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Current cost of living estimates/budget?

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coffeeguy
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Post by Chapalagringa Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:03 pm

We live off of less than $2500 a month, still have a family of 4 at home and are very comfortable.  No house or car payment. We have a maid and gardener.( Beer  that's for Bob, lol Very Happy )

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Post by Chapalagringa Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:05 pm

lobita wrote:

Just watch out for the peanut butter -- that stuff is pricey!

Why are buying peanut butter? Buy some toasted peanuts in the tianguis(open market), take them home and put it in your food processor till it's creamy the way you like it. Buying it is silly. I buy blanched almonds at Costco, toast them in the oven and make fresh almond butter.
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Post by Chapalagringa Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:05 pm

Ok, it's not so silly to buy peanut butter if you didn't know how to make it.  When we moved down here 10 years ago we ate a lot of low fat peanut butter and I remember getting the what for from RVGringo about it when mentioning it was hard to find.  Then, as I got older, heh, and more processed food free, I figured out out to make it. We now prefer almond butter over the peanuts but we hardly ever eat it anymore.  I mostly make it for chocolate covered almond butter bon bon's at Christmas.

I'm thinking how spoiled I am with a solar heated pool, solar electric, and I run the washer/dryer and convection oven a lot.  In regards to health, we are overall very healthy...except for the extra 30 pounds I'm now lugging around from all that healthy eating. lolol Going back to the gym to hurry up and get it off before next Thanksgiving! =)
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Post by signalfire Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:32 pm

Interesting all the different lifestyles that are indicated by the costs of living. I use an Ooma (VOIP phone) that piggybacks on the internet for phone, and Skype takes care of the rest. Don't like talking on the phone much anyway; the Ooma is about $200 initially for the equipment, then free from then on. Maybe it won't work down there but there's always Skype plus a cheap cell phone. Any TV you may want is available for free on the internet, why pay several times over for media? And any reading I might want to do is also available on line for free, just takes some looking.

I wouldn't have a maid (really, maids???) and the gardener better come with the rental or the plants will be the beneficiary of my meager efforts at tidying up. Wouldn't use a dryer either, just hang the clothes up to dry; with the dry weather and breezes there, they'd be dry overnight if ruining someone's view was an issue.. and I'm thinking there would now be a real market for smuggled peanut butter from over the border.

Someone ought to go into the business of supplying gringos with all the stuff they really miss from real maple syrup for the Canucks to NYC bagels... :)

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Post by Lady Otter Latté Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:45 pm

Signalfire, I take it you do not live down here. I am curious upon what you base all your decisions on what you would and would not do/have if you did? You sound pretty sure of your conclusions.
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Post by lobita Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:13 pm

The peanut butter is for my husband (I can take or leave it). That's a good idea, Chapalagringa -- although I'd have to add sugar somehow, he'd never eat unsweetened peanut butter. I'll put that on the list of 'foods to learn how to make' ... right after granola. :)


Signalfire, someone *has* gone into that business -- it's why we have those things at all, at any price.
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Post by Rolly Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:59 pm

Simgafire said Any TV you may want is available for free on the internet,

Prey tell us where to find USA TV for free in México.
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Post by gringal Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:35 pm

lobita wrote:The peanut butter is for my husband (I can take or leave it). That's a good idea, Chapalagringa -- although I'd have to add sugar somehow, he'd never eat unsweetened peanut butter. I'll put that on the list of 'foods to learn how to make' ... right after granola.  :)


Signalfire, someone *has* gone into that business -- it's why we have those things at all, at any price.

Someone sure has gone into the business.  At a price.  In fact, now there are two someones; one at Laguna Mall.

You can live quite economically here if you can get used to ignoring imported items and sticking with the Mexican brands. A leetle taste change isn't going to ruin your meals.  Also, eating Asian style (pieces of meat in meals rather than slabs of steak) is not only cheaper; it's healthier.

Getting daily maid and gardening services is fine, if you can afford it.  If you can't, we have a "take-out" contract maid and gardening company here that sends people as often as you tell them you really need it.  In between, how about just getting some exercise and doing what you probably did NOB? Swingin' a broom and pullin' some of those weeds.

For those who sold their homes and can pay cash for one here, they can live very nicely on $2500 a month, IMO.  This doesn't leave a lot of space for dinners at the fancier places with drinks, but they probably didn't do that much of it NOB, either.

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Post by signalfire Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:19 pm

Rolly wrote:Simgafire said Any TV you may want is available for free on the internet,

Prey tell us where to find USA TV for free in México.

