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Expat Living Expenses: Cost of Living Guide by Country

Sitemap: Living abroad > Living expenses

Living expenses or cost of living is determined by economic, social, and geographic variables.

Many factors affect costs in a particular place. Rent, mortgage, utilities, and property taxes are major influences. Groceries, transportation, healthcare, and education should also be considered.

In this page, we’ll define what is cost of living, offer some tips, and give an overview of living expenses by country based on Numbeo data.  In particular, our discussion will include the following points:

  • Cost of living definition
  • Cost of living tips for expats moving overseas
  • Cost of living in Japan
  • Cost of living in Canada
  • Cost of living in Singapore
  • Cost of living in Thailand
  • Cost of living in Germany
  • Cost of living in Australia

If you are looking to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, which is what I specialize in, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or WhatsApp (+44-7393-450-837).

Cost of living definition

What constitutes a cost of living in a given location and time frame is the sum needed to pay for necessities like housing, food, taxes, and healthcare. Because of its correlation with salaries, it is commonly used to compare the cost of living in different cities. People can’t afford to live in a city with higher expenses unless salaries are higher as well.

In order to assess the expenditure of various living expenses, the cost of living index takes into account the cost of a corresponding metropolitan region and compares the cost of living in a major city. This aggregate measure allows one to maintain a specific level of life. Living expenses may be calculated differently.

living expenses guide
Photo by Markus Winkler

Cost of living vs inflation

The pace at which consumer prices as a whole are increasing at a faster rate than they were a year ago is known as inflation.  Common measures include changes in the CPI or equivalent basket of goods and services stated as a percentage each year.

By comparing the prices of a consumer basket in a base year to their prices in the current year, the percentage change over time may be shown, which is then used to compute inflation.

When prices rise, people can buy fewer products and services with the same amount of money. The cost of living can be impacted by this since it influences the costs of commonplace things.

Whereas inflation tracks the overall increase in prices, the cost of living takes a more holistic and personal approach, including all the costs associated with maintaining a particular lifestyle.

Cost of living vs minimum wage

Regional variations, housing costs, inflation, and local economic circumstances are some of the elements that affect the cost of living. Just as government regulations set the minimum wage, such regulations allow for periodic revisions to reflect inflation and economic changes.

To assess whether or not people’s incomes are sufficient, it is necessary to put the minimum wage in a specific context along with the cost of living.

Cost of Living Tips for Expats Moving Overseas

  • Track your income and costs in a monthly budget and categorize spending.
  • Smart shopping matters.  Compare online and in-store prices before buying. Use coupons and loyalty programs. Consider generic or store-brand items, which are cheaper.
  • Budgets can be affected by meal planning. Save money on food by buying in bulk and shopping sales. They add up, so avoid impulse buys and snacks.
  • Consider cheaper housing options. Look for housemates to split rent and utilities. Consider negotiating rent or moving to a cheaper neighborhood.
  • Take public transit or carpool to save commuting costs. Try riding or walking short distances.
  • Saving energy lowers utility expenses. Switch to energy-efficient appliances and unplug electronics when not in use.
  • Explore free or low-cost local entertainment and recreation.
  • Check insurance policies and compare rates. Bundle home and auto insurance for discounts. Good credit affects insurance premiums.
  • Create and maintain an emergency fund for unexpected needs. Cost-saving strategies and financial discipline can help you manage your cost of living and reach your financial goals.

Cost of Living by Country

You might find that data presented aren’t exactly how they are. Note a few things:

  1. Prices change drastically
  2. Market values might different
  3. Prices might be more reflective of extended stays or permanent residence
  4. Prices can vary for locals and expats

However, the figures herein should give you an approximation, an idea of what costs are like in the countries we’ll discuss.

Cost of Living in China

Without rent, the cost of living in China for a family of four would be around 14,649.7 Chinese yuan (2,056 USD) each month. Meanwhile, the projected monthly expenses for one person come to about 4,042.9 yuan.

Consumer prices, including rent, is 60.3% lower in China than in the US.

Related content:

Living in China Guide for Expats in 2023

A Guide for Living in Beijing China as an Expat

Cost of Living in Japan

A monthly budget of four people in Japan, without including rent, would amount to about 440,163.7 Japanese yen, whereas a budget of one person would be roughly 124,877.9 yen.

Japanese consumer prices, including rent, are 45.8% lower than American prices.

Related content:

Relocate To Japan in 2022 And Know How Much It Will Cost

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Cost of Living in South Korea

Without accounting for rent, a family of four in South Korea would spend an estimated 5,031,194.3 won every month, while an individual would spend about 1,391,141.4 won per month.

Rent and other consumer prices in South Korea are 33.3% lower than in the US.

