The real cost to live somewhere exotic: our Montenegro budget breakdown

Last Updated on June 3, 2023 by Ellen

(*This post was written by Tedly and originally appeared on our Facebook group page: Earth Vagabonds. Join us there for a conversation with others about the real cost to live in different areas of the world.)

What does it cost you to live for a day? Do you know? What is your daily, weekly, monthly budget? If you want to retire or travel – or both – you better figure it out.

Vacations are great, but they only last for a week or two and you’re spending money like a drunken sailor – that’s what a vacation is. We took a lot of those during our work lives, but we wanted those vacations to last forever. So three years ago we early retired and now we are living in places we used to visit on vacation. It is possible, but it requires a different mindset.

As continuous budget slow travelers, budgeting is crucial to our success and enjoyment. We use the ‘Spending Tracker’ app to keep tabs on what we spend. Every morning, in some far-away place, sipping coffee on our balcony or terrace, we review and record the previous day’s expenses.

Here is the dollar converted (from Euros) totals for our recent month-long stay in Kotor, Montenegro, mid-August to mid-September in 2018. This is exactly what it cost us to live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

Apartment Rent….. $1,035.00
Groceries…………… $318.00
US property……….. $308.00
Restaurant/Bar…… $263.25
Excursions…………. $194.75
Travel………………… $179.25
Miscellaneous……. $42.50
Clothing…………….. $27.50

TOTAL = $2,368.25

A few notes:
-We could have saved $200 – $250 on rent… and found a place further from the water with no view. But we splurged a little – and August into September was still high season.
-About $75 – $80 of ‘groceries’ was for carry-out beer.
-U.S. property accounts for taxes and insurance on our Ohio house.
-Excursions are major sightseeing trips, admissions, etc.
-Travel includes initial bus transport from Zagreb, Croatia, and all local Kotor buses and taxis.
-We currently have no health insurance – we pay out-of-pocket as needed.

We loved our month in Kotor. The weather was still hot – great for sunning and swimming, and the setting was stunning! Overall, we felt the prices were moderate/medium. We would go back again.

It cost us under $2,400 to live somewhere dreamy. What did you spend in Des Moines, or Albany, or Jacksonville, or Cincinnati?

Hopefully this demonstrates it is possible to live for less than you’re paying in most American cities. It’s something to consider as you plan out what you want to do with the rest of your life.


1 thought on “The real cost to live somewhere exotic: our Montenegro budget breakdown”

  1. I am so glad you had such a pleasant time in beautiful Cattaro. And a lot of positive envy for a fantastic and at the same time courageous way of living life. Kisses

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