Cost of Living Abroad: International Bloggers Share Expenses

in Travel

Cost of Living International

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is regarding the difference in the cost of living abroad.  It’s make sense.  As a personal finance blogger, it’s one of the first questions I pose to my international blogging friends.  There’s just something compelling about comparing the difference of similar items between countries.

So for the past week, I’ve decided to do some digging and networking and bring together a one-time resource of expenses from around the world.  Keep in mind this is intentionally meant to be limited.  It’s only a snapshot to wet your appetite, as well as a great opportunity to feature some of my friends around the globe.

I asked the following 30 bloggers to provide me with their best estimates for these 4 specific expenses:

  1. 1 Liter of Milk. I wanted to include a “staple” food or drink and nearly all cultures use some form of milk.
  2. Average 2 Bedroom Apartment (Monthly). I asked the bloggers to relate to their own experience.  For example, if they lived in a downtown capital to share it’s cost, while if they lived rural to provide those.  I’ve occasionally included some brief information to make this more clear in individual cases.
  3. Average Restaurant (Per Person). Once again this will vary widely, however I asked the bloggers to attempt to closely the match of the tier of restaurants above fast food, but below a ‘fancy’ meal.  For example, a typical Midwestern steakhouse in the U.S.
  4. Reliable Internet Connection. Connectivity and dependability are different everywhere, but I wanted the bloggers to attempt to show the first level of a reliable broadband connection.  In other words, not dial-up, but not business speed.

In order to be able to feature a larger variety, I kept the expenses to only these four.  I thought this would provide a nice cross section of expenses for different categories.  I’ve converted all the currencies into USD, so you can easily compare different locations.  I hope you enjoy the variety of data below!

If you’re interested in more information about a specific location, I’d strongly suggest referencing The Global Cost of Living wiki put together by the folks at LocationIndependent.com.  They are attempting to build a comprehensive online resource for global travelers which will feature up-to-date costs of living around the world.

To accomplish this goal they need your help! Lea was extremely helpful in rounding up the bloggers featured today and we can all return the favor by contributing our location’s information to the wiki.  Please stop by and list your city and expenses to help everyone in the community have access.

Without further ado, here’s the basic expenses from over 30 international bloggers!  Enjoy:

Auckland, New Zealand

Baker blogs about “getting out of debt” & “getting into life” over at Man Vs. Debt!

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.20 – (1.75 NZD)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $1075 – (1500 NZD)
  3. Restaurant: $14 – (20 NZD)
  4. Internet: $30 – (45 NZD)

Bangkok, Thailand

Cody McKibben writes at Thrilling Heroics to help people liberate themselves from traditional work, create their own entrepreneurial ventures, live remarkable lives, and do good for others.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.75 – (60 THB)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $745  – (25,000 THB)(rare downtown)(1 bed much, much cheaper)
  3. Restaurant: $9 – (300 THB)
  4. Internet: $20 – (700 THB)

Nottingham, England

Lea Woodward is a Location Independent Professional/Parent & Founder of LocationIndependent.com

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.65 – (1 £)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $910 – (550 £)
  3. Restaurant: $23 – (14 £)
  4. Internet: $50 – (30 £)

Barra de Navidad, Mexico

Corbett Barr blogs about lifestyle design and the future of work at Free Pursuits.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $.75 – (10 P)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $400 – (5250 P)(rural beach)
  3. Restaurant: $6.00 – (80 P)
  4. Internet: $40 – (525 P)

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

David Wang helps businesses small and large get started and step up their online marketing over at Buzzmedia.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.75 – (6.0 RM)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $290 – (1,000 RM) (suburb)
  3. Restaurant: $11.50  – (40 RM)
  4. Internet: $28.50  – (99 RM)

Alotau, Papua New Guinea

Craig Ford writes daily personal finance articles from a Christian perspective.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.80 – (4.50 K)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $1000 – (2500 K) (isolated 3rd world)
  3. Restaurant: $10 – (25 K)
  4. Internet: $120 – (300 K)

Taichung, Taiwan

For the last year, Chase lived abroad, chronicling his Journey at The Taiwan Drift.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $2.00 – (65 TD)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $500 – (16,250 TD)(city)
  3. Restaurant: $4.50 – (150 TD)
  4. Internet: $25 – (850 TD)

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Carlos Miceli provides short, daily sparks to get you thinking early over at OwlSparks.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $.70 – (2.50 AP)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $375 – (1400 AP)
  3. Restaurant: $6.50 – (25 AP)
  4. Internet: $20 – (75 AP)

