Cost of living in Mexico

Hi everybody,

It would be very useful to talk about the cost of living in Mexico.

Don't forget to mention where in Mexico you are living.

How much does it cost to live in Mexico?

> accommodation prices

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...)

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?)

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance)

> eduction prices (if you need to pay)

> energy prices (oil, electricity)

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone)

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant

> prices of a beer and or a coffee in a regular pub

> price of the cinema

Do not hesitate to add items to this list!

Thanks in advance for your participation!!

That's a great question and a great topic for discussion.

We live in Manzanillo, Mexico. We have been living here for about a year and honestly we were a little surprised at the cost. We try to live as cheap as possible, while still enjoying life. It was a bit higher than we were expecting. Here is a rough estimate of our costs:

> accommodation prices- 5200 pesos/month. For 2 bedrooms 2 baths. Unfurnished. This is a pretty good deal for our area.

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...)- Taxi's run around 30-40 pesos. Bus is 5 pesos.

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?)- 3500 pesos/month

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance)- 140 Pesos/month (Colima has a great insurance for the general public)

> Electricity- 2500-3000/month (that's using A/C one or two hours during the hottest parts of the day)

>Oil- 300/month

> Internet/Telephone- 600/month

> Cell Phone- 400/month

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant- 60-100 pesos

> Beer- 10-15 pesos

> Coffee- 15-30 pesos

> price of the cinema- 45 pesos

On average our monthly expenditures come to around $1200 USD. But that's before the peso plummeted, so who knows what it will be this month. Manzanillo is a tad more expensive than some other areas in Mexico, I'm interested in seeing how others fare.


It is very possible to live cheaply in Mexico. But I think there is a balance every expat has to reach. Most of us did not grow up in this culture, so we are strangers and it's probably going to be very difficult to live completely like the locals do.

So you have to ask yourself what you are willing to do to cut the costs, or if costs are even going to be an issue. With the way the economy is going, I think more and more people are going to be concerned. Certain things are dirt cheap here, but other things are actually more expensive.

I wrote an article on it last week, and will do more in the future. But check the comments in this posting, some of the locals had some interesting advice about cutting costs while not loosing out on quality of life.

What's an expat to do?


:D  Hola, My wife and I live in Ciudad Victoria in Tamaulipas in Northeast Mexico. This is not a tourist area and there are very few expatriots here.  While we freely admit that we live a very quiet lifestyle, our costs are pretty much what we expected. This is mostly due to the fact that I had visited the area some years ago and did my homework.

The prices listed below are NOT remarkably low for this area. But, as I said, this area is not a tourist area, it is not a "quaint" colonial town, nor does it have any significant history. As a matter of fact, Ciudad Victoria is never listed as a place to retire, and Tamaulipas is not mentioned in most travel books. When it is, Tamaulipas is described as a "vast wasteland" that "is best passed through as quickly as possible". Of course, this is not true. We love it here. We are just three hours from the US border which is convenient for me because I go to the Veteran's Clinic in McAllen, Tx.  We are just an hour away from the beaches along the Gulf of Mexico and the mountains are literally right outside of my back door.

The currency exchange rate is in our favor right now. Last month I was getting $5000MP for about $450US at the ATM. Today I am able to get the same $5000MP for $385US. But this changes everyday so I am going to quote the prices in pesos.

Rent of a large (for Mexico) two bedroom house on a quiet lane in the city...$2600MP.

Electric...~$250MP month

Water/sewer...~$45MP every 3 months (our water is drinkable right from the tap)

Cable/Internet...$850MP for the premium level Cable (200 channels, about half of which are i English) and the highest speed Internet (2megs).

We don't have a phone because we use SKYPE for all of our international calls (free to other SKYPE users-2cents/minute to other phone numbers) and I have a phone card for the pay phone on the corner for local calls. (pizza delivery)

Gasoline is high right now at $9.90MP per liter

We shop at the local supermarket, Sam's Club, and WalMart. Fresh fruit, veggies, and meat are very inexpensive when compared to the US. Canned goods from Mexico are a good bargain but those from the US and Spain are expensive. Cleaning supplies are about the same as the US, as are clothes, bedding, and furniture. Everything you could possibly need is available in the local Mercado (street market) and it is a fun way to spend a few hours in the morning. With our difficulties getting around, we seldom go there, though.

SIDE BAR--My wife relies on a wheelchair and we seldom have problems getting in and out of most places. The city has ramped most sidewalks at intersections and all public buildings are required to offer ramps.

Movies in either of the two megaplex theaters cost $38MP if we go to in the afternoon. Most of the time there is at least one new film in English with Spanish subtitles.

As the capital city of the STATE OF TAMAULIPAS, Ciudad Victoria is the hub of culture for this area. Live theater, concerts, art exhibits, and sports events are very poplular and VERY inexpensive because the local government values the Arts and underwrites the costs, making the events affordable to most of the residents.

