Expenses that Outpaced Jill’s Expectations

Here’s What Made Jill’s Cost of Living Higher than Originally Planned

In Jill’s own words:

There are many things that I found to be more expensive [in Mexico than I had originally expected]:

  • Food – Even in the stores, the food here is quite expensive, given the salaries that the Mexicans have. It’s been of course 4 1/2 years since I’ve lived in the states, so I don’t know exactly how much things cost there now, but when I came, I was blown away by how close the prices were here to what was in the states. The only big difference was that there wasn’t a huge sales tax added on. If I were Mexican, I would be lucky to be making 5000 pesos a month and how do you afford any food on that? Just tortillas, eggs and maybe ham and a tiny bit of chicken rostizado or pork ….
    [note: the author has had the same experience and in fact, could not shop at a supermarket for the first years of her life in Mexico because it was cost prohibitive. The author’s husband works in agriculture and eats lunch with a bunch of guys from an ejido who do agricultural work for 700 pesos a week. He says they eat fried cheese in salsa, potatoes in salsa, chicharron (pork rinds) in salsa, etc. He is the only one who brings whole pieces of chicken accompanied with vegetables.]

  • Restaurants – People who come down here on American or Canadian salaries think that the restaurants are cheap, but they aren’t cheap if you are trying to make a buck here or have to live on Mexican salaries – there aren’t a whole lot of Mexicans who inhabit all of these international restaurants that we have here in the Chapala area. Of course, Guadalajara is a different story – there are many rich people there.
  • Phones – As you know, Carlos Slim is now the richest man in the Universe. And Mexico is still a poor country. YET, Tel Mex is the most expensive phone system in the world. And Tel Cel, which is owned by Slim is outrageously expensive vis a vis what cell phones cost up north. This is probably one of the reasons why Mexicans rarely phone….
    [note: This interview was conducted via email because neither the author nor the interviewee could afford to call on the other person on the phone. As a result it took months to complete.]

  • Gas & electricity – are at least as much, if not more, than in the U.S. Again, how do you afford to heat and light your house if your income is only a few thousand pesos a month? Answer is; you don’t!
  • Things are getting more expensive here, as the foreigners flood this area – home prices have doubled and tripled and are almost the same as housing costs in the U.S.
    [note: the author has noticed prices skyrocketing in Morelos, too. It seems to be a country-wide phenomenon.]

  • When I came here, I was told maids got 15 to 20 pesos an hour (20 if someone was experienced). Now some people are paying 40; I’m not saying that they are not worth it, I am just saying that the price has doubled in a little over 4 years. Same thing with gardeners!
  • Rents are still a bargain, vis a vis US prices, but are steadily increasing.

Photo of the cover of Mexico: The Trick is Living HereJill’s story shows that it’s important to know as much about Mexico as possible prior to moving. Get the nitty-gritty on life in Mexico from a woman who’s lived here for 6 years.
Include Mexico: The Trick is Living Here in your preparatory research.

Back to the interview about Jill’s retirement in Mexico

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