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Cost of Living in Maldives: A Complete Guide

Cost of Living in Maldives: A Complete Guide

The Maldives is a beautiful place that some people are lucky enough to visit for holidays maybe only a few times in their lives. It’s popular with holidaymakers from the US, UK and many other western countries.

The archipelago is a tropical paradise with some of the most stable weather and amazing sealife of anywhere in the world. But does that make it a good place to live?

The scope of this article is to fully discuss the cost of living in the Maldives, looking at all the key areas you should consider if you are considering living in the Maldives for anything from one month to years.

How do the Costs Compare?

As with most places, the precise cost of living in the Maldives is likely to vary considerably depending on your precise situation. For example, are you a lone traveller, or do you have a family to support?

Another key factor, as with anywhere else in the world, is the location you choose to reside. If you choose one of the more remote islands, you might find that your cost of living is less than half the amount than if you chose to live in the capital city (Male).

However, if we look at the averages, the monthly cost of living in the Maldives can range from as little as $1500 to around the $4000 mark. This puts it at around the 66 mark (out of 100) in the global cost of living index.

What does Accommodation Cost?

As with anywhere in the world, your accommodation is usually your greatest monthly expense. In the Maldives, this is no different.

Rent can range from being quite expensive to really quite affordable, it depends on the location. The average rent for those living in the Maldives is around the $1000/month mark. However, there are certainly many outliers. For example, a one-bedroom apartment is likely to cost 40% more in the centre of a major town or city than if it were on the outskirts. Similarly, if you needed a larger apartment this might cost anything up to $2000 depending on the location and the number of bedrooms.

What about the cost of food?

Can you buy cheap food? What do groceries cost? Where should you go to eat cheap food? These are all common questions people will ask when moving to a new place, and this is as true for the Maldives as anywhere.

So, what are food prices like in the Maldives?

Well, again the answer is ‘it depends’. As you might expect, with it being an island nation, fish is available in abundance. However, other products; mostly processed foods that have to be flown in from other countries, are relatively expensive.

On average, people spend between $300 and $500 per month on food in the Maldives. This is usually a combination of eating at home and eating out at restaurants. However, if you choose to eat out at restaurants more regularly, and to eat at more expensive restaurants, you can expect your monthly food bill to be closer to the $1000-$1200 range.

What about transport costs?

The other major expense most people will have (wherever they live) is transportation costs. It’s a tricky one, as you can often struggle to save money in this area, as it’s an area you are unlikely to have much control over. For example, if you need to travel to work, this is difficult to work around. Also, if you need to drive or use publish transport, the costs for these modes of transport are largely dedicated to you by third parties and are in-flexible.

The cost of transportation in the Maldives is roughly in-line with the US. Gas prices are largely similar, as are the purchase prices of most popular cars. The one area that is slightly cheaper is public transport. In many cases, a monthly pass will cost between $20 and $30, making it a very cost-effective way to get around, if that works with your travel requirements.

What’s the average salary in the Maldives?

Obviously, the cost of living is only really relevant when considered against what you are able to earn in a country. In the Maldives, the reality is that the potential earnings are relatively low, with the average earnings being around the 1k$ per month mark.

Is it possible to save money in the Maldives?

The ability to save money each month depends on the ratio between what income you have versus what it costs you to live each month. This is as true in the Maldives as anywhere in the world.

Due to the fact that the Maldives has a relatively low cost of living (on a global scale), it should follow that it’s easy to save money here, right? Not necessarily.

The wages in the Maldives are in line with their cost of living. This means that, if you work locally, it’s likely that you will only be able to save the same amount as if you were living in the US or other countries in the world.

However, what the Maldives does offer is the chance for you to save money by tilting the scales in your favour by increasing the gap between what you earn and what you pay out in living expenses.

  1. Choose a relatively cheap place to live

As we have already discussed, there are some places in the Maldives that are relatively cheap to live in when compared to the major cities. Sometimes, moving to these places can allow you to lower your cost of living, and allow you to save more money. However, this is entirely contingent on the way that you earn your money not being dependent on you living near a major city. For example, if you work in finance, this might not work for you. However, if you work in the tourism industry, you might be able to get a great job on a relatively remote island in the Maldives which pays well and gives you a very low cost of living. Alternatively, you might have a job that can be completed remotely. This might allow you to work for a company in one of the major cities in the Maldives, but for you to live somewhere that’s really cheap. You might even be able to work for a company that operates abroad, but we’ll go into more detail about that in the next point.

  1. Capitalising on remote working

As we’ve discussed, saving money is all about increasing the difference between the money you earn and the money you spend each month. If you are able to choose a cheap island in the Maldives to live on, that’s half of the equation already sorted. So how can you maximise your earnings whilst living on this remote island? Well, assuming it has a good internet connection, you can pretty much work for any company in the world. If you have the requisite skillset, you could even be working for a company in New York City, earning a very good city wage for the US, all whilst living on a cheap and remote island in the Maldives. In this scenario, you are likely to be able to save anything up to 80% of your paycheck each month.

Other ways to save money

Most of the common tips and tricks that we’ve spoken about on this website will also apply to anyone living in the Maldives. Here are some practical examples of how you might be able to reduce your cost of living when living in the Maldives.

Get a lodger

Your accommodation is likely to be your greatest monthly expense. This means, if you can reduce this significantly, it’s likely to have the greatest positive impact on your monthly finances. If you have a spare bedroom in the house or apartment you live in, whether you own it or rent, getting a lodger can be a great financial move. Sure, it might encroach on your privacy a little, but it could make a huge difference to your monthly outgoings. In many cases, you will be able to charge a lodger more than half what your accommodation costs you each month. it will also mean you are likely to be able to split all other household bills, including utilities and food. Overall, it can reduce your monthly expenses by anything from 35-60%.

Cut out luxury items

When we talk about luxury items we aren’t necessarily talking about exclusive and extravagant purchases. In most cases, the luxury items that have the greatest impact on your monthly outgoings aren’t the occasional treats, but the items you purchase regularly. For example, do you stop at the local coffee shop on your way to work? If so, that’s probably $5 per day, which equates to the best part of $100 per month. This could be reduced considerably if you were to just buy a decent coffee machine for your kitchen.

Other examples of this include eating out (why not eat in one more night each week), eating meat and drinking alcohol. All of these small life choices are likely to add considerably to your monthly costs, and are all things you can do without.

Subscriptions

These are the silent killers of your finances. You sign up for them, thinking they are just $5-10 per month, so won’t make any difference to your monthly finances. Alone, you are right. However, when they stack up, they can really put a dent in your disposable income at the end of the month – all without realising.

The biggest problem with small subscriptions is keeping track of them. Each month when they come out of your account you look at them and think, ‘I should cancel that’, but you never do. The pain isn’t large enough. The best way to take control of it is to take an hour every couple of months to do a full review of your subscriptions, cancelling any there and then, that you no longer feel you need, or you feel you can do without.

The first time you do this you might be able to save yourself $100-200 per month. Though this doesn’t sound like much, that could equate to up to $2500 every year. After four years that could be half a house down payment, just from cancelling unused subscriptions.

In Summary

Overall, living in the Maldives is cheaper than many other countries in the world, especially in the west. However, this is hugely variable based on exactly where you choose to reside. Additionally, wages tend to be in line with the cost of living, so you should expect to have great amounts of disposable income if you live and work in the Maldives. One good way to get around this would be to earn your money in the US or another country, but to work remotely in the Maldives. This could work incredibly well, and give you a large amount of disposable income to either spend or save.

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