How Much Does It Cost to Live in Mexico? - Expatriate Group (2023)

How Much Does It Cost to Live in Mexico? - Expatriate Group (1)

20th March, 2017 in Expat Finances

Holidaymakers and expats are greeted warmly in Mexico and tourism is one of the most important industries. It is the eighth most visited country in the world and there are estimated to be well over a million expats (particularly North Americans) calling the country home.

The Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank, release their global Prosperity Index annually. The survey ranks the most prosperous countries in the world. Many assume prosperity is used in reference to the financial standing of a country and, while this is included, the Legatum Institute considers more factors in its ranking.

Ranking in 65th place this year (out of 149 countries) was Mexico. This puts Mexico in the top 40%, with its ranking for business environment (31th place) the only asset ranked above 50th position. Mexico performed poorly for social capital (126th) and safety and security (133rd).

With one of the strongest economies in Latin America, near perfect weather, and a reasonable cost of living, we uncover how much it really costs to live in Mexico.

(Video) What is The Cost of Living in Mexico 2022 | Can You Afford to Live in Mexico Full Time?

Economy

Mexico is a powerhouse in the emerging market, only behind China, Brazil, Russia, and Indian. It is amongst the world’s 20 largest economies and is the largest in Latin America. Mexico’s economic success is partly dependent on the health of the American economy and it grew by 2.4% in 2014 and 2.3% in 2015. Poverty is by far Mexico’s largest economical issue, with the Mexican government estimating that 33% of citizens living in moderate poverty and 9% in extreme poverty. This equates to 42% of Mexican citizens living below the national poverty line. Despite extensive changes in the government’s economic policies, many blame the high poverty levels on social inequality and lack of opportunities.

How Much Does It Cost to Live in Mexico? - Expatriate Group (2)Currency

The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican peso (MXN). One peso is divided into 100 centavos. There are seven MXN notes, split into denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000. Coins are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 pesos and 5, 10, 20, and 50 centavos. Expats should remember that when dealing with large numbers, the comma is placed every two digits past 100,000. Therefore, 500,000 INR would be shown as 5,00,000 INR. Expats will see MXN symbolised by the dollar sign ($).

Housing in Mexico for Expats

Contemporary apartment block? Colonial townhouse? Ranch in the countryside? Expats moving to Mexico will be astounded by the vast array of different properties throughout the cities and beyond. Rent is substantially cheaper outside of the city limits. However, regardless of where you choose to call home, the process of acquiring a rental property in Mexico can be tricky.

Renting is the norm in Mexico and, for this reason, there are countless different properties available. Often, the language barrier can make proceedings more complicated. However, the most infuriating aspect of renting through an estate agent is the need for a guarantor, who must be a Mexican citizen and a property owner. This is not the case for everyone securing a property through an agent, but it is common.

To rent a home with minimum fuss, expats are advised to browse the listings in newspapers, or ask other expats or locals. There should still be a rental contract signed and an inventory completed for protection purposes.

Although renting is the norm, foreigners looking to buy a home in Mexico will benefit from beautiful homes and low property prices. Unlike other countries, buying a property is restriction free and a relatively uncomplicated process with the help of a property lawyer to oversee proceedings.

(Video) ExPatriate Community in Mexico + Tour, Costs and Living Expenses

How Much Does It Cost to Live in Mexico? - Expatriate Group (3)Expat Healthcare in Mexico

Unlike most countries, which have a public and private healthcare service, Mexico has three different tiers. The lowest is for unemployed Mexicans, so will not apply to expats. The next tier up is the public healthcare sector. Expats who work in Mexico are entitled to free treatment as part of their salary is deducted to pay for this. There is also an option for retired expats to opt in for public healthcare. However, expats of any age should be aware that some medical facilities in Mexico do not match up to Western standards. Whilst some of the clinics and hospitals in the cities are exceptional, the public healthcare industry on the whole leaves a lot to be desired, especially in more rural areas.

