I want to address something that comes up a lot after I post a video or after I talk about the “lower cost of living in Mexico,” and figured this is a perfect time to address it.
When I talk about having a Home Depot, Walmart, and other familiar chains, I don’t want to mislead anyone by saying that these are cheaper than the US or Canada. In fact, some of the same products will be more expensive in Mexico because they are imported.
When I show you nice rentals in any one town or city, it doesn’t mean all of Mexico is like this.
I only mention this because many people move to Mexico with the idea that their cost of living will be lower. But then they only buy imported goods, rent an expensive place, or only eat out and don’t cook at home.
Then at the end of the month, they spend almost the same as they did back home and are puzzled they didn’t save money.
And I think it’s because many people think you can live in Mexico like a king with very little money. And while yes, you can live better with less money, it doesn’t mean you can’t spend some serious money too. For some of you, it may mean adjusting your lifestyle a bit.
So, how do you save money moving to Mexico?
Rent where the locals rent. From the locals offering the regular rental prices. Don’t move to the expat-saturated cities where rents are high. Instead, look at a few neighboring cities with less going on but will also cost less. For example, instead of living in the trendy neighborhoods of Mexico City like Condesa or Roma, consider Del Valle or Narvarte.
Instead of living in Ajijic, consider living in Chapala or Jocotepec. etc. etc.
There’s nothing wrong with expat cities- if you can afford it and prefer to live there. I think they tend to be amazing for many reasons. They are a softer landing and always have a lot of fun things going on. But that comes with a price.
Another way to save is to shop at the local markets. Buy the local cheese. Buy the local brands. Buy produce from the market vendors directly and see how you start to save. Shop at the mercados whenever your favorite vendors have 2×1 sales or similar.
Eat at the local and small fondas. Or eat at the street food vendors- Not the trendiest restaurants. Especially when you’re in an expat or touristy city- the prices of food and services are catered to USD and wealthier Mexicans. This is especially true in the busy parts of town.
Now, if you’re okay with spending the same as you did back home, you’ll also probably get more for your money. Because a lot of people don’t move to México to live frugally. Some people also want a nice life or a new adventure for the same money. And Mexico also offers that. But it comes down to YOUR lifestyle.
Low Cost Of Living in Mexico is Not The Same As The Residency Requirements
I also want you to remember that the income requirements for residency are not 1:1 when I talk about the cost of living in Mexico.
Mexico’s Consulates abroad use a formula currently that considers Mexico’s minimum wage.
The current minimum wage is $172.87 pesos daily, and the formula for Temporary Residency is
- 300 days x minimum wage (172.87) = 51,861 pesos- Amount needed monthly to qualify for Temporary Residency in Mexico
$51,861 Pesos is ~$2593 USD.
So in 2022, $2593 USD is the MINIMUM AMOUNT NEEDED MONTHLY TO QUALIFY FOR Residency in Mexico under financial solvency.
Minimum Wage In Mexico Will Increase by 20% in 2023
HOWEVER- You may have heard that the Mexican government is increasing their minimum wages by 20% next year.
And although most consulates haven’t publicized it, we can almost assume that income requirements for 2023 will also increase since the consulates have historically used a formula that includes minimum wage.
And I say “almost assume” because there is another formula known as the UMA, which some consulates have used in the past and would make the income requirements for residency in Mexico much much lower. But we don’t know or have any reason to think they will implement the UMA next year.
Some consulates in Arizona have already started asking applicants to prove $3,000 USD a month for the last 6 months to obtain a Temporary Residency, which is a $500-$600 dollar increase from 2022.
It’s also very important to remember that every consulate has its own income and other general requirements. And as frustrating as it sometimes seems not to get a centralized way of doing things, it’s a small glimpse into Mexican bureaucracy. Learn this word because you need it “paciencia” (patience).
That is why I recommend you apply for residency as soon as possible. If you qualify today doesn’t mean you’ll qualify next year. And you don’t have to live in Mexico to remain a resident.
As soon as I know of any updates regarding residency or other important information, I will keep you all posted.
But for now, we will all have to wait and see what most consulates do in 2023.