Mexico is a large country with a diverse population. It’s located below the majority of the United States, so imagine traveling from Texas to Seattle to get to another part of Mexico. This is crucial to understand because several of the most popular expat destinations are only a short distance from the terrible cartel violence you may have read about. Expats, retirees, and digital nomads prefer living in Mexico because of its close proximity to the United States. All of the country’s major cities have direct flights to the U.S., and they’re cheap.
In comparison to other nations, the cost of living in Mexico is rather expensive, but the quality of life improves dramatically. While getting things done takes longer, goods and services are cheaper and more available. Americans take for granted the services of maids, gardeners, and cooks. These are just a few of the many services that Americans take for granted. However, education in Mexico is extremely expensive and varies greatly by location. If you wish to send your children to a private school, for example, tuition can cost up to USD275 per month. Americans may easily obtain a retiree visa for Mexico, and digital nomads frequently take advantage of the automatic six-month stay granted to Americans upon arrival.
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The budget is the motivating force for many expats’ decisions to relocate to Mexico. In Oaxaca, for example, the average yearly wage is roughly $10,500—this is an average, and many Mexicans survive on far less (particularly indigenous and rural populations). In fact, put this on for a test run: The Mexican government increased the minimum wage to $6.40 per day in 2020. It all boils down to socioeconomic injustice for Mexicans and the vast sums of money available to people who work in the United States and transfer money back home. The minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour, so even sending a little fraction of one’s daily wages to a family in Mexico is a significant sum. Expats, particularly retirees, are in a position of exceptional privilege since they can take the fruits of a lifetime of work in a more expensive and better-paying economy and use ego-arbitrage to spend their money and social security checks in a place where the dollar goes a lot further. Given that the United States has its own social inequities and that house prices are soaring, many expats see Mexico as a destination where they can afford to live the kind of life that is currently more accessible in the United States.
The Average Cost of Living
The median cost of living in Mexico is between $600 and $2,000. Every month, the basic (and total) expenditures of living in Mexico were less than $745. It’s much more affordable in Oaxaca, where only about $600 per month is required. Your major outlay will be housing, and even Western-style accommodations are affordable. On a limited budget, a single person would be hard-pressed to spend more than $1,000 here. Rent and Internet are $375, electricity and water are $0, food is $300, transportation is $20, and entertainment is $50, totaling $745. This figure covers toiletries as well as any additional expenses incurred while in Mexico. And this is a high-end budget for a single person; if you looked for an apartment or shared a house with friends, your costs would have dropped to $600.
The visa situation is one of Mexico’s strong qualities and is an obvious advantage over living in Asia. As a U.S. citizen, you can immediately acquire a six-month visa upon arrival, which can be reset simply by crossing a border and returning indefinitely. The visa rules in Mexico are a huge plus for individuals considering migrating overseas without the possibility of obtaining a retirement visa. The peso is currently trading at around 19 or 20 pesos per U.S. dollar.
The Living Cost
The apartment can cost as much as 4,500 pesos per month ($375 at the time), which is quite expensive for a studio, but it includes all utilities and really fast Internet, which is critical for my online profession. If you rent a furnished apartment in Mexico, you may expect to find a stove with pots and pans. It contained everything you’d expect in a studio, including a full-size bed, a counter with stools, a closet, and a bathroom.
Other locations in town rent out as holiday rentals or rooms for anywhere from USD $200 per month (no Wi-Fi) to USD $500+ per month for 1 or 2 bedrooms. And the apartment costs in Sayulita (which is larger and more touristic, with a wonderful beach, a lot more food, bars, etc.) are really very comparable. It is ideal if you like the idea of Mexico.
Dinner at a neighborhood restaurant for two people costs around $24 USD on average. It will only cost you $8 for two movie tickets. A cup of coffee in an expat neighborhood can set you back $2, while a beverage at a decent downtown pub would cost you around $5. A cheap quesadilla costs 15 pesos (just over $1) from one of the stalls, a fancier taco costs 40 pesos (about $3.25), and a vegetarian lunch at one of the town’s few restaurants costs $10 to $15 USD. You could live comfortably on 1,000 pesos per week. I frequently purchase organic vegetables (which are pricey) at Sayulita’s Friday market, so the food budget is ample for a variety of eating habits.
Many cities in Mexico are walkable, and public transportation is reasonably priced. Within most cities, bus fares range from 30 to 40 cents, whereas taxi fares range from $2 to $4, depending on the distance. As a result, having a car is not required, although many expats like to do so. Maintenance, fuel, and insurance for a single automobile can cost up to $150 per month, whereas public transit can cost as little as $30 per month, depending on how frequently you take cabs. The closest big city to San Pancho is Puerto Vallarta, which is around 45 minutes away and just costs a few dollars each way on the bus. Sayulita is an absolutely lovely, tiny town (though much larger than mine), and it’s only 20 minutes away. The bus travel is $1 each way, or you can hitchhike for a short (and easy) ride. If you plan to drive, an average automobile will set you back $15,000 USD, and a gallon of gas will set you back $0.95! A monthly train pass costs roughly $23, whereas a taxi ride with minimal or no traffic costs around $5 each way.
The average monthly utility bill for one individual is around $103. Utilities per person cost around $70 per month if you plan on having a roommate.
These expenses vary based on whether or not you require/use air conditioning. (Electricity in Mexico is relatively costly, and using air conditioning can increase the cost by many times what it would be otherwise.)
It is commonly used to heat water, cook, and potentially even dry clothes. Many people in Mexico (particularly in the Colonial Highlands) use solar water heaters. A solar heater can cut gas consumption by a third or less than it would be otherwise, resulting in annual gas costs of around $150 to $200 for a couple.
Mexico offers a variety of internet and phone service providers, ranging from phone companies to cable T.V. firms that also provide the Internet. Telex is, on the other hand, the most common provider. Telmex offers high-speed Internet and telephone service bundles starting at around $20 per month. The internet speed is guaranteed at ten megabits per second, and the landline service includes free long-distance calls anywhere on the globe. For roughly $10, Telcel, Telex’s cell phone division, offers 30-day subscriptions with unlimited calling across North America.
For $35 to $45 a month, a variety of firms in Mexico provide cable packages. However, English-language programming is limited to these plans. These numbers will be higher if you watch satellite or other television with more English content. However, because of the reliability and speed of the Internet in Mexico, many expatriates (as well as residents) use a variety of services to watch their favorite shows.
A regular doctor’s appointment costs $20 USD in general. A trip to the emergency department can cost anywhere from $18 to $25. A prescription for antibiotics costs roughly $11 USD, and a box of cold medicine costs $5 USD. You can enroll in one of Mexico’s nationalized health systems if you have a valid resident visa. Your healthcare costs will be around $500 per adult per year or less if you use IMSS, plus any prescriptions you choose to purchase on your own. (The national system INSABI is free if you have a valid residency visa.) Private health insurance can add several thousand dollars to a couple’s annual bills (about $300 per month) if they have it.
Food and Grocery
This budget anticipates that an expat couple will purchase a combination of imported and locally produced items, as well as a moderate amount of alcohol. Depending on the brand, a bottle of tequila in Mexico might cost anywhere from $8 to $25. Wines begin at around $5 per bottle. Your costs will rise as you purchase more imported and specialty items. You’ll spend a lot less on food in Mexico than you will in other nations, whether you go out to eat or remain at home and prepare it. A dozen eggs will cost you approximately $1.50 USD. A nice bottle of red wine will set you back about $11, a typical lunch in a business sector would set you back about $7, and a fast-food combination meal will set you back about $5. If you’re coming from a big metropolis, you’ll appreciate how inexpensive it is. You can enjoy all that Mexico has to offer, even if you’re on a low budget, with amazing food, great nightlife, and breathtaking coastal vistas.
Entertainment includes things like going out to eat, going to the movies, going to the theatre, and going to concerts. The cost of a movie ticket is around $5. (Popcorn and soft drinks are extra). Concerts cost $5 and above, with the majority of local events costing $5 to $15. Lunch can cost anything from $3 to $15 per person, with dinners costing from $15 to $25 per person on average. This budget assumes a couple goes to the cinema three times each month and once a week to concerts or the theatre. They go out for lunch a few times a week and have a nice supper once a week.
A $100 monthly clothing budget in Mexico will bring you two to four shirts or blouses, a couple of pairs of jeans or trousers, or up to three pairs of shoes or sandals, depending on the brand and quality.
Some places in Mexico charge for garbage collection. However, this is not the case everywhere. Even in locations where waste collection is paid, the cost is often low: $30 to $40 per year.
Sales tax is levied on produced items in Mexico (although not foods). Property tax, also known as predial, rarely exceeds $200 per year and is usually paid in one big sum at the beginning of the year rather than monthly. If you pay your predial in January, most states provide you with a discount.
While there is no tuition in primary or junior high school (kindergarten to the equivalent of ninth grade in the United States), students’ families are responsible for providing uniforms, school supplies, transportation, and sometimes textbooks for their children to attend school. Although the average cost of higher education is roughly $5,000 per year, it varies significantly. For undergraduate programs, public universities in Mexico can charge anything from $378 to $818 each year, while private universities can charge anywhere from $1,636 to $16,353 per year. Attendance is mandatory at all three levels of education. Mexico’s public schools are both free and secular. Unfortunately, schools are frequently underfunded and under-resourced. This is particularly true in rural areas, with urban areas only somewhat better.
Each person’s lifestyle demands are unique. You may live on a smaller budget. A place can be rented for $400 per month… can rent a huge colonial house with a pool, terraces, and gardens for $1,500 or more per month. You can save money on cable T.V. and the Internet if you don’t need them. If you frequently eat out, travel, play golf, scuba dive, and do other activities, you will undoubtedly spend more money. Nonetheless, all of these expenses are significantly lower than what you would pay for a similar lifestyle in the United States. A really nice lifestyle with all of these luxuries—including a maid, a car for vacation, and private health insurance—could cost almost $2,500 per month. For less than $3 per hour, you can hire a nanny, cook, gardener, and housekeeper. Even cable television will set you back around $30 per month.
You can go all in and decide to make Mexico your permanent home, but there are many alternative options. Consider the lifestyle you desire and what is most practical for you and your family. The people are friendly, the cost of living is modest, and purchasing property in Mexico is safe and simple. The climate in Mexico is generally warm, and it may get rather hot in the summer. It is a reasonably inexpensive area to reside in when compared to other countries. Of all, it all depends on your perspective. You shouldn’t have to worry about making ends meet as long as you have a stable source of income. You’ve come to the perfect site if you’re thinking of moving to Mexico. You can enjoy all that Mexico has to offer, even if you’re on a low budget, with amazing food, great nightlife, and breathtaking coastal vistas.