The vast majority of expats (including those covered by the public healthcare system) opt to pay for international healthcare to ensure they have access to the best facilities if they are needed. Private hospitals and clinics are on par with Western facilities, with many doctors having been trained in Europe or America. However, it is worth bearing in mind that many private hospitals will not deal with insurance providers directly. This means you will have to pay for any treatment out of you own pocket and keep hold of invoices so that you can claim the cost back from your insurance provider.

Expat Education in Mexico

Only Mexican children receive free tuition in public schools so, regardless of opting for independent or home schooling, expat parents will have to pay. Understandably, fees for public schools are significantly less than that of independent establishments.

For children fluent in Spanish, expats essentially have the pick of any school in Mexico. However, many of the public schools are underfunded and do not match up to the standard of state schools in the Western world. It can be best for expat parents to visit public schools or go off of recommendations from other expat parents who have bilingual children.

For those living in areas with unsuitable public schools, or whose children do not speak Spanish, independent schools are commonly the most popular option. Fees tend to fall between £120 and £300 per month, but can be more. Parents should also expect to pay an annual enrolment fee and purchase school uniform and books. Places for students at independent schools can go quickly, so it is best for parents to get their foot in the door with some of their favourites as soon as possible.

However, home schooling is becoming increasingly popular in Mexico. Many parents take on the task themselves, or send their children to a public Spanish programme in the mornings, and resume home classes in the afternoon. When moving to Mexico and considering home schooling, parents should investigate what public schemes are on offer in their proposed location.

(Video) The Link Between Salaries and Cost of Living

How Much Does It Cost to Live in Mexico? - Expatriate Group (4)

Cost of Transportation

Petrol and car prices in Mexico are vastly cheaper than in the Western world. Buying or hiring a car can be done perfectly legally on most national licenses and the International Driving Permit. However easy and cheap it is to drive in Mexico, it comes with its risks.

Roads in Mexico can be extremely poorly maintained, with the best to travel on being toll roads, which obviously come with a charge. Furthermore, many Mexicans choose to drive without insurance and violent car jackings have taken place.

The regional train network in Mexico is limited particularly for those travelling from city to city. It is often utilised by tourists who want to experience the Mayan ruins between Villahermosa and Cancun, or the Copper Canyon.

However, the metro systems in Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara are very well established. The metro in Mexico City is one of the cheapest rail systems in the world. An average day ticket costs just 5 pesos (21p) or 3 pesos (13p) for students or those who are unemployed. Travel is free for the disabled, elderly, or those under five with a parent.

However, by far the most popular mode of transport for expats and locals alike in Mexico is the bus. Whether travelling for 10 minutes or 10 hours, it is the most affordable and efficient way to get around. The long-distance buses have executive and first class areas, with toilets and televisions, and are often non-stop services.

(Video) How Much Does It Cost To Live in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico?

The local buses are often cramped during rush hour, just like buses in cities and towns around the world. Expats can pay for their tickets when alighting the bus, with the most expensive fares in cities and tourist hubs reaching 6 pesos (25p).

Although not as popular as buses, many expats and middle class Mexicans use the local taxis, which cost around 5.50 pesos per kilometre (23p). Taxis either use meters or charge by zones depending upon location, just ask the driver, many have a basic grasp of English.

Jobs in Mexico for Expats

Many who move to Mexico tend to be retirees, so finding work is not a concern. Unless being moved by your employer, securing a job in Mexico can be difficult. Not only are unemployment rates high, but companies wanting to employ expats must prove they are not taking jobs that Mexican workers could do. Many looking for work in Mexico will soon find that being able to speak Spanish and possessing qualifications is crucial.

Most of the expat workforce are English teachers or work within the tourism and hospitality industries. Others have senior roles in companies that have relocated from the USA to benefit from cheaper manufacturing and labour costs.

Comparison to UK

The world’s largest database, Numbeo, has a vast selection of user contributed data in regards to Mexico. Compared to the UK, the cost of living is significantly less in Mexico.

