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World’s 20 Most Expensive And Affordable Cities To Live In

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World’s 20 Most Expensive And Affordable Cities To Live In

Many different rankings of the world’s most affordable and expensive cities exist, but several fail to take into account different ways of life in other countries. For example, over populated countries that raise the price of registering a car in order to encourage residents to take public transit are often cited as more expensive countries. This does not take into account the fact that most residents in these countries do not typically own a car.

On the other hand, lists of the cheapest cities to live in usually do not take into account the lifestyle and safety of a place. For example, Haiti or Pakistan may be among the cheapest countries to live in, but civil unrest means you are unlikely to settle there. One ranking from Expatistan however, compares cities based on a slew of realistic purchases in food, living, entertainment, and transportation.

Among the 247 cities categorized, many fall in dangerous or underdeveloped regions. For this reason, and to compare a wide spread of locations, we’ve taken twenty cities out of Expatistan’s most and least expensive cities around the world. With these practical considerations in mind, these are 10 of the most expensive and affordable cities you’d want to live in:

Most Expensive

10. Hamburg, Germany

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    Gunther Wegner

    Ranked number 66 out of 247 cities, Hamburg is among the more affordable “expensive” cities. With nearly 2 million residents and an impressively temperate climate, Hamburg is one of the most attractive cities for expats.

    Average costs:

    • Fast food combo meal  $8
    • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.28
    • 1 kg of apples  $3.27
    • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.81
    • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 577
    • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $106
    • Monthly transit pass $92
    • 1 roll on deodorant $2.48
    • 2 tickets to movies $26
    • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $7

    9. Vancouver, Canada

    1793982892_3ac7d7f535_b

      JamesZ_Flickr

      Also among the more affordable cities in the “expensive” list is Vancouver, Canada. Ranked 53 out of 247 cities, Vancouver boasts about 2.5 million residents in the greater metro area.

      Average costs:

      • Fast food combo meal  $7
      • 1 litre of whole milk  $2.47
      • 1 kg of apples  $2.75
      • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.35
      • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 124
      • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $125
      • Monthly transit pass $89
      • 1 roll on deodorant $3.98
      • 2 tickets to movies $23
      • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $10

      8. Tokyo, Japan

      4092898500_572c94582e_b

        sebastien batardy

        The next most expensive city on our list is Tokyo, Japan, ranked number 37 out of 247 cities. Unsurprisingly, with nearly 38 million residents, this city is among the more expensive cities when it comes to rent.

        Average costs:

        • Fast food combo meal  $5.60
        • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.82
        • 1 kg of apples  $5.42
        • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.29
        • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 749
        • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $70
        • Monthly transit pass $92
        • 1 roll on deodorant $6
        • 2 tickets to movies $31
        • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $3.88

        7. Honolulu, United States

        7109721751_2ce3abb315_b

          John Fowler

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          With only about a million residents in the greater Honolulu area, Honolulu’s isolated location in Hawaii likely accounts for it’s higher than average prices. Coming in at number 27 of 247 cities, this slice of paradise is still more affordable than New York City, Sydney or San Francisco.

          Average costs:

          • Fast food combo meal  $8
          • 1 litre of whole milk  $2.08
          • 1 kg of apples  $5.95
          • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.47
          • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 620
          • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $74
          • Monthly transit pass $80
          • 1 roll on deodorant $4.22
          • 2 tickets to movies $21
          • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $10

          6. Amsterdam, Netherlands

          5238675948_3b5dd8fe83_b

            Moyan Brenn

            Originating as a small fishing village around the 12th century, Amsterdam has grown to a premiere European destination. Ranked 23rd out of 247 cities, Amsterdam sees slightly lower rent than other “most expensive” cities, but higher prices on day to day purchases.

            Average costs:

            • Fast food combo meal  $9
            • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.27
            • 1 kg of apples  $3.07
            • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.57
            • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 266
            • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $127
            • Monthly transit pass $113
            • 1 roll on deodorant $3.17
            • 2 tickets to movies $26
            • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $8

            5. Paris, France

            6672156239_822c689d3d_b

              Moyan Brenn

              Ranked 14th out of 247 cities, Paris is home to some of the most famous destinations in the world, including the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and countless fashion and food events. While transit costs and basic groceries are average priced, on this list only New York City and Zurich cost more for rent.

