live rich on a dime

The 10 Best Cities to Live Rich on a Dime (So You Can Bring Your Dreams to Life)

Admit it. You’ve wondered more than once…

Is there a better life out there?

You work your butt off every day, but just paying for the essentials becomes more difficult with every passing month.

And what about your dreams?

Will you be able to start your own business, send your children to college, or live the life you always wanted?

And you can’t help thinking …

Is there a smarter way of doing things?

A way to achieve a lower cost of living – and a higher quality of life?

Maybe it’s finally time to accept the fact…

Your city is way too expensive.

So why not do what so many others have done before you and move to a place that is more affordable and offers a better quality of life?

Perhaps somewhere with less crime and pollution – and more time to enjoy life.

Let’s see if such a place truly exists.

10) Alicante, Spain – the best of everything Spain has to offer.

OK, an explanation is needed. Yes, Alicante is not a place where you can literally live on a dime.
But compared to any North American city, and many in the UK, the cost of living in Alicante is so low and the quality of living is so high that this fabulous city deserves mention here.

Alicante lives its life in Barcelona’s shadows, which is not a bad thing.

This beautiful and safe beach city on Spain’s Costa Blanca is one of my favorite cities to live.

Alicante is famous for its traditional architecture, climate, food, entertainment, relaxed lifestyle, and lack of mass tourism. If you want to live a modern Spanish dream, Alicante won’t disappoint you.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $550/month.
Public Transportation: $37/month.
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $37.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $5.00
Beer: ½ liter bottle, excellent, domestic $1.00
And if your kids insist on eating at McDonalds, you can get a beer there too.

9) Mendoza, Argentina – where Argentina is still affordable

Mendoza is the heart of beautiful Argentinean wine country. It offers everything you would expect from a major metropolitan city — gourmet dining, exciting nightlife, and an energetic atmosphere, plus endless leisure activities.

The local economy offers ample opportunities for entrepreneurial spirit, and if your dream about starting your own business in Argentina, this could be your place.

The low cost of living in this urban metropolis makes it easy to pursue your dreams.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $380/month.
Buy: One-bedroom apartment, brand new, city center for $62,500.
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $38.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $4
Beer: ½ liter bottle, domestic $1.40

8) Bali, Indonesia – considered paradise by many

If you dream about low-cost living in a beautiful Asian city (perhaps writing your first novel), and you wish to participate in its exotic culture but also are willing to accept things you can’t change, Bali is your paradise.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $300/month.
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $22.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $12
Beer: ½ liter bottle, domestic $1.60

7) Chiang Mai, Thailand – possibly the best climate in Thailand

Exotic Thai culture, amazing food, milder mountain weather and friendly people — this is the city where you can live your dreams without running out of money fast. An active expats community will make integration easy for you and allow you to follow your passion; be on vacation for the rest of your life, start an online business, or work part-time as a tour guide.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $250/month.
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $15.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $13
Beer: ½ liter bottle, domestic $1.30

6) Corozal, Belize – if your dream is to simply “kick back”

Tropical paradise Corozal is all about the slow pace of life — yoga and meditation on the beach, a stroll through beach waters, a cocktail enjoying the sunset, or uninterrupted quiet time to concentrate on your business. Whatever your dreams are, here you can afford them.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $190/month.
Buy: Two-bedroom apartment, brand new, city center for $115,000.
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $19.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $12
Beer: ½ liter bottle, domestic $1.50

5) Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – cozy and romantic despite all the tourism

Vallarta is extremely versatile and has lots to offer those who can look past the cities heavy tourism.

The city offers incredible natural beauty, a small-town atmosphere, and a romantic side that many don’t expect, just outside of town.

If you can’t afford to live your dream in the US, take the short flight to Vallarta where you can.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $450/month.
Buy: Traditional town house, city center for $55,000.
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $15.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $7.50
Beer: ½ liter bottle, domestic $1.25

4) Ojen, Spain – affordable living only minutes from luxurious Marbella

If you ever dreamed about living in southern Spain, Ojen could be your place. A stone throw away from busy Marbella and its multi-million-dollar villas, beautiful and romantic Ojen offers a much more quaint life without being boring.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $330/month.
Buy: Traditional town house, city center for $100,000.
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $28.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $4.00
Beer: ½ liter bottle, domestic $1.25

3) Prague, Czech Republic – a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site

Have you ever dreamt about living in a gorgeous historic European city, sending your kids to excellent international schools, and running your own online business? But Europe is too expensive … so you thought?

