way. Though the islands can be very inexpensive, the prices do rise at the peak of tourism season, so staying in the mountains for the majority of your time might be a safer bet. Consider Chiang Mai, where a centrally-located one-bedroom will cost you around $310 per month. Outside of the action in the quieter Chiang Rai, you could get a three bedroom for $340. Prefer to stay stateside? These are the 10 best places to retire in America.

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Houses on the hill in the countryside near Pedasi on Azuero peninsula in Panama, Central America.

Pedasi, Panama

Though rents can be sky-high in Panama City, coming in at a surprising $1,500 or more a month, if you venture five hours away to the southern tip in the Pedasi area, you’ll find much cheaper options. Here, you could expect to pay just $600 a month for an oceanfront home. You’ll also find plenty of English speakers, cheap produce, and fresh fish to support your low-cost lifestyle. If you want to get away but don’t plan to stay, check out these 10 cheap travel destinations that still feel like VIP adventures.