American Mom Who Bought a Home In Italy Breaks Down Insanely Low Living Costs

Stephanie Synclair quit her marketing job in 2009 after spending a decade working in the corporate world. She went on to launch her own tea company called LaRue 1680 in 2012 and decided to celebrate the career change with her first vacation abroad. The mother-of-one started researching the cheapest flights to Europe and settled on Sicily, Italy. As soon as she arrived, she fell in love with the area. While she was enthralled with the country, it would be more than 10 years before she would officially call it her home. When the pandemic hit, Stephanie decided to take advantage of the low housing market and purchase her first home. By the time she was ready to move, the mortgage rates had skyrocketed, and Stephanie began looking outside the country. In March 2022, she decided to take the plunge and purchased a stunning home in the Mussomeli area of Sicily for $62,000. She has since spent another $21,000 on renovations. The 41-year-old estimates she pays roughly $389 a month for gas, while she paid an average of $1,164 a month on gas in Atlanta. In addition, her utilities in Italy cost only $258 a month, compared to the $2,634 she spent each month in the U.S. Food and groceries are another area where Stephanie saves money. She went on to explain that she can get a whole chicken cut into pieces for $3, a gallon of milk for $1, a loaf of bread for $1, and a pack of 20 eggs for $4. Even more shocking, bottled water is just 50¢ a bottle. The entrepreneur, who makes $80,000 a year, said because she paid cash for her home, she has no monthly mortgage. With her salary and the monthly rental income of $2,275 she receives from her home in Atlanta, she lives for almost nothing in Italy. Stephanie does travel back and forth between Italy and the U.S. because of her job, but once she saves up enough money, she’s going to leave the U.S. behind and live full-time in Italy. As of October, she has about $14,000 in savings, $33,000 in a Roth IRA, and $950,000 in a brokerage account. “For me to retire in the United States, I would have to have over $2.5 million saved,” said Stephanie. “To retire here in Italy, I would only need about $450,000.”