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If you are living in the Western world, chances are you may be struggling to afford the basic necessities right now. In Canada, the average cost of groceries for a single person is over $550 per MONTH! That is just unreasonable. And let’s not even mention the costs other necessities such as housing, which is also at all-time highs. Things are becoming too difficult! So what is the solution? In short, it’s either increasing your income, or moving to a more affordable location. In this article I’ll focus on moving to more affordable European cities.
Before we get started, I want to mention a few things:
I used the HousingAnywhere website to generate an estimate of living expenses and utilities. If you’re planning to stay longer term, your living expenses and utilities will be lower. For the purposes of this article, I chose to overestimate because it’s better to allocate more money than you actually need than not enough.
These costs are for one person living alone. If you’re going as a couple/ group, the living expenses per person will be significantly lower. Additionally, the actual costs will vary depending on your lifestyle factors such as how often you buy new clothes or dine out.
Furthermore, I focused on large, capital cities. Your costs will be even lower if you decide to reside in a smaller city in any one of these countries. Again I opted to overestimate the costs because it’s better to be over-prepared than underprepared.
Having said that, here are some beautiful cities in Europe where you can live for under 1,000 USD per month:
Located in a valley surrounded by hills and mountains, Tbilisi is the capital and largest city in the country of Georgia. Tbilisi is a city with historic architecture, thermal baths, outstanding cuisine, and friendly locals. In recent years Tbilisi has developed a lively and vibrant expat community thanks to the digital nomad visas the government created. Regardless of your age, you won’t have any problems fitting into this wonderful city and gateway between East and West.
You will need about 880 USD per person per month to live in Tbilisi, and this is how you will spend your money:
The capital and largest city in North Macedonia, Skopje is an attractive place to live in Europe for under 1,000 USD per month. Although North Macedonia had its fair share of difficulties in the past, it is becoming a rising force, making Skopje an increasingly popular choice for expats looking to move abroad. The city is vibrant yet tranquil, with loads of attractions, fresh food, and friendly locals. Skopje is a great choice for those looking to gain an authentic cultural experience.
Your monthly expenses are around 925 USD per person per month if you wish to live in Skopje. This is how the monthly expenses break down:
With Latin, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian influences, Sarajevo is one interesting city with diverse architecture and cuisine. The largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo is also a rapidly modernizing metropolis. You will find anything you wish from fine dining and upscale spas, to museums and parks. And with only 344,000 inhabitants, this city is also very compact and walkable, with everything you will need within walking distance.
For a capital city, Sarajevo offers one of the lowest costs of living for expats. You will need around 935 USD per person per month to live in Sarajevo. Here’s how the costs break down:
With 1.2 million people, Sofia is the capital and largest city in Bulgaria. Sofia is a modern city with a strong cultural heritage, strong expat community and affordable costs of living. An expat favorite, Sofia is a lovely capital city to live for under 1,000 USD in Europe. The city is safe and tranquil, with lots of recreational opportunities; ideal for anyone from young families, youths, and elderly.
You will need about 945 USD per person per month to live in Sofia. Expenses break down as follows:
Located in the central region, the capital of Serbia is a youthful city with history dating back to the Roman Empire. Belgrade is also a major economic center in the Balkan region as a large number of international businesses have chosen to conduct their operations here. As a rapidly modernizing city, you will have access to every convenience you can possibly wish for, at a fraction of the prices you’re used too.
You will need about 980 USD per person per month to live in Belgrade. Here is a break-down of the costs:
The capital and largest city in Romania, Bucharest has a diverse population of over 2 million people. In recent years many expats have moved to Bucharest for lower costs of living, creating a lively community, and an increasingly popular place to live in Europe for under 1,000 USD per month. It also helps that the Romanian language is fairly easy to learn for English speakers. Bucharest is renowned for its great nightlife, restaurants, cafés and culture. It is vibrant yet peaceful, great for anyone for the very young to the very old.
It will cost you around 985 USD per month to live in Bucharest, Romania. Here’s how the costs break down:
The capital and largest city in Poland, Warsaw’s history dates back all the way to the Middle Ages! The city has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times, resulting in the vibrant and modern metropolis that it is today. Warsaw is a safe city with an abundance of parks, strong economy, and an electric nightlife. With a thriving expat community and friendly locals, you will quickly gain a sense of belonging in Warsaw.
You will need about 1,020 USD per person per month to live in Warsaw. This is a little over the 1,000 USD budget, however you can bring this cost down by not eating out, or buying cheaper groceries from the farmers markets instead of grocery stores. Here’s how the costs break down:
Located in the northwestern part of Croatia, Zagreb is an idyllic capital city. With just over 800,000 people, Zagreb is also the largest city in the country. The city is rich in historic architecture, wonderful museums, great public transit, and modern cuisine. However, there are fewer expats in Zagreb (compared to the other cities on this list) due to it having fewer international businesses. Despite that the city can get quite crowded with tourists during high season.
Your monthly expenses are around 1,025 USD per person per month if you wish to live in Zagreb. At just 25 USD over the 1,000 USD budget, you can lower your living expenses by cutting back on how frequently you dine out. Restaurant meals in Zagreb are a little more expensive compared to other cities on this list. Here’s a list of your monthly costs:
Dating back over 3,000 years, Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world. As the capital and the largest city in Greece, Athens has all the comforts you can possibly want. With a diverse population, stunning landmarks, bustling nightlife and very fresh food, there is something for everyone. Throughout the years, many expats of all ages have chosen to relocate to Athens, so you will definitely find your tribe. Additionally, most of the locals (even the older ones) have great English skills.
You will need about 1,080 USD per person per month to live in Athens. This is a little over budget, but only because I have overestimated the cost of groceries. If you opt to shop at a local farmers market you will spend under the 150 USD I have allocated. The other expenses are as follows:
The capital and largest city in Hungary, Budapest sits along the Danube River. With around 1.7 million people, Budapest is a very large cultural and economic hub. The city has stunning architecture, amazing food scene, a vibrant yet relaxing high quality lifestyle. In addition, the thermal baths are world famous and attract thousands of tourists for their healing properties.
You will need about 1,085 USD per person per month to live in Budapest. This is over the 1,000 USD budget again, but you can lower the costs by living slightly outside of the city center. With affordable public transit you can easily get around. In addition, if you don’t need to buy clothes regularly, you will also save some money. Here’s how the costs break down: