Can you live in Mexico for $1,000 a month?

Like most people, you have probably moved around the block or transferred to a new country a few times.

Do you know how daunting a task can be? Will you easily be able to get the services and products you have become so used to?

You must cancel services, get a new Internet provider, change your address, and do all the other critical personal tasks required to move.

However, once the frenzy dies down, you know your life will continue pretty much as it has.

Now that you have chosen to move to Mexico, your life seems less stressful, and the quality of your life has improved much with the cheaper cost of living.

You can now afford a luxury apartment or new home for what you used to pay back home.

But Can You Live In Mexico on $1,000 a month?

Mexico has long been a good option for expats looking to retire or find a second home – it has a warm climate and a vibrant culture.

But is it possible to live in Mexico on $1,000 a month? It depends on the lifestyle you are looking for.

Live in an expat-centric area like the Riviera Maya; you will pay more to be part of the expats community.

However, those looking for a quieter, more local experience can find modest housing at much lower prices (sometimes rents in Mexico can be $300/month).

You may also take advantage of lower food, transportation, entertainment, and healthcare costs.

Altogether this brings the cost down dramatically, allowing people to enjoy all that Mexico has to offer while sticking close to their $1,000 budget.

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”

-Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

How Do Services and Amenities Compare To The United States?

The first thing to remember is that you’re in a foreign country, and what you used to take for granted may take a bit more effort.

If you move to Mexico, there are some extra things to consider, and it’s good to know some tips to help your $1,000 budget go as for as possible.

This article will look at several items of interest that many people overlook or don’t think about when moving to Mexico.

Things To Think About When Moving To Mexico?

  1. How to find a good car in Mexico?
  2. How much should I tip at restaurants in Cancun, Mexico?
  3. Is it easy to get prescriptions filled?
  4. Is it easy to buy real estate in Tulum or other parts of Mexico?
  5. Learn the prices, and make sure you know the exchange rates
  6. What is the best way to send and receive international packages?

Buying A New Car.

In a nutshell, anyone can buy a car in Mexico. Still, you must be a resident to register it in your name, meaning that as a foreigner, you must own 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.

It should be painless if you’re content to buy a car right off the lot. However, if you want something that has to be brought in from another dealer, be prepared to wait….and wait.

The good news is that vehicle prices in Mexico are generally much less expensive than back home.

For example, a recent study showed cars usually are, on average, around USD$6,000 less in Mexico.

But, of course, the region you’re in and the exchange rate will impact these numbers, so it is essential to conduct your 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 fewer details to be concerned with, and you may even haggle for a lower price.

Unfortunately, due to 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 NeedWhat You Take
PassportFactura (original receipt)
Visa CardTarjeta de Circulacion (registration)
Proof of Mexican addressTenencia (proof of paid taxes for the year)
Driver’s licenseMake multiple copies of these

Wonderful!! You have moved to Mexico, have a new car, and are ready to explore this beautiful country. You have to learn to drive here…good luck!!

How Much Should I Tip A Waiter?

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The minimum wage in Mexico is 141.70 pesos (USD$6.98) per workday.

As in most countries, service industry workers in Mexico rely on tips to supplement their income. Some look at the word “tip” as an acronym, “To Insure Promptness”: The better the service, the better the tip.

Many outlets pool all tips with distribution depending on position, others split evenly with all workers, and others allow the worker to keep all their tips received.

There are no hard and fast rules concerning tips, but leaving 15% of your bill is a widely recognized practice.

So who else should I tip? Anyone who provides a service for you is worthy of a tip.

Not just tourist-related positions, restaurants, and bars, but also the hard-working people at your laundromat.

If you have a cleaning service, come in, they also deserve a tip. When the building concierge delivers water jugs to you, say thanks with a lead.

They will all be grateful and appreciative of that little show of respect and respond in kind.

Tipping is a personal choice, however; if you doubt how much to leave, consider the minimum wage. Buen provecho!

