How Much Does It Cost to Live at Lake Chapala?

April 27, 2013

How Much Does It Cost to Live at Lake Chapala?
The short answer is all depends. People say I want to live a comfortable lifestyle. Yes, and this too depends on what you mean by “Comfortable Lifestyle”.
Let me give you my insight on how much it takes to live a good life at Lake Chapala.
If you live at Lake Chapala on the same level as you do now somewhere in North America, then you likely can live here better than you do now on a lot less money.
North American products are more expensive for the most part here, but other things are much less expensive.
The way to live a Caviar Lifestyle on a Tuna Fish pension is to adopt the lifestyle of well to do Mexican people.
Buy local products as much as possible; learn a bit of Spanish to make this easier. This way you’re not locked into buying where they speak English. They’re not cheating you, but they are providing an extra service by speaking in English.
If you do insist on buying all North American products you may well spend more than you are now spending because these products had to be imported. The prices will reflect the shipping, extra taxes, and scarcity in Mexico.
Let me give you a simple example. Let’s take a box of cake mix. The mixes from North American will be higher in price.

Either translate the instructions or buy one box of an imported brand and use the directions in English for future cakes when buying the Mexican brand.

Multiple this many times over for all the products you buy and it makes a big difference. Here fresh fruits and veggies are in general much less expensive and being fresh better for you. So save money AND eat healthy.
Ask fellow retirees where the best deals are. Savvy retirees here are happy to share their secrets to living like a local without compromising value. 

In North American when a product breaks it’s often less expensive to throw it away and buy a replacement.

Not so in Mexico. The Mexicans fix things, because it's usually less expensive to repair than to buy a new one.

Permit me another example: A lawn mower came with my house.  It had definitely seen much better days. It looked every bit of 10 years old. I was ready to replace it then. My Mexican wife said it was better to fix it.

That was over 10 years ago. Yes, it breaks from time to time. It's needed welding work a couple of times, re-sharpened blades (not replacement blades), a new wheel, etc.

When it’s repair time, my gardener puts it in his car, takes it to his village where its repaired. The repairs are never very high. A new mower would be a couple of hundred dollars or more.

In the USA I would have long since replaced it, because my time to take it to a repair shop and the high cost of repairs would quickly cause me to buy a new mower.
My guess is that my mower is every bit of 20 years old. The previous owner said it came with the property.  
You see it pays big dividends to think and act more Mexican. 
Take advantage of the low (by our standards) costs to have things repaired, to have a gardener, a housekeeper, enjoy eating out more, to travel more (inside Mexico) and to be pampered with massages.

This simple tip, “Do as the Mexican do” will allow you to Live a Caviar Lifestyle on a Tuna Fish Pension.

OK, hard number time. I think If your home is paid for here you can live a very nice lifestyle on $1500 USD a month.

The more you have above this the more luxury you will have.

There are large Mexican families living on a lot less than $1,000 a month and even a few North American couples living on this amount, but they're living very much like a native.
Remember, your property taxes will be a small fraction of North American taxes (mine have always been under $99 USD), and you will likely save on utilities given the temperate climate, and the lack of crazy weather (no hurricanes, typhoons, floods or major earthquakes means you don’t need to insure again weather disasters.
Very few people carry fire insurance given the near fireproof construction; and the homes are built with security in mind so many folks don’t carry break in insurance either. I carry NONE of the above and pocket the savings.
With free discount cards for folks 60 and over you save on a variety of goods and services. Half price fares on the luxury buses allows you to have affordable vacations all over Mexico.
So,bottom line, decide what’s important to you to have and figure it into your budget with Mexican prices and you can get a good idea of what it will cost you to live a comfortable lifestyle.
If you’re not sure about costs of things you want to include, let me know. I may be able to help or ask in the comments section so our other members
can help as well.

All for now, Siempre tu amigo, Sid
  • Judith

    Thanks Sid for reminding me yet again how much I love Mexico. Your words transported me back to my time “living like a native” and loving every minute!

  • Lantzville Lady

    Hi Sid, I can’t access any of the Weboard items today. Get a message “oops, Google Chrome could not access this page” or some such.

  • anna

    I was talking to a Mexican ex-pat living here in PHX and he said, “Pray you never have to go into a Mexican hospital” Enlighten me please!!

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Anna, We have a link to the web board as a service t our readers. We have no control when their board has problems. They have a good professional team overseeing their website. I just have me. This hgappens from time to time. Keep trying back. Thanks, Tu amigo, Sid

  • Sid Grosvenor

    HI Anna, Most people’s assessment is the opposite. Ask others. One person’s assessment is just that. My mother in law’s last days were in a Mexican hospial. She was well cared for in an IMSS hospital. She was in her mid 90′s when she passed.

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