The tables below provide an over view of the differences in costs between Mexico and the UK. Please note that all Mexican prices have been converted into British pounds.

(Video) Can I afford to live in Mexico on Social Security?

GroceriesUK Price (£)Mexico Price (in £)Cheaper Country?
Milk (1l)£0.91£0.65Mexico
White bread (500g)£0.95£1.08UK
Eggs (12)£2.19£1.01Mexico
Local Cheese (1kg)£6.04£4.10Mexico
Banana (1kg)£1.01£0.59Mexico
Water (0.33l)£0.92£0.39Mexico
TransportUK Price (£)Mexico Price (in £)Cheaper Country?
Petrol (1l)£1.13£0.59Mexico
One-way ticket£2.50£0.20Mexico
Monthly pass£130£12.06Mexico
Taxi (1km)£3.11£0.22Mexico
Utilities (Monthly)UK Price (£)Mexico Price (in £)Cheaper Country?
Electricity/Heating/Water for 85m2 apartment£150.49£29.10Mexico
1 minute of PAYG talk time£0.16£0.05Mexico
Internet (10 Mbps, unlimited data, cable/ADSL)£24.39£16.76Mexico
ClothingUK Price (£)Mexico Price (in £)Cheaper Country?
Jeans (Levi or similar)£63.47£31.59Mexico
Dress (chain store)£31.65£27.21Mexico
Nike running shoe£64.20£53.91Mexico
Leather business shoes£76.64£49.26Mexico
Eating OutUK Price (£)Mexico Price (in £)Cheaper Country?
Fast food meal£5.24£3.42Mexico
Inexpensive restaurant£15.00£4.02Mexico
3 course, mid-range, 2 people£55.00£20.11Mexico
Cappuccino£2.53£1.45Mexico
Coke/Pepsi£1.14£0.49Mexico
Imported beer£3.50£2.01Mexico

FAQs

How much does it cost to live in Mexico as an expat? ›

My baseline (and total) costs to live in Mexico came in under $745 every month. I've also lived in Oaxaca too, and it's even more affordable (I spent well under $600 per month).
...
Average Cost of Living Across Mexico: $600 – $2,000.
Monthly ExpensesCost (USD$)
Transportation$20
Entertainment$50
Total$745
3 more rows

Where do expatriates live in Mexico? ›

Expats tend to flock to the capital, Mexico City (Ciudad de México). With a metropolitan population of over 20 million people, this is not only the most populous city in North America, but also the largest city in the Spanish-speaking world and the sixth-largest city worldwide.

How do Mexican expats live? ›

Mexico is one of the easiest countries to get a residency visa. The process is very straightforward and inexpensive. You simply have to prove you have enough funds to cover your cost of living and pass a simple immigration interview done at the Mexican Consulate nearest you.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in New Mexico? ›

How much do you need to live comfortably in New Mexico? The income needed to live comfortably in New Mexico is $42,445.

Is $100 a lot of money in Mexico? ›

With today's exchange rates, $100 USD is about $1,900 – $2,000 MXN. Compared to wages, $1,900 MXN is about weeks' worth of salary for most manual labor jobs outside the major cities of Mexico.

What part of Mexico has the lowest cost of living? ›

Puebla is one of the cheapest places to live in Mexico. The monthly cost of living in Puebla starts from around $1,150 USD depending on your lifestyle choices. This includes rent, groceries, eating out, activities, coffee, and more. If you're a couple, it's more like $1,900 USD.

What is the average salary in Mexico? ›

According to the exchange rate in 2021, this amounts to USD 19,980 annually. Generally, the average salary ranges from 8,410 MXN (lowest salary) to 1,48,000 MXN (highest national average) per month.
...
D. Salary Data for Different Professions.
ProfessionAverage Salary (per month)
Solution Architect59,649 MXN
19 more rows
15 Jul 2021

Is Mexico an expensive country? ›

Mexico is generally very affordable, but due to its popularity and location, the Yucatan is slightly more expensive than other parts of Mexico that receive less tourism. Budget travelers can survive on around $30 – $40 USD per day.

