Updated 12/10/2020 with the current exchange rates – First, let’s just get our income out of the way. My husband is a pensionado or a retiree. His income comes from social security disability because of a brain injury in 2001. I don’t have much of an income. My blog and photography are mostly for enjoyment although it would be nice if one day it became more. So how does a family of six live in Mexico on $2000 a month? Read on.
What is The Cost-of-Living for Mexico in 2020?
The Mexican peso is low right now and that makes our American dollar go far. When we moved here in October 2013 it was 1 dollar to 12.50 pesos. 12/10/2020 it is 1 dollar to 19.99 pesos. The exchange rate fluctuates a little every day and certain things, like presidential elections and pandemics, cause it to rise and fall a bit more dramatically.
This is our current monthly budget for a family of six who lives in Mexico. Prices are listed in both pesos and dollars, (dollars are rounded to the nearest dollar).
Okay so it’s a little more than $2000 a month! A few months ago the dollar was higher and I swear it was under $2000 a month! (If we were still at 12.50 pesos to a dollar it would be $3264.) Now let’s break this down and add some detail:
- We rent a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home with a living room, dining room, kitchen, patio, garden, and one-car garage in a simple neighborhood. It is within walking distance to Walmart and the mall.
- Our groceries mostly come from specific vendors like the neighborhood fruit and vegetable stand. Our meat and splurge items like peanut butter and coffee creamer come from Soriana, ( similar to Wal-Mart but Mexican style.)
- Auto includes fuel and monthly cleaning for our GMC Denali. It is a gas hog but we love it and it fits our entire family with room to spare. Cleaning only costs 120 pesos, ($6).
- Wal-Mart is for all household necessities outside of groceries. Including underwear and shoes. We have a Sam’s Club membership, (yes, we have a Sam’s in South Mexico), and I buy things in bulk there, like toilet paper.
- Our utilities include water, electricity, gas, Internet, and cell phone expenses. All of these costs are far less than in the US. We don’t have plans with our phones. We buy monthly packages with minutes and data. The water and electric bills come every two months. Read more about Mexico’s electric bill here.
- My cleaning lady comes twice a week. I pay 300 pesos, ($15), every time and she spends about five or six hours cleaning. I love having a cleaning lady. You might think we should pay her more but that is the standard here and we treat her very well in other ways, for example, I am always giving her clothes and household items we don’t use or need.
- I think the cash, allowance, and charity items are self-explanatory. 400 for charity does not include tips. Tips are a big deal in Mexico and we want to help others so tip money usually comes out of our cash.
- Fun is for eating out, date night, or family time, which is practically on hold right now, due to the pandemic.
- Medical is for doctor’s visits and medication. Some of Brad’s medications due to his brain injury are a little expensive without insurance. But still not as expensive as the US and totally worth it.
- Normally we include a bi-weekly massage for two people in the budget but with Covid19 our massages are on hold. The monthly cost for this is 1000 pesos a month or about 50 USD.
It was brought to my attention that some items are not included such as health insurance, car insurance, and the kid’s schooling. That is a good point. I will elaborate a little bit on this but remember everyone is going to be different.
- Brad has Medicaid in the US because of his disability and because of our low US income the kids and I qualify for free Texas health care, thus we don’t have health insurance expenses.
- We pay for Mexican car insurance on a yearly basis. The cost is 280 USD or about 5600 pesos for our 2003 GMC Yukon Denali XL. We have full coverage.
- We homeschool all our children using online programs. You could homeschool them yourself and use free programs. It wouldn’t cost you hardly anything but we prefer to pay for their programs. For three children, our oldest has graduated high school, we pay about $105 each month for their schooling. That would be an additional 2096 pesos.
I should note there are several things on here that really aren’t necessary if you are on a tighter budget. You could exclude the maid and tighten your budget for rent, groceries, and auto. It would be very possible. When I tell some of our Mexican friends that our rent is 6000 pesos they are surprised. We have a nice home and prefer it that way but you can live simpler. It is possible. Many Mexican families with four kids live nothing like we do because they don’t have a choice. I am thankful for what we have!
We don’t live a substandard life, that’s for sure. Besides our home, we have toys, electronics, and a big-screen TV. We have pets, bikes, and an old but well-maintained truck/suburban. I have a cleaning lady, the kids aren’t lacking, we eat well, and we have extra income for our savings account after the costs above.
