“They” say life is cheap in Mexico, affordable, you can easily live of a 1000 bucks in a city like Puerto Vallarta, Tulum, or Merida, some of those high-end tourist destinations. Is that true? Let’s talk about living in Mexico on a budget in 2021!
It is my strong belief that Americans have a different reference frame when it comes to prices than Western European people have. And tourists have a totally different price reference because they come here only for a short time with a travel budget that is probably higher than their monthly income. So having said that and after having lived in the Philippines for nearly 4 years, I’d say living in Mexico is not all that cheap. It varies much more than in S.E. Asia for example. (read: Cost of specific products in the Philippines)
Where prices in the Philippines in the tourist areas might have been a little higher while I was living there compared to life outside those areas, here in Mexico prices in tourist areas are sky-high.
You easily pay 200 pesos for 3 tacos in a tourists zone while you can have 3 tacos for 80 pesos anywhere in the city. And food in the tourist areas is not always of good quality or prepared well. In my 2.5 years in Mexico, I have eaten better food in restaurants with home-cooked meals than in tourist places.
Prices are increasing rapidly in Mexico
I must say prices have increased a lot in Mexico in the last two years, to name an example: a grilled chicken went up almost 100 pesos per piece in the Soriana Supermarket and prices of beef went up nearly 50%.
So life is getting more and more expensive. And it depends also on location.
If you rent an average house, and not those exclusive, expensive white glove condo apartments and beach houses, you pay anything between 3000 to 15,000 pesos per month for a lease of 6 months and more.
It depends on the furniture and what is included in the rent. Location does not really matter unless it is beachfront, or a block away from the beach. But I doubt you can find anything decent under 15,000k a month anywhere close to the beach. Over 15,000k no problem. You can pay as much as you like for a studio or a 6 bedroom beach house.
Same with hotel prices, in a city like Villahermosa, Tehuacán, or for example Tuxtla Gutierrez, a hotel room in a Mexican-owned hotel will cost around 400 pesos per night, and that gives you a new build hotel, nicely decorated and clean rooms with private bathroom and hot shower. But when you go to Puerto Escondido, Mexico’s surf hot spot, you can’t even rent a dorm bed for that.
So how much does living in Mexico really cost?
I get that question a lot in conversations with clients that are considering moving abroad. And I always tell them that that depends.
It highly depends on what you need to be happy.
People love to read my articles about the cost of living and watch my videos, but the numbers there always include a disclaimer: my lifestyle isn’t yours.
I keep track of all my spendings in an app. Because I really live on a small budget I have to make sure I do not overspend too often. Also so I will be able to pay for things like Visa costs, medical bills, and overhead like website fees, vehicle registration, and insurance.
Now, at the moment I spent around 800 Euros (939 US$) a month. Of which 290 Euros (340 US$) is rent. I rent an all-inclusive furnished apartment in a small rural village close to La Paz. on a private lot. (Read: Renting a house in La Paz)
In my budget is not included any alcohol, I do not go out much at night, I do eat out once a day.
I do not smoke, but I do ride a BMW G310GS.
I do not have manicures and lots of clothes and shoes but I do like nice cups and bowls for the kitchen.
I do not have any subscriptions for Streaming, HBO, or Netflix, but I do have website costs.
I live a simple life but I am not stingy. I live a good life but it might not be of your liking.
Maybe you want to change your lifestyle or maybe you have no idea what makes you happy?
Some people move to another country to find a better lifestyle. To live more affordable or to go back to basic and leave the corporate life and commercial influence behind.
But in my experience, only a few people really know what they need to be happy. They have a vague idea about what happiness must look like, but no idea what the price tag is.
And there is also the matter of budget. You might think of living in Mexico (Or any other country in the world) in a grand hacienda with a maid and a gardener. Or live off-grid in a campervan, but can you afford it?
To help you realize your dreams I created a workbook. Now don’t get scared, nothing big, it just takes about one night to read it and work out a plan. You think things through, you get a clear idea of your dreams and needs for your future life, and about your budget.
It helps you realize your dreams. Simple. And with that plan, you can start building a new future.
Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.
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