Is Mexico a good place to live for expats? ›

Mexico is popular with US expats moving there due to lower living costs, fantastic weather, beautiful landscapes, and high-quality private healthcare, which is of utmost importance, especially for those who want to retire in Mexico.

Where do British expats live in Mexico? ›

Many expats tend to live in Mexico's capital city, Mexico City, which has a population of over 20 million. Beach lovers might prefer Baja California which has Pacific beaches and incredible mountains. There are sizable expat communities near the coast with people flocking to Puerto Vallarta and Huatulco.

Where do most expats live in Mexico City? ›

Condesa is one of Mexico City's most sought-after neighborhoods for travelers, expats, digital nomads and visitors, for great reasons.

What are expats in Mexico? ›

But a more common definition of an expatriate is anyone who lives outside of his or her nation of origin for at least six months of any twelve-month period.

Why do expats move to Mexico? ›

There are many reasons for moving to Mexico: the people are welcoming, the cost of living is low, and buying real estate in Mexico is safe and easy. Mexico's climate is generally warm and can, in fact, get downright hot in the summer.

Where do most expats live? ›

Here are the top 10 cities for expats living and working abroad, and how residents feel about their home away from home.
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates. ...
  • Sydney, Australia. ...
  • Singapore. ...
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. ...
  • Prague, Czech Republic. ...
  • Mexico City, Mexico. ...
  • Basel, Switzerland. ...
  • Madrid, Spain.
1 Dec 2021

How much does it cost to move to New Mexico? ›

The majority of New Mexico enjoys a lower cost of living than the national average. Albuquerque is more expensive than other areas in New Mexico. The cost of living in Albuquerque is $50,000 to $60,000 per year. Housing costs in Albuquerque, New Mexico average nearly $20,000 every year.

Is New Mexico an expensive place to live? ›

The cost of living in New Mexico is $1671, which is 1.16 times less expensive than the average in the United States. New Mexico ranked 47th most expensive and 32nd best state to live in the United States.

What is the minimum wage in New Mexico 2022? ›

Most New Mexico businesses will see the state minimum wage increase and will be required to pay a minimum wage of: $11.50 per hour effective January 1, 2022 (previously $10.50 per hour effective January 1, 2021)

What does 200 pesos get you in Mexico? ›

200 pesos comes to about $10.

How much is $1 in the US in Mexico? ›

Today Monday, October 10, 2022 the average US Dollar exchange rate in Mexico is 1 Dollar = 19.9818 Pesos.

How much does a house cost in Mexico? ›

On average, a property in the country's capital city would cost almost three million Mexican pesos, approximately double the national average.
...
Average housing price in Mexico in 1st quarter 2022, by state (in 1,000 Mexican pesos)
CharacteristicPrice in thousand Mexican pesos
Baja California Sur1,497.55
12 more rows
29 Aug 2022

Can I retire in Mexico on 1500 a month? ›

1) Mexico is cheap

You'll also save on utilities, public transportation, and medical care, which are much less expensive. Many retirees find they can live quite comfortably on $1,500 or less a month with all expenses included.

What part of Mexico has the lowest cost of living? ›

Puebla is one of the cheapest places to live in Mexico. The monthly cost of living in Puebla starts from around $1,150 USD depending on your lifestyle choices. This includes rent, groceries, eating out, activities, coffee, and more. If you're a couple, it's more like $1,900 USD.

What is the cheapest and safest place to live in Mexico? ›

Widely considered to be one of the safest places to live in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta has become one of the most popular locations in North America for digital nomads and remote workers.

How much money do you need to retire in Mexico? ›

Average Cost to Retire in Mexico

A retired couple can expect to retire comfortably in Mexico with an average income of about $2,500 a month, or $30,000 a year, according to InternationalLiving.com. These figures include the cost of a house, a maid service, utilities, groceries, entertainment, health insurance and more.

