Cost of living 2018 in Mexico

Hello everyone,

As per our annual tradition, we invite you to share your experiences and tell us more about the average prices of products and services in your town/city/area, so that we have updated information regarding cost of living and inflation in Mexico.

Thanks to your contribution, future expats in Mexico will be more informed and will be able to refine their budget and better prepare for their big move.

How much does it cost to rent an apartment or a house in Mexico?

How much does it cost to buy an apartment or a house in Mexico?

How much do you pay on average for public transportation (bus, subway, train, tram, taxi)?

How much do you pay for basic food items such as rice, bread, and pasta?

What is your monthly budget for groceries?

How much does it cost to see a doctor/dentist/physician/specialist in Mexico?

How much do you pay for health insurance per month?

How much does childcare cost on average per month?

What is your child's schooling budget per month?

How much does it cost to fill up your car’s fuel tank?

How much do you pay for electricity/gas/water etc., per month?

How much do you pay for your internet and phone subscription?

How much do you pay for your lunch pack on weekdays?

How much do you pay for an espresso coffee?

How much do you pay for a cinema ticket?

How much does a gym membership cost in Mexico?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


Hey Priscilla,

I don’t think I can answer all of these, but I can give you my experiences if this helps.

How much does it cost to rent an apartment or a house in Mexico?
-It depends. My husband and I live close  to the border. For a two bedroom two bath apartment, we pay about $550 just for rent.  That doesn’t include any utilities or bills.

How much do you pay on average for public transportation (bus, subway, train, tram, taxi)?
- Will use Uber. Of course, it depends on where you want to go and how far you’re going. He uses the Uber every day to get back and forth to work and it runs in between five and eight dollars a day. I hear the buses are cheap, like $1 one way.

How much do you pay for basic food items such as rice, bread, and pasta?
- it depends on where you shop.  we tend to shop at the market in our neighborhood. A bag of rice will be between 25 and 35 pesos, the bread is usually 24 pesos, and a regular bag of pasta is about 20 pesos. If you shop at places like Soriana,  there’s of course more variety because it’s a big chain store,  but I have often paid more at places like that. For fruits and vegetables, there’s markets everywhere where you can get a good deal and haggle prices if you need to.  A lot of the markets have fruits and vegetables that you won’t be able to find at the store. Of course, it depends on the season .

What is your monthly budget for groceries?
- it depends on what you’re cooking and how many people you’re cooking for. I usually only cook for my husband and I, so weekly we spend anywhere from $25-$85.  I like to cook, so if I’m trying new recipes or learning new techniques or experimenting in the kitchen, I tend to spend more. If we are waiting for payday, I keep it lean and I can get away with $25 a week .

How much does it cost to fill up your car’s fuel tank?
- gas is expensive in general, so don’t let the “18.50” price fool because they charge by liter and there are 3 Iiters in a gallon, so you are still paying a high price, roughly between $2.90-$3.50/gallon.  It also depends on your car. Different card get different gas mileage.  We don’t drive very often, only to pick up groceries or if we know we’re going to go buy big furniture. We will pay anywhere between $15 and $45 in our car, but that doesn’t quite fill it up.  The awesome thing about the gas stations here is the  people who work there will fill it up for you, check your tires, and if need be, take a quick look at your engine .

How much do you pay for electricity/gas/water etc., per month?
- again, it all depends. Our electricity runs low, so we only pay between $9and $15, and for electricity, we only pay every other month.  Our water bill fluctuates between $10-$25 a month. Our gas ranges as well, going between $20-$30.
So rounded up, $75/month.

How much do you pay for your internet and phone subscription?
- We go through TelNor,  and we pay about $45 a month.  With this bill, I highly recommend peanut before it’s due. Do not be late on your bills in general, but especially on this one.   There was one time when we paid it late, maybe three or four days, and we got tagged with a late fee.

A note about bills that no one told me and I wish I had known :  you can pay your water bill in the OXXO, But you can only pay it before the due date. If you try to pay the day of or the day after, they won’t let you and you have to go down to the water place to pay it.

With the electricity, you can often find them in shopping plazas. There’s an auto pay machine And all you have to do is type in your information and pay.  However, I would highly recommend going into Google maps and search in the name of the electricity company and find one close to you because they are not in all the plazas.

With your gas bill, as far as I have done it, I go down town to the Zeta Gas  Company, located near Plaza Rio and Zona Rio and pay in person.  I’m not sure if you  can pay it anywhere else .

If you have TelNor,  there is often a place to pay it in the grocery store called Soriana. Here in Otay, the autopay machine is in front, by the restrooms and ATMs.

