Suggestions for Low-Cost Destinations
A Web site, www.xpatulator.com, is a useful tool to gather some idea of costs in various parts of the world. It ranks cost of living in more than 700 cities, regions and countries for 2013, and some of the results are surprising. For example, Sofia, Bulgaria is considered cheaper than Paraguay or La Paz, Bolivia, and Krakow, Poland is not much more expensive than Paraguay.
By sticking to the destinations near the bottom of the list, you will generally be assured of travelling in low-cost areas. Among the more appealing ones near the very bottom of the list are Nicaragua, Romania, Cambodia and Tunisia. However, the country that ranks absolutely lowest cost for expats, Bhutan, is actually expensive to visit, because the government severely restricts the number of tourist visas it issues.
The most expensive places for expats to live are generally predictable--Japan, Switzerland, Hong Kong, but include some surprises like fifth place Luanda, Angola and ninth place Caracas, Venezuela.. Moscow comes in at 27, my ancestral island of Jersey at 47, while Bishkek, Kyrgystan is just slightly more costly than Vermont, at 357 and 358 respectively.
This is definitely a useful site if you are considering relocating overseas, although the expat standard of living may be higher than you would actually need to live comfortably. Expats who are transferred for a job often have perks such as cars and drivers, or boarding schools for children, items that may not be of interest to you.
Speaking of expats, the Canadian wife of the new Bank of England governor Mark Carney has caused a commotion in Britain by complaining about what she could find in London in terms of a place to live with an allowance of, I believe, 800 pounds a week. It all depends on your expectations.