Modern Prague is a beautiful and vibrant city with energetic people, yet it’s preserved much of its artsy charm and narrow cobblestone streets.

Prague has it all — beauty, entertainment, culture, thriving nightlife with amazing pubs, restaurants, cafes, and a prestigious university. The best of all … it is inexpensive.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $590/month.
Public Transportation: $25/month or $240/year city-wide
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $27.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $5.00
Beer: ½ liter bottle, excellent, domestic $0.75

2) Bucharest, Romania – the Paris of Eastern Europe
The 6th largest European city is bright, energetic, beautiful, and in the middle of an economic and cultural boom, yet it’s surprisingly affordable.

If you dream of living a rich Bohemian lifestyle in Europe, this is your city.

To top it all off, it’s only 90 minutes’ drive from the beautiful Black Sea.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $450/month.
Public Transportation: $15/month city-wide
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $22.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $7.00
Beer: ½ liter bottle, excellent, domestic $0.80

1) Chisinau, Moldova – Europe’s most affordable city
Today’s Chisinau is emerging from its East Block heritage with a world-class National Opera House and Ballet, three national museums, 33 universities, large shopping malls, and an active nightlife.

Like most European cities, the streets are filled with friendly, well-dressed people and luxury cars. Wi-Fi is everywhere, and it’s free; you can run your online business easily from any of the beautiful city parks while enjoying the scenery.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $270/month.
Public Transportation: $6/month city-wide
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $22.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $5.00
Beer: ½ liter bottle, excellent, domestic $0.80

So what do you think?

Having seen these alternatives, does your city still seem like a smart place to live?

Thought not.

So isn’t it time to move somewhere you can finally make your dreams a reality?

A place where you have enough money left at the end of the month to invest in your future – and your passions.

Because the perfect place for you is just waiting to be discovered.

Don’t procrastinate any longer. Pick a city from the list and start making your plans. It’s much easier than you think to live a life you love.

So – where will you start living your dreams?

Read More From Wilfried: The 3 Top Strategies To Make Your Dreams of Living Abroad A Reality!

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Wilfried Lehmkuhler is passionate about helping people achieve their dreams; create financial Freedom and a Life they love by applying proven success strategies. Wilfried is a blogger, speaker, consultant and accomplished author who has worked with professional athletes and businesses in Europe and North America. You can find him at FinancialFreedomAndALifeYouLove.com or @WLehmkuhler

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35 Responses to The 10 Best Cities to Live Rich on a Dime (So You Can Bring Your Dreams to Life)

  1. Deepak jain says:

    They seems to be villages, cost of living in Indian village, like Ranakpur valley is one bedroom apartment is$ 5.00/7.00 and cost of eating in a mid type restaurant is $5.00 Public transport tuktuk/private car is $ 1.00 for 2.00 miles.

  2. Having seen these alternatives, does your city still seem like a smart place to live?

    Actually yes. I live in southern california near Palm Springs and because I saved enough from my previous homes to pay for my modest home so that it is free and clear, my monthly costs — including utilities, taxes, insurance etc. are ess than $300 a month. While housing costs are obviously the biggest expense living anywhere, I can live where I live in a small town with lots of amenities for just sightly more than some of the places you list. While it might be fun and interesting to live and/or extended vacation stay in the places you list, it can be equally SMART to stay put if you set it up right.

  3. RA says:

    Nr. 1 & 2 are the worst choices. If you want to live on a budget, but also enjoy life please read this list reversed.

  4. Hi Deepak jain,
    Thanks for your comment.
    The places listed are not Villages at all, i.e. latest population numbers: City of Alicante 400,000; Mendoza 1,800,000; Bali 4,225,000, Prague 1,300,000. And an honest thank you for letting us know that there are other places in this world where just cost of living is impossible to beat.

    Live well
    Wilfried

  5. Hi Kathy,
    Thank you for your comment.
    Yes, you are absolutely right that California is a fabulous place with incredible cities; one of my all-time favorites is San Diego. And congratulations to you and your SMART arrangements, well done.

    Live well
    Wilfried

  6. Hi RA,
    Thank you for agreeing with me on 80% on the Cities on my list.

    Live well
    Wilfried

  7. Bogdan says:

    The Bucharest bit is not really accurate. It takes you at least 120 min to drive to the seaside. Plus, a one bedroom apartment in the city center is definitely more than 400 euros. Source: I lived there for >7 years.

