If you’re considering living in Mexico, one of the most important things to consider is the cost of living.
Mexico offers a great quality of life at an affordable price, but it’s important to understand what you can expect to spend before making the move. In this blog post, we’ll explore the cost of living in Mexico and provide helpful tips to help you stretch your income. Whether you’re a digital nomad, someone living off their retirement, or at near retirement, these breakdowns will help you plan your own budget.
One of the biggest expenses you’ll have in Mexico is housing. Whether you buy or rent a house in Mexico, you will need a place to live.
The cost of housing can vary depending on the location and type of housing you choose. In general, the cost of housing in Mexico is much lower than in Canada or the United States. For example, if you plan to rent a place, you can expect to pay between $400 and $800 monthly for a small apartment or condo.
If you’re looking for something more upscale, in a trendy neighborhood, or with more space, you can expect to pay around $1,000 to $1,500 per month.
And if you plan to buy a home, the cost will depend on the location and size of the property. In popular areas like Puerto Vallarta or Cancun, you can expect to pay $200,000 or more for a decent-sized home.
And even though most cities are considered a lot lower in cost than many places in Canada or the United States, you can easily spend a lot of money if you’re not careful. My best advice, learn to find housing as locals do. Most rentals in Mexico are NOT online. And Spanish-speaking agents and brokers will manage some of the greatest houses for sale.
And because housing will make up one of the largest expenses, this can be your first introduction to learning how “living like a local” will lower your cost of living in Mexico.
One of the great things about living or retiring in Mexico is the amazing food.
Mexican cuisine is world-renowned for its delicious flavors and affordable prices. You can enjoy a delicious meal at a local restaurant for as little as $5 to $10 per person. If you prefer to cook at home, you can save even more by shopping at local markets and buying fresh produce.
The cost of groceries in Mexico is generally lower than in Canada or the United States, so you can expect to save quite a bit on your food budget.
But again, it all depends on your lifestyle, your habits, and even where you do your shopping.
Big box supermarkets like La Comer, Chedraui, and Costco are super convenient if you’re looking for familiar brands and everything under one roof. But in most cases, you won’t save that much money compared to north of the border only shopping here. Learn where your local mercados, fruteriuas, carnicerias, and tienditas are. In most cases, shopping local can save 10-20% off your grocery bill each month. And if you’re spending $10,000 Pesos/Month, that’s a savings of $1,000-$2,000 Pesos. It’s not nothing.
Transportation in Mexico is affordable and convenient. Especially when you live in larger cities like Mexico City, Queretaro, Puerto Vallarta, Merida, Guadalajara, and the like. You can get around using the public transportation system, which includes buses, metros, and trains.
The cost of a one-way ticket on public transportation is around $0.30 USD, which is much cheaper than in Canada or the United States. If you prefer to use taxis, you can expect to pay around $3 USD for a short ride. If you plan to travel a lot, you might consider buying a car.
Brand new cars in Mexico are generally more affordable than its equivalent in Canada or the United States. However, you have to keep in mind that gasoline can be expensive, and you’ll also need to pay for car insurance and registration.
One of the biggest concerns for anyone moving to Mexico is healthcare. Mexico has public and private healthcare options, and the cost will depend on the type of healthcare and the location.
If you plan to live in a popular expat destination like San Miguel de Allende, Puerto Vallarta, or Cancun, you’ll have access to excellent private healthcare facilities.
The cost of private healthcare in Mexico is generally much lower than in Canada or the United States, so you can expect to save quite a bit on your healthcare costs. To give you an idea, private medical care costs range from $25-$50 USD for a consultation with a specialist without insurance.
And for very minor things like an ear infection, a stomach bug, or a skin irritation, you can use one of the outpatient clinics next to the pharmacies in Mexico and pay as little as $50 Pesos. That’s about $2.50-$3 USD depending on the exchange rate.
True Cost Of Living Example in Mexico
A lot of people we know are living very comfortably in Mexico on a variety of budgets. Some prioritize living right next to the beach and spending more on rent. Some of our friends find it better to spend less on rent and live on social security alone.
There is no perfect answer. It all depends on your budget, your lifestyle, and your priorities. And you also have to consider that the exchange rate fluctuates!