Related content:

2022 Cost of Living in South Korea – Most Expensive and Affordably Priced Cities

Guide for Living in South Korea as an Expat

Cost of Living in Taiwan

Monthly expenses in Taiwan, not including rent, are estimated to be roughly 89,688.1NT$ for a family of four and around 24,611.5NT$ for an individual.

The cost of living in Taiwan, including rent, are 48.0% cheaper than American rates.

Related content:

Guide to Investments and Living in Taiwan

Living in Taipei Guide for Expats

Cost of Living in Hong Kong 

A single person may expect to spend about 8,988.5HK$ per month in Hong Kong, while a family of four can expect to spend about 31,831.2HK$ per month (not including rent).

When compared with the US, the cost of living in Hong Kong is 5.6% lower not including rent. However, Hong Kong consumer costs are 6.5% higher than US consumer prices when rent is included.

Related content:

Expat Cost Of Living In Hong Kong

A Guide to Living in Hong Kong as an Expat

Cost of Living in Singapore

In Singapore, a monthly budget for a family of four without rent comes to about 5,456.3S$, while a budget for one person without rent comes to about 1,515.7S$.

The cost of living in Singapore across the board is roughly 26.8% more than in the US.

Related content:

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Cost of Living in India

It is predicted that a family of four in India would spend around 99,462.1 rupees each month on necessities, not including rent, whilst an individual would spend about 28,965.7 rupees.

In comparison to the US, the cost of living in India—including rent—is 76.4% lower.

Related content:

Guide to Investments and Living in India

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Cost of Living in Cambodia

Monthly living expenses in Cambodia, not including rent, are projected to be roughly 2,074.7 USD for a family of four and around 588.4 USD for an individual.

Cambodian consumer prices, including rent, are 59.2% lower than American prices.

Related content: Guide to Investments and Living in Cambodia

Cost of Living in Indonesia

On a monthly basis, a family of four in Indonesia would likely spend roughly 24.3 million rupiah (not including rent), while an individual would likely spend around 7.1 million rupiah.

The cost of living in Indonesia is about 69.3% cheaper than the US. This includes rent.

Related content: Guide to Investments and Living in Indonesia

Cost of Living in Malaysia

Monthly expenses in Malaysia, not including rent, are projected to be roughly 7,905.4 ringgit for a family of four and about 2,240.2 ringgit for one person.

Compared to the US, consumer prices in Malaysia—including rent—are 67.5% lower.

Related content:

Expat Taxes in Malaysia

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Cost of Living in Philippines

Without rent, a family with four members in the Philippines would spend an estimated 108,449 pesos each month, whereas one person would spend an estimated 31,306.1 pesos per month.

The cost of living in Philippines is 55.2% cheaper than the US.

Related content:

Guide to Investments and Living in the Philippines

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Cost of Living in Thailand

counting money for living expenses
Photo by kuncheek

Living cost in Thailand in a month would set back a family of four around 71,134.8 baht, not including rent, but a budget for an individual is around 20,017.8 baht.

Thai consumer prices, including rent, are 59.8% lower than American prices.

Related content:

Guide to Investments and Living in Thailand

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Cost of Living in Vietnam

The anticipated monthly expenses in Vietnam for a family of four without rent come to about 40.7 million dong; it equals to around 11.6 million dong for one person.

Vietnamese consumer prices, including rent, are 66.5% lower than American prices.

Related content:

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Cost of Living in Portugal

In Portugal, a family of four spends 2,319.9 euros a month without rent, while a single person spends 657 euros.

Compared to the US, the cost of living in Portugal including rent is 40.6% lower.

Related content:

Retirement Cost in Portugal: Best Guide for 2023

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Cost of Living in Luxembourg

Luxembourg monthly expenses, without including rent, are expected to be roughly 3,265.8 euros for a family of four and around 935.5 euros for an individual.

Everything considered, consumer prices in Luxembourg are 11.6% lower than in the US.

Related content:

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Cost of Living in Germany

Assuming no rent, a family of four in Germany spends 3,211.9 euros per month, whereas a single person spends 951.3 euros.

German consumer prices, including rent, are 25.7% cheaper than US prices.

Related content:

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Cost of Living in France

A monthly budget of 3,406.1 euros (not including rent) is projected for a family of four in France, while a budget of 952.7 euros is projected for an individual.

French consumer prices, including rent, are 25.8 percent lower than American ones.

Cost of Living in Spain

A single person can expect to spend about 690.2 euros per month in Spain, while a family of four can expect to spend about 2,434.1 euros per month (not including rent).

Compared to the US, consumer prices in Spain, including rent, are 40.2% lower

Related content:

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The Cost of Living in Murcia Spain in 2022

Cost of Living in Poland

When it comes to Poland, a family of four can expect to spend roughly 9,426.5 zlotys per month on expenses (without including rent), whereas an individual can expect to spend around 2,858.6 zlotys per month sans rent.