  8. Lucian says:

    Well, Bogdan, I don’t know when you lived in Bucharest, but that’s how prices are now. I have friends who are renting a one-bedroom apartment right next to Cișmigiu and they are paying 300€.
    Source: I live in Bucharest.

  9. Claudiu says:

    I live in Bucharest and have been to Chisinau on several ocasions.
    Of course, it depends a lot on what criteria one uses to estimate whether a place is worth living there or not. I agree that Bucharest is too highly ranked on the list, for these reasons:
    – is anything but “beautiful” as the author says: way too crowdy, very noisy, traffic is a nighmare, the air is way too polluted, very few green areas
    – although the presented prices are correct, there other things which are not as cheap: clothes, electronics and other domestic products are more expensive than in Western Europe. And another big drawback is that quality is always poorer than there.
    – oh, yes, and if you’re a non-smoker, you don’t belong here. Non-smokers’ rights are virtually absent.

    As for Chisinau, I would definitely rank it higher than Bucharest, from a quality of life point of view – very large green areas within the city, cheap services, quite clean and….non-smoker friendly. Might not be easy to find a decently-paid job though…The salaries are the lowest in Europe.

  10. bogdan2 says:

    Actually, it takes more than 120 mins to drive to the seaside, and in the summer weekends it is terrible (5h+). About the cost of the rent, one-bedroom apartment (2 rooms apt. in Romania) is 400-500 E in city centre. 300 E is a studio in an old building.
    But although the rent and transportation are cheap, other costs (food, clothes etc) are more expensive than in other european cities. And also the traffic is horrible in Bucharest, but if you don’t have to commute to your workplace is ok.
    Source: I lived in Bucharest 11+ years.

  11. Alejandra says:

    Happy to see Mendoza, my hometown, on the list. It is fairly cheap, especially the food and public transport. But I would not say the city is safer than any American city. Quite the contrary, I know many people that have had their house broken into. If you live in one of the private neighborhoods or on a guarded street you are safe. Mendoza is a wonderful place to visit but I wouldn’t live there long term.

    I would also like to add that Riga in Latvia is VERY cheap :-) I know someone there renting a big one bedroom apartment for 100 euros / month ! Public transportation and food are also incredibly cheap, and the city is quite safe!

    Alejandra

    http://argentineexpat.wordpress.com

  12. Hello there.

    I am actually from Chisinau ,Moldova tje number 1 on your list and I would ike to say i totally disagree with you.Chisinau might be a cheap place to pay rent in and the medical services might also be cheap but electronics and household products are very expensive.And compared to the salaries in US it might seem like a good alternative,but when you take into consideration the monthly income the story changes a lot.There is absolutely no way I would go back to live there and save every single penny and still struggle with my bills.Life in US is so much easier,at least living here I can afford to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and everything else i need at any time.This thing in Moldova is a luxury.

  13. Iurii Coroli says:

    As a Chisinau citizen I would like to say this rating is just ridiculous, the author has clearly never been there. So called “European” city has the worst roads ever, average annual salary of about 5-7k $ and totally incompitent authorities. If you want to ruin your life – you’re most welcome here. The author should investigate better before making such ratings and not confuse people.

  14. Hi Claudiu,

    Thank you very much for your comment.
    I absolutely agree with you regarding smoking. Despite that the situation is improving all over Europe, it still is a problem even more so in eastern Europe.

    Live well
    Wilfried

  15. Hi Lucian,

    Thank you very much for your comment.
    Exactly my experience.

    Live well
    Wilfried

  16. Hi Alejandra,

    Thank you very much for your comment.
    I always liked Mendoza, especially the people.

    Riga, Latvia? Absolutely, you’re spot on. Unfortunately I had only 10 spots on my list. You can find many very inexpensive places in eastern Europe.

    Live well
    Wilfried

  17. Hi Elena,
    Thank you very much for your comment and I totally understand your position.
    It was not my suggestion to move to Chisinau, or stay there for an extended period of time, and enter the local work force. Yet if you have income from a different source, i.e. freelancer, online biz, semi retirement…Chisinau is a place where your buck goes a long way. That was the intention of the post.
    Also I have to say that I see here in North America, especially Canada, allot of people who struggle every month to make ends meet; and putting money aside for something “extra” like a vacation is totally out of a question. To help folks like that was and is my intention.
    Thanks again for a great comment.

