Home Cost of Living in Mexico Life In Mexico Seems Normal Until You Consider How Little It Costs

Life In Mexico Seems Normal Until You Consider How Little It Costs

by Brent May

I’ve lived full-time in Mexico for more than a decade and so my life just seems, well, “normal.”

Then I’ll have a conversation with a tourist or go to the States for a visit and realize, once again, how good we have it here. Everything – and I mean everything – costs so much less that it’s kind of unbelievable.

One of the things people always want to know about is medical and dental care. I just finished having two crowns put in, work I’d put off for too many years because of how much it would have cost in California, where I’m from. My dentists, two sisters with multiple university degrees and a sparkling modern office, have changed my “delayed maintenance” into a new shiny smile.

Those basic crowns cost about US $140, with an extra charge for the one post. Now I’m thinking about replacing my amalgam fillings with porcelain ones, which would set me back about $35 each (barring complications). All paid for with an easy, interest-free payment plan.

There are reasons why medical tourism has become such a fast-growing industry in Mexico. In terms of medical care, a basic office visit for most doctors, even specialists, costs between $25 and $35. Appointments are usually available the same week. Or you can go to the emergency room at any of the many private or Red Cross clinics and be seen by a doctor for under $20.

And it doesn’t have to be for a real emergency: if you need a prescription for flu symptoms, relief from “Montezuma’s revenge,” or treatment  for twisting your ankle, they’ll gladly assist.

Mexico also has several big reputable laboratory chains with clinics throughout the country. These offer all kinds of blood tests, vision exams and glasses, imaging (like bone density scans) and more at unbelievable prices, in spotless, professional, well-run centers with the newest equipment and highly trained personnel. You can make an appointment by phone or online for the next day or just walk in and wait in line.

Here’s an example: At Salud Digna – one of the biggest clinics, with more than 100 locations all over Mexico – the “Women’s Package” includes a mammogram with ultrasound, Pap smear, EKG and bone density scan, for about $25. A complete adult package, which checks 30 parameters, including a general urine exam, iron, glucose, total proteins, sugars, cholesterol and triglycerides, is only $12.

A basic blood test for cholesterol, glucose and triglyceride levels costs – are you ready? — $4.50. You pick up the results the next day and then meet with your regular doctor, or one of theirs, to go over them.

Another area where costs are unbelievably low is basic utilities. While these can vary widely depend

ing on where you live in Mexico, the bottom line is still much, much less than in the U.S.A. Water – which in California 15 years ago cost me about $75 a month – has never been more than $6 a month here. My monthly electric bill hovers at about $10, and might increase to $30 in the summer when I’m running the a/c a lot.

I used to think my cell phone and internet bills were high until my grown kids set me straight. Whereas they pay anywhere from $60-$80 or more per month, I pay $20 a month for 10 megas. My cell phone plan costs about the same, and includes unlimited calls anywhere in the world and free Facebook and WhatsApp. I’ve had arguments with people who don’t believe that’s what I pay, but I’m telling you – it’s true!

Let’s see, what else. My cat needed a check-up (she frequently comes home with assorted cuts and scrapes) so I called Dr. César, the mobile vet I’ve used for years. Yep, that’s right, he comes to your house with a big tackle box full of supplies, and for about $15 he takes care of simple injections, routine vaccinations and exams.

If it’s something more complicated – say surgery — of course he recommends another local vet with an office (where a basic visit costs $30). I can call or message him via WhatsApp, and he always comes within a day or two or right away if it’s an emergency.

The list really could go on and on. Going out to eat – breakfast, lunch, dinner or everyone’s favorite, Happy Hour – is laughingly low-cost when compared to the U.S. Again, while these costs will vary in different cities and at different restaurants, I can tell you definitively that a nice breakfast or lunch in Mazatlán will not even cost you $10.

A “fancy” dinner? Expect to spend a maximum of $15-$25 each, for steak, salmon, fresh tuna or shrimp, etc. plus drinks. Oh – and Happy Hour? In Mazatlán, beer really is cheaper than water, because of Pacifico’s long-time presence here.

My tastes run toward a cold Chardonnay at the end of the day, and at barely $5 a glass, my Happy Hour runs through sunset and into the early evening.

What’s not to love?!   

Author: Janet Blaser

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JK November 27, 2019 - 6:19 pm

I enjoy reading the many articles that expats writes sharing their honest experiences of living in Mexico. Then, I remind myself what about that Mormon family that were murdered close to the border, among others? Friends from Jalisco that are permanent residents here in Long Beach, CA shares with me it’s like living here in Long Beach/Los Angeles. Stay clean, don’t get involved with drugs, don’t go flashing jewelry, just be normal and not drawing attention, whether it’s here or there in Mexico they say, it’s the same. I am sure Cartels knows the whereabouts of these locations where expats resides, different states in Mexico, but haven’t heard of any mass graves of murdered victims (expats) yet. That is what I fear the most is hearing such crimes on the news of Americans in Mexico being murdered. I want to go and visit one day, but would be lost upon arriving on Mexico’s soil.

Erin May March 18, 2020 - 12:05 pm

Hey JK,

Thank you for taking the time to read our article. I must say it is sad that the news is what is holding you from coming to Mexico. I understand your fear but as you mentioned, don’t get involved. I assure you once you arrive to Huatulco an see how calm and safe it is you will regret the fact you did not come earlier. True paradise is all I have to say. I hope you do get a chance to visit the beautiful bays of Huatulco and when you do we will be glad to assist you with a vacation property, amazing tours, and the best restaurants to dine at.



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