Newcastle, England

Glen Allsopp encourages people to plug into their true identity over at PluginID.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.31 – (.79 £)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $750 – (450 £)
  3. Restaurant: $25 – (15 £)
  4. Internet: $25 – (15 £)

Cape Town, South Africa

Diggy blogs all about self-improvement over at UpgradeReality.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.00 – (7.50 R)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $600 – (4500 R)
  3. Restaurant: $20 – (150 R)
  4. Internet: $90 – (675 R)

Cayenne, French Guiana

Yannick Tessier is a blogger, Bob Dylan fan, and looking for a little bit of wisdom.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.50 – (1 €)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $750 – (500 €)
  3. Restaurant: $22.50 – (15 €)
  4. Internet: $45 – (30 €)

Nara, Japan

John Bardos blogs about the pursuit of lifestyle design over at JetSetCitizen.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $2.20 – (200 yen)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $880 – (80,000 yen)
  3. Restaurant: $10 – (900 yen)
  4. Internet: $55 – (5000 yen)

Istanbul, Turkey

Ozlem Ercan contributed as part of the LocationIndependent.com community.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $2.00 – (3.50 TRL)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $700 – (1150 TRL)
  3. Restaurant: $15 – (22.50 TRL)
  4. Internet: $80 – (120 TRL)

Edinburgh, Scotland

Andy Hayes blogs about all things travel at AndyHayes.com.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.70 – (1 GBP)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $1275 – (750 GBP)(city center)
  3. Restaurant: $34 – (20 GBP)
  4. Internet: $34 – (20 GBP)

Hong Kong (7.8 HKD – .128 USD)

Elizabeth Briel blogs on Art & Travel with an Asian focus.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $2.30 – (18 HKD)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $640 – (5000 HKD)(rural, 10x in downtown)
  3. Restaurant: $4 – (30 HKD)
  4. Internet: $25 – (180 HKD)

Barcelona, Spain

Silvia Rondoni blogs about backpacking Barcelona.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $.75 – (.5 €)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $1950 – (1300 €)(downtown)
  3. Restaurant: blank
  4. Internet: blank

Bridgetown, Barbados

Sharon Hurley Hall is a location independent freelance writer and blogger at GetPaidToWriteOnline.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: blank
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $1500 – (3000 BD$)
  3. Restaurant: $15 – (30 BD$)
  4. Internet: $50 – (100 BD$)

St. George’s, Grenada

Monja Winsborrow is a web designer and online marketer at WebcamGrenada.com.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: blank
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $800 – (2130 EC$)
  3. Restaurant: $20 – (50 EC$)
  4. Internet: $40 – (100 EC$)

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Zoë Westhof is an independent writer who blogs about creative, conscious living at Essential Prose.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.75 – (60 THB)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $235 – (8000 THB)
  3. Restaurant: $2.25 – (75 THB)
  4. Internet: $21 – (700 THB)

Fribourg, Switzerland

Corinne Stoppelli blog at around the world in 80kb, a french community for independent souls.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.45 – (1.40 CHF)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $1250 – (1200 CHF)
  3. Restaurant: $21 – (20 CHF)
  4. Internet: $62 – (60 CHF)

Dubai, United Arab Emigrates

Daniel Clarke contributed as part of the LocationIndependent.com community.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.35 – (5 AED)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $2200 – (8000 AED)
  3. Restaurant: $55 – (200 AED)
  4. Internet: $68 – (250 AED)

Shanghai, China

Leigh-Anne Russell designs and delivers live entertainment experiences to promote businesses and artists in China.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.50 – (10 RMB)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $900 – (6000 RMB)
  3. Restaurant: $11.75 – (80 RMB)
  4. Internet: $22 – (150 RMB)

Unterlüß, Germany

Paula Trucks-Pape is an experienced translator, writer, and editor.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.05 – (.70 €)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $750 – (500 €)(rural)
  3. Restaurant: $22.50 – (15 €)
  4. Internet: $22.50 – (15 €)

San Jose, Costa Rica

James Dyde is a travel designer for Nature Vacations.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.25 – (700 C)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $550 – (302,500 C)
  3. Restaurant: $25 – (13,750 C)
  4. Internet: $60 – (33,000 C)

Arezzo, Italy

David Clarke blogs somewhat infrequently about experiences on his travels in retirement.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.35 – (.90 €)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $1275 – (850 €)
  3. Restaurant: $22.50 – (15 €)
  4. Internet: $36 – (24 €)

Rome, Italy

Nona Jordan blogs on finding health, happiness & purpose over at Insight Life Design.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.35 – (.90 €)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $3750 – (2500 €)
  3. Restaurant: $30 – (20 €)
  4. Internet: $65 – (45 €)