If we need a break there are several very nice restaurants as well as fast food joints in the area. Applebees, McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Church's Chicken, Subway, and Domino's Pizza to name a few. These are nice and exactly like those in the States. However, they are expensive when compared to the the vast variety of local restaurants and street venders who offer everything from shrimp cocktail, tacos and gorditas, and hotdogs, to roasted ears of corn and fresh orange and grapefruit juice.  My personal favorite is the tamales made fresh by the lady on the next block and sold door to door everyday.

Medical care is available. We joined the government health scheme for about $2000MP a year. This gives us unlimited access to medical, dental, vision, and emergency care with no further costs. This system is crowded and the clinics are slow. But it covers all of the costs of our prescriptions, a savings of $400.00US each MONTH. Should a major medical situation arise, as it did when my wife needed to have her gall bladder removed earlier this year, we went to Texas and had Medicare cover the expenses.

The bottom line is, of course, the BOTTOM LINE. When all is said and done, we have a hard time spending $800US per month here in Ciudad Victoria.  As I stated earlier, we live a very quiet life style. Neither of us smoke, we don't drink, and we stay at home most of the time.  We moved to this area because it offered everything we needed. A comfortable home in a modern city with affordable prices that allow us to live on our social security and veteran's pensions.

There are some down sides.  It gets HOT here in the summer. And it gets cool in the winter. We don't have air conditioning and we don't have a furnace.  We use a space heater when it gets really cool and a fan when it gets hot. There is always a nice breeze, though. Ciudad Victoria is nestled up against the mountains to the west and is about 30 miles from the Gulf to the east. North is a flat expance of agricultural tracts, maybe the best Bass Lake in the world, and thousands of acres of high desert where cattle graze and wildlife is abundant. Travelers going south will find a more tropical ecology, colonial Mexico, and higher prices. 

Being two or three hours from anywhere else, Ciudad Victoria is an oasis of culture and commerce, as well as a very nice place to live.:cool:

I was very happy to read this thread (I came across it in a google search for living in Mexico). Thank you for the information given so far.

Tamaulipasteacher, my husband and I are very interested in learning more about living in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas. The way you describe your life sounds a lot like the way we would expect to live. We are pretty frugal people!

If I might ask a few questions (of course, hoping that you will come back to this thread at some point) . . .
-was it difficult to find a house to rent that was a reasonable price?
-did you do a lot of research first so that you were comfortable with safety/ security of the area?
-do you live in Ciudad Victoria all year round?
-how cold is "cool in the winter"?

Neither my husband nor I are retired, we both do freelance writing via the internet. It doesn't pay a great wage but  we'd be able to live a quiet life.

We need to be concerned about the weather for my husband's health. Not the temperature so much as the frequency of storms.

We both really like the Mexican culture but don't want to live in touristy areas (nor could we afford to, if my research is correct).

Besides searches on the internet, what would you advise people like us to do to research the area? could we spend a couple of weeks and learn enough to make a decision or is that unrealistic?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! and thank you again for posting the information you did.

Hi We are from Den Haag (The Hague)living in Merida, Yuc. Mexico. When we moved here, we sold everything and we start a fresh new life, we are not the kind that gets attached to material things, plus we have no children. So that made everything easier. A year before we move we bought a simple house (30,000 Usd) very basic, in a brand new residential area, we lived there for about a year, then we decided to sell it, in less than a month we sold the propperty for twice its value, with this money and 30,000 USD more we bougth a brand new house in a much better residential area. Here we are very comfortable and we want to keep this property for a while.

About livign expenses in Merida. (Just as a example)
Since we own our house in Merida, we do not pay rent. We bogth this brand new property for about 90,000 USD with 250m2 lot and 240m2 construction (3 bed rooms, back yard, garage, spacius, in a private residential area. We spend about 2,000 pesos a month on food, we own 2 cars, electrical bill is about 500 pesos a month (we have a lot of electrical equipment in house), water is 150 pesos a month, property tax is 1000 pesos a year, private health insurance we pay 30,000 pesos a year (this is a expensive item) but we want to be fully cover. In general I can say that we live very good quality of life with 15,000 pesos a month which is about 1000 usd with the current exchange rate. We love to go out for dinner, movies and trips around the area, and we can afford it.

At this moment we are paying Fideicomiso which is about 5000 pesos a year, but next year we will apply for the Mexican nationality and then we do not need the Fideicomiso any more.

We have been investing in real state (land moustly) since Yucatan is still very affordable, in about 3 years, our assets have increase their values in more than 200%, better than the stock, now we are planing to make our biggest investment in a Beach condo in Progreso area, wich we felt in love with, we shop around first and we think this is a good option for us.

We had help some friend here to make some real state investments, since I am very much experience in the construction bussines and my wife has good knowlege in finance. We are profiting form our professional experience, and Yucatan has been a great place for investment for us.

Greetings from Merida.

We wrote quite a long article recently about this, with lots of good details: … ucatan.htm

Hi! We are planning to move to Colima,Colima from Maui Hawaii. We are interested in home or apt.rental prices & cost of living there. We will be bringing our 20yr old daughter.We appreciate any assistance.
(My husband is from Mexico City.He's been away for years.) TY

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