Can I Live On My Pension at Lake Chapala, Mexico?

January 15, 2011

Can I Live on My Pension at Lake Chapala Ajijic?

Great Question!  Here’s a letter from a client, friend and new Dream Team member Deanne Barber who wrote the below letter to her friends back in Canada who are thinking about coming to Lake Chapala Ajijic for a check out the area trip. She’s gratefully allowed me to share it with you.

“Hello to all our Friends,

Deanne and Bruce

Some of you asked how much it costs to live down here so I'm going to show you our budget.

We have owned this house since August. 21st.  (This is the time to buy down here as the Canadian dollar is doing GREAT.)

 This is based on what it has cost for 8 months.

 I have converted the Mexican peso to Canadian dollars (at the present time it is 12 to one). 

Monthly Costs

Phone and Internet                    $33

Propane                                   50

Electricity                                60

Property Taxes                            8

Municipal water                           9

Shaw Satellite TV                       85


 Maid & Gardner                     $100

Mexican Medical Insurance

  and FM3 visa                        $75

                TOTAL                $420

 Eating out?   BBQ Rib Dinner – or – two huge Porkchops, baked potatoe & vegetables – $7.50  (90 pesos)

 Rib eye steak - rice & veg. or Fajitas   $5.75   (70 pesos) 

 The most you will pay for a meal is 120 pesos which is $10. 

 Want to go to see a movie – Last week I saw the 3D movie Alice in Wonderland at a beautiful theatre for  $5.80

 Popcorn and a drink set me back another $2

 This weekend we are going on a trip to two beautiful cities - Guanajuato and Queretaro

 We leave Friday morning on a first class coach . We will stay at a 5 star hotel for two nights, with breakfast and 3 city tours. Then. On Saturday night we’re treated to a live entertainment.

The total cost of this trip is $208 each – Yes, total!

 We could have made a similar trip to Puerto Vallarta or Manzanillo  for a similar price.  The buses are luxury class and you get to meet lots of new people. 

 The beautiful weather, wonderful environment and amazing people are worth a million dollars. 

Now, you know why we decided to sell our house and move here.

 Let us know when you want to come and visit!

 Love ya

 Deanne & Bruce"

So, come see just how much your pension wll buy at safe, affordable and beautiful Lake Chapala Mexico.

You can do it, Deanne and the rest of the Dream Team can help.

E- Mail me at today because we can't wait to get you started on making your dreams come true.

Tu amigo,


  • MaryAnn

    Hi, I love these “budgets” but almost all exclude the cost of housing and each provides large variations in the cost of electricity, water and gas. I will not be able to buy a house in Mexico. I will be looking for a long term rental. I have a firm monthly income of $2800 US. How much will I need to rent a 2-3 bedroom, 2 bath house with off street parking and a yard for my dogs. Relatively within walking distance to shopping and the malecon. Anywhere on the lake is okay. I’ve heard Jocotepec is nice. Thank you for your time.

  • Sid Grosvenor

    HI Mary Ann. You make some good points in your post. Everyone’s needs and budgets tend to reflect what’s important to them.

    The more electricity you use the higher the cost per kilowatt you will pay. This is one of the largest variables. Some folks have lots of electrical appliances and use them a lot and leave lights on etc. etc.

    Propane gas- Varies with how much you cook, do you sun dry your clothes or use the dryer, do you use your gas logs much, do you Bar B Que using a gas grill.

    Do you take long hot water showers or just shower in the afternoon with warmed water right from your tinaco (roof top water tank).Is your hot water heater a demand type that saves gas . How far is the hot water heater from where you use the hot water. So, the budgets vary. Everyone’s personal experience is different.

    Food prices vary depending upon if you buy a lot of imported foods> For example a big jar of peanut butter will set you back over $8 USD but you can eat a fancy meal out for the same $8 USD.

    Most people that like to eat FRESH fruits and Veggies save a lot of money because these are very inexpensive.

    Imported prepared foods cost significantly more. They come a long way and transportation costs and import duties run up the price.

    Learning to use Mexican brands will save a lot of money too. This is a reason that individual food budgets will vary.

    Home prices here also vary from area to area. Rente vsarry considerable depending upon views, location (Ajijic Village in general has the highest rent).

    Take a look at and you can check the different areas.

    Most homes are bought for all cash. US financing is available now for homes in our area, but the rates will be significantly higher and larger down payments are required and a high FICA score is needed.

    Rents can range from a low of $400 USD to several thousand. For a longer term rental the prices go down.

    I’ve seen some really luxury places for $900 to $1,000 USD per month for 6 month or longer rentals.

    I think you should be able to find a rental like you describe for approx. $700 to $800 a month. Be sure and factor in any utilities, gardener, home owner dues, etc. These are negotiable except for electric.

    Hope this helps. Tu amigo, Sid

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