Are You Saving Money on the Small Things? I do Every Day at Lake Chapala AJijic, Mexico !

April 15, 2009

Are You Saving Money on the Small Things ? I do Every Day at Lake Chapala AJijic, Mexico !

When I was a kid growing up in Dallas in the 1940′s and 1950′s I did not know we were poor. Well, not exactly poor, but a long way from rich.

I took baloney sandwiches in a brown paper bag for my school lunch, my mom put patches on my jeans when they were new, and then just re-patched them when the first patches gave out.

I used to get a new pair of shoes each new school year and after they wore out we took them to the shoe repair shop.

The shop was almost like a small factory which was on Peak St. in East Dallas, The repair shop was filled with a long line of shoe repair guys working on big industrial green painted sewing machines and assorted other machines having to do with resoling, re-heeling and in general making all kinds of leather goods repairs.

I saw a TV segment recently that said that these shops (the few that still exist) have a booming business now due to the economic turn down.

Here’s our local Shoe Repair shop. No sign is needed outside as everyone in the area knows where it is .

The shop is on Degollado at # 376 in Chapala and they’re open from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

I just had new heel caps put on three pair of shoes for just under $12 USD. How’s that for saving money on the small things.

One of the things I like about living here at the Lake Chapala AJijic area of Mexico is that while we have many upscale slick new fancy malls we also have many  small shops that remind me of the ways things were in the USA when I was a kid like the local shoe repair place.

The Mexicans are very inventive in making things do. I guess it’s because they must.

That being said it does help retirees pensions go farther and helps to provide needed employment for local people as well.

Speaking of making things go farther a good shoe shine also makes our shoes look better longer


.Here’s a shot of my shoe shine man on the plaza in Chapala doing just that; making a customer’s shoes look better and last longer. He charges the equivalent of $1.08 USD for a super shine.

While I’m in Chapala in the morning I often stop at one of the convenient sidewalk shops for a breakfast licuado (a blended fruit drink of some

type) or a large full glass of fresh carrot juice, orange juice or celery juice or a blend of one or more of these. Mummm Good… and very good for you !  The price is right too. A tall glass of fresh juice is just $70 cents.


Then at 9 a.m. the banks open and I pop in to the ATM booth at Banamex and replenish my supply of pesos because almost 100% of our local expenses here are paid in “efectivo” (cash).

You can remember this Spanish word by remembering that cash is always “effective”.

So there you have it: A typical morning in Chapala as I walk from shop to shop doing errands, having  a juice breakfast and stopping by the bank all the while Saving Money on the Small Things.

  • Jim DeWitt

    I’m with you Sid! It’s almost like the Cheers show… where everyone knows your name. The juice joint in Ajijic knows when we walk up we’re ready for our jolt of carrot juice. Once she was out and a “volunteer” ran to the market for carrots and ran back carrying a 50 pound bag – now THAT’S Service!

    I cherish good service and while it’s still the norm in Chapala/Ajijic, it’s getting harder and harder to find in Austin, TX. That’s why we bought in Ajijic so we’ll have our place “for the small things” when we retire in 3 years.

    Thanks to your wonderful knowledge of the area and listening to our [eclectic] needs, you made our dreams come true and found us a wonderful home we think about daily. Now we have to rein ourselves in because we want to come down more often than before – after all… we’ve got a house fer cryin out loud! [but we also have jobs]

    Thanks for everything Sid! Jim DeWitt

  • Sid

    Hi Jim, Thanks for the great comments. I sincerely appreciate the kind words for me. You guys were a lot of fun to work with.

    I know the feeling about wanting to get here sooner rather than later. My first trip to the area was about 15 years ago. I’ve lived in the area now full time for almost 8 years so it took me almost 7 years to get here myself.

    But, I can truthfully say that I can’t think of anywhere else in the world I’d rather hang my hat.

    There are of course places less expensive in the world to livet, but not with our great almost USA – like infrastructure.

    There are also places with better climate, if you you want to live in Africa.

    One of the nicest things since my first visit to the area is that each year the area improves. The lake is at it’s best in many years, we now have high speed internet, the peso buys a lot more now that it once did, and it’s no longer necessary to drive to Guadalajara for major purchases like cars, furniture and appliances and the list of first class restaurants with live entertainment grows longer each year to name just a few of the positive changes.

    You were very wise to buy before you’re ready to retire full time. More and more couples are choosing this option. Our real estate market is off some now (Is this a Buying Opportunity?) and the selection of new and pre-owned quality homes at very affordable prices are plentiful.

    So, Thanks again Jim for your kind words.

    Give my best to your other half and daughter,

    Siempre tu amigo, Sid

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