How much do you pay for your lunch pack on weekdays?
- it depends on where you go, and if you’re buying your lunch or bringing it from home. I typically buy tacos for lunch that cost anywhere from $1.50 to $3,  depending on how hungry I am and how many tacos I want. If I pack a lunch from home, with the cost of groceries, is typically the same or maybe a few dollars more .

How much do you pay for an espresso coffee?
-I rarely pay more than $3.

How much do you pay for a cinema ticket?
-ok, this is another awesome thing about Tijuana. You can go into the VIP movies for less than $15/person. They have all kinds of food, comfy leather chairs, and drinks as well.  For a regular ticket to the movies, I think we paid four dollars each .

A lot depends on what part of Mexico you want to live in. In San Felipe, Rents also very. I know people
that has paid 400.00 a mo and 1200.00 a mo.I paid $3 for breakfast and $5 for lunch. But to me i look
at it this way,what ever it is it is still cheaper than the US Buy a lot. What ever you decide just do it.
I have lived there a long time and would not trade it unless i had to.

My family visited Tulum a year ago for a couple of weeks.  Glorious beaches and cenotes.  Our apartment was luxurious, at prices about half of the US.  We felt that shopping at the very nice supermarket was essentially free for fruits and vegetables, local baked goods.  Bargain fish.  We did not eat much meat.  Restaurants were half or less of the US. Gasoline more than US.  Health food stores at US prices or a bit less.
Our flight cost was $1100 for two, round trip.  Avoid stopping in Mexico City -- it's crowded and confusing.

May I suggest you add one other cost item to your list? For those of us who either wish to travel "home" to the US from time to time, and/or pay for friends or family to visit us where we live, it would be useful to know an average "door to door to door" round trip cost in time and money from wherever folks live to a major US airport hub (say Atlanta) and back. Then we can add that cost, multiplied by the number of times we expect to pay for a round trip, to our estimated annual cost of living.

per Cabo San Lucas....4 1/2 years.
"Apples to Apples" very hard to compare, coming from Fort Collins, Colorado USA

Rent generally cheap, 800-1200 typical. There are many American owned condos empty, owners looking for long term American renters.

Asking prices look high but often close at half list....3-5 years on the market. Very high closing cost paid by the buyer (about $19,000 on a $250,000 purchase).   Unless you are committed to at least 10 years, better to rent (I'm a retired Re/Max broker). I know hundreds of Americans that have sold at a loss, none at a profit.

Food is very good and cheap....often half of the States and much fresher! Restaurants come in three types. Resort, very expensive. Local, very cheap. Expat hangouts, very fun. 

Take a  bus cheap, taxi very expensive.  Gasoline is double here vs. the States, parking is next to impossible.   A walking lifestyle encouraged.

The longer someone lives here the more you understand that the high season (Nov-April) is paradise, low season very hard.  From about mid-June through mid-Oct. the cost to air condition exceeds the value of the real estate (it's very easy to spend $2,000 on electricity in August on a condo that would low season rent for $800).

Biggest selling point of Cabo is that it's a 2-3 flight to most anywhere in the USA.  Locals often speak English. Mexico considers BCS part of the "frontura" so it's much easier to get an American car in and from San Diego very fun!  Great place to test out an expat lifestyle.

Just a little remainder, this forum is accessible to all foreigners across the world looking to move to Mexico and also to actual fulltime expats.

So the values in previous responses are confusing some are dollars (is that Canadian or US dollars) others are in pesos in the same response, the best would be to use the pesos not anything else.

The same problem exist on the french side of this site (euro, USD, CND and pesos are used ant specified creating great confision)

Adios y buen dia a todos, GyC.

I agree with one of the posts that points out the difference in geography, because location will have a significant impact.  Add to that the difference between living in the city and living in a more rural area, where things like water may cost nothing, while trash pickup is more complicated and, possibly, more costly. Gas is by tank, but cheap, and electricity is, as mentioned by another contributor, payable on a bi-monthly schedule at low cost. All in all, at least from my experience,  there is no comparison between the US and Mexico in terms of overall cost of living, particularly when your property is paid for. Utilities don't cost much, store bought food is quite inexpensive; car insurance, home insurance and the like are also very affordable as well. Unless you have medical issues you could deal with inexpensively in the US, but that require private, relatively expensive,  coverage in Mexico, the balance shifts clearly in favor of saying that Mexico is still a cost effective place to live in 2018.

Yes ,since i live in San Felipe , it is more of a desert  and quite hot and air needed
but my house is solar and we use fans and ect. You find ways of working around problems just as you do in the states.

My husband and I bought our first home in Queretaro 17 years ago and just bought one in SAN Miguel de Allende. HOA is inexpensive. Food can be any price. Gasoline is expensive and going up another 5%in February. Solar is the way to go. Mini splits are a good source of air conditioning. Much more for your money in Mexico.

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