Do You Need A Perscription For All Of Your Medicines?

You’ve moved to Mexico, and you’re enjoying the lifestyle. Soon, though, you will need to refill your prescription.

It’s costly, 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 wary that not all medications are held to the same standards.

You could take the wrong dosage or even receive a harmful active ingredient.

If you did consult with your doctor at home before you moved, – here are some tips to follow.

  • Find a doctor in Mexico you can trust and get a local pharmacy recommendation.
  • Choose a well-established pharmacy to obtain high-quality medicines.
  • Discuss your needs with the pharmacist; they will advise on the availability of your medicine and if you need a prescription to purchase it.
  • Some healthcare insurance providers can help you find great doctors and hospitals, and some will even cover the cost of your medication.

For more information on the types of Healthcare available in Mexico.

Fortunately, Mexico’s rules and laws surrounding prescription drugs are more relaxed.

I’m Ready To Buy A Property In Mexico

Whether you moved to Mexico recently or you’ve been here for years, many ex-pats decide to buy property rather than rent.

It could be for investment, rental income, or simply a place you can call home. Maneuvering the ins and outs and the legalities of buying real estate in Mexico for expats can be a harrowing ordeal.

In a later episode, we will go into greater depth and detail on this subject, but we will leave you with the top five frequently asked questions.

  1. Is it safe to buy real estate in Mexico…yes but it is crucial to obtain the services of a Mexican real estate attorney…
  2. Can I buy beachfront property in Mexico…yes but the property will be held in a bank trust (fideicomiso) with you as the beneficiary…
  3. Why do I need a real estate attorney…this is the only way to guarantee you receive title to the property…
  4. What function does a Notario Publico serve…it is a government-appointed attorney responsible for registering real estate deeds…
  5. 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…
Keep watching this space for more information on how to live your best life in Mexico!

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Understand The Exchange Rate in Mexico

Know before you go!

Regardless of where you’re from, the two currencies most used in Mexico are Pesos and US Dollars.

It’s essential 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, realize when the taxi driver is charging you too much, and smile when you discover how little things cost here!

Need a currency converter?
Look no further.

Many restaurants and bars will show multiple currencies on la cuenta (the bill) for more manageable payment.

Be sure to look it over, however, as there may be additional charges such as a tip added in, an administration fee, or the like.

Study the menu prices so you don’t get surprised when it’s time to pay. Some outlets don’t give you a bill, a handwritten one, or the total, so know before you go!

Is Gas Expensive in Mexico?

Remember that car you just bought? You will need to put gas in it before going anywhere. Here’s the lowdown on gas stations.

  • follow the lead from the attendants. They may get a commission to direct you to “their” pumps.
  • Establish a 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 watching all that’s happening. You might even get to practice your Spanish!

Should I Mail Everything When Moving To Mexico?

You’ve moved to Mexico, you’re settling into a routine, set up a 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 international and domestic documents, parcels, and heavyweight shipping options. With FedEx Tools, you can do everything online…check it here.

DHL offers shipping programs and logistical support for businesses. Whether by air, sea, or ground, they have a solution for your shipping needs. See more here.

UPS offers time- and day-definite guarantees on your international shipments. They also provide Value-Added services and a shipment calculator. See all this here.

Many other shipping companies can get your cherished belongings to your new home, so do some research, check to price, and find out what duty and taxes will be required.

Oh, and don’t forget to add insurance to your package when you mail it to Mexico!

Final Take Away On Moving To Mexico on a $1,000 Budget

These are a few expats’ concerns when moving to Mexico.

Maneuvering through daily life in Mexico is relatively easy, and before you know it, you will probably wish you had moved sooner.

You will eventually settle into a beautiful life in paradise, and all of your friends and family will love coming to visit you.

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.

Drivers tend to be a bit more aggressive here in Mexico.

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These move-to-Mexico tips should help you keep your budget around $1,000.

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