Retired in Mexico: Our Monthly Expenses 01/01/17

Source: Q-Roo Paul

Happy New Year and welcome to my first post of 2017!

I frequently receive emails from readers asking me for detailed information concerning our monthly expenses here in Mexico.

It’s important to point out that Mexico is a large country and the cost of living can vary significantly from one area to the next. We live in a popular tourist destination along the coast of the Riviera Maya, so the cost of living is significantly higher here than in many other parts of Mexico.

We live on a fixed income, which causes us to carefully track all expenses on a daily basis. That made it easy for me to collect the data for this post.

When we left the U.S., we sold everything and started over. That gave us the capital necessary to buy a condo and a car outright. Eliminating those two major expenses was key to living on a small budget south of the border.

Exchange Rate Used: 20 pesos to 1 USD

Monthly Household Expenses

  • Water / Sewer: $158.23 pesos ($7.91 USD)
  • Gas (for water heater and stove): $350.76 pesos ($17.53 USD)
  • High Speed Internet + phone (Telmex 100mbps + unlimited calls to the U.S.):  $999 pesos ($49.95 USD)
  • Electricity: $2,125 pesos ($106.25 USD)
  • Cable TV (Sky): $603.00 pesos ($30.15 USD)
  • Monthly Homeowner’s / Maintenance Fees : $3,276 pesos ($163.80 USD)
  • Two Cell Phones (unlimited calls / texts to the U.S., Mexico and Canada) *$343.96 pesos ($17.99 USD)
  • Expat Medical Insurance for both of us: $2,516 pesos ($125.83 USD)
  • Car Insurance: $890 pesos ($44.50 USD)

Section Total: $11,261.95 pesos ($563.09 USD)

* The phone plan is through AT&T. We took advantage of buying 12 months of service and getting 12 months free. The price breakdown here is that amount divided over the term that we paid for. You can learn more HERE

If you want more information about the cost of medical care in my area, check out A Look At the Costs of Medical and Dental Treatment.


As long as you do not insist on only using products imported from your home country, grocery shopping is relatively inexpensive.

If you want to do some price comparisons on your own, check out Do You Want to Know What Things Cost Before Moving to Mexico?

Eating Out

We go out to eat most of the time. We are fortunate enough to live in an area with a wide range of restaurants to choose from. When we need to save some money in order to stay on budget, this is where we make our adjustments.

Low End: An entire roast chicken meal for two with corn tortillas and sides will average us $140 pesos ($7.00 USD).

High End: A fancier dining experience with drinks on the beach will average us around $1000 pesos ($50.00 USD),  including the tip.

Note: Many restaurants in tourist areas will give local residents a discount of up to 20%. 

Let’s Wrap This Up

At the current exchange rate, our monthly household expenses come to less than $600. If necessary, we could substantially reduce that amount but cutting out cable TV and opting for a slower Internet connection.

When we decided to leave our jobs and move to Mexico, we lost 67% of our annual income. The amazing thing is that our standard of living is arguably better than it was in the United States. We swapped our old house in an average neighborhood back in Florida for a modern condo located inside a beautiful resort complex in the Riviera Maya.

If you want to read a little more about where we ended up, check out Moving to Mexico: Expectations vs. Reality (Housing).

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About the Author

Q-Roo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) is a former lieutenant from the Polk County Sheriff's Office in Florida. During his 25-year career, he received numerous commendations to include two of the agency's top honors: a Meritorious Service Medal and a Medal of Valor. In 2015, Paul retired and moved to Mexico with his wife. He now spends his days enjoying the Riviera Maya and blogging from the beach.

76 Comments on "Retired in Mexico: Our Monthly Expenses 01/01/17"

  1. Ron and Lynne Gallant | January 1, 2017 at 1:25 am | Reply

    Feliz Ano Nuevo from Cozumel! Looking forward to all of your posts in 2017. Thanks for all of the great information . . .

  2. Kaye Corcoran | January 1, 2017 at 4:27 am | Reply

    Thanks for your post– I just bought a place near Akumal — appreciate your info. . I went to states for holidays. taxes & business. . can’t wait to get back to paradise..

  3. Appreciate your costs breakdown & the profeco link; gives a nice idea of relative MX pricing.

  4. I live in Cuyutlan, Colima. It’s a small village with a growing expat population. Beach front property is still available and not bad for being right on the beach. We are 30 miles from Manzanillo I am building on a lot with beach view for $12,000 US dollars. Deals can be found. Quiet and safe.