Paris, France

Pierre Neihouser contributed as part of the LocationIndependent.com community.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.05 – (.70 €)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $2700 – (1800 €)(downtown)
  3. Restaurant: $30 – (20 €)
  4. Internet: $45 – (30 €)

Seoul, South Korea

Dave Fallarme writes about Generation Y and marketing at The Marketing Student.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.75 – (2150 KRW)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $650 – (800,000 KRW)(suburb)
  3. Restaurant: $4.25 – (5000 KRW)
  4. Internet: $30 – (35000 KRW)

Melbourne, Australia

Seamus Anthony blogs about do-it-yourself enlightenment at Rebel Zen.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.75 – (2 AUD)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $1175 – (1375 AUD)
  3. Restaurant: $17 – (20 AUD)
  4. Internet: $34 – (40 AUD)

Harue, Japan

Austin Morgan blogs about personal finance and life abroad at Foreigner’s Finances.

  1. 1 Liter Milk: $1.33 – (120 yen)
  2. 2 Bed Apt: $600 – (55,000 yen)(hard to find)
  3. Restaurant: $10 – (900 yen)
  4. Internet: $45 – (4200 yen)

People who offered their time/information, but were not featured because of similar location include:  Ryan Smith, Lis Sowerbutts, Kat, Viviana, FrugalTrader.  Thank you!

This post will not be consistently updated.  If there is a glaring problem please feel free to e-mail me.  If you’d like to add your location and 4 categories below that would be awesome!

photo by ToastyKen

{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

Ray @ Financial Highway September 17, 2009 at 8:06 AM

Ohh nobody from Toronto, Canada?? well here it is

1 Liter Milk: $1.73 ($1.85 CAD)
2 Bed Room Apt: $1032 ($1100 CAD)
3. Restaurant: $23 ($25 CAD)
4. Internet: $18-$42 ($20-$45 CAD)
.-= Ray @ Financial Highway´s last blog ..Gold – Bad Investment: 3 Reasons why I don’t buy Bullion =-.


Baker September 17, 2009 at 8:23 AM

Ray, I had a ton of people volunteer from Canada, but in the end I decided to leave it out. Blame Canada, eh?


MoneyEnergy September 17, 2009 at 7:54 PM

Vancouver’s expenses are quite noteworthy. Quite a varying cost of living across the country.


Glen Allsopp September 17, 2009 at 8:11 AM

I would love to have seen some graphs on this post Adam, it would have made things a lot more readable.

Either way, great post and excellent idea. Thanks for allowing me to take part :)
.-= Glen Allsopp´s last blog ..How to Make Goal Achievement 100x Easier =-.


Baker September 17, 2009 at 8:24 AM

I’ll consider putting into into a downloadable table or graph. I wanted it to be just short of a rough snapshot, but that may be helpful to visualize.


Carlos Miceli September 17, 2009 at 8:17 AM

Man, this is a wonderful compilation. Bookmarking it right now. Thanks for the inclusion Adam!
.-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..Recipe For Conformity =-.


deweyduck December 3, 2010 at 7:44 PM

agreed! this is amazing wish I would’ve found it earlier I think i wouldve saved a bunch of money. bookedmarked +1


Diggy - Upgradereality.com September 17, 2009 at 8:22 AM

Hey Adam!

Awesome post! Thanks for featuring me!
I so wanna go to Thailand right now, $235 a month…damn :)

I think Ill go soon!
.-= Diggy – Upgradereality.com´s last blog ..When Money is Tight… =-.


Cody McKibben September 17, 2009 at 8:25 AM

Great roundup of locations, and fantastic group of contributors too! Good work Adam, thanks.
.-= Cody McKibben´s last blog ..Want to Be an Influential Internet Gangster? Learn From the Best =-.


Nick September 17, 2009 at 8:55 AM

Hey – currently in Bangkok for half a year, and $745 doesn’t seem very representative (as you noted though). I’d like to chime in and say 18,000 baht (say, $550) for a 2 bedroom is more common, and that a studio or one bedroom can be had starting at 5,000-6,000 baht ($150+ before utilities, etc.)

But great list – I’ll be linking up sometime
.-= Nick´s last blog ..Trip update: Now in Bangkok =-.


Baker September 17, 2009 at 9:29 AM


Cody actually provided a ton of information on this explaining the cost of different types of apartments in Bangkok. I decided to use his 2 bed in the heart of Bangkok to help offset Zoe who provided a less inner city glimpse of Thailand.

Your information on the studios and 1 bed’s mirror his almost exactly. I can’t wait to visit Thailand soon! Haha.