There are some things we don’t have. Things that we were accustomed to in the US.
- We have one main vehicle unless you count Brad’s motorcycle.
- We don’t have a dryer. We hang-dry our laundry, rain or shine.
- There is no dishwasher. We are the dishwashers, well mostly the kids ;-)
- We don’t have air-conditioning or a furnace. The climate is very mild here and we don’t need them.
- I cut the boy’s hair myself. I started that in the US and just continued after our move to Mexico.
We buy many used items, including furniture and clothing. The markets here are fabulous for recycled name-brand clothing and Facebook has many groups where you can find clean and well-kept furniture. So we spend money in some places and not in other places and it all balances out.
How Do You Budget and Stick with It?
Never give up and exercise self-control. But of course, something always seems to come up, unforeseen events like I mentioned above. We use the envelope system which I have written about before. We are paid once a month, I get the money we need out of the ATM, and we put it in our envelopes for the month. Each envelope is labeled with an item listed above.
I mentioned we have extra income although I won’t say how much… gotta keep some things confidential. But it’s enough for unforeseen events and our savings. We cut the credit card up a long time ago due to overspending and I never want to have another one again!
You Can Live in Mexico Too!
If our family can live in Mexico, you can too if you have the income. Our cost of living fluctuates with the peso but whether it’s $2041 a month or $3264 a month it is definitely cheaper than living in the US with the same house and lifestyle! We are fortunate to have a guaranteed income with Brad’s disability. I say guaranteed but you never know when that could stop and we could end up back in the States. I have no idea what we would do with Brad’s health. I guess I would become a wedding photographer again! Anyway, back on topic, for as long as Brad has his SSDI we will be spending our time in Mexico where the cost of living is cheaper than in the US. It just makes sense for our family.
Hope this helps if you are considering moving abroad. Mexico is only one country of many that are cheap homes for American expats. That is why many retirees end up here. We are trying to make that US dollar stretch as far as possible! And if you consider it we are bringing in outside money for the Mexican economy which these wonderful people can certainly use. Signing off, Tina in Mexico
Originally published October 24, 2016
Buy me a cup of coffee
A ridiculous amount of coffee was consumed in the process of creating this project. Add some fuel if you'd like to keep me going ;-) Gracias!
49 thoughts on “How Does a Family of Six Live in Mexico On $2000 a Month?”
Hi Tina, I’m super curious how you cover any medical expenses that come up? This is a topic fresh on my mind because our family is actually preparing to move to Peru. Thanks for sharing!
Savings or credit card or if possible, travel home to Kentucky where we have health insurance. Crazy, I know! For an example, I had kidney stones in January of this year. They HURT and this comes from a mom who had three babies without drugs! A few hours in the ER, two IVs with meds, multiple blood and urine tests, and a bag full of medicine to take home all cost under 100 dollars. We paid for this out-of-pocket. Hope this helps a bit!
This is fascinating, Tina! I want to be an expat in my next life! Thanks for the peek into yours.
De nada! Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for commenting!
Great post! I don’t have any plans to move to Mexico, but I’d love to travel there, possibly even for an extended summer trip. My three kids go to a Spanish immersion preschool. I’d like to take them to a place where they can practice the language. In which part of Mexico do you live? Any Zika concerns?
I have seen posters warning about Zika but I do not know of anyone who has come in contact with it. I haven’t even heard of any stories about a friend’s friend’s cousin. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. We definitely have mosquitoes!
Hi, I just went through your writing and even though you mention that you don’t live bad in México, you don’t have all the things that you used to have back in the States including medic aid. With your current family income, which doesn’t meet all the expectations, how do you feel about a family of six living in México with the average wage of $8,000.00 MEX PESOS per month? I sincerely hope you get the time to write something as nice as you have, for someone with your maids income. It’s important that those who live in Mexico share with tourist, visitors & new immigrants this knowledge!!
Sad. Unfortunately, injustice is not only in Mexico but in many countries around the world. I can’t change the world very easily but I feel I am doing my part by sharing the good news from the Bible. I believe there will be a time without poverty from reading Psalms 72:16 and Isaiah 65:21,22. This hope is for everyone. It doesn’t matter what color our skin is or how much money we make. I share this hope in Mexico as I did in the US. There are millions of us looking forward to this hope all over the world. Thank you for your article suggestion although I have learned with time, it is best to keep my blog positive.