              Average costs:

              • Fast food combo meal  $9
              • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.62
              • 1 kg of apples  $3.02
              • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.98
              • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $3 285
              • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $102
              • Monthly transit pass $81
              • 1 roll on deodorant $4.85
              • 2 tickets to movies $25
              • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $9

              4. Sydney, Australia

              2553570276_1106779499_b

                Corey Leopold

                Another popular tourist destination, Sydney is ranked 13th most expensive by Expatistan. While rent costs are lower than some of the other “most expensive” cities on this list, more expensive transit and consumer goods push this city higher in the rankings.

                Average costs:

                • Fast food combo meal  $7
                • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.40
                • 1 kg of apples  $3.60
                • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $3.05
                • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 708
                • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $123
                • Monthly transit pass $127
                • 1 roll on deodorant $3.80
                • 2 tickets to movies $33
                • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $17

                3. New York City, United States

                10842014626_6e48b04fa1_h

                  Roman Iakoubtchik

                  Number 7 of 247 cities, New York City sees high prices for most goods and services. With about 8.5 million residents, New York also is among the most pricey for rent costs.

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                  Average costs:

                  • Fast food combo meal  $7
                  • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.54
                  • 1 kg of apples  $3.92
                  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.19
                  • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $4 075
                  • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $85
                  • Monthly transit pass $114
                  • 1 roll on deodorant $4.13
                  • 2 tickets to movies $28
                  • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $13

                  2. Oslo, Norway

                  4468389726_8b2b18e43d_b

                    2Tales

                    Oslo, the capital of Norway, ranks 4th most expensive out of 247 cities around the world. Though rent costs fall below those in New York or Paris, Oslo sees higher costs on groceries, transit and other goods.

                    Average costs:

                    • Fast food combo meal  $14
                    • 1 litre of whole milk  $2.36
                    • 1 kg of apples  $2.91
                    • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $4.55
                    • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 883
                    • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $134
                    • Monthly transit pass $107
                    • 1 roll on deodorant $5.90
                    • 2 tickets to movies $33
                    • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $15

                    1. Zurich, Switzerland

                    11875643915_13dc8540e9_k

                      kuhnmi

                      According to Expatistan, Zurich is the most expensive city to live in in the world. On average, from fast food to rent to entertainment, purchases in this Swiss hub cost more than anywhere else.

                      Average costs:

                      • Fast food combo meal  $14
                      • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.76
                      • 1 kg of apples  $3.58
                      • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.71
                      • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $3 594
                      • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $154
                      • Monthly transit pass $97
                      • 1 roll on deodorant $6
                      • 2 tickets to movies $38
                      • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $8

                      Most Affordable

                      10. Valencia, Spain

                      valencia

                        Felivet

                        Velencia is the third largest city in Spain, with about 2.5 million residents in the greater metro area. Ranked 165th, this city also boasts affordable rent, transit and consumer goods. 

                        Average costs:

                        • Fast food combo meal  $8
                        • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.40
                        • 1 kg of apples  $2.18
                        • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.78
                        • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 006
                        • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $93
                        • Monthly transit pass $52
                        • 1 roll on deodorant $3.94
                        • 2 tickets to movies $21
                        • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $5.97

                        9. Bangkok, Thailand 

                        7032083211_a730e00ce8_k

                          Evo Flash

                          Since Thailand is known for affordable vacations, it should be no surprise that Thailand is one of the more affordable cities to live in, ranking 194th out of 247 cities. Despite nearly 15 million residents in the greater Bangkok area, rent for this city remains accessible.

                          Average costs:

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                          • Fast food combo meal  $4.64
                          • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.34
                          • 1 kg of apples  $2.68
                          • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.16
                          • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 200
                          • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $106
                          • Monthly transit pass $28
                          • 1 roll on deodorant $2.93
                          • 2 tickets to movies $11
                          • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $2.57

                          8. Lima, Peru

                          9444298324_6e28dfb861_k

                            Serious Cat

                            With a bustling population of about 8.5 million, Lima is not only the capital of Peru, it is the fifth largest city in North and South America. Despite a high population density, this city offers affordable groceries, rent and transit.

                            Average costs:

                            • Fast food combo meal  $4.84
                            • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.28
                            • 1 kg of apples  $1.95
                            • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.96
                            • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 006
                            • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $95
                            • Monthly transit pass $27
                            • 1 roll on deodorant $4.91
                            • 2 tickets to movies $11
                            • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $2.67

                            7. Budapest, Hungary

                            8082258732_dd1e56bdd8_k

                              Moyan Brenn

                              Another affordable European city is Budapest, capital of Hungary. Ranked 208th, Budapest not only offers cheap cost of living, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

                              Average costs:

                              • Fast food combo meal  $5.74
                              • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.12
                              • 1 kg of apples  $1.20
                              • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.57
                              • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $669
                              • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $90
                              • Monthly transit pass $40
                              • 1 roll on deodorant $2.87
                              • 2 tickets to movies $14
                              • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $4

                              6. Casablanca, Morocco

                              Parc_de_la_Ligue_Arabe,_Casablanca

                                Unknown

                                Slightly more affordable than Budapest is Casablanca, Morocco, coming in at 210 out of 247 cities. While rent in Casablanca is higher than several of our most affordable cities, residents get a break on the price of transit, groceries and consumer goods.