Cody McKibben September 17, 2009 at 5:43 PM

Yeah my figures are including utilities and electricity. I pay just about 7500 or so per month for my studio, or about $225, but in my experience a more decent full 1-bedroom was about 18000 and anything near the city center (Victory Monument area is my neighborhood) with 2 bedrooms or more starts at 22k.

On the outer edges of town though, one can find a 5-bedroom, 4-story mansion with maid’s quarters for just 9k per month. Things vary quite a lot, but if you live in the suburbs you’ll more than make up for the cost in cab fares, skytrain tickets, motorbike rides, and time spent sitting in traffic unfortunately.
.-= Cody McKibben´s last blog ..Want to Be an Influential Internet Gangster? Learn From the Best =-.


Cody McKibben September 17, 2009 at 5:53 PM

Another great resource for anyone interested in visiting Bangkok is Chris Mitchell’s money guide at TravelHappy: http://travelhappy.info/bangkok/bangkok-guide-55-tips-to-help-you-the-first-time-you-travel-to-thailand/

BTW Nick, if you’re in Bangkok we should totally catch up one of these days! Come out to one of our Tweetups or Beercamp meetings!
.-= Cody McKibben´s last blog ..Want to Be an Influential Internet Gangster? Learn From the Best =-.


Colin Wright September 17, 2009 at 8:55 AM

Wow, this is one of the most useful blog posts I’ve seen anywhere in a long time. Thanks to everyone who contributed, and to Adam for putting it all together! I’ll be referencing this again for sure!
.-= Colin Wright´s last blog ..Missouri: So Long, Thanks for All the Hicks =-.


mewithoutdebt September 17, 2009 at 8:56 AM

awesome back of the envelop research! i wish if some one can just compile some sort of index (rank) for most expensive to least expensive place to live out of these values.
.-= mewithoutdebt´s last blog ..Print Newspaper Subscription is Dead – Unprofitable & Not Environmentally Friendly =-.


Rachael September 17, 2009 at 9:09 AM

Just a quick query about the Melbourne Australia figures. What exchange rate are you using to USD from AUD? Because although the AUD figures are about right, the conversion is way off. The $1375 rent fingue is more like $1200USD not $1600USD.
I am excited about the Barcelona figures because its on my 5 year plan to live there.
Cheers, Rachael.
.-= Rachael´s last blog ..Our parents’ mistakes =-.


Baker September 17, 2009 at 9:31 AM

Rachael, this is because I am an idiot.

I went the WRONG WAY!

I’ve updated it to reflect the correct exchange rate. Sad, because I just spent two weeks there ;-). Thanks for holding my hand!


Greg Rollett September 17, 2009 at 9:15 AM

This is simply amazing man. For all the travel we want to d next year and in the future this is a post that I can reference for a long time man. Great work. Your posts have been killer lately man.
.-= Greg Rollett´s last blog ..Best Way to Brand Yourself? Deliver Like Matt Barkley =-.


Little House September 17, 2009 at 9:53 AM

This is great. I especially like seeing the cost of rent. Compared to where I live, Los Angeles, rent is pretty inexpensive everywhere else, with the exception of a couple of cities. I was surprised at the rent in Australia and Spain, I didn’t expect them to be so costly!

Great post-
Little House
.-= Little House´s last blog ..Age by Age Guide on Getting Your Kids Financially Savvy =-.


Baker September 19, 2009 at 6:38 PM

For sure. Remember, though, these are just one bloggers experience and, like LAX, can vary drastically depending on whether you are downtown or rural!


Craig September 17, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Wow, sounds like living in DC is the wrong choice. I studied abroad in Spain and loved it, would love to live and work internationally if I had the chance and with those prices why not.


kosmo @ The Casual Observer September 17, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Interesting article. $2.30 for a liter of milk in Hong Kong, but $4 for a full meal? I’m assuming the meal doesn’t include a glass of milk? :)
.-= kosmo @ The Casual Observer´s last blog ..The Murder of Annie Le =-.


Cody McKibben September 17, 2009 at 5:38 PM

Milk isn’t nearly as big of a staple for most of the world as it is in the States, and it can be downright hard to find in parts of Asia, at least in my experience.
.-= Cody McKibben´s last blog ..Want to Be an Influential Internet Gangster? Learn From the Best =-.


Kevin M September 17, 2009 at 10:59 AM

Interesting compilation. There is probably as much variety here as one might find in different cities within the US – especially for rent.

The whole “location independent” idea is fascinating to me from the perspective that I wonder if people in expensive cities like NY, SF & LA would consider cheaper towns as a way to find value and live a less expensive lifestyle.

