Jump to content


Cost of Living in Merida


  • Please log in to reply
141 replies to this topic

#1

  • Guests

Posted 12 January 2011 - 12:33 AM

I am 63 years old and living in Oregon on unemployment which will run out soon.  Then I will be forced to take early retirement.  I am seriously considering moving to Merida and wonder if my Social Security income ($1,200 a month) will be enough to live on.  I will have enough $$ to buy a house outright so my Social Security would go strictly to living expenses.  From what I can figure out, I should be able to live quite comfortably on that amount of income, but I'm not sure.

Anyone want to impart some advice or words of wisdom on this subject?

Also, are there any problems collecting Social Security while living in Mexico?





#2 CasiYucateco

CasiYucateco

    Veteran

  • Moderators
  • 3,105 posts

Posted 12 January 2011 - 01:50 AM

Hi Katiebegood,

If you buy a house outright, your living expenses will be quite low, if you can adapt to a more "Mexican" style of living. If you want all the luxuries and even what many consider essentials of living in the USA, it may be more expensive.  Basic food (from mercados or grocery stores) is generally cheaper than in the USA.  Restaurant dining can be cheap at a Cocina Economica (literally "cheap kitchen", ie neighborhood family-run dining room) or become expensive if you frequent the chain places.

You can travel by bus nearly everywhere and taxis are cheaper than in the USA if you don't feel up to the bus.  Having a car is, generally speaking, more costly than in the US.

Merida offers free entertainment -- live music, dancing, etc -- in various parks around town on a rotating basis. 

If you haven't read Yucatan Living yet, take a peek over there at the weekly schedules of things to do. You'll be amazed at how you can fill out your calendar!  (scroll down to Current Events, News & Art)

Here's their in-depth article on the Cost of Livinghttp://www.yucatanli...ida-yucatan.htm   Note that costs will vary with the exchange rate of Pesos to the Dollar and also may shift either way each January and each new presidential administration.

The Yucatan Survivor section contains a lot of information you may want to consider:  http://www.yucatanli...ucatan-survivor

There are a number of discussions on this site about the cost of living and several where you can find what irritations people experience too.  Just search through the forums and see what you find.

Now then. Legalities: If you want to live semi-permanently in Mexico, you need to obtain an FM3 visa.  This helps you open a bank account and eases some other situations. An FM3 is renewed annually.  You must prove a certain level of income to obtain an FM3.

There are people who live (and even work running guest houses or real estate businesses, although illegally) on a tourist visa - the FMT.  This must be renewed by leaving the country (even if just across the border and back in a day) every 6 months.  And some report that it has been more difficult to obtain repeat visas of this type as the visa system becomes more unified and tracking gets to be more electronic than paperwork and rubber stamps.

An average Mexican worker may earn around $500 US a month, but most households have several workers or at least more than one.  Someone who has found a "paycheck job" (as opposed to cash) and earns $1000 US a month or so is considered solidly middle class. Even so, they usually don't live alone and share expenses to be able to afford things like a car or travel, etc.  So, it is do-able.

The main question, really, is you.  Do you have to have things your way? Or can you easily accept that you're living in a totally different culture and what you knew all your life may not apply any more?  Are you flexible about things like plumbing repairs or the power being on 24x7?  Can you cope with very high heat and humidity certain times of the year?  Tropical living has pluses and minuses. 

For ex-pats, Social Security is electronically deposited into US Bank Accounts and then you can transfer the money as you wish.  ATM cards are the most commonly recommended way.

It would be best if you had some back-up savings or even a small other source of income, aside from $1,200/month Social Security, just as a cushion against inflation and unexpected price changes.  The first year or two, your expenses will be a little higher, most have found, then they learn to "work the system like a Mexican" while letting go of a couple expensive habits.

Medical care and dental care are excellent in Merida.  It is the hub of education, medicine and commerce for the entire SE region of Mexico. There is also a strong and comparatively non-corrupt police presence which has prevented the large scale violence seen in other parts of Mexico.

I know I sound like I work for the Chamber of Commerce or something, but it is a great place. On the other hand, it is not for everyone. There are some people who simply cannot adapt to another culture and/or cannot change their lifetime habits to accommodate new realities.  The Maya absorbed the onslaught of the Spanish and the culture remains. One more expat won't swing the balance any time soon. :biggrin:

Best of wishes. We know these are hard times. Our extended family in the US has been affected in many ways, none of them good.

Merida offers a lot, but make sure it is a good fit for you.

There are tons of super nice folks on Yo Listo ("I'm Ready!") and I'm sure you'll hear from other folks too.  I just felt like blabbing tonight. Hope I haven't bent your ear too much.



#3 Jardinero

Jardinero

    Veteran

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,498 posts

Posted 12 January 2011 - 10:03 AM

...I know I sound like I work for the Chamber of Commerce or something...


Not at all. Your response is probably the best summary I read of what living in Mérida involves and offers.


