If you’ve ever moved before, either around the block or across the country, you know how daunting a task it can be. Canceling services, installing new ones, change of address forms, and all the other important personal tasks you need to get done. However, once the frenzy dies down, you know your life will continue pretty much as it has. Now that you choose to move to Mexico, come to think…
So, you’ve moved to Mexico, now what?
The first thing to remember is that you’re in a foreign country, and what you used to take for granted may not exist anymore. If you move to Mexico, there are some extra things to consider and it’s good to know some tips to avoid spending extra money. this article we will look at several items of interest that many people overlook or don’t think about when making the move to Mexico….
- I want to buy a car…..
- What is the rule for tipping…
- Do I need prescriptions…
- I want to buy property…
- Learn the prices, and make sure you know the exchange rates…
- How do gas stations work….
- Sending and Receiving international packages…
Buying A New Car…
In a nutshell, anyone can buy a car in Mexico, but you have to be a resident to register it in your name, meaning that as a foreigner you must be in possession of a permanent or temporary resident visa. If you are among the 180-day set, you can buy a vehicle and insure it, but you can’t register it in your name.
The good news is that vehicle prices in Mexico are generally much less expensive than back home. A recent study showed cars are generally, on average, around USD$6,000 less in Mexico. Of course, the region you’re in and the exchange rate will have an impact on these numbers, so it is important to conduct your own research.
Once you’ve selected your car, and determined the price, you need to consider how to pay for it. Everywhere in Mexico money talks. If you pay cash, there will be less details to be concerned with, and you may even haggle a lower price. Due to the the laws surrounding repossession, banks are reluctant to finance vehicles. More and more, however, dealerships are taking on that responsibility, but be ready for very high interest rates, some up to 25%!
|What You Need||What You Take|
|Passport||Factura (original receipt)|
|Visa Card||Tarjeta de Circulacion (registration)|
|Proof of Mexican address||Tenencia (proof of paid taxes for the year)|
|Driver’s license||Make multiple copies of these|
Wonderful!! You have moved to Mexico and have a new car and you’re ready to explore this beautiful country…now you have to learn to drive here…good luck!!
How Much Do I Tip?
The minimum wage in Mexico is 141.70 pesos (USD$6.98) per work day.
As in most countries, service industry workers in Mexico rely on tips to supplement their income. Some look at the word “tip” to be an acronym, “To Insure Promptness”: The better the service, the better the tip. Many outlets pool all tips with distribution dependant on position, others will split evenly with all workers, and others yet will simply allow the worker to keep all of his or her tips received. There are no hard and fast rules concerning tips, but leaving 15% of your bill is a widely recognised practice.
So who else should I tip? Anyone who provides a service for you is worthy of a tip. Not just tourist-related positions or restaurants and bars, but also the hard working people at your laundromat. If you have a cleaning service come in they deserve a tip as well. When the building concierge delivers water jugs to you, say thanks with a tip. They will all be grateful and appreciative of that little show of respect, and they will respond in kind.
Tipping is a personal choice, however, and, if you find yourself in doubt about how much to leave, consider the minimum wage. Buen provecho!
Do I need a prescription…
You’ve made the move to Mexico, and you’re really enjoying the lifestyle. Soon, though, you will need to refill your prescription. It’s very costly and very unreliable to ship your prescription meds from home, and, quite possibly, illegal.
Most medicines are available over the counter, and are much less costly. Be warned, though, that not all medicines are held to the same standards. You could easily take the wrong dosage or even receive the wrong active ingredient.
If you didn’t consult with your doctor at home before you moved, here are some tips to follow…
- find a doctor and get local pharmacy recommendations
- choose a well-established pharmacy to obtain higher quality medicines
- discuss your needs with the pharmacist, they will advise on availability of your medicine
- a private health insurance carrier can provide access to facilities, drugs, and insurance billing if required
For more information on the types of Healthcare available in Mexico click here.
I’m ready to buy property here…
Whether you moved to Mexico recently, or you’ve been here for years, many expats decide to buy property rather than rent. It could be for an investment, for rental income, or simply a place you can call home. Manouvering through the ins and outs and the legalities of buying property in Mexico can be a harrowing ordeal. We will go into greater depth and detail on this subject in a later episode, but we will leave you with the top five frequently asked questions….
- Is it safe to buy real estate in Mexico…yes but it is crucial to obtain the services of a Mexican real estate attorney…
- Can I buy beachfront property in Mexico…yes but the property will be held in a bank trust (fideicomiso) with you as the beneficiary…
- Why do I need a real estate attorney…this is the only way to guarantee you receive title to the property…
- What function does a Notario Publico serve…it is a government-appointed attorney responsible for registering real estate deeds…
- Can the Mexican government take my property…no, under NAFTA rulings Mexico cannot expropriate any land unless for a public purpose such as building a road…
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How much is that in my currency…
Know before you go!
Regardless of where you’re from, the two currencies most used in Mexico are Pesos and US Dollars. It’s important to be aware of the exchange rates of both those monies to your currency. After some time and practice, you will soon be converting the numbers in your head. You will know how much you just spent on groceries, you will realise when the taxi driver is charging you too much, and you will smile when you discover how little things actually cost here!
Many restaurants and bars will show multiple currencies on la cuenta (the bill) for easier payment. Be sure to look it over, however, as there may be additional charges such as a tip added in, or an administration fee, or the like. Study the menu prices as well, so you don’t get surprised when it’s time to pay. Some outlets don’t give you a bill, or a handwritten one, or just the total, so know before you go!
Fill ‘er up!
Remember that car you just bought? Well, you will need to put gas in it before you go anywhere. Here’s the lowdown on gas stations…
- follow the lead from the attendants. They may get a commission so they will direct you to “their” pumps.
- establish form of payment before you do anything. Some less credible outlets may force you to use a credit card. Cash is always accepted and most stations will ask first.
- always check the pump gauges before they start filling your car. Ensure they have been cleared to zero. Again, the more reputable businesses will show you the zeros.
- check the final total, and if paying cash make sure you get the proper change.
- get in the habit of standing by your vehicle and watch all that’s going on. You might even be able to practice your Spanish!
To ship or not to ship….
You’ve made the move to Mexico, you’re settling into a routine, you’ve set up house in your new home, and now you want to bring some personal belongings from back home. Regular mail isn’t very reliable, and it may take weeks to get a package, if you get it at all. Here are some options you can use for international shipping.
FedEX has both international and domestic options for documents, parcels, and heavyweight shipping. With FedEX Tools, you can do everything online…check it here.
DHL offers shipping programs and logistical support for businesses. Whether it’s by air, sea, or ground they have a solution for your shipping needs. See more here.
UPS offers time- and day-definite gaurantees on your international shipments. They also offer Value-Added services, and a shipment calculator. See all this here.
There are many other shipping companies that can get your cherished belongings to your new home, so do some research, check pricing, and find out what duty and taxes will be required. Oh, and don’t forget to ask about insurance!
These are but a few of many concerns expats consider when they move to Mexico. Manoeuvring through daily life in Mexico can easily raise more questions than answers, but through trial and error and many “no entiendo” you will eventually settle in to a wonderful life in paradise.
We will leave you with one more thing to consider…the yellow painted blocks on the streets at intersections are NOT crosswalks, they are warning signs! Be sure to look both ways, even on one-way streets, and cross only when it is safe to do so!