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

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 August 15, 2018

                                          30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

                                          30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

                                          Summertime can be a real strain on your wallet. The sun is out, there are people to see, places to be; it’s no wonder you might be short of funds during these sunny months. Not everything has to cost you an arm and a leg.

                                          Take some time to go through this list of 20 cheap summer activities and make some realistic goals to complete as many as you can.

                                          Video Summary

                                          1. Visit a strawberry festival

                                          Summer is prime time for tasting strawberries. More often than not, an area that grows strawberries will have a strawberry festival. Indulge yourself in strawberry pies, jams, cakes and more!

                                          2. Have a picnic

                                          Take your partner or your family to the local park and enjoy a relaxing picnic. Designate each person to bring one food item of their choice to add to the fun.

                                          3. Camp in your back yard

                                            The summer heat can sometimes make it hard to sleep. Why not enjoy the heat outside in the yard? Pitch a tent or gaze into the night sky.

                                            4. Take long walks

                                            Discover something new where you live. Take the afternoon off from your chores and go for a long walk. You may be surprised by what you discover.

                                            5. Break a world record

                                            Breaking a world record doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You could even break one on your lunch hour. Give it a go!

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                                            6. Go on a bike ride

                                            The number of bike paths on roads in big cities has increased dramatically over the years. Take advantage, and enjoy the summer breeze.

                                            7. Join a gym class

                                              The gym is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but why not go with a friend a join a class? Spinning, yoga and step classes are always more fun with friends, and a lot of gyms allow you to pay-as-you-go.

                                              8. Find a new hobby

                                              The summer is the perfect time to find a new hobby. Serotonin (our body’s natural “happy” hormone) is produced by the sunshine and will be at a yearly high, which is great for when we want to tackle something new.

                                              9. Join a sports team

                                              Not all sports teams are competitive and require huge amounts of your time. Join in the fun with like-minded people, get fit, stay healthy and make some friends along the way.

                                              10. Make a slip ‘n slide

                                                Gather your friends, some plastic sheeting, a hose, washing up liquid if desired, and make a huge slip ‘n slide just like these guys. Granted, yours won’t be as big, but you get the idea… it’s fun!

                                                11. Make a treasure hunt for your kids

                                                Today’s digital world sees our children more often than not playing inside than outside. Why not create a sense of adventure by making a treasure hunt? Only rule? It has to be outside.

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                                                12. Visit a free festival

                                                Towns and cities are awash with free festivals, with themes from film to science. Scout your local area and discover something new.

                                                13. Visit the zoo

                                                  Let’s face it: we love animals. While browsing news websites and social media networks you’re bound to come across a few pictures of cats. Take a trip to your local zoo for a better experience.

                                                  14. Take a road trip

                                                  Enjoy the open road with a few friends and take a road trip somewhere–anywhere. Just go out and enjoy the sunshine!

                                                  15. Play ultimate frisbee in the park

                                                    Frisbee is always great fun down the park, but why not turn it into more of a competitive sport by playing ultimate frisbee?

                                                    16. Make your own ice cream

                                                    Ice cream is a very versatile dessert. Make a sandwich, enjoy a cone, or simply just enjoy a bowl full. Better yet, making your own ice cream allows you to create any flavor you want.

                                                    17. Invite your neighbors over for a BBQ

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                                                      When was the last time you invited your neighbors over? Do you even know them? Now’s your chance. Just ask each person to bring a food item so costs don’t mount up for you.

                                                      18. Get a summer job

                                                      For many students, summer is the time for relaxation and fun. But who said earning money and being productive isn’t fun? You only get out what you put into a situation.

                                                      19. Attend a charity event

                                                      Attending a charity event is a great way to raise funds and awareness for a cause, meet new people, and generally have a good time. Search for your local charity event today.

                                                      20. Visit a national park

                                                      National parks are a great way to explore nature and learn something new. You could even volunteer and make a difference in helping restore natural habitats.

                                                      21. Visit your local comedy club

                                                        Local comedy clubs are extremely underrated. They are cheap to attend and no doubt you’ll have a barrel of laughs.

                                                        22. Make your own hammock

                                                          Hammocks are very relaxing, are perfect for summer afternoons and are surprisingly easy to make.

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                                                          23. Read in your new hammock

                                                          Now you have your very own hammock, the only thing left to do is enjoy it. Grab your favorite book and read to your heart’s content.

                                                          24. Watch a movie outside

                                                          Movies are great. Relaxing outside in the evening is great. Put them together and you’ve got a perfect combination. In D.C, Maryland and Virginia this summer, for example, you can enjoy a huge number of movies outside.

                                                          25. Take a hike

                                                            Hikes are a great way to keep fit and see more of Mother Nature. There are countless trails available for you to explore. Why not try some this summer?

                                                            26. Learn how to fly a kite

                                                            As a child, you probably had a kite and haven’t touched it since. Why not dust it off and attempt to fly it? It’s tricky, but well worth the challenge.

                                                            27. Work out at the park

                                                            American cities are full of parks with ample space for a work out session. No doubt you’ll be happier to work out in the sun rather than a crowded gym.

                                                            28. Take your dog to the beach

                                                              One of the many joys of owning a dog is taking him or her for long walks during the summertime. This joy is enhanced when visiting the beach, for both you and your dog.

                                                              29. Make a summer smoothie

                                                              Healthy, delicious and perfect for the summer. Not only that, there are countless recipes ready for you to try.

                                                              30. Attend a free yoga session at the beach

                                                              No experience needed and all skill levels are welcome. Take yourself and a buddy down to the beach and try some yoga. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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