Here’s my data (St. Charles, MO – suburb of St. Louis)
1 L milk – about $0.60
2 BR apt – $850 (2 BR, 1.5 Bath)
Restaurant – $9 (I’m going with a fast-casual place like Panera Bread), a sit-down place with tip would be more like $15
Internet – $15 (we have the slowest connection DSL)


Joseph July 14, 2010 at 5:54 PM

I’m in San Francisco (SF) and can tell you that, while i love love LOVE it here, I’m considering moving somewhere less expensive; with just as good weather. Well, at least until i make my first million $….then I’ll just have multiple residences. :-)


Sean September 17, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Great idea Adam. It is nice to have a broad over view of a bunch of different places to really get a feel of how different each location is. It is interesting to look at the cost of living in Rome vs Chiang Mai. Keep up the good work, and congrats again on your post over at Art of Non Conformity.


Kirsty September 17, 2009 at 11:28 AM

Amazing post! This is so useful for me, thanks for taking the time to pull it together.
.-= Kirsty´s last blog ..I Think I Need a Vacation =-.


Jun Loayza September 17, 2009 at 11:46 AM

Wow, I didn’t know France and Italy were so expensive!

Thanks for this post Adam. I have always heard that you can live like a King in Thailand with US dollars, and now I concretely know if I could.

You are on fire my friend. You inspire me to write better and better posts :)
.-= Jun Loayza´s last blog ..How to create guilt-free time to spend with your loved ones and still build a successful startup =-.


Alexandre September 17, 2009 at 12:19 PM

If you want you can add one sumbit from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
1L Milk – us$ 1,30 (R$2,35)
2BR apt – us$ 610 (R$1.100,00 – in Copacabana)
Restaurant – us$16,6 (R$30,00 – 3 temakis in some japanese)
Internet – us$ 110 (R$200,00 – 8 mega ADSL)
.-= Alexandre´s last blog ..Paranormal ActivityEsse filme vai ser o bicho solto.Estréia nos… =-.


Baker September 19, 2009 at 6:40 PM

Thanks for adding Brazil! It is one of the countries on my future Wishlist. Maybe once I get a higher belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ;-).


thebaglady September 17, 2009 at 3:57 PM

Very few Americans eh?

I live in San Mateo County, California. Here’s the stats:

1 liter milk – about $0.80.
2 bedroom 2 bath condo rent: $1625
Restaurant : cheap ones are around $9 to $10 per person. good ones can go up to much much more. I’m sure that is true everywhere.
Internet: $40 a month cable internet

Interesting post btw.

.-= thebaglady´s last blog ..Who benefits from the Obama tariffs on Chinese tires? =-.


Baker September 19, 2009 at 6:41 PM

Xin, I intentionally didn’t include and U.S. or Canadian cities in this particular compilation. However, like you’ve done, many people have added them in the comments. Thanks!


Dave September 17, 2009 at 5:46 PM

I don’t know what’s the eye-popper here for me. The differences in price and cost around the world or the fact you know people in every corner of the world.

Great article Adam…..

.-= Dave´s last blog ..5 Reasons NOT to be Organized =-.


Baker September 19, 2009 at 6:41 PM

Dave, some of these people I’m honored to call blogging buddies, but some of them I met for the first time doing this mini-project!

That’s the awesome power of blogging to bring people together. I love it!


Robert September 17, 2009 at 6:19 PM

I’d love to live abroad, but after visiting London (perhaps the priciest city in the world) I realized that some cities are through-the-roof expensive. That settled me down a bit and made me appreciate the low cost of, say, Arkansas right here in the good ole USA. Great post.
.-= Robert´s last blog ..Men vs. Women: Who Really Are the Safest Drivers? =-.


Baker September 19, 2009 at 6:43 PM

Robert, I’d be lying if I didn’t point out that traveling through Australia and New Zealand made me realize just how affordable to overall cost-of-living was in the Midwest. (I’m from Indiana).


Karen September 17, 2009 at 6:21 PM

This is such an awesome article, Adam! It is so interesting… I’ve always wondered what rent and internet cost in various areas, but haven’t looked into it too deeply. It’s quite interesting that in places where the rent is cheapest, the internet is most expensive.

Great article!
.-= Karen´s last blog ..10 Lessons I’ve Learned Since Becoming A Blogger =-.


Baker September 19, 2009 at 6:44 PM

Karen, I noticed this too. Sometimes the number don’t match what you’d think, but many of the blogger pointed out the anomalies. A lot of the ‘cheapest’ places still don’t have widely accessible internet, which of course means you have to pay more to get it.


