What does it cost, really? – Pt. 2

If you read part one of this blog, you would know that 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.

Here is a more detailed break down of our expenses:

The basics:

  1. Food – $375/month for groceries and $200/month for eating out. You could easily spend a lot more or a lot less (eat out more or have your own garden).
  2. Clothing – We buy all our clothes in the U.S. I’m an avid second hand store shopper, so clothing can be quite cheap. Also, we live in a beach community, so casual clothes for warm weather are really all you need.
  3. Shelter – Our current rent is $600/month for a large 1 bedroom “casita” on the basement floor of a house (see part one for a photo collage of our place). It has 2 bathrooms, an office, den, living room, large kitchen, laundry area, and two large walk-in closets (we use one for storage of our stuff), and a pool. The gardener/pool guy comes twice a week and is included in our rent. And utilities have been an average of $300/month including phone, internet, propane, electric, water, and a once-a-month housekeeper (required by our landlord).

Other expenses:

  1. Household – $45/month for household goods and bathroom items that are not part of the grocery money (paper products, toothpaste, light bulbs, etc.).
  2. Cell phone – $20/month for one Mexican cell phone. (There are more expensive and less expensive plans.)
  3. Gas – $100/month for a ’96 truck, an ’04 mini SUV (a.k.a. a wanna’-be SUV), and an ’06 motorcycle. This budget does NOT include any trips we take to the U.S.
  4. Gym membership – We are both avid exercisers, so an expensive membership to the new gym in town is something we’re willing to spend money on. There are many options, but we spend about$82/month. (We like to think of it as preventative health care 🙂 )
  5. Entertainment – For $35/month we have movie nights about once a week (more in the summer to escape the heat!). There is a large new cinema in Guaymas (20 min. away) that plays (mostly) new movies in English with subtitles (and movies in Spanish with no subtitles). Great for learning Spanish!
  6. Various other costs – $43/month
  7. Other – haircuts ($8-$20), debt payments, travel costs, food purchased while in the U.S. and brought down (or in bulk at Costco/Sam’s in Mexico), boat equipment, car maintenance, etc.

Therefore, our total average cost of living is $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.

As stated in part one … 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.

I’d say that’s pretty inexpensive for ocean front living! And San Carlos is full of things to do. We enjoy beach walks, ocean swimming, kayaking, sailing, boating, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, cycling, running, parties, relaxing, community activities such as walks/runs and concerts, eating out, meeting new (and very interesting) people, and spending time with friends.


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