Where to live for under $1,000 (or less) monthly – Trajan King

Where to live for under $1,000 (or less) monthly

Working online is getting more popular, especially for the younger generation. Work from home is finally going mainstream. There are a lot of benefits to moving to another state or another country.

First, by changing your scenery you change your perspective.

Second, experience a new culture and expand your worldview.

Third, live for less. This is particularly important if you’re looking to retire or semi-retire or just take a break from the rat race for awhile.

It doesn’t have to be permanent. From 2009-2014 I lived most of the year in either Paris or Rome. I spent the mornings in language school (I love languages and speak 6) and then the afternoon and sometimes evenings working. It was some of the best time of my life.

Experience the world through your own eyes and don’t take the media’s view of the world. Traveling and living abroad is much more doable that most would lead you to believe. Get started in a less expensive country and you’ll see how doable it is.

Whatever country you pick, remember to check the travel and visa requirements for your passport.

Live for Less

Let’s focus on the money part of living abroad or being a digital nomad or retiree. Although my time in Paris and Rome was incredible, I would not choose those cities if I was looking to save money.

In another article I talked about the different types of retirement, which includes the traditional retirement at 65, early retirement at any age or hybrids where you take a sabbatical, take a few months off between jobs, a mini-retirement when you jus take some time off from working or a geoarbitrage experience.


Geoarbitrage is when you continue to work but do it in a different location, typically where the cost of living is much cheaper.

If you choose to continue working, the huge financial advantage is that you can really accelerate your savings and investing.  It’s easier to boost up your savings rate if your expenses are low and your income is high. Consider making $80,000 per year and living somewhere that costs $15,000 to live. You can bank the rest.


Living in a low cost of living place makes work more optional. If you have enough saved you don’t have to work or work as much. Also, you need to have less in your retirement portfolio because you don’t need as much to live.

For example, you can live comfortably in Thailand for $25,000 per year. Using the 4% safe withdrawl rate, you only need a $625,000 portfolio. Living in San Francisco where the cost of living is $60,000 per year on average, you’d need $1.5 million.

Where to live (my picks)

So where would I live?  I’ve travelled to about 50 countries and have lived in 6, so I have some idea. Here’s my list:


I spent the summer living in the south of Portugal called the Algarve or what some call the Portuguese Riviera. It was so relaxing and beautiful. Portuguese people are very nice. Maybe it was just because I speak the language fluently, having lived for 2 years in Brazil. Speaking to friends who have visited or lived there, that seems to be common. Plus, thanks to their Golden Visa and other visa programs, Portugal has become quite popular the past few years, so there’s now a good sized community of expats all around the country.

You don’t need a Golden Visa to live there. There are a lot of options, including just going for 3 months. The climate is also very agreeable.

Czechia (Czech Republic)

Close to a lot of great countries Americans typically don’t visit.


A hub for digital nomads for many years, so it’s easy to find wifi and co-working as well as meet other people doing the same thing.

Bali, Indonesia

Very affordable cost of living and a lot of digital nomads. It can get crowded now that the word is out. It’s fairly easy to get a visa and easy to meet other travelers who are doing the same thing.


Depends on the city you move to, but parts of Mexico are safe and beautiful and very accessible from the U.S.

Tblisi, Georgia

Relatively unknown to Americans, but an up and comer.


Numbeo‘s list of top countries with a low cost of living features a lot of Columbian cities. Not Pablo Escobar’s Columbia anymore. One of the best places to live in South America.

Who is Trajan King?

CFO & former Wall Street analyst helping your reach financial independence.

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Trajan King

Hey hey. I'm Trajan. I'm a minimalist entrepreneur who loves exploring the world (42 countries), learning new things (7 languages) and trying to get better every day (working on my backsquat).

I write about entrepreneurship and building an optimized and happy life through systems, good habits and scientific research.

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