Poland has 49.8% cheaper consumer pricing than the US.

Related content: Cost of living in Poland 2021

Cost of Living in Sweden

Approximately 37,565.1 kronor is the anticipated monthly expense for a family of four in Sweden, minus rent. A single individual can expect to spend around 10,213.4 kronor per month.

The cost of living in Sweden is 28.8% lower consumer than the US.

Cost of Living in Switzerland

Monthly expenses in Switzerland, not including rent, are expected to be roughly 5,687.1 francs for a family of four and around 1,552.5 francs for one person.

For comparison, the cost of living in Switzerland, including rent, is 39.9% greater than in the US.

Related content:

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Cost of Living in Finland

Finland’s projected monthly costs for a family of four, excluding rent, are 3,333.7 euros, while a single individual pays 915.6 euros.

Finnish consumer prices, including rent, are 27.4% lower than US prices.

Related content: Expat cost of living in Finland

Cost of Living in Croatia

According to estimates, a family of four in Croatia spends 2,388.8 euros a month, while a single person spends 685.8 euros.

Croatia has 50.6% cheaper consumer prices, including rent, than the US.

Related content: A Guide to Expat Investing and Living in Croatia

Cost of Living in Greece

A single person can expect to spend about 810.0 euros per month in Greece, while a four-member family can expect to spend about 2,773.3 euros per month (both exclusive of rent).

Greek consumer prices, including rent, are 42.7% lower than US prices.

Related content: A Guide to Expat Investing and Living in Greece

Cost of Living in Hungary

A monthly budget of 860,700 forint (not including rent) would cover a family of four in Hungary, while a budget of 246,091.8 forint would cover one person.

Hungary has 52.8% cheaper consumer pricing than the US, and that includes rent.            

Cost of Living in Ireland

Without rent, the living cost in Ireland for a family of four can be somewhere around 3,421.9 euros per month or about 978.4 euros for one person.

The cost of living in Ireland, including rent, is 6.2% lower vs the US.

Related content: A Guide to Expat Investments and Expat Living in Ireland

Cost of Living in the Netherlands

Living costs in the Netherlands each month are projected at 3,285.9 euros for a family of four, excluding rent. For one person, it’s at 940.3 euros.

Versus the US, Netherlands consumer prices, including rent, are 18.5% lower.

Related content: Moving to the Netherlands Guide for Expats

Cost of Living in Italy

In Italy, a family of four can look forward to living expenses worth 2,991.5 euros a month, while a single person can expect 856.9 euros.

The cost of living in Italy is 32.7% lower than the US overall.

Related content: Living in Italy Guide for Expats Moving

Cost of Living in Belgium

In Belgium, a family of four incurs monthly expenses of 3,206.0 euros, excluding rent, while a single person’s monthly costs without rent amount to 912.7 euros.

Consumer prices in Belgium, including rent, are 29.2% lower than those in the US.

Related content:

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Cost of Living in Iceland

Without factoring in rent, monthly expenditures for a family of four in Iceland are estimated at around 647,053.7 kronur, while an individual can anticipate spending approximately 175,116 kronur.

In contrast to the US, consumer prices in Iceland, inclusive of rent, are 4.1% higher.

Related content: Guide to Living in Iceland as a Foreigner in 2023

Cost of Living in the UK

Cost of Living in the UK
Photo by javier gonzalez

A monthly budget for a single individual in the UK would be around 810.7 pounds, while a budget for a family of four would be around 2,733.4 pounds, both of which do not account for rent.

The cost of living in the UK, including rent, is 19.1% more affordable than in the US.

Related content: Moving to the UK Guide for Expats

Cost of Living in Australia

Without rent, the projected monthly expenditures for a family of four and an individual come to 6,184.3 Australian dollars and 1,753.8 dollars, respectively.

Australia has 8.5% cheaper consumer prices than the US when all expenditures are included, like rent.

Related content:

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Cost of Living in New Zealand

Not including rent, a family of four would likely spend around 6,256.7 New Zealand dollars each month and an individual 1,736.1 dollars.

New Zealand has 18.4% cheaper expenses than the US when all consumer prices, including rent, are considered.

Related content:

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Cost of Living in the UAE (United Arab Emirates)

The anticipated monthly costs for a four-person family, excluding rent, are 12,530.7 dirhams. A single person’s projected costs are 3,616.3 dirhams.

The cost of living in the UAE, including rent, are 14.5% lower than in the US.

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Cost of Living in Saudi Arabia

Prices for a family of four, without accounting for rent, come to 10,771.5 Saudi Riyals per month. For one person, such cost is expected to be 3,012.2 Riyals.

Compared to the US, the overall cost of living in Saudi Arabia is 50.6% lower.

