Someday when I’m done being a full time go getter I will settle down in some villa somewhere in Mexico and sit next to a pool and sip fine Tequilla. That will definetly be enjoyable. I’m 29 and beginning to think about retirement. Not the traditional American retirement but a more leisurely life of doing what I really enjoy every single damn day.
More than likely one of the small towns around Lake Chapala would entice me the most, or possible Mazatlan. 6 months in Mazatlan during the cool months would be nice and 6 months in the moderate season in Lake Chapala would be ideal. I’ve already lived in Mazatlan and been to Lake Chapala so these location would suit me best. I’m here to teach you how to live on around 20 dollars a day in Mexico and live like a King.
Thousands of American’s Retire in Mexico Every Single Year
One of the first things I like to do is develop a budget of what your costs are here in the States for most of us we spend about 110% of what we earn. But if we are retiring we tend to spend 90% of our alloted budgets. However with careful planning you can live very comfortably on $20 dollars a day in Mexico but it’s nice to allot a bit more for entertainment but it’s completely neccesary.
Housing: If you are used to living in a small but decent place that you pay $700 or $800 dollars for stateside expect to pay around $350 for the same type of living arrangements in Mexico. I personally have swung both ways on this. More luxurious housing, and less luxurious both are enjoyable to me. Either way affordable house is aplenty in Mexico.
Food: Your day to day food costs are going to go down a lot. However your eating out food budget might go through the roof. It’s one of my favorite forms of entertainment in Mexico. Going out daily in the afternoon was a serious habit of mine and one I cherish to this day. If you budget right and eat local food your costs are going to drop 50% more or less.
Alcohol: Liquor costs less in Mexico, but it also goes down easier. That was a problem of mine everyone in Mexico seems to pick up the beer in the afternoon after work and well it’s something that needs to be moderated. However high end wine and liquor is roughly 50% of what you’d pay Stateside.
Utilities: The average price of an electric bill in Mexico is $100 Dollars every two months if you live in a 2 bedroom house and have air conditioning. That’s a lot for Mexicans but affordable for us Gringos.
Insurance: Mexico has a state run insurance program that costs as little as $50 Dollars A Year this only takes care of minor acute care really and shouldn’t be relied upon as your primary insurance. Cost in hand medical care is pretty affordable however.
Telephone: My recommendation on the phone front is simple. Get Vonage, and a Mexican Cell Phone. Also use the power of Google Voice to forward US calls to your cellphone giving you a local phone number. Telcel is a great provider in Mexico. Very modern and reliable service. I’d stick with a prepaid service. You can even recharge online.
Internet connections: $20 to $30 a month is average, not including set-up fees. If your not into having a dedicated internet connection in your home or live in a place where it’s not possible you can go to an internet cafe for as little as $1 Dollar An Hour.
Laundry: You can hire someone for as little as $2 dollars an hour to do your laundry by hand. This is pretty generous. Although it seems a bit expensive this has always been my practice in Mexico.
Hired Help: $2 an hour is considered “generous” for occasional house cleaning and yard work. I used to hire the neighborhood boys to cut my grass with a machette and they always did a pretty decent job.
Travel Don’t forget to include your cost of travel back and forth to the States a few times a year. It’s pretty cheap to fly in and out of the main cities these days but make sure you calculate that in with your cost of living expense estimate.
Mexico is a great place to live if you choose the right locales. Personally I love Mazatlan, but over the last 6 months Lake Chapala seems to have this great draw to me. It’s the most popular expat community in Mexico and there’s a reason for it. It’s got the second best climate in the world and it’s more affordable than the other coastal destinations.
Everyone of us has to decide where we want to live and how we live. The expat life is not for everyone but for those of us who speak multiple languages and enjoy something a bit more exotic this is just right.