How Much Does It Cost to Live in Mexico? #LAWM
Have you ever wondered how much it really costs to live abroad? Wondering if you too, can afford to live abroad? Well, wonder no more because I’m about to break it down!
Disclaimer: These figures are based on living in Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico for six months from October 2017 to April 2018. Orizaba is small city that is starting to grow in popularity, but is not a major tourist attraction.
Income and Savings
First some financial background. I saved for approximately one-year working with an annual income of about $17,000. I saved about $8,000 over the year and took $6,000 of that with me to Mexico. While in Orizaba, I earned an additional 1,000-2,000 pesos a month (approx. $55-111) teaching English part-time.
My Monthly Expenses
I moved into my home about a month after I arrived in Orizaba. Honestly, I don’t know how much I spent during that first month except that I ate out frequently out of necessity and not leisure.
When I moved into my house, I was able to track my spending more consistently and set a budget. My main expenses were rent, food, my Mexican cell phone, internet, transportation, electric, and spending money. Below is a breakdown of what I spent roughly.
RENT- 2300 pesos ($128)
FOOD- 800p ($44)
INTERNET- 607p ($34)
SPENDING MONEY- 500p ($28)
ELECTRIC- 360p ($20)
CELL- 219p ($12)
TRANSPORTATION- 180p ($10)
TOTAL- 4,966p ($276)/month
Keep in mind this figure does not include money I spent in the first month, furniture, appliances, a gas tank plus accessories, and other household items to make my house a home. In Mexico, people take their fridge, stove, and gas tank with them when moving. I would estimate I spent an additional $1000 on these things.
I also continued to make student loan, credit card, and tax payments while in Mexico.
I like to keep all of my receipts while traveling (and generally) and this time was no exception. I keep my travel receipts as mementos and also to calculate the true cost of any trip because I know the budget does not always match the reality, especially with unexpected expenses (like a 500% increase of my winter light bill because we had an unusually cold winter and the government eliminated a key subsidy after the new year).
I talked about some of the struggles with my home on the Season 2 opener of the Black Minimalists™ podcast. As an earth sign (Taurus), my home is very important to me for feeling grounded. Part of the reason why I experienced depression there was because I never quite got settled. I chose to rent a three bedroom house because it was inexpensive, available, and near my work and friends.
Those things aside, while my expenses were cheap (wages were also low) compared to living in the U.S., I would’ve saved more time and money had I just rented a furnished studio apartment with the utilities included. My rent would’ve been more expensive (most of the nice studios are near downtown and other high traffic areas), but I would’ve saved in other areas. My transportation expenses would’ve also probably been higher to and from work, but I think I would still have come out on top with less stress and challenges to my minimalist values.
Now that I’ve done it, I know it’s possible and I have the experience to do it better next time. If living abroad is a dream of yours, I hope this post has inspired you to start planning.