  5. Happy New Year and thank you for sharing your information and experience. We joined the expats in Mexico last November. We also live on a fixed income and initially planned our monthly budget with $3000 USD. Based on our short experience for the past 2 months, $2000 USD should allow us to feel comfortable in Mexico. The amount includes rent, utilities, medical insurance, auto insurance, schools…

  6. 2017 is the year we plan on doing the same, retiring to Mexico. Your blog has encouraged us beyond measure. Please don’t stop, there is still so much to learn. Cheers for a Happy New Year!

  7. Thanks for this information. It is hard to know where to start and how to go about eventually retiring in Mexico. Looking forward to more of your blog and best wishes for 2017!

    • Thanks for following the blog. Hopefully the articles will help you work through some of the logistics of moving down.

  8. Thanks! Very usuful! One question: which medical insurance do you have?

  9. Dan Blackwell | January 1, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Reply

    How hard is it to locate a part-time job in Mexico? Just something to supplement our incomes.

    • I don’t think it will be difficult but you will have to get a work visa and the wages are very low when compared to those of the United States or Canada.

  10. Paul, Happy New Year to you and your lovely wife. I don’t know if you are a wine drinker, but just curious what a bottle of wine costs there?

  11. Paul and Linda, Happy New Year.

    Your blog has helped us with great info like these. I have been reading about the electricity usage/limits. I heard so much regarding expat sweltering in the heat because AC draws so much electricity, and they didn’t want to go over their threshold.

    Some of them move to higher elevation to have cooler nights.Our friends spend part of their vacation in PV and told us that they don’t usually turn theirs on for fear of getting bumped to a higher rate for the year.

    Any thoughts/ comments would be helpful.

    • We are billed at the higher rate now but we still use it when needed during the day and it stays on when we sleep. Life is too short to be uncomfortable. So, the number in the post is at the highest rate under those conditions.

  12. Donna Norstadt | January 2, 2017 at 7:54 am | Reply

    Great info, even for those of us already here. My expenses have been more than yours but it’s only because I am still adding things to my new house (which is the 2nd one I own in Mahahual) and just purchased a Mexican plated Vehicle (now I have a US plated. Volvo for Sale). I agree WEA medical insurance is good. Thankfully I have not had to use it but I did contact them about a small incident once and they were very responsive. Walmart and Sams club has the cheapest wine. I am hoping my first house sells so I can finish the new one and then my budget will look like yours. Have a great year.

  13. Thank you for these insightful posts. I’ve been following them and notice consistently that your electricity expense is consistently higher than mine here in the US – almost double. My bills, averaging $50-60, include heat, heat for water, lights and electricity for devices and appliances for a large 2 bedroom apartment. Can I ask what your usage covers? assume lights, etc. – A/C maybe? thanks

    • Electricity can be very expensive in Mexico because your overall rate is based on past usage. Once you are rated at a higher usage, every single kilowatt is billed higher. That’s one of the few negatives about living in Mexico.The higher bill is caused by AC usage — we live in a tropical place and we like to remain comfy…lol.

  14. How do you apply for expat insurance and do you need to be a residents?

  15. technology does seem to be more expensive there, cable,internet & phone- that is what I am paying for Comcast here:( even with the higher rates of electric, I think your bill is still quite low, I have heard horror stories about the electric, thank you for the break down…I appreciate all you do to assist others

  16. Love your informative and concise posts. Happy new year to u both. Please continue sharing. Hope I can meet you all some day.

  17. What expat insurance company do you use. That is a good price

  18. Curious on the price you paid for the condo, we’re looking in to retirement

  19. My electricity bill in Huatulco, for a modern 2 bedroom condo is 180-200 pesos a month. About US $10 month. My gas for cooking and water heating is usually less than $1. My landline phone/internet is 599 pesos a month and is 200 pesos a month more than my neighbours that don,t require as much internet usage as we do. This gives us unlimited calls to the US, Canada and Mexico. My cell phone through Telcel is 100 pesos every 23 days…unlimited talk and text to US, Canada and Mexico. Plus a decent amount of data. Needless to say, we rarely if ever turn on the A/C and don’t use much gas because we eat out frequently. We LOVE it here!

    • Thanks for sharing, Helen. Those are great prices. If Linda wouldn’t miss the Caribbean so much, we might consider moving.

  20. I love your blogs, such helpful information. I am curious about tipping. what is the recommended tip for service such as restaurant, cabs,and housekeeping in a hotel. Thank you very much

    • We rarely tip cab drivers. 10% is the standard tip in Mexico for waiters, housekeeping (hotel) etc, but we exceed that if the service was very good.

