Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Cost of Living in Mexico for Expats: Keeping it real

The cost of living in Mexico for expats is a topic that has been covered on a number of websites, but today I'm going to give you my two cents and keep it real.

People often ask "How much money do I need to live comfortably in Mexico?" and my answer is always "It depends."  It depends because "comfortable" is so subjective.  Is it important that you have someone to cook for you 7 days a week or are you fine cooking for yourself (and your family if that's the case)?  Do you want to live in a secure building in a nice area with other expats and Mexicans or do you want to live in a place where you are the only expat for miles and you can interact with the locals?

Many people have the misconception that Mexico is cheap.  While it is less expensive in many aspects, it is by no means cheap. 


Cell phone service
Land line service (Thanks Telmex! Mexico has the highest phone rates in the world behind Iraq)
Clothing* (yes, you can find cheap clothing at the tianguis (farmer's market type setup) but I'm talking about walking into a store and buying something)
Magazines in English (expect to pay over $6 USD)


Most restaurants
Medical services (doctor, dentist, etc)
Taxis/public transportation
Haircuts (at MOST places)
Utilities (gas, water, electricity)
Maid service
Drivers (you can hire someone to drive you around so you don't have to deal with traffic)


Rents in big cities (ie, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey)


  1. I'm able to live pretty inexpensively in Cancun... about $350 US rent for a small, 2-story house (3 bed, 2 bath) with a little yard in a great neighborhood. Taxis are less than $2.

    Still, one thing that can break the bank here is electricity! I've never paid more than about $30 US on a 2-month bill, but I know people with AC in large houses who have bills up to $1100 US a month. Scary.

  2. Thanks for your comments - this is exactly what I'm talking about - you pay waaaay less in rent then what you would pay in a big city, but end up spending more on electricity (most places in urban areas in Mexico don't have A/C). Thanks for letting us know about prices in Cancun!