Last Updated on

The pressures of every day life in highly developed countries often cause us to ask a simple question – why? Why am I living like this? Why don’t I have more time to enjoy my life? Why can’t I spend more time with my children, my hobbies, reading for pleasure or just sleeping? We see articles about the Happiness Index and see that our country is somewhere down the list. We may be ‘successful’ but a little nagging voice keeps asking why? 

Is life's treadmill stopping you from living?
Is life’s treadmill stopping you from living?

The answer, of course, is the treadmill of life – mortgages, school fees, utilities, transportation costs and even the high cost of staying entertained. But is there an alternative? Is it possible to just quit the high life, sell up and take it easy? After all, we live in a connected world. Is there really any need to live where we do? Let’s start by looking at 20 seriously cheap countries you could choose to live in. We’ll avoid those that are classed as dangerous, such as South Africa, Afghanistan and Syria. We’ve also avoided those with repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Each country is ranked according to the Numbeo database which uses crowd-sourcing to rate cities and countries globally. As of this minute, the database comprises 3,590,235 prices in 6,445 cities entered by 393,607 contributors. We’ve used four key affordability metrics to compare nations.

And so, to your options…

European locations:

Europe has some of the most and least developed nations within it’s boundaries. At one end of the spectrum we can place Germany while at the other, we have the abjectly poor Moldovia. In between there are some gorgeous, safe, very inexpensive options:


Although part of the Soviet Union until 1991, Estonians have always displayed a fierce independence. Wedged between Russia and Latvia, just across the Baltic Sea from Finland, its 1.3 million people speak Estonian and Russian. History has been preserved with castles, churches and hilltop fortresses dotting the countryside and the ‘Old Town’ within the modern capital of Tallinn.