Wondering if it would be possibe to retire on $1,000/month for a single 51 year old woman who is very low maintenance?
Perhaps if you lived simply in a non-expat or non-tourist area. I can’t say for sure. You can always give it a try for a few months. That would be my first suggestion. Sometimes you don’t know if something will work till you try it ;-)
Yes, it is very possible, depending on area and life style. Since you are single, feel free to join my fb support group for singles who need advice and could use some supoprt. I have a lot of information on different areas, along with volunteer mentors.
Good luck! :)
what you share really great and helpful for me!
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it :-)
Great read !! I have a family of 9 and we built a home in queretaro on a very small ranch hope to move there soon but worried about income my husband will have to find a job and well live off savings. Financially worries me with us having 7 kids but your post gives me hope
Thanks Amanda! I wish your family the best when you make the official move. 7 kids! Whew ;-)
Where do you get medical I got sick late night with crowns disease went san javier it cost a fortune for me thanks
Hospital Civil de Uruapan near the Parque National. Been twice last year, once with kidney stones and it cost less than $100 US. Second time for stitches and an x-ray for my son. This was cheap too. I really like it but I don’t know about Crowns Disease. One of our good Mexican friends recommended this one. We have several here and some are pricier than others.
Great article!!! You have given me some hope. My hubby and I are taking a 2 week trip to Guanajuato city tbd this year. trying to coordinate best time and best prices. We would like to travel around and explore if we would and could manage being snowbirds for a few years and maybe becoming permanent. I am going crazy jumping all over websites to gain knowledge about the area and such. We also will be on a fixed income of about 1200 a month but it’s just the two of us. I wanted a smaller town like Morelia but the expat community was too small. I would like to stay around this climate area to. So my question is am I doing all I can and Looking at what I need to. How did you pick you city. Are you in touch with other expats. Thanks Jodi
I think you can do it on $1200 if you live simple and stay away from the large expat areas. The problem with expat areas like Cancun, Puerta Vallarta, and San Miguel de Allende is inflation. It’s well-known that expats move into the country with more money than the locals… so prices are raised in response to what the expats will pay…
Guanajuato is a lovely city! I really enjoyed our visit there and hope to return. I know there are expats in that area but not sure how many.
Morelia is not small in my mind. It has about a million in the city area. Statistics may not back that up but trust me… we lived there for over a year. It’s beautiful but very busy! Lots of protesting and traffic.
As far as expats they are here in Uruapan but they are hard to find. We are very fortunate in that we have a worldwide brotherhood as Jehovah’s Witnesses and we can find friends wherever we move. We moved to Uruapan to help our local English Bible congregation and found friends immediately.
You will need to consider cost-of-living vs expat communities. I hope this helps! On FB search for Mexico Expat groups. I am in a few and you may get more questions answered there :-)
This is amazing! Thank you for sharing. I wonder how much it varies between places/locations in Mexico. This was super helpful– we are considering an international school in torreon and we have practice with living on a small budget from Morocco. Sounds similar to how we shop and live here now. I am more concerned with finding a community and being a stay at home first time mom in a new country is very intimidating!
Thank you! Places can vary. High tourist or expat areas tend to be more expensive. Trying doing a cost-of-living search on Google for the area you are thinking about. I hope you find your community and I am sure you will do fine at moming :-)
Where are you living now?
Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico
Is there a need in the English speaking congregation there?
How much of a language barrier is there?
I went to Santa Elena Belize in January with my daughter who was doing need greater work for three months. Just curios how it is there compared to Belize. We are considering taking our family of six to Mexico this next winter to give them an experience. We are thinking that Mexico might be easier then Belize because of Belize immigration. We are considering Tulum Mexico because we may have a contact there . But we haven’t completely decided yet. Just exploring options. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog.
Thank you! We have only about 25 publishers in our congregation. We need qualified brothers and pioneers for the ministry. We spent four weeks in Belize and decided we liked Mexico better. It is less “Americanized” if that makes any sense. Tulum is beautiful! But it gets too hot for my husband. We live in the mountains of Michoacan where it stays between 55 and 85 year around. There are some retired friends here that have lived in Mexico for over 10 years and they still only speak a little Spanish. There is enough English to survive although I recommend trying to learn the language wherever you go ;-)
Thank you for the information. We are considering driving into Mexico. Do you feel that it is safe ?