Can you live in Mexico on $1000 a month? ›

One can live in Mexico on $1,000 a month or even less quite easily. In fact, locals live on much tighter budgets. As a foreigner, you will see that pretty much everything costs less than in your home country. Rent, food, transportation and healthcare in Mexico are much cheaper than in the US, Canada or Western Europe.

Can a UK citizen live in Mexico? ›

Do you need a visa? UK residents don't need a tourist visa to visit Mexico for up to 180 days, just an immigration form which you can get on board your flight and will then need to leave the country. However, tourists are not allowed to undertake any form of paid employment.

Is it safe for expats to live in Mexico? ›

You should always be aware of your surroundings, but the greater part of Mexico, especially those states catering to tourists and expats are perfectly safe. Every day more foreigners make the decision to move to Mexico.

What is the average salary in Mexico? ›

According to the exchange rate in 2021, this amounts to USD 19,980 annually. Generally, the average salary ranges from 8,410 MXN (lowest salary) to 1,48,000 MXN (highest national average) per month.
...
D. Salary Data for Different Professions.
ProfessionAverage Salary (per month)
Solution Architect59,649 MXN
19 more rows
15 Jul 2021

How much is the rent in Mexico City? ›

How expensive is housing and accommodation in Mexico?
Renting in Mexico CityAverage monthly cost
large apartmentMex$21,000
medium apartmentMex$12,800
small apartmentMex$10,000
student dorm roomMex$8,500
1 more row
19 Dec 2017

How much does a house cost in Mexico? ›

On average, a property in the country's capital city would cost almost three million Mexican pesos, approximately double the national average.
...
Average housing price in Mexico in 1st quarter 2022, by state (in 1,000 Mexican pesos)
CharacteristicPrice in thousand Mexican pesos
Baja California Sur1,497.55
12 more rows
29 Aug 2022

Is it cheap to live in Mexico City? ›

Mexico City is known as one of the more expensive cities in Mexico, which makes sense as this is one of the more popular destinations in Mexico. Many people prefer staying in places like Santa Fe, La Condesa or Polanco, but it's worth noting that these places are pretty expensive.

Where is the cheapest place to live in the world? ›

10 Cheapest Countries in the World to Live In
  • Vietnam.
  • South Africa.
  • Ecuador.
  • Costa Rica.
  • Malaysia.
  • Mexico.
  • Indonesia.
  • Bulgaria.

What are the pros and cons of living in Mexico? ›

Pros and Cons of Living in Mexico
  • Pro: Amazing Climate. ...
  • Con: BUT Hurricane Season and Earthquakes. ...
  • Pro: Immersion for Learning Spanish. ...
  • Con: You Will Need to Learn Spanish. ...
  • Pro: Allergy Friendly Food – Especially for Celiacs. ...
  • Con: Watch Out for Scams! ...
  • Pro: Cheaper than Living in the US. ...
  • Con: But It's Not All Cheaper.
26 May 2022

Why is Mexico so cheap? ›

Mexico is one of the countries in Latin America that has a low cost of living. One of the reasons why this country has a lower price compared to others is because of distribution costs and cheaper labor. In addition, the government has control over the prices of goods being sold here.

What can 5 dollars buy in Mexico? ›

Here's what you can get for $5:
  • A 10-pack of Pacifico or Tecate beer.
  • Two 3-liter bottles of Coke.
  • 15 gallons of purified water.
  • Two 3-liter bottles of Coke.
  • Two liters of freshly-squeezed orange juice.
  • A cocktail made with name-brand alcohol.
  • Four big bottles of Topo Chico mineral water.
  • Two cappuccinos or lattes.
5 Feb 2022

Is 5 dollars a good tip in Mexico? ›

It's up to you how much you tip, but the recommended amount in Mexico is between 10% – 20% (15% is a good standard in tourist areas) of the bill or ticket price.

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