Elizabeth September 17, 2009 at 6:26 PM

Re. the price for a meal in Hong Kong, the prices vary a LOT, due to rent differences and foreign vs. local food. The low-end figure Baker quoted is at a local Chinese diner. If you go to something like a steakhouse the price will be around US $40 and up without wine.

It’s really easy to blow a few hundred US on a meal, but you can live really well on Cantonese food too.


Craig Ford September 17, 2009 at 8:09 PM

What! This is the most depressing thing I have read all week. I have the most expensive internet in the world??? Surely there are some folks around who are paying more than me. The worst part is that my price of $120 US only gives me 400 MB allowance and then I pay $.35 per MB.
Actually I am excited about the internet because for the last two years I have not had any phones or internet at my house.

@Karen. In my experience typically places where labour (labor) is less technology is more. Thus, the relationship between low restarunt cost and high internet cost.
.-= Craig Ford´s last blog ..Review of Dave Ramsey: Three Things I Like About Ramsey =-.


Teejay September 17, 2009 at 9:49 PM

Hi Baker. I went to the dokuwiki to put up some information about the Philippines. I couldn’t quite see where the list is so that I could add.
.-= Teejay´s last blog ..Weekly Roundup: New Start Edition =-.


Teejay September 17, 2009 at 9:52 PM

Sorry for posting twice.
I’ll probably post em up here if you don’t mind:

1 Liter Milk: $1.47 – (70 PHP)
2 Bed Apt: $147 – (7000 PHP)
Restaurant: $8.37 – (400 PHP)
Internet: $20.91 – (999 PHP)
.-= Teejay´s last blog ..Weekly Roundup: New Start Edition =-.


Teejay September 17, 2009 at 10:44 PM

Take note that this is from Manila, Philippines.
.-= Teejay´s last blog ..Weekly Roundup: New Start Edition =-.


Baker September 19, 2009 at 6:45 PM

Thanks Teejay, for adding your data!


Murat September 18, 2009 at 3:39 AM

verr informative, by the way its ‘Istanbul’ not ‘Instanbul’ :)
.-= Murat´s last blog ..Hasan Dağına =-.


Baker September 19, 2009 at 6:45 PM

Duh… fixed.


Charlotte September 18, 2009 at 4:56 AM

I live in a small city in China, two hours south of Beijing, population roughly 700,000. Not even big enough for a Mc Donalds (though my hometown in Wisconsin, pop. 35,000 has 5 of them!).
Here the numbers are-
Milk: 8 yuan $1.72
Rent: 400 yuan $58.56
Dinner: 25 yuan $3.66
Internet (month/year):500 yuan/42 yuan 73.20/6.10


Baker September 19, 2009 at 6:46 PM

Charlotte, this information is awesome! $60 bucks for rent! I know there are some obvious downside to living in rural China like this, but I had no idea how cheap it was.

By the way, 700k people can’t support even a basic McDonald’s! Holy cow.


Erin September 18, 2009 at 7:00 AM

Thanks for a fantastic post. It’s really helpful in planning for my permanent travels. Looks like I can only afford Thailand! Anyone else have any costs for cheaper destinations?
.-= Erin´s last blog ..Kerala India Travel – Tips to Plan Your Trip (Part 1) =-.


Matt Jabs September 19, 2009 at 3:16 AM

This info is incredible. I wonder if there is an easy way to turn this into a page and keep it up-to-date.
.-= Matt Jabs´s last blog ..Should I Invest While Still In Debt? =-.


Baker September 19, 2009 at 6:47 PM

I suggest people visit and view the LocationIndependent doku (linked above) for a more permanent and fluid medium.


kenyantykoon September 19, 2009 at 7:48 AM

this is a good bookmarkable resource, but there is only one african country represented, SA. I think it could have been better if you could have included more african countries(like east africa maybe?)
.-= kenyantykoon´s last blog ..I BET YOU DON’T KNOW HOW MUTUAL FUNDS WORK =-.


SailboatFamily September 20, 2009 at 6:46 PM

This is absolutely fascinating stuff, and pertinent to our own wealth creation strategy. I love how wildly variant the ratios are (comparing the 4 items to each other) from country to country. Thank you so much for sharing. May I suggest you do another one of these, but use prices from McDonalds (Big Mac, Small Drink, and Small Fries)? This would help normalize the food side.
.-= SailboatFamily´s last blog ..Pushing Through =-.


Holland September 22, 2009 at 1:35 PM

Who doesn´t love a little perspective?