I haven't had cable TV in over a decade now; when I watch it at someone else's house, I'm appalled. Be that as it may, I was never into sports so that's not an issue. I like the show 'White Collar' which I found out about by accident; it's on 'couchtuner' which is on the internet; the feed comes from the EU; there's dozens of other shows there that seem popular, the only other one I've actually watched is 'The Newsroom' which is a lot like West Wing. http://www.couchtuner.eu/

Do you get Netflix or Amazon Prime down there? And also just look at Youtube which has hundreds of full length movies posted, lots of documentaries, etc. A lot of the US channels are on the the internet, PBS, Discovery, History channel, NatGeo, etc. Just look around :)

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Post by signalfire Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:29 pm

Lady Otter Latté wrote:Signalfire, I take it you do not live down here. I am curious upon what you base all your decisions on what you would and would not do/have if you did? You sound pretty sure of your conclusions.

Well, I know I wouldn't buy cable TV because I've been without it up here for over a decade and I don't miss it at all. Internet is critical for both entertainment as well as information and the radio show I help produce though. I can't imagine a maid, it would feel like a privacy issue for me and cleaning house is good exercise... if anything, I think I'd find some hard working lady and instead pay her $5 a hour to teach me Spanish :) and let her get off her feet for a while instead, or take me shopping and show me the local stuff that only a native would know.

The other issue with 'what I would have down there' is simply money. If we do come down, it will be on a very tight shoestring until end of 2015 when my SS kicks in (if the US govt hasn't ended it by then... )

Mostly, I'm thinking of coming down for the weather first, the adventure second, and the possible lifestyle savings third. I've never been much of a 'go out for dinner and drinks' type of person and I don't see that changing.

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Post by Rolly Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:52 pm

A lot of the US channels are on the the internet, PBS, Discovery, History channel, NatGeo, etc. Just look around :)
Indeed there are some US channels on the internet, BUT viewing is restricted to the residents of the USA ONLY.

It seems you are opining beyond your knowledge base.
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Post by signalfire Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:47 pm

Sorry to hear that; was Couchtuner blocked down there when you tried it, or Amazon Prime (which I understand may be just US) or Youtube?

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Post by elehne1 Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:59 pm

We live here at Lake ChapalA year round and watch www.ustvnow.com for free. They also offer additional channels for a cost, however, ABC, CBS, NBC, ABC and a couple others are free...it is a New York feed.

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Post by CheenaGringo Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:09 pm

signalfire:

As some have pointed out, your intent to be an expert without any on the ground experience is really showing. Once one has 5 to 10 years of first hand Mexico experience, then maybe they are in a position to suggest alternative options but there are so many holes in your story that make viability an unknown option.

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Post by Rolly Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:29 pm

Just for the record, USTVNow is fed from central PA, around Harrisburg. I have been using the service for a long time.

I just wanted to give Singalfire a chance to show that she really did know something. She didn't.
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Post by Chapalagringa Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:26 pm

Netflicks and Hulu with a VPN.  Netflicks can also be watched with different selections without the VPN.

We've also noticed that youtube is charging to watch some of the movies now.  :-(

regarding pb, you can add sugar or whatever you like to your peanut butter.  I learnt how to make granola.  That's easy too.
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Post by elehne1 Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:28 am

Rolly wrote:Just for the record, USTVNow is fed from central PA, around Harrisburg. I have been using the service for a long time.

I just wanted to give Singalfire a chance to show that she really did know something.  She didn't.


Hi Rolly,
You are so right....I was thinking about our Telecable US channels and forgot when I use USTVnow it is definitely from Pennsylvania. Thanks.

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Post by Mrs. Rupert Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:08 am

We can easily manage on $2000/month. That is pretty fixed- go out to eat once a week, go to gym, a few events. The extra money is spent on doctors when a problem arises and all the unexpected expenses.
All Mexican houses require quite a lot of maintenance- much more than I had anticipated.

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Post by CanuckBob Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:18 pm

Yes, the Mexican houses do seem to require more maintenance (paint, plumbing, electrical & roofs) than the average house NOB. Fortunately I am able do to most repairs and upgrades on my own.
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Post by sparks Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:05 pm

Peanut butter was in the conversation somewhere ....... Bodega and Walmart have their own brand that's much better than JIF or Aladden and cheaper. RED creamy and BLUE chunky ... top rate in my book
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Post by Luisa Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:15 am

suegarn wrote:$2500 USD a month plus rent?  That sounds awfully high!  I'm living in Canada, and on average, I spend about $900 CDN plus rent each month.  That includes TV, phone, internet, electricity, car and life insurance, groceries, wine and eating out occasionally!  I thought living in Ajijic was supposed to be less expensive?