Yes. We have driven through Laredo border and 14 hours into Mexico several times, back and forth. We never had any safety issues. Just be wise and stick to the cuotas or toll roads for your first experience.
Just out of curiosity do you know any of these people? Dave Zimmerman, Bill and Megan Draeger, Fred and Margeret Noland? They are a few of the brothers and sisters that we got to know in Santa Elena congregation.
I don’t! We probably met but I don’t remember any names :-( I didn’t even have a chance to get phone numbers. I wish I did!
Your rent is very affordable for that size home…It’s great! I want to become an expat in two years time. I’ll move with my two little dogs to Jalisco or to Morelia, Chapala or Patzcuaro…,donde viven los gringos loquitos (aunque yo soy mexicano de nacimiento).
It is a great deal! And from what I know those are all beautiful cities :-)
After your comment, I am wondering if I should have named this blog Los Gringos Loquitos… jajajaja… oh well, I like Los Gringos Locos better ;-)
Great read! We have 5 kids, 4 now living with us and we are considering moving to Mexico eventually in the next 3-4 years. I’m curious though, don’t you long to live by the beach? For us personally, we couldn’t live too far from the beach. But then again, we love the mountains. Any suggestions as to where would be cheap like where you live, but closer to the water?
Thank you :-) I love the ocean! But it’s HOT :-( And my husband doesn’t do well in the heat. When he gets overheated it affects his mind after his brain injury in 2001. For that reason we have to be careful. We visit as often as we can :-) As for suggestions, look into anywhere that isn’t an expat or tourist area. Those areas will always be cheaper ;-)
You do well on 2000. I have a small ranch house, no maid, and no massages and I spend more than that in the US.
We did too when we lived in Kentucky. We had a small home, no maid, only one massage each month, (for me because my husband was sweet), and no gym membership. Our mortgage alone was over $900 a month!
Loved the article. I have dreamed of being an expat in Austrailia or Belize. You are living my life. I love it.
Thank you! I hope one day you live your dream. We spent a month in Belize in 2014 and it is a lovely little country :-)
Speaking as an English ex-pat in Italy, there is such a lot to get used to when you make a big life decision like this (and that only moving in Europe!). You do so well Tina. We got hit badly with the exchange rate because of BREXIT but luckily our income covered it – just not so much for the luxury stuff these days!
…and that is my biggest fear Dorothy. Getting there and not having enough to live on or something changes and what was a good plan is no longer such a good plan. So much to consider.
That stinks! But it’s not surprising. Glad your income covered it. It is always good to have a bit extra in case of changing economy!
I too enjoyed your blog, especially because it relates to Morelia which is where I am hoping to retire in a few years. I’m wondering if you can tell me a little bit more about the area. I’m interested in knowing about the weather, the type of insects that are there, the availability and stability of the internet, etc., etc. Thank you.
Michoacan is in the mountains so the weather is fairly mild compared to the hot climate by the ocean. This is one reason my husband likes it here so much. Insects are mosquitoes and flies. Having screens helps but many homes do not come with screens and if you want them you need to add them later. Internet is readily available in the cities. There are various speeds. We have been pretty happy with Megacable’s service, and you can expect to pay less then in the US. Hope this helps a little :-)
I just read your reply thank you very much. So tell me what was the hardest thing for you to get accustomed to when you move there.. I must say that I have so many more questions and wonder if there is a web page for people from that area where I could maybe post them instead of bombarding you with all of them? Thank you again
The hardest thing to get accustomed too? Hmmm… I don’t know exactly. Maybe having to wait and be patient. Life is definitely slower here but in most ways that is a good thing. It can be annoying sometimes though, like when you call the plumber and he says he will be there soon… and he shows up in a day or two!
As for your questions, there are lots of helpful Facebook groups for that. I started one and then turned it over to another expat in Mexico. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/life.in.mexico.move.to.mexico/ Hope this helps you :-) Have a great week!
My family and I have just decided to make a move to Mexico! What Mexican cities would you recommend looking into?
Well, that really depends on what you are looking for. Mountains or the ocean? Cool or hot? Expat area or more authentic Mexico? There are a lot of wonderful choices!
My dads finally retiring in delicias chihuahua , and now that he’s there I’m going to slowly start building a lil house on our family’s 15 acre ranch then hopefully move in the future
That sounds very nice. We haven’t been to Chihuahua yet but I would like to visit. I think that is where Copper Canyon is located and I want to see it with the kiddos :-)