So here are a few examples from customers and friends who have shared their budgets with us:
65 Year Old and His Partner- Cabo San Lucas.
- Bought their home in a nice gated community. 2 Beds 2 Bath Townhome for $5,000,000 MXN or about $250,000
- Fideicomiso (bank trust) paid annually $400 USD
- Electric paid every 2 months $2,322 MXN
- Propane every 3 months $1,620 MXN
- Water bill – monthly $300 MXN
- Groceries and Taco stands- monthly $8,000 MXN
- Gasoline- monthly $4,300 MXN
- Wifi Monthly $649 MXN
- Cellphone plans – 2 lines monthly $400 MXN
- HOA Fees- Monthly $1,000 MXN
- Auto Insurance 2 Cars- Annual $700 USD
- Medical insurance paid annually $2567 USD
Monthly Expenses in USD Total- $1,543 USD.
Single 67 Year Old-Ensenada
- Rent monthly $9000 MXN
- Water monthly $90 MXN
- Electricity monthly $300 MXN
- Propane Gas- every 6 months $850
- Internet and landline monthly $700 MXN
- Expat TV for American channels- monthly $40 USD
- Groceries Monthly $4,000 MXN
- Transportation- monthly $500 MXN
- Eating out with friends and other leisure activities- monthly $1000 MXN
- Housekeeper and Gardener monthly $3000 MXN
Total Monthly Expenses in USD $1,400 USD or less a Month.
Keep in mind that both of these examples live in hot climates where air conditioning is needed at least 6-8 months out of the year. That means their electricity bill is higher than you can expect if you lived in the central highlands of Mexico.
Tips for Saving Money in Mexico
Even though the cost of living in Mexico is generally lower than in Canada or the United States, finding ways to save money and stretch your budget is still important.
Here are some tips to help you save money in Mexico:
- Shop at local markets. Local markets are a great place to find fresh produce at affordable prices. You can also find handmade crafts and other unique items at local markets.
- Learn Spanish. Learning Spanish will help you avoid things like the gringo tax. Which is more common in expat cities like Playa del Carmen, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, etc. Many local landlords will charge a foreigner slightly more because they assume you have more money as you earn in dollars and not in pesos.
- Use public transportation. Public transportation is affordable and convenient in Mexico, so consider using it to save money on transportation costs.
- Embrace the local culture. Embracing the local culture in Mexico can be a great way to save money and experience the true essence of the country. This can include participating in local festivals, learning the language, and trying street food.
- Track the Exchange Rate- When considering making a large expense such as rent or buying a big piece of furniture, you have to learn to plan ahead and track the exchange rate. That way, if you transfer money from another currency, you do so when it is most favorable.
- Learn To Live Like A Local. Whether traveling on long-distance buses instead of flying, cooking at home more often, learning how to find local deals, taking advantage of free entertainment in your town, etc. Living like a local will not only help you integrate into Mexican culture, but you will also see the difference in your bank account.
Learn How to Live Like A Local in Mexico
If you’re considering moving to Mexico a relocation tour can be an invaluable tool to help you settle in and learn what the true cost of living in Mexico is.
Rather than relying on Facebook groups or online research, a Mexico relocation tour allows you to learn from an actual local who can provide insider knowledge and personalized advice.
Here are just a few reasons why you should consider taking a Mexico relocation tour:
- Get a personalized experience: Unlike a generic tour, a relocation tour is tailored to your needs and interests. Your local relocation guide can help you find the best neighborhoods to live in, the best schools for your children, and the best restaurants and shops in town, and where to find the best deals on produce.
- Save time and money: A private relocation tour can help you save time and money by providing valuable information about the local housing market, transportation options, and healthcare system. Your local guide can also help you avoid common pitfalls and scams, and tell you what areas are unsafe.
- Make new connections: Moving to a new place can be lonely, but a private Mexico relocation tour can help you make new connections and friends. Your local guide can introduce you to other expats and locals, helping you to feel more at home in your new city.
In short, a Mexico relocation tour is a smart investment for anyone planning a move to Mexico. Plus, we offer them in a variety of cities across Mexico. And because it is fully customizable, you can focus on seeing the things that are important to you and your family.
Find out how to book a private Mexico Relocation Tours Here.
Don Phin says
Mariana, real helpful! Thanks! I’m trying to decide Puerto Vallarta vs. Miquel de Allende.