Living in Guanajuato On LESS Than Social Security

Moving to a new country can be daunting, but it can also be a thrilling adventure filled with new experiences. In this blog post, we follow Ray’s journey moving from Dallas to the charming city of Guanajuato. A city of about 195,000 people in the Central Highlands of Mexico.

His story is full of practical tips, cultural insights, and personal reflections that might inspire you to consider such a bold move yourself.

This blog post is just a glimpse into Ray’s fascinating journey. Watch the full video to hear his story in his own words, get detailed insights, and feel a bit of his excitement and passion for his new life in Mexico. Whether you’re considering a move abroad or just curious about expat life, Ray’s experiences offer valuable lessons and a heartfelt perspective.

YouTube video

Why Mexico?

Immersion in Spanish: One of Ray’s primary reasons for moving was to immerse himself in Spanish. He found it difficult to practice Spanish in tourist-heavy areas like Puerto Vallarta, where people often respond in English.

“Part of my reason for moving here was to immerse myself in Spanish. I was originally going to move to Puerto Vallarta. But if I tried to speak Spanish they would answer me in English, so I went back on YouTube and looked for other places that I might be interested in.”

Ray in front of the Basilica
Ray in front of the Basilica

Cost of Living: The cost of living in Mexico is significantly lower than in the United States, allowing Ray to live comfortably on $1,122 USD/Month. A lot less than his social security income.

Weather: Unlike Texas’s extreme temperatures, Guanajuato offers a milder climate that Ray finds much more comfortable.

“Where I come from in Texas it’s very hot and can get very cold. Here it gets a little warm and we don’t have air conditioning most places and then we don’t have heat in the winter but all in all it’s it’s very comfortable.

Moving to Guanajuato

Initial Accommodations: Ray started his journey with a three-week Airbnb booking. This allowed him to get a feel for the city and secure his Mexican residency.

Finding a Home: Through serendipitous events and friendly neighbors, Ray found a perfect apartment without much hassle. His monthly expenses are remarkably low, including his ultra affordable $289 USD/Month rent that includes most utilities.

“I looked at many cities. The first time I saw Guanajuato, it was at the top of the list. And then every other video I watched, other cities would be nice, but nothing compared.”

Embracing The Culture

Street vendors in Guanajuato
Street vendors in Guanajuato

Family-Oriented Society: Ray appreciates the close-knit family culture in Mexico, where multiple generations often spend time together.

“The culture here is so family-oriented. It’s way different than being the United States. Cultural differences here are night and day, but it’s a refreshing and good difference.”

Festivities and Fiestas: The locals’ love for celebrations is contagious. Ray enjoys the frequent fiestas and the warm invitations from locals to join in the fun. Even though he misses his wife, who is still back in Texas, he thinks he has found a long-term home in Guanajuato.

Culinary Adventures: While Ray misses Tex-Mex, he has discovered delicious local foods and unique dining experiences, including a favorite plant-based restaurant- Tazon de Barro.

Guanajuato locals are very friendly
Guanajuato locals are very friendly.

Overcoming Challenges

Language Barriers: Despite the initial challenge, Ray’s commitment to learning Spanish has helped him integrate better and enjoy his interactions with locals.

Navigating Transportation: Understanding the local bus system was tricky at first, but Ray quickly adapted and now prefers walking and using public transportation. He doesn’t own a car and doesn’t think he will ever need one living in Guanajuato.

Cons of Living in Guanajuato: The city’s hilly landscape, while picturesque, can be physically demanding for residents. Walking around the city often involves steep climbs, which can be challenging for those with mobility issues. This also contributes to a lot of traffic due to the narrow, winding streets that add to the city’s charm.

Safety Concerns

Ray’s family was concerned about safety due to the presence of cartels. However, he feels safer in Guanajuato than in many parts of Texas, including walking alone at night. The local community’s insights and Ray’s personal experiences have assured him of the city’s safety.

“Many of my friends and family were concerned about the cartels. But like I tell them, there’s more presence of the cartel in parts of Texas especially West Texas where my wife and I were living. But when I’m here, I can’t tell the cartel is here. I mean I feel much safer here walking at night daytime whenever than I ever would walking in Dallas or the suburbs of Dallas.”

Financial Freedom

Living Expenses: Ray’s monthly expenses are impressively low. He lives on less than $1200 USD/Month, which allows him to live comfortably on his Social Security without dipping into his retirement savings.

“I usually don’t keep up with my expenses. I live way under what my social security is so I don’t even have to dip into my retirement to live here.”

Healthcare: Ray doesn’t have local insurance but maintains his Medicare supplement in the US for potential health issues.

Guanajuato and its emblematic Basilica Colegiata de Nuestra Señora

Considering a Move to Guanajuato?

Ray’s story is a testament to the enriching experience of moving to Mexico for a better quality of life. From the friendly locals and vibrant festivities to the affordable cost of living and mild weather, Guanajuato has exceeded his expectations.

If you’re thinking of visiting Guanajuato to see if it’s right for you, consider going on a private Guanajuato Relocation Tour.

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. John skorich says

    I have a paid membership in your group. I want to go and spend six months in Guana walk to Mexico. Can you tell me someone to contact? I do need help thank you.

  2. John Skorich says

    Guanawhato mexico

    • Mariana Lange says

      You’ll want to search the online guide for contacts in each of the services we have listed. Look for Guanajuato.

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