I live in Quito, Ecuador. While we´re on the US dollar it goes much farther here:

1. 1 Liter Milk: $0.60
2. 2 Bed Apt: $250 (average neighborhood)
3. Restaurant: $4
4. Internet: $30


Leila September 23, 2009 at 9:29 PM

Wow! This really puts living in Southern California into perspective…The cost of living really gets me thinking about travelling elsewhere for awhile. Anyways, here we go:

Irvine, CA:
1. 1 Liter Milk: $2.99 (that’s without the 8.75% tax, ding the Governator for that!)
2. 2 Bed. Apt: $2500 (typically without utilities)
3. Restaurant: $10-20 I’m guessing sit-down dinner time (+/- tipping)
4. Internet: $30


Ellen September 24, 2009 at 9:20 AM

I’d love it if you would do the same thing for the United States.

And I had no idea it was so cheap to live in Arkansas! 2 bedroom apartment– $465.


Tom September 24, 2009 at 4:30 PM

Here are the figures for Oslo, Norway (using 1 USD = 5.9 NOK)

1. 1 Liter Milk – 14 NOK ($2.37)
2. 2 bedroom apt, average location in the city – 11,000 NOK ($1865)
3. Meal price – approximately 200-300 NOK without any alcoholic beverages ($34-50)
4. Internet – 299 NOK per month ($50)


Thanksforthefood March 16, 2010 at 8:18 AM

I live in Norway too and was shocked by the prices for basics when I first moved here almost three years ago. Even basics like eggs are very expensive here before you convert them to USD. I try to make it work by buying whole foods and making a lot of stuff from scratch, living in a cheap and close to work apartment and not eating out. In three years, I’ve been out to dinner here once. Had some lovely dinners with friends though, which is nice.

On a side note-
The expenses for nice to have things (hello luxury tax) like alcohol, eating out and beauty products while very high, makes me appreciate those things a lot more-which is a nice trade off. Expensive buy nice.


Mladen Adamovic September 25, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Hi, nice idea, although I did use more general methodology.
Take look at this website :
And if you like it .. share it with your bloggers.


Eve October 3, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Just found your blog, and had to tell you about my new city, Moscow, Russia:

1. 1 Liter Milk – $1.00
2. 2 bedroom apt, average location in the city – $800 (outside Golden Ring)
3. Meal price – $10-$25 and up (it can go really far up!)
4. Internet – $20/month
.-= Eve´s last blog ..Thinking On Your Feet: Crazy Russian Kids =-.


joruva October 6, 2009 at 9:16 AM

Cool info. I live in Macau, a former Portuguese colony that’s now part
of China.

Milk: $2.62 (21 MOP)
Rent (2 BR/1000 sq ft/in city): $810 to $1058 (6500 to 8500 MOP)
Dinner: $6.23 (50 MOP)
Internet: $16.81 (135 MOP)

I think you forgot the “beer factor”… a Guinness will run you $4 (40
MOP) at the pub. This is how the Irish calculate cost of living :)


joruva October 6, 2009 at 9:19 AM

Make that a $5 Guinness (1 USD = 8.03 MOP).

But as with most of Asia, tipping is not customary here..


Buffalo Dave December 30, 2009 at 10:19 AM

Buffalo New York USA

1/2 Gallon Milk (not sold in liters) – $ 1.79
2 bedroom apartment – $600/month
Restaurant – $12
Internet – DSL/Cable – 1.5Mbps download – $20/month
FIOS internet – 20Mbps download – $59/month


rubin pham January 20, 2010 at 2:54 PM

i plan to retire to vietnam in 10 years or less. the info you provide here is helpful.
thanks a lot baker.


Caroline February 13, 2010 at 8:56 PM

Wow – really impressed with this post!


Lisa-Marie Cabrelli February 26, 2010 at 9:06 AM

Obviously we didn’t choose The Bahamas because of the cost of living :-) But it has other charms…

Gallon of Milk (not sure about liters) – $7.99
Two Bed Apt – $1300 in island $3000 on the water
Restaurant – $45
Very reliable fast cable internet $55

Just found you Baker and I’m going to spend some time with you today :-)


Brook March 24, 2010 at 4:23 AM

Cool list!
Having visited most of the Asian places on this list in the past year (Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea, etc), some of the costs are really throwing me for a loop. Obviously there’s an incredibly broad range available.