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Cost of Living in Qatar

Excluding rent, the projected monthly expenses for a household of four come to 11,899.9 Qatari riyals. The anticipated monthly costs, not including rent, for an individual are 3,341.8 riyals.

The cost of living in Qatar is 24.2% cheaper than in the US when all prices are considered.

Related content: Living in Qatar, Costs: A Guide for Expats Moving

Cost of Living in Kuwait

Respective costs for one person and a household of four, without including rent, are anticipated to be 237.1 Kuwaiti Dinars and 879.2 Dinars per month.

All things considered, the cost of living in Kuwait is 44.2% cheaper than in the US.

Cost of Living in Bahrain

Without rent, a family of four would spend around 1,126.8 Bahraini dinars and an individual 317.6 dinars per month on necessities.

The cost of living in Bahrain is 38.7% more affordable than the US, and that includes rent.

Related content: Living in Bahrain Guide for Expats

Cost of Living in South Africa

A monthly budget of 37,157.2 South African rand would cover a family of four, without including rent, while the projected monthly expenses for an individual are 10,722.6 rand.

Everything considered, the cost of living in South Africa is 62.4% less than in the US.

Related content:

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Cost of Living in Canada

Not including rent, one person and a family of four should expect respective monthly expenses of 1,438.1 Canadian dollars and 5,151.9 dollars.

For comparison, the cost of living in Canada is 14.1% lower than the US.

Related content: Living in Canada, Costs: What to Know as an Expat Moving

cost of living in the US
Photo by michael tuszynski

Cost of Living in the US

The cost of living in the US for a four-person family is around 4,310.0 USD each month, not including rent. The anticipated monthly expenses for an individual are $1,209.7 USD.

Related content: Guide to Investments and Living in America

Cost of Living in Mexico

A four-person family’s projected monthly costs are 41,843.0 Mexican pesos while a single person’s are 11,578.3 pesos. Both figures exclude rent.

The overall cost of living in Mexico is 50.2% lower than the US.

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Cost of Living in Argentina

Without rent, a family of four in Argentina can expect to spend about 1,565.4 USD per month on living expenditures, while an individual can expect to spend about 439.9 USD per month.

When all expenses, including rent, are included, the cost of living in Argentina is 70.9% lower than in the US.

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Cost of Living in Brazil

The cost of living in Brazil, not including rent, are estimated to be 10,020.1 reais per month for a family of four and 2,816.2 reais per month for an individual.

Brazil has a 62.9% lower living expenses than the US when all consumer prices, including rent, are compared.

Related content: Guide to Investments and Living in Brazil

Cost of Living in Colombia

Monthly expenses in Colombia, not including rent, are expected to be roughly 6,899,991.1 pesos for a family of four and 1,983,948.2 pesos for one person.

The cost of living in Colombia is 67.4% lower than in the US when all consumer prices are factored in.

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Cost of Living in Ecuador

A single individual can expect to spend 529.6 USD per month in Ecuador, while a family of four can expect to spend 1,888.5 USD per month (not including rent).

When all expenses are considered, the cost of living in Ecuador is 64.8% lower than in the US.

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Cost of Living in Belize

Excluding rent in Belize, a family of four may expect monthly expenses of about 2,492.2 Belize dollars, while an individual can expect 701.8 dollars.

When compared to the US, the overall cost of living in Belize is 50.8% more affordable.

Related content:

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Cost of Living in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, a family of four is expected to spend 1,580,514.4 colones a month (not including rent), whilst an individual is projected to spend 433,903.0 colones.

The cost of living in Costa Rica is 41.8% lower than in the US when all consumer prices are accounted for.

Related content: Guide to Investments and Living in Costa Rica

Cost of Living in Panama

A family of four in Panama may spend 2,786.1 USD a month, while a single person may spend 775.9 USD.

The cost of living in Panama is 43.2% lower than the US, including rent.

Related content: Guide to Investments and Living in Panama

Cost of Living in the Bahamas

If rent is excluded, a family of four in the Bahamas will likely spend 4,918.7 USD a month, while a single person will spend 1,392.9 USD.

The cost of living in the Bahamas is 6.6% higher vs the US, including rent.

Related content: Retirement Cost in the Bahamas: 5 Best Factors

Cost of Living in Dominican Republic

The living expenses for families of four in the Dominican Republic are about 126,109.7 pesos per month, excluding rent, or roughly 35,271.7 pesos for singles.

The Dominican Republic has 58.3% cheaper consumer prices, including rent, than the US.

Expat Living Expenses: Bottom Line

The reality of living expenses or cost of living is that some families and or individuals even subsist on an even lower budget. Ideally, the figures here should be enough to afford you a life without having to starve in the countries mentioned.

Again, do note that prices fluctuate in a heartbeat and exact prices on the ground can be more or less expensive.

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 735.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

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