I’m never making chiles rellenos again.
Note: I didn’t say I’d never eat chiles rellenos again, because I will. I love them. But they’re messy to make. And ever since I realized that I can buy home-cooked ones in my local market in Mexico for just 10 pesos apiece—that’s about 63 cents—and take them home to eat, my kitchen stays clean.
In fact, I’ve discovered a couple of market stalls that serve up a whole range of home-cooked foods to go, from hearty soups to taco fillings to home-made salsas. They’re a great time-saver for busy, working Mexicans who don’t have the time (or inclination) to cook but want a good meal. They’re pretty convenient for expats, too.
And, with most items costing 10 pesos a pop, I certainly can’t knock the price.
But then, one of the great things about living in Mexico is the low cost. I can fill up a shopping basket with fruits and vegetables in the market for less than $10. The other day I bought a whole chicken at the butcher’s for about $3 (and he cut it up for me exactly the way I wanted). And with three ripe avocados costing about $1.25 (and the market vendors throw in cilantro for free), my house is never out of guacamole fixings.
Eating out in a sit-down joint is rarely expensive: The lunch specials here in Guanajuato, in the Colonial Highlands, average about $5 each for a filling meal. Even for dinner at the most expensive restaurants, it’s difficult to spend more than $30 a person, including drinks.
Of course, popular tourist destinations like San Miguel de Allende or Puerto Vallarta have high-end restaurants with extensive wine lists and gourmet cuisine that can run you $100 a person. But you certainly don’t have to spend that much—these cities have as many low-cost eateries as anyplace else. And it’s great having those high-end options.
Other day-to-day living costs are low in Mexico, too. A telephone and internet connection can run less than $50 a month, and most couples pay $40 or so a month for home gas for cooking and hot water. Electricity is the wild card—I don’t pay much in the temperate Colonial Highlands, but if you live in tropical areas like the Yucatan Peninsula and use air conditioning a lot, you can run up a hefty bill.
A lot of my entertainment is free: There are plenty of free film series, dance concerts, and of course street performers and parades that seem to liven up every weekend and half the weekdays. The rest of my entertainment is low-cost: less than $5 for a movie ticket, for instance. And my latest indulgence is going to weekly performances of the local symphony. The quality is superb and the top ticket price is only $5.
The fact is, though, that I don’t really think much about my “budget” in Mexico. I enjoy my life, live comfortably, and somehow always have more than enough money for the things I want to do, or the little goodies I want to buy.
And that freedom from economic stress may just be the icing on the cake.
Cost of Living for Mazatlan
|Restaurants||[ Edit ]||Range|
|Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant||80.00 MXN||60.00–100.00|
|Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course||380.00 MXN||280.00–450.00|
|McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)||82.50 MXN||80.00–85.00|
|Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)||25.00 MXN||20.00–35.00|
|Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)||40.00 MXN||30.00–50.00|
|Cappuccino (regular)||51.67 MXN||35.00–60.00|
|Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle)||12.00 MXN||12.00–18.00|
|Water (0.33 liter bottle)||10.00 MXN||6.00–14.00|
|Markets||[ Edit ]|
|Milk (regular), (1 liter)||16.91 MXN||15.50–28.00|
|Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)||26.53 MXN||20.00–33.07|
|Rice (white), (1kg)||14.73 MXN|
|Eggs (regular) (12)||38.00 MXN|
|Local Cheese (1kg)||79.37 MXN|
|Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg)||99.54 MXN||66.80–132.28|
|Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)||99.54 MXN||66.80–132.28|
|Apples (1kg)||29.21 MXN||18.74–39.68|
|Banana (1kg)||15.57 MXN||9.66–22.05|
|Oranges (1kg)||8.11 MXN|
|Tomato (1kg)||17.09 MXN||12.13–22.05|
|Potato (1kg)||15.98 MXN||9.92–22.05|
|Onion (1kg)||16.53 MXN||11.02–22.05|
|Lettuce (1 head)||14.00 MXN||8.00–20.00|
|Water (1.5 liter bottle)||13.50 MXN||12.00–15.00|
|Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)||145.00 MXN||115.00–175.00|
|Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)||23.33 MXN||20.00–25.00|
|Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)||35.00 MXN||20.00–50.00|
|Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)||44.50 MXN||40.00–49.00|
|Transportation||[ Edit ]|
|One-way Ticket (Local Transport)||10.00 MXN||7.50–15.00|
|Monthly Pass (Regular Price)||?|
|Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)||40.00 MXN||40.00–50.00|
|Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)||20.00 MXN||10.00–30.00|
|Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)||60.00 MXN||60.00–150.00|
|Gasoline (1 liter)||17.55 MXN||16.99–18.00|
|Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car)||300,000.00 MXN|
|Toyota Corolla 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car)||300,000.00 MXN|
|Utilities (Monthly)||[ Edit ]|
|Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment||562.66 MXN||231.82–1,000.00|
|1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)||1.12 MXN|
|Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)||491.00 MXN||384.00–700.00|
|Sports And Leisure||[ Edit ]|
|Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult||303.33 MXN||250.00–360.00|
|Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend)||?|
|Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat||50.00 MXN||50.00–60.00|
|Childcare||[ Edit ]|
|Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child||2,500.00 MXN||2,000.00–3,000.00|
|International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child||128,666.67 MXN||50,000.00–168,000.00|
|Clothing And Shoes||[ Edit ]|
|1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar)||894.50 MXN||889.00–900.00|
|1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …)||416.67 MXN||200.00–600.00|
|1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range)||1,200.00 MXN||1,200.00–1,200.00|
|1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes||1,000.00 MXN|
|Rent Per Month||[ Edit ]|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre||3,666.67 MXN||2,000.00–6,000.00|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre||2,500.00 MXN||1,500.00–4,000.00|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre||12,772.34 MXN||6,000.00–17,543.53|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre||5,943.37 MXN||4,500.00–7,386.75|
|Buy Apartment Price||[ Edit ]|
|Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre||27,661.34 MXN|
|Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre||8,000.00 MXN|
|Salaries And Financing||[ Edit ]|
|Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax)||13,500.00 MXN|
|Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate||10.00|
Prices in Mazatlan