Something I think many Americans can’t appreciate is how incredibly inexpensively a person can live in 3rd world countries if he looks around and doesn’t accept the first Westernized meal or apartment that comes along. We are used to seeing a particular pricerange for milk or restaurant food, and have a hard time understanding that many foreign countries have a couple different tiers, one for the locals, and one for us rich gringos. Tapping into the local prices, which is totally possible, will save a fortune. For instance, In Thailand, I ate a ton of excellent street food for about $4 per DAY. I could find Thai hotel rooms with wifi for $10/day (so, $300/mo), beach bungalows in Vietnam for $5/day. An American expat in UlaanBaatar, Mongolia was living for $200/mo total. I met a French guy living in Vietnam for $30/month rent! I’m in Bali right now and rent surfboards for $3/day, with a $7 private lesson if I want. Online the rental prices are around $150-$200 per person for 2-3 lessons (and that is with a group, not private). Tapping into the local economy will save bigtime!!

p.s. The majority of Asians are lactose intolerant (varies from country to country), so that’s probably a more expensive product here compared to other staples like bread or rice. fresh, on-site made Ice cream is difficult to find for much less than what you’d pay in the states, IMO.


Mizé April 4, 2010 at 9:29 PM

Very Interesting post. Here are the prices in Euros for south Portugal (district capital city of Algarve):

1 L Milk = 0.50 E
2 bedroom Apartment = +/- 500 E
Restaurant = 8/15 E per person
Internet = 30/50 E (depending on provider)

Regards, Mizé


Stephanie May 3, 2010 at 7:00 AM

Very interesting


Brian May 3, 2010 at 7:03 AM

Great Map!! Thanks, but cost of living comes second to income. If you are earning much it really does not matter how expensive your city is. Anybody out there willing to relocate I advice to check the salaries first.


Concojones July 19, 2010 at 7:23 PM

Ghent, Belgium (euro; add 20% to get $ prices)
milk: 0.6
2br: 1100 roughly
restaurant: 20
internet: 30==


Sunny September 6, 2010 at 12:18 AM

Thank you….

As I’m a young entrepreneur who just graduated and am planning to travel the world this little comparison guide couldn’t have come at a better time.

This has got to be the most valuable frugal travelers resource out there. If you were on tumblr I’d reblog this on my site.

Thanks again,



money babe September 8, 2010 at 3:22 AM

I really would want to live in Korea and experience some cherry blossoms but my aunt there complains about high food prices. The garments there are cheap though and so are the electronics. Anyway, Brook is so right about low cost of living in developing (third world) countries. If you want to have the same American meal you like then you can readily go to hotels. But, savouring the local flavours by trying out local restaurants is good too. The locals are friendly but don’t be too conscious with their stares. If you want to try living within your means I highly advice that you experience life in these countries.


Donovan Moore October 30, 2010 at 11:41 AM

I blog and live in the Midwest- a small town 1 hour west of Madison WI. Crazy cheap to live out here. 2 bd apts go for $600 a month. Snow only downside, but an old 4×4 jeep solves that problem. And plenty of water and food, so down the road no worries when the Southwest US runs dry ( http://spiritnewsdaily.com/?page_id=895)

Lone Rock WI


Chris Dent December 23, 2010 at 10:25 PM

It is amazing how much prices can vary even in the same area. I have found this to be true just about everywhere in the world. For instance, I know a man that pays $1200 for a studio apartment, and another man that lives less than a mile away that spends $750 for a 1 bedroom. Just like everything else, it pays to shop around.


Renata October 11, 2011 at 12:28 AM

Someone might have already have already commented about this but the price of milk in New Zealand is ridiculously high these days. Just under $5 for 2 liters! ($2.50ish for 1L). I’m from NZ and its something we all grumble about now (along with the price of cheese). But great post! Very interesting (and helpful) to see how things compare :)


Svetlin Simeonov December 9, 2011 at 8:36 AM

Amazing post! This is very useful, thanks for taking the time to pull it together.


demir December 31, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Is there anyone from Montreal who can inform me about the cost of living. i’ll start to study there and want to live in downtown, but not sure if it’s wise.. is there serious difference between downtown and the other places of the city..


Erica W. January 6, 2013 at 5:17 PM

Really like this post.
I live in South Oklahoma in the United States
Milk: $4.00 a gallon
I have a 2 bedroom house: $239.00 a month
Resturant: $25.00
Internet: $40.00

Thanks for the info. I have been planning on some traveling.


techani July 24, 2013 at 8:12 AM

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

1 Liter of Milk = $1.06
Average 2 Bedroom Apartment (Monthly) = ~$400 (1,500 SAR).
Average Restaurant (Per Person) = $6 (23 SAR).
Reliable Internet Connection = $53 (199 SAR).

You should consider the average income, if you want to assess the living expense for residents.

However, for a tourist you can just compare it with your own income.


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