                                Average costs:

                                • Fast food combo meal  $5.81
                                • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.83
                                • 1 kg of apples  $1.83
                                • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.35
                                • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 098
                                • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $78
                                • Monthly transit pass $21
                                • 1 roll on deodorant $3.33
                                • 2 tickets to movies $13
                                • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $3.72

                                5. Prague, Czech Republic

                                St Charles Bridge Prague

                                  Jorge Royan

                                  Also on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites is Prague, ranked 211th out of 247 cities. Another top European city for cheap cost of living, this city is also home to a temperate climate and is consistently ranked as a top vacation destination.

                                  Average costs:

                                  • Fast food combo meal  $5.81
                                  • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.95
                                  • 1 kg of apples  $1.36
                                  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.59
                                  • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $962
                                  • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $79
                                  • Monthly transit pass $25
                                  • 1 roll on deodorant $2.99
                                  • 2 tickets to movies $14
                                  • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $3.57

                                  4. Bucharest, Romania

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                                  8020977260_94c7cde397_k

                                    Mario Sánchez Prada

                                    With around 2 million residents, Bucharest is the center of Romanian culture and art. This eastern European city is ranked 214th, making it another affordable option with a rich cultural past.

                                    Average costs:

                                    • Fast food combo meal  $5.13
                                    • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.33
                                    • 1 kg of apples  $1.09
                                    • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.65
                                    • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $800
                                    • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $80
                                    • Monthly transit pass $16
                                    • 1 roll on deodorant $4.22
                                    • 2 tickets to movies $13
                                    • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $4.08

                                    3. Krakow, Poland

                                    5214905_ddee0e6f0e_b

                                      Craig Wyzik

                                      One of the oldest cities in Poland, Krakow is ranked 217th on the list of most expensive cities. Affordable living expenses and commercial goods make this city an ideal place to settle for expats.

                                      Average costs: 

                                      • Fast food combo meal  $5.05
                                      • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.83
                                      • 1 kg of apples  $1.05
                                      • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.68
                                      • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $909
                                      • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $73
                                      • Monthly transit pass $27
                                      • 1 roll on deodorant $3.15
                                      • 2 tickets to movies $12
                                      • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $3.76

                                      2. Lodz, Poland

                                      8076430869_84885dca06_b

                                        Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland

                                        Also located in Poland, Lodz is centrally located with about 1.5 million residents in the greater metro area and sits at number 227 out of 247 cities. Another affordable European city, Lodz is a relatively safe and secure city boasting impressively accessible cost of living.

                                        Average costs:

                                        • Fast food combo meal  $5.19
                                        • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.86
                                        • 1 kg of apples  $0.85
                                        • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.51
                                        • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $706
                                        • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $85
                                        • Monthly transit pass $24
                                        • 1 roll on deodorant $3.22
                                        • 2 tickets to movies $13
                                        • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $4.01

                                        1. Delhi, India

                                        6849982923_9b58efd08d_b

                                          VasenkaPhotography

                                          Delhi, the capital of India is the most affordable city to make it onto our list, ranked 239th out of the 247 most expensive cities. Known for it’s high population density and rich history, Delhi is truly a hotspot for those looking for affordable international destinations.

                                          Average costs:

                                          • Fast food combo meal  $3.93
                                          • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.74
                                          • 1 kg of apples  $1.92
                                          • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.11
                                          • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $502
                                          • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $56
                                          • Monthly transit pass $17
                                          • 1 roll on deodorant $2.70
                                          • 2 tickets to movies $8
                                          • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $2.72

                                          All prices are in US dollars, based on conversion rates in November 2014. See Expatisan’s full city ranking here.

                                          Featured photo credit: sebastien batardy via flickr.com

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                                          Last Updated on January 5, 2022

                                          33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

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                                          33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

                                          In a difficult economy, most of us are looking for ways to put more money in our pockets, but we don’t want to feel like misers. We don’t want to drastically alter our lifestyles either. We want it fast and we want it easy. Small savings can add up and big savings can feel like winning the lottery, just without all of the taxes.

