We each have our own priorities as to the “must have” in choosing best places to retire. In my mind there is little point living in one of the cheapest places to live if the town is dangerous or has awful weather. We each have to decide what is important to us. I am living in Mexico at the moment and the cost of living in my town of San Miguel de Allende is much higher than most places in Mexico. For me, the culture of this town, the many events and the towns beauty is worth the price.
My standard of living is somewhere in between my ex USA lifestyle and how a Mexican would live in a village. That is a HUGE difference in the quality of life! I know expats here who “get by” on $400 USD a month while others I know spend in excess of $3,000 a month. I am in the middle. If you are trying to recreate your USA life here in Mexico, or ANY expat community around the world then you will spend top dollar. Imported foods and clothes made for the USA markets are expensive. Buying a late model car in Third World Countries: very expensive-perhaps 35% higher than Europe or USA. Dining out at non-local food: twice the price. Similar story for the latest and new computers and electronics. Asia may be about the same or less than Euro and USA prices.
Buying used items, eating local ethnic meals, renting/buying a local styled home and so forth, then this is the smarter way to spend your money when retired. Some costs in your new paradise come unexpected and often at the worst times. Many people here in San Miguel trip on the hazardous sidewalks and end up having to pay medical expenses. Traveling back “home” can also be a huge expense. Certain things we can all control with our day to day living expenses, but just like my non-retired life, there were and still are many things that I have little control over costs.
Check out my articles on countries and towns that I have information on, that will help you choose your best choice for the cheapest places to live. Also go to THIS WEBSITE for general information about the cost of living around the world. Bottom line here is really, really, really consider what you can afford, what you would be willing to forgo (priorities) and try to look realistically at current and possible future expenses.
Search my website for more in-depth articles on various towns around the world.