  21. Do you guys live in a one or two bedroom condo? And what would be a average price of a condo in a gated community.. we are interested in exploring the thought of moving there

    • We live in a 2BR 2BA condo in a gated community, just over 1000 square feet. They are priced around $200,000. If you would like detailed information about the complex and what they still have available, send me an email at

  22. Love to know the name of your development and the city. Any idea what the current cost of a two bed/2 bath condo might be? We love the riviera maya but worried the prices may have appreciated beyond our reach. We also live in Florida and ready to retire. We’re looking at Mazatlan and Rosarito Beach (have parents in California).
    Thanks for your input

    • Hi Kelly. We live in a 2BR, 2BA condo in gated community which is over 1000 square feet. They are around $200,000 but the proce goes up if you want a penthouse, or a free-standing house. If you would like more information about the complex, send me an email at

  23. Is your homeowner’s insurance included in the “Monthly Homeowner’s/Maintenance fees”?

  24. Zachary Kraus | January 2, 2017 at 8:57 pm | Reply

    You can buy a whole chicken for 75 pesos in the colosio

  25. Try ontario Canada our electricity bill is 500 per month!!

  26. can you send me info on the condo’s for sale

  27. LOVE IT!!!!!

  28. Hello, amazing blog, my first time reading any blog. I tried to click on subscribe to blog it wouldn’t let me. My husband and I are from Canada and are thinking of retiring to Mexico. We don’t want to want until retirement age, we are 50 & 53yrs. Hmm just wondering if we can retire where you are within the next two years like you are, if you don’t mind me asking what are your ages? Thanks I look forward to reading more regularly. We are going to Cancun Feb 2017.

  29. Good morning. I just tried sending an email to but got a reply “This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

    Delivery to the following recipients failed.”

  30. Hi. Very informative Blog. Jan.2 you replied to Leslie question on Homeowners Insurance. Your answer was $500. Her question was is that included in your Homeowner’s/Maintenance Fee? I am assuming you included Home insurance in the $163.80 (usd) monthly expense.

    • The homeowner’s insurance is an annual fee that we pay. The $163.80 are the HOA / maintenance costs. We have a full staff of gardeners, security guards and other maintenance personnel. The building are painted on a regular schedule and those fees cover all that.

  31. Great info, but it would be helpful to know how much you spend per month on groceries, eating out and car expenses as well as miscellaneous expenses. Thanks.

    • It varies and we determine what we do and where we eat by what we have left in the budget. That’s why I included links to a site to research the cost of items in groceries etc. Last month we spent $368 in groceries but $800 in eating out (we eat out a lot). The only car expenses were the gasoline and the insurance. We occasionally get a car wash which is less than $5 for a pretty detailed wash.

      The only misc. expenses are the ones that we add when the budget allows: staycations at nearby resorts etc.

  32. Very informative and would like to know where you are! Thank you .. love Mexico

  33. Brad Crawford | January 8, 2017 at 8:34 pm | Reply

    This is a great site! Very informative for so many of us trying to escape the high cost of living in Canada. Taxes on taxes and outrageous hydro costs. Thank you so much!

  34. Thank You for this information , I am retired at 48 and just turned 5O I am looking to move to Playa De Carmen or around the area and having a heck of a time figuring out what expensives would be , I really don’t have to worry about it but I wanted to plan correctly , I’ll be there next month for a small vacation and hopefully I’ll find a place also to purchase Been looking up homes not bad for prices . Any suggestions on a realtor ?
    Thank You again
    Great info that was needed.

  35. I appreciate the good information. My wife and I have had extended stays in Guanajuato and Oaxaca over the past years and give serious consideration to living in Mexico. We are a little older and might be interested in any feedback for folks in their late sixties and early seventies with regard to insurance to supplement Medicare or other senior issues

  36. Just curious Paul,
    Where you live, are you worried at all about hurricane season? I go to IM island and thought about property there, but……hurricanes are a concern. How far are you from the water?

  37. Great article Q-Roo, for some realistic costs of living. Some of the other articles are also very informative.
    Love the whole Q Roo area from Merida to the coastal areas. Kudos to you two for pulling the trigger and taking the leap!

  38. Being from Canada, our cell phone charges are outrageous. I notice your cell phone costs are considerably lower. Do you have a plan with a Mexican server?

  39. Would you know an approximate cost of renting the same type condo that you live in ?

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