#4 Choque

Choque

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 44 posts

Posted 12 January 2011 - 09:00 PM

Hi KatieB,

You've been to Merida, right? And stayed all summer? It does get hot. Not unbearable, but you need to know what you're in for. You should come down and rent a while, I think. Make sure it's really for you before you buy. It is a lovely place, especially if you're adaptable and can speak or learn some Spanish. I'd think $1,200 is doable but few frills. But if your tastes are modest, you may even find you're able to save up a little reserve. Come try it out for a while. I can't see that it would cost you much to find out.

#5

  • Guests

Posted 12 January 2011 - 09:20 PM

Hi Katiebgood;

I have been living in Merida in the winter months for five years now and I live in Oregon in the summer months. I pretty much agree with everything that has been said here by others. For me personally the culture change has been a bit of a shock to which I have never really fully adjusted, but I have many friends from the US who love it here, and many live here year round - even with the very hot humid summer weather. I do like many aspects of life in Merida, particularly the symphony and the many fine restaurants. The symphony is very inexpensive compared to the US, but eating out, unless at a Concina Economica, is no cheaper than the US. Some of the issues I have, living in Merida, are the open burning of garbage and even plastic, which does not go on every day but certainly frequently - and it is illegal but is done anyway. From the 2nd week of December through the 2nd week of January, firecrackers are exploded frequently all over Merida, and I personally cannot tolerate the noise from the celebrations. If that is not a problem for you, so much the better. Yucatecans are very gracious, until they get behind the wheel of a car - then they develop a new personality. It may be wise to take the bus or a taxi. I very seldom drive in Merida because it is too nerve wracking. Of course these are my views, many may not agree with me. But I believe you can live comfortably here on $1,200 US per month.

#6 bertabobbie

bertabobbie

    Lurker

  • Members
  • 1 posts

Posted 12 January 2011 - 09:55 PM

If you own your own house here I think you can live on $1200/month. There are many good & inexpensive restaurants in addition to the Cocina Economicas and groceries are less than in the States. I don't find that it is prohibitive to own a car here. Repairs are very reasonable, gas prices are state regulated, and parking is cheap or free. Also, there are free or nearly free activities to enjoy daily in Merida. And a membership in the Merida English Library is well worth it. Medical and dental care cost a fraction of what they do in the States as do drugs. You can have a maid for about $15 or $16/day.

You can't beat the weather. Yes, it gets hot in May and June but that is why we have a/c and pools [We get our pool cleaned for 65 pesos. Not bad.]. And the people here are wonderful - warm, welcoming, helpful, very family oriented. This is a very cultured city with many universities, a med school, law school, symphony orchestra, and much more.

I do agree that perhaps you should rent for a few months before you buy a house. There are many nice areas to live in and you should take time to explore the city.

#7 Jardinero

Jardinero

    Veteran

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,498 posts

Posted 12 January 2011 - 10:02 PM

Discovering Merida can become a rational experience of finding in advance what suits you best, planing one's arrival, calculating the cost VS revenue or, as it was for my wife and I, an immediate sense of belonging here and making adjustments as we would move on.

It all depends on what you value, your needs and wants. Giving a priority to material aspects or living in a place where a simple but enriching life is more important. For example, I could buy my fruits, vegetables at Walmart but prefer going at the Lucas de Galvez and San Benito Mercado for better quality and prices.

My wife is an angel! "Lucky you", said my boss, "mine is still alive"


#8 Dave_in_Ont

Dave_in_Ont

    Veteran

  • Supporters
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,823 posts

Posted 12 January 2011 - 10:22 PM

I agree with all of the replies above.

The weather is great, compared to NOB, even though it is a bit cool these days.

The local people are so very friendly.

The produce is fresh and wonderful.

If you can own your own home, I am sure that you can live on that budget fairly easily.

We rent at the beach, but our monthly withdrawals from the ATMs, for day to day living, rarely exceeds $900 US.

We mostly eat and drink at home but we also eat out a bit and usually spend some money at bars here and there.

Driving Through Mexico


Seven years snow free, and still counting on my luck!!!


#9

  • Guests

Posted 12 January 2011 - 10:32 PM

Yep, CasiYucateco provided a good review. I just have a few suggestions to toss out.

Please rent here and live here for one year before buying a home here. You will have a better idea whether Merida is really for you, and a better idea where you would want to buy. If you like the Yucatan, and can live without much of what we take for granted north of the border, there are fine little towns outside of Merida and away from the coast with an even lower cost of living, though with far fewer concerts etc. and further from Merida's medical facilities. For that matter, are you sure you will be comfortable in a predominately foreign (to you) language environment? It freaks some folks!

If super hot, humid days and dengue-laded mosquitoes are not your thing, consider other places throughout central Mexico. While Merida is current about the "safest" city in terms of crime and narcotics violence, there is no guarantee that will hold up a year or two from now.

Lastly, do not forget the USA -- there are small towns that offer lower costs of living than urban centers, you do not need Spanish to really enjoy them. though in almost all such towns public transportation is inadequate and costly, if available at all.

#10 richