Can I Afford to Live in Mexico?

You may be wondering if you can actually afford to live in Mexico because you see the rising cost of rents or houses for sale in very touristic cities.

Living in Mexico, your biggest expense will likely be housing. Whether you rent or buy will depend on your budget, your plans for the future, how long you plan to stay in Mexico, and how long you’ve been in Mexico already.

But it doesn’t matter where in Mexico you live. There will always be low-end and high-end rentals. In EVERY city in Mexico, some people have a lot of money, and some don’t. It’s all about your budget, your lifestyle, your needs, and how flexible you are.

Even in San Miguel de Allende (considered one of the more expensive cities in Mexico), you can find affordable housing if you’re willing to do some homework. Or at least after your first year of living in Mexico and feeling confident about searching on local websites vs. only English-speaking ones.

For example, this rental example in San Miguel de Allende costs $9,000 Pesos a Month. (about $500 USD/ $700 CAD) Fully furnished, including all appliances. Has a garage for 1 car. Accepts pets. And has a lovely little patio where you can soak up the sun.

It’s a very simple house.. not flashy… but perfect for someone with a fixed income or who would rather spend their money on entertainment instead of a nicer house.

The downside is it’s in a neighborhood outside of centro. This means you’d have to either taxi to centro, take the bus, or drive. Please keep in mind that it matters where you look. And how much do you know about the local market, the going rate for rentals, and what you can expect to get for x amount of $$.

These types of rentals can be found pretty much anywhere in Mexico. It just depends on how flexible you are about the location. Sometimes it pays to be closer to town because your public transportation expense will be much less. Or because you’ll have more enjoyment outside your doorstep.

You CANNOT Live Like A King On Pennies

You cannot live in Mexico like a king on pennies. Whoever started that rumor is wrong. But you CAN live a very modest and comfortable life on A LOT less than north of the border.

For example, if you want to live near centro in a touristic city such as San Miguel de Allende, you can expect rentals to start at $18,000 pesos and up. Because you’ll live in a desirable location where you can walk everywhere, and the rental will likely be more charming and with higher-end finishes.

This rental example is $22,000 pesos a month (about $1300 USD/$1700 CAD). Near centro in San Miguel de Allende- which means you can walk everywhere and spare the expense of having a car. It is fully furnished, water, gas, electricity, and internet are included. It’s a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom condo with a dedicated parking space, small patio, and very modern finishes in a gated community with 24/7 security.

So, it matters where you look. How much do you know about the market? And it matters what your lifestyle can afford.

Being near a city center or in a desirable neighborhood comes with a cost. But usually, that cost comes with a few perks too. For example, you have more dining options, shopping, events, or community markets (tianguis). However, because these things are closer to you, you could quickly end up spending more money since you’re close to all the retail shops.

Something to consider.

But I’d like to hear from you! Let me know in the comments what YOUR rentals cost and where in Mexico YOU live.

Mariana Lange

Mariana Lima-Lange was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. when she was a child. She spent every summer visiting family throughout Mexico and is very knowledgeable about Mexican culture, lifestyle, and traditions. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.

Reader Interactions


  1. Kim West says

    Thank you so much for providing this wonderful source of information — and confidence — about living in Mexico.

    • Mariana Lange says

      Thank you for the support. Saludos

  2. Anthony Blount says

    Hola Mariana, thanks for reaching out to me. This information is great. However, can we communicate by phone because I have a few plans in my mind and I need your advice on. I live in Florida and I realized that I want to retire in Mexico. I want to start the process in Jan 2024 of visiting Mexico. Also, I’m planning on coming to Playa Del Carmen for my birthday in December.

  3. Steve Marcus says

    About to retire end of month and ready to make the big move.
    Deciding where to live in Mexico is the hardest part.
    There are so many beautiful towns.
    I had been thinking Queretaro – I really want a temperate climate or as close to it as you can get these days.
    While Oaxaca has always been on my list of places to visit, your video made me consider it as a place to live.
    I would be making the move as a single 65-year-old so it can feel overwhelming.
    By the way, the partnership with the house hunter is a phenomenal idea.

  4. Charles Arnold says

    ¡Hola Mariana! Just fyi….when I clicked on the listing on the link above for the apartment in San Miguel, it said “No se admiten mascotas”

    Maybe it was a different apartment? Just wanted to bring that to your attention.

    Love the channel and the web site! Keep up the informative work!


    • Mariana Lange says

      Hi – thanks for reading. The link shouldn’t go to a specific listing. The link goes to the FB group where I found those listings.

  5. Kaisa Lozada says

    We live in Puebla just a couple of blocks from Centro. We have a gorgeous 3 BR, 2 BA apartment with kitchen, utility room, laundry room, living/dining room (huge), and two terraces. The bedrooms have balconies and the finishes include beautiful brick ceilings and original beams. We pay 10,000 pesos monthly + 300 pesos for maintenance. We had looked in the El Camen neighborhood in Centro, but the prices were twice as high and man of the homes not as nice. So, we walk an extra five minutes to go place in Centro, but we love it here.

    • Mariana Lange says

      I lOVE this! Thank you for sharing. This is a perfect example of doing some research and being flexible on location 🙂

      • Susan says

        ¡Hola!, Mariana. When I moved to Lake Chapala at the end of May my initial searches were disheartening. Prices in Ajijic had increased since my visit last year and even my second choice, San Antonio Tlayacapan, was being affected with increased rents. I ended up in Riberas del Pilar on a road that runs along the lake.

        I have a furnished, 2-bdrm, 2-ba casita with a large and sunny front room, an enclosed private patio courtyard, kitchen with new appliances and a full laundry. Rent is $750 USD/month, paid in pesos at the exchange rate of that day. Internet, Roku TV and gardener are included. I pay for potable water in garrafons (about $160 pesos/mo, delivered into the casita), electricity (about $11 USD/mo) and propane (cost not yet known but I don’t use much).

        I’m two blocks from bus stops on the carretera, cost is 12 pesos (just went up from 10 pesos). Cell phone cost about $12/month with unlimited calling Mexico+Canada+USA. I can easily afford weekly maid service, something I never thought would be possible.

        So it is possible find clean, safe and comfortable rentals. Be persistent, keep looking, ask questions, join local FB groups geared to renters in your area of interest. Use connections listed in the Guide. And be flexible! I never gave Riberas a second thought but I love it here.

        • Mariana Lange says

          yes yes yes! Love this. Thanks for sharing

  6. Dawn E Williams says

    Hello Marianna!
    My husband and I are big fans! Thanks to you, we’ve moved up our timeframe to move to Mexico to 2024, and wonder if you’ll be doing more information about rentals examples (like this one) in other cities?
    SMA has dropped off our list and Oaxaca has become #1. We will come down in November to scout the area.
    We haven’t purchased your guide yet, but we will soon!

    • Mariana Lange says

      THANK YOU!

  7. Erika says

    Thank you for writing this and being honest. You could add that white people get taken advantage of at every turn, especially renting. We need to push back on the landlords and refuse ridiculous rent prices.

    • Mariana Lange says

      It’s not only white people that get taken advantage of. In fact only 2% of the population in Mexico is foreign.
      Many Mexicans also get price gouged.

  8. Jilly says

    Hello Mariana
    Thank you for all your information, it is very useful.

    However I’m disappointed to see that you only give a US and Canadian perspective.
    I am English, living in London and seriously considering Mexico.

    It would be great to see a slant towards the UK.

    Thank you

    • Mariana Lange says

      Thanks for the support. Sorry but If I started giving out all the currencies of the world that follow us, it would take me 3 months to write a single blog post. Hope you can understand
      Instead, I recommend getting very comfortable with the exchange rates of pesos to pounds

    • Susan says

      There are a lot of UK expats living in Mexico, would be worth it to check for groups on Facebook.

      • Mariana Lange says

        I know there are a lot of UK expats in Mexico. But for the sake of getting the information out, I am going to use Mexican pesos or USD. Any one else can do a quick conversion with 😉

  9. Cynthia Scott says

    We are looking to buy an older home, Estilo Colonia, in a Mexican (or at least mixed) non-gated neighborhood in SMA. We had an offer accepted and signed our part of the contract but then the seller wanted to change it – no deposit, no escrow account, and pay all at once on the day contracts are exchanged. Because they returned no signed contract we pulled out. (By the way our Notario wants us to pay for the SRE that we didn’t know had been applied for and which is now useless.)
    Now we’re interested in another house but it has a similar problem – the seller claims not to have a bank account and wants to be paid in one lump sum in cash. We intend to become fluent in Spanish but are not yet. Our buyer’s agent and the junior Notaria in the office both speak English. Is this sort of thing common when transactions are between Mexicans, or are we being taken advantage of?
    (I have joined the Relocation Guide private group.)

    • Mariana Lange says

      No this is not common and you shouldn’t play their game. Move on to another house. They are asking for lump sums of cash so they don’t have to pay taxes.
      It is common to pay for the SRE document that was filed. It isn’t the Notario’s fault the seller changed the contract requirements.

  10. Kimberlee Thorne says

    Hi Mariana,

    This is great info! I hope to start working with you soon as well since I´ve got a “mom van” now:)

    • Mariana Lange says

      Yay! Glad it’s helpful

  11. Roger says

    Thank you Mariana!
    Question: If someone lives a few miles outside centro for lower rent, could they ride a bicycle or moped into town? I’ve read there are cobbled streets.

    • Mariana Lange says

      It depends where in Mexico- in San Miguel de Allende, in some neighborhoods outside of centro yes. But if you’re in the outskirts, I wouldn’t ride my bike to town or a moped unless you’re very comfortable with the driving style of Mexicans.

  12. Beth says

    Thank you Mariana for all the valuable information that you provide ! I’m so happy I found you :-). I am planning to move to Mexico within the next 5 years – but will start shorter durations until I make the big move. I will keep in touch and definitely will use your service – in the meantime I continue to learn so much from you and the others who share in this group. All the best – Beth

  13. Leanne says

    Mariana-I’ve just started my research in advance of retiring in 1 1/2 years. I’ve also joined InterNations but not getting anything there…not even sure if it’s legitimate. Thank you kindly for all that you are doing.

    • Mariana Lange says

      Hi Leanne! Glad you found our site.
      Happy to help you in your journey moving to Mexico

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