What does it cost, really? – Pt. 1

M. and I talked a lot about our budget and what living in Mexico would cost, before moving here. Turns out, we were fairly accurate.

Having both moved from southern California to Colorado, where you get more bang for your buck, we wanted to continue on the road toward financial freedom by moving somewhere we could live well below our means, which would allow us to travel.

So, what do we really need to live and enjoy life?

  • Some would say, the basics – food, clothing and shelter (ie. a garden, two changes of clothes, and a tent).
  • Others would say, the comforts (ie. high-end restaurants, Rodeo Drive, a 6,000 sq. ft. home in Newport Beach and a sports car or two).

Then there’s the rest of us … the in-betweeners. M. and I asked ourselves what we wanted and what we were comfortable with, and here’s where it led …

This is our furnished rental home in San Carlos, Sonora, a Mexican seaside resort community (the header photo is of the beach looking toward our house).

We moved here in June 2010. San Carlos is 250 miles south of Nogales, Arizona, on the west coast of mainland Mexico overlooking the Sea of Cortez. The population of 3,000 swells to 7,000 residents during the winter months, of which 70% are American and Canadian.

It is not the least expensive option in Mexico, but it has everything we want:

  • plenty of sailboats for sale (and sail!)
  • oodles of people around to teach us to sail (San Carlos is a hurricane hole, so many cruisers start and end their cruising season here, or live here most of the year)
  • easy access to the U.S. by land (a 7-8 hr. drive north to Tucson, AZ)
  • a familiar culture for an easier transition (lots of gringos around)
  • plenty of furnished apartments/condos/homes of all sizes to rent (think, snowbird community)

(I’ll have to talk more about these things in future blogs, including our preparation to move to San Carlos, but for now, I’ll focus on the money side of things.)

So the question is:

What does it actually cost to live here?

For food, rent, all utilities, household goods, a Mexican cell phone, car fuel, a gym membership, entertainment (movie nights), and random small items, we spend an average of $1800/month for two adults.

This DOES NOT include any travel costs, car maintenance, clothing, debt, boat equipment, or items purchased online or while in the U.S.

So, that’s $21,600/year.

Obviously, you can spend more, or less, depending on your choices. We will be having a baby in August (more to come on that later), so our expenses will increase. We have, however, found a lovely 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom furnished home to rent for $450/month, with approximate utility costs at $150/month. That’s a savings of  $3,600/year compared to our current rent and utilities.

So, for next year, we anticipate our living expenses to be only $18,000.

But, life isn’t just about money. To quote from another blog:

“Still, money can’t buy happiness. Friendship and community – true community – don’t require money. It can exist in the most remote of places amongst people with nothing to give or share than themselves. At the end of the day, this is what’s important, and if there is an escape from the Rat Race, surely it comes from just stepping off the wheel and spending some time with those we care about.”

We have found an amazing community here. Things have become less important and people (including ourselves) more important.

Giving up and selling many of our material possessions is allowing us to pursue our dreams. What are yours?

Read part 2 for a more detailed list of our expenses.

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1 Comment

Filed under Finances, Moving to Mexico

One response to “What does it cost, really? – Pt. 1

  1. Dreams…to be debt free ASAP. For all our kids to choose Jesus as their Savior, to be a better mom, to be a stupdendous follower of Christ, and to impact birth outcomes for moms and babies (hence, my childbirth classes and one day maybe a midwife). Dreaming is fun. Although now I’m thinking some of these are goals. Goals, dreams–close to the same thing? Hugs from Colorado! I miss you.

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