    Cheers and Live well
    Wilfried

  18. Hi Lurii,
    Thank you very much for your comment.

    Live well
    Wilfried

  19. How do you know may i ask you?

  20. I from Chisinau used to live in USA moved back home.Haha. Feels good here love Chsinau and by the money is never enough, well at least for me everyone has options just choose whats best for you! Cheers!

  21. Alejandra says:

    Yeah of course :) It’s a good list though!

    Alejandra

  22. Hi Constantin,
    Thank you so much for your comment.
    And let me say this…”Good For You”!
    You know what it is all about.
    Live well Brother
    Wilfried

  23. Know what…about the situation of smoking in Europe?
    OK…I was born and grew up in Germany…
    between 1985 and 2000 I traveled the world working (coaching) with top individuals and organisations all over Europe and North America; now I slowed down a bit and travel much less.
    Due to my type of work and being geographically independent I had, and still have, the luxury to live where ever I want…so I did (probably going back to Europe next year).
    Plus besides sailing, traveling for pleasure is a huge passion of mine…so I did get around a bit 😉

    Live well
    Wilfried

  24. Dustin Overbeck says:

    It would be interesting to see the cost & speed of the internet at each place. I heard that Bali’s internet is quite slow.

  25. Lilia Sendrea says:

    Hi, I am Lilia and i’m from Moldova, Chisinau. I just want to say that i agree wit all of you, here are beautiful places and cost of living is low, about internet speed i can say that it is good.

  26. I love this post, but would love to know how this compares to the cost of medical insurance. I’d love to live in Chile, for example, but health care can be crushing.

    Thanks for the great post!

  27. Tamas Kalman says:

    how come that budapest is not on the list?

  28. Fernando says:

    Hi. I am from Spain and I didn’t know about Ojén :-). Your post is great!

  29. $12/mo or less for 100Mbps download/upload, unlimited traffic

    //Chisinau, Moldova

  30. 1dad1kid says:

    Bali’s interest is painfully slow and unreliable. Bucharest ranks #1 in Europe and #3 in the world.

  31. Globetrekker says:

    It is one of the most ridiculous top 10 that I saw. If you look at the studies about the quality of life in the cities you will find Bucharest and Chisinau at the bottom of every list. I am born and I live in Bucharest so I can tell you some things about living in this city.
    You can’t make a top looking at the house rental price and the cost of a meal in a restaurant. It is stupid. In this case you can put Buzau , a small city in Romania on number one because you pay 200 euro to rent a small house and 5 euro for a meal in a restaurant and there is also McDonald’s.
    The average salary in Bucharest is low. The public transportation is a disaster and if you want to avoid it and travel with your car you will have to stay a lot in traffic and the roads are very bad. The fuel is more expensive than many European countries.
    The food, clothes in the shopping complexes are at least similar with the rest of Europe but a normal salary in Bucharest is around 500 euro so a lot under a salary in Vienna or Budapest.
    The education system in Romania is old and the private system is very expensive. The taxes are huge for private companies and birocracy is still a big problem so not easy to start a new company.
    The city is changing slowly and is definitely a better place to live comparing with 10 yrs ago but number 2 on this list is a big joke.
    For an expat with 5000 euro can be a good place to live but just for few years.

  32. Dustin Overbeck says:

    Yeah, with slow internet in Bali, I do not think I could stay there. I have never been there, but I have heard it’s a beautiful place to be. Too bad the internet quality isn’t up to speed though.

  33. Max Lewenhaupt says:

    Sorry Very Wrong guys.. Chisinau Rent are just for locals on that price.
    They will not rent on that price for a short period.

    I go there from 2006 and the price for rent are 30 euros x day. Still cheap but not at that price will be at month (a normal flat) around 600 euros (more expensive than Spain).
    I will be there again from 20 may and is the cheapest i found for 30 euros x day.
    Taxi and Food Are Ok, also drinks. Supermarket are really really expensive more than also Spain. Them sorry but is not correct

  34. JJ THE EXPAT says:

    I’ve been living in Argentina for nearly 4 years and can honestly tell you that you can only afford a comfortable lifestyle with U.S. dollars. The value of the Argentine peso has plummeted since December 2015, making the value of the USD higher. But if you’re planning on working here, good luck. Finding work is virtually impossible. There are no laws banning companies from discriminating against gender or age. In fact, if you’re over 30 and looking for work you’re pretty much screwed. A real good job will pay 11,000 Argentine pesos at most, which is about 754 USD a month. But most jobs are in the 6,600 a month range in Argentine pesos (which is 452 USD a month).

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