What do you pay for medical expenses? I'm guessing that you can take advantage of Canada's very good government medical plan. Please, please, please, do not expect me to pay for your medical emergencies here.

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Post by coffeeguy Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:11 am

On the U.S. TV issue, between http://www.ustvnow.com

and http://www.tvonline.cc

you have a ton of free and/or very low-cost access to U.S. shows. Add in Netflix, iTunes and local bootleg movies and your cup runneth over. Not to say you can't squander big bucks on Shaw and the like if you so choose  Very Happy 

As for the other items in the OP's original query, it comes down to getting clear about priorities and also knowing that, just like anyplace else, you'll learn how to get things done more cheaply only by living here for awhile.

You might start out thinking that you "need" a car, U.S. or Canada square footage in a house, imported foodstuffs, two trips home a year, etc. and find out over time that you can live even better without some of the above.

We have a comfortable but cozy 2 BR furnished place for $500 a month and are much healthier for walking and not having a car, in addition to saving around $200 a month in depreciation, insurance, gas and maintenance, etc. We shop the local stores but still splurge at Super Lake when we feel like it. When we eat out, it's most often sharing a half a grilled chicken with salad, rice and tortillas for 50 pesos (about $3.50) from just up the street, or a couple of fabulous tacos de barbacoa apiece (at 9 pesos per) plus a salad. Eating locally like that everyday makes the occasional splurge at Gossip's or Tango painless.

Anyway, we (a childless couple, early retired) have never had a problem living on $1800-2000 a month total down here, and we know we can always tighten our belts and do better by learning from the locals, who seem to do just fine on a fraction of what we spend.

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Post by gringal Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:36 am

Good post, Coffeeguy.
You don't really need a car if you live close in around here and are in good shape.
Buses go everywhere when you need them.  I like the fact that there are luxury buses if you want to go exploring either alone or with a group.  Cruz Roja trips take you to the Big City for extensive shopping at a reasonable price. (The trip, not the shopping)

Trips NOB are huge money drains. It's much cheaper to buy your beloved poor relatives a plane ticket occasionally than to go there.

Medical expenses vary widely.  They go all the way from high end private medical insurance to the bums who carry nothing. Depends on your health, and a lot of that depends on your lifestyle choices.  You're going to need a lot of medical care if you smoke, drink to excess, don't exercise and/or  become obese.  You'll need to buy a lot of drugs to stave off the inevitable.  

As the man said: learn from the locals.  There are many things people think they need that in fact, they just want.  Fine, if you can afford it.  At least you can afford more of it here than NOB. Rolling Eyes

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Post by suegarn Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:10 am

Luisa wrote:
suegarn wrote:$2500 USD a month plus rent?  That sounds awfully high!  I'm living in Canada, and on average, I spend about $900 CDN plus rent each month.  That includes TV, phone, internet, electricity, car and life insurance, groceries, wine and eating out occasionally!  I thought living in Ajijic was supposed to be less expensive?

What do you pay for medical expenses?  I'm guessing that you can take advantage of Canada's very good government medical plan.  Please, please, please, do not expect me to pay for your medical emergencies here.

I wouldn't dream of asking you to subsidize my medical care, Luisa! I am in reasonably good health for my age, and I can't imagine that it will cost me over $1000 a month for any medical care I will end up needing (prescriptions, doctor's visits, etc). I realize that no one can predict medical emergencies, but that is why I make sure I have a sufficient savings account to take care of those needs!

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Post by Luisa Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:10 pm

suegarn wrote:
Luisa wrote:
suegarn wrote:$2500 USD a month plus rent?  That sounds awfully high!  I'm living in Canada, and on average, I spend about $900 CDN plus rent each month.  That includes TV, phone, internet, electricity, car and life insurance, groceries, wine and eating out occasionally!  I thought living in Ajijic was supposed to be less expensive?

What do you pay for medical expenses?  I'm guessing that you can take advantage of Canada's very good government medical plan.  Please, please, please, do not expect me to pay for your medical emergencies here.

I wouldn't dream of asking you to subsidize my medical care, Luisa!  I am in reasonably good health for my age, and I can't imagine that it will cost me over $1000 a month for any medical care I will end up needing (prescriptions, doctor's visits, etc).  I realize that no one can predict medical emergencies, but that is why I make sure I have a sufficient savings account to take care of those needs!

Thanks, you'd be surprised at how often friends are asked to help fund medical emergencies and I hope we turn out to be friends.

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Post by annied Fri Oct 03, 2014 6:55 pm

We were hoping to live there on $2500.00 a month, including rent of about $600.  No car, no health issues. No pets now, but we'd love to adopt a dog there.  Sounds like it will be tight, but doable.
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