                                          Some easy ways to save money:

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                                          1. Online rebate sites. Many online sites offer cash back rebates and online coupons as well. MrRebates and Ebates are two I like, but there are many others.
                                          2. Sign up for customer rewards. Many of your favorite stores offer customer rewards on products you already buy. Take advantage.
                                          3. Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. The extra cost up front is worth the energy savings later on.
                                          4. Turn off power strips and electronic devices when not in use.
                                          5. Buy a programmable thermostat. Set it to lower the heat or raise the AC when you’re not home.
                                          6. Make coffee at home. Those lattes and caramel macchiatos add up to quite a bit of dough over the year.
                                          7. Switch banks. Shop around for better interest rates, lower fees and better customer perks. Don’t forget to look for free online banking and ease of depositing and withdrawing money.
                                          8. Clip coupons: Saving a couple dollars here and there can start to add up. As long as you’re going to buy the products anyway, why not save money?
                                          9. Pack your lunch. Bring your lunch to work with you a few days a week, rather than buy it.
                                          10. Eat at home. We’re busier than ever, but cooking meals at home is healthier and much cheaper than take-out or going out. Plus, with all of the freezer and pre-made options, it’s almost as fast as drive-thru.
                                          11. Have leftovers night. Save your leftovers from a few meals and have a “leftover dinner.” It’s a free meal!
                                          12. Buy store brands: Many generic or store brands are actually just as good as name brands and considerably cheaper.
                                          13. Ditch bottled water. Drink tap water if it’s good quality, buy a filter if it’s not. Get 
                                              a reusable water bottle and refill it.
                                            • Avoid vending machines: The items are usually over-priced.
                                            • Take in a matinee. Afternoon movie showings are cheaper than evening times.
                                            • Re-examine your cable bill. Cancel extra cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Watch the “on demand” movie purchases too.
                                            • Use online bill pay. Most banks offer free online bill paying. Save on stamps and checks, and avoid late fees by automating bill payment.
                                            • Buy frequently used items in bulk. You get a lower per item price and eliminate extra trips to the store later on.
                                            • Fully utilize the library. Borrowing books is much cheaper than buying them, but in addition to books, most local libraries now lend movies and games.
                                            • Cancel magazine/newspaper subscriptions: Re-evaluate your subscriptions. Cancel those you don’t read and consider reading some of the other publications online.
                                            • Get rid of your land-line. Do you really need a land-line anymore if everyone in the family has a cell phone? Alternatively, look into using VOIP or getting a cheaper plan.
                                            • Better fuel efficiency. Check the air pressure in your tires, keep up with proper auto maintenance, and slow down. Driving even 5MPH slower will result in better fuel mileage.
                                            • Increase your deductibles. Increasing the insurance deductibles on your homeowners and auto insurance policies lowers premiums significantly. Just make sure you choose a deductible that you can afford should an emergency happen.
                                            • Choose lunch over dinner. If you do want to dine out occasionally, go at lunchtime rather than dinnertime. Lunch prices are usually cheaper.
                                            • Buy used:  Whether it’s something small like a vintage dress or a video game or something big like a car or furniture, consider buying it used. You can often get “nearly new” for a fraction of the cost.
                                            • Stick to the list. Make a list before you go shopping and don’t buy anything that’s not on the list unless it’s a once in a lifetime, killer deal.
                                            • Tame the impulse. Use a self-enforced waiting period whenever you’re tempted to make an unplanned purchase. Wait for a week and see if you still want the item.
                                            • Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask to have fees waived, ask for a discount, ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card.
                                            • Repair rather than replace. You can find directions on how to fix almost anything on the internet. Do your homework, and then bring out your inner handyman.
                                            • Trade with your neighbors. Borrow tools or equipment that you use infrequently and swap things like babysitting with your neighbors.
                                            • Swap online. Use sites like PaperBack Swap to trade books, music, and movies with others online. Also, look for local community sites like Freecycle where people give away items they no longer need.
                                            • Cut back on the meat. Try eating a one or two meatless meals every week or cut back on the meat portions. Meat is usually the most expensive part of the meal.
                                            • Comparison shop: Get in the habit of checking prices before you buy. See if you can get a better price at another store or look online.

                                            Remember that saving money is not about being cheap or stingy; it’s about putting money into your bank account rather than giving it to someone else. There are many ways to save money, some you’ve never thought of, and some that won’t appeal or apply to you. Just pick a few of the ideas that sound doable and watch the savings add up. Save big, save small, but save wherever you can.

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                                            Featured photo credit: Damir Spanic via unsplash.com

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