Taking Advantage of a Strong U.S. Dollar to Save BIG on Purchases in Mexico

So, what do a couple of thrifty American retirees living in Mexico do during self-isolation in the midst of a pandemic? Why go online shopping, of course!

Since COVID-19 came on to the scene, much of the financial news has focused on the devastating effect on stock prices and the volatility of the market in general; however, not all of the financial news is bleak.

For Americans who live in Mexico and whose income originates in the U.S. (e.g. pensions, social security), this is a unique opportunity to make their money go about 23% further than it did back in February. This is because the U.S. dollar has increased substantially in value against the Mexican peso since the onset of the pandemic.

You don’t have to be a financial genius to make this work. All you have to do is buy items priced in Mexican pesos with U.S. dollars. Yep, basically just do some shopping.

The recommended method to do this is online (social distancing) with a U.S. based credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees and gives either cash back or points to use towards other purchases (e.g. airfare).

If you can combine your increased buying power with some great sales prices, you’ll really be killing it.

Let’s Wrap This Up

Exchange rates are in a constant state of flux, so it pays to monitor them on a regular basis and to take advantage of shifts that work in your favor.

In our case, there is no way that a thrifty bargain-hunter like Linda is going to let a golden opportunity like this slip by. She has spent the majority of the morning searching through sites like Amazon Mexico, City Club and Liverpool looking for ways to maximize our savings.

Well, that’s it for today. While Linda continues to do what she can to support the Mexican economy, I’m going to divide my time between two of my favorite activities: TV watching and napping.

Take care and stay healthy!

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About the Author

Qroo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico (qroo.us) to share their experiences as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

33 Comments on "Taking Advantage of a Strong U.S. Dollar to Save BIG on Purchases in Mexico"

  1. Glenn Sekse | May 4, 2020 at 11:37 am |

    My favorite hobbies: TV, Sleeping, and… drinking… drinking more.

  2. Marc Feinstein | May 4, 2020 at 11:38 am |

    The great rate will help us in Mexico for local products, groceries, etc. Once the Mexican suppliers have to import items from the US we are right back where we were before the dollar/peso exchange rate boost.

  3. Back when the rates really dropped about three weeks ago, if I recall, I bought everything I needed for the next 6 months. Canned food, cases and cases of beer and bottles of liquor, etc. All kinds of stuff. But when I read Grupo Modelo was ceasing the production of beer and only making hand sanitizer, I bought as many cases as I could of Corona and their other brands off Amazon. Bought a bunch of cleaning supplies, and more protective equipment. Saved a boatload of money. I only go to the store now for eggs. Have fun shopping!

    • You and everyone else.
      Now I can’t enjoy Cinco because people like you bought out the good stuff.
      Have a great day!

  4. Wendy Munroe | May 4, 2020 at 11:48 am |

    I think it would be more helpful to shop locally to support small Mexican businesses in your community.

    • Sure, any local place that sells products online. We’re self-isolating at the moment.

  5. Could you share what US based credit cards you’ve found that don’t charge foreign transaction fees and/or give cash back or points? Thanks!

  6. Janine MacIntyre | May 4, 2020 at 12:03 pm |

    Speaking of TV, are you watching it in English or Spanish? What cable company do you use and what would be some sample monthly pricing for cable or satellite.

    • Qroo Paul | May 4, 2020 at 1:46 pm |

      We watch TV in both languages. We use Sky for that and watch some shows through Kodi on Firestick.

    • I have found that using a VPN is the best solution in Mexico. Contact Sabai Technology online or by telephone. But one of their routers with the VPN software preloaded in the device. They use Strong VPN. Subscribe to Strong VPN for $75/yr. Plug the router into the Mexican modem and you will be in the US for purposes of the internet. I use HULU paying them monthly. I have about 70 channels and the major networks in Miami, FL. I live in Zihuatanejo. I’ve used this successfully for 8 years in Playa Del Carmen, Cancun, Merida and now Zihua.
      I also have Netflix US and Amazon Prime. BTW Prime through Amazon MX is only 900 Pesos a year and free shipping on many items from the US to Mexico.

  7. Great info Paul thanks! We have had a few clients take advantage of this already in real estate and they are very happy. Some developers are even offering additional discounts on top of the fixed exchange rate. Keep up the great work, your articles are always helpful and informative.

  8. I have a question that may relate to your post. I use Transferwise to move money to Mexico. I think it is a great way to send money for living expenses to Mexico. We are planning to buy a home in Mexico and I’m wondering if you have had any experience transferring larger amounts to Mexico.


    • Qroo Paul | May 4, 2020 at 1:43 pm |

      We use Transferwise to move money to Mexico. With the exchange rate the way it is, we have moved larger sums with no problem.

    • Deborah S. | May 5, 2020 at 9:37 am |

      We also used TransferWise to buy a home in Mexico.

  9. Joel Short | May 4, 2020 at 12:24 pm |

    So, what about just buying pesos for a future trip? Doesn’t that also make sense, especially if we don’t think the dollar will get much stronger?

    • Qroo Paul | May 4, 2020 at 1:42 pm |

      Yes, now is a good time to get pesos for future trips. No one knows for sure if the dollar will get stronger but it does seem to have leveled out.

  10. You are spot on in this being a good time to buy. I’m a US citizen living in Mexico, and am also part owner of a local historic hotel (original building was built in 1910). The swimming pool and hot tub was long overdue for rehabilitation (original pool was added to the property in 1954), so we took advantage of the strong dollar and the hotel being closed during C-19. One of the requirements of our chosen contractor was that there would be nobody, or very few people around, to keep everyone safe. Of course with lockdown requirements, that’s easy to do. The permitting process was even easier than we expected, perhaps because the local government was happy to have some local citizens working, amongst so many who are unemployed right now, due to the pandemic.
    I’d encourage anyone who was planning to invest in Mexico anyway, now is the right time….shopping for goods or services, it’s the best time for saving more than a few pesos.

  11. Hi Paul. Welcome home. It looks like we cannot open an Amazon.mx account with a Mx address and a US credit card. Is there a workaround for this?

    • Qroo Paul | May 4, 2020 at 1:41 pm |

      We were able to do it without any problem. We have a U.S. card linked to both our Amazon and Amazon Mexico accounts.

  12. @Frank D
    You don’t open a new Amazon Mexico account. You just use your account and change the settings on the sidebar to Mexico. Amazon is many countries so you just change what Amazon site you want to shop from and it will use your current account and stored billing address and credit card. You just add a new shipping address to Mexico and confirm your credit card number for fraud prevention.

    • Qroo Paul | May 4, 2020 at 1:44 pm |

      Thanks for sharing that, Skooby.

    • Our experience has been a little different. Yes, we can shop from the US site and have items shipped to Mexico, but we go a step further and log into amazon.com.mx (still using our Amazon USA credentials). We had to add a Mexican Amazon Prime service, but it’s much cheaper than in the USA. And it gives us access to different ancillary services like Prime Video for Mexico.

  13. Now if only CFE would (1) accept US (non-Mexican?) credit cards and (2) allow pre-paying for service!

    • Qroo Paul | May 5, 2020 at 6:12 am |

      That would be nice.

    • So what is the best way to get lots of pesos for future trips? We always bring back enough pesos on each trip for the first week of the next trip. We had to cancel our annual June trip for this year, which was to be our last vacation, since we plan to retire and move to Mexico next year. So I’m thinking I should be stocking up on pesos now. What is recommended?

  14. Thank yo for the informative info. Brain storming about how to take advantage of this while in the US…. I’m sure my PM would let me mail it to him.. Hmmmmm…

  15. Marien Kaifesh | May 6, 2020 at 3:16 pm |

    We stocked up on pesos about a month ago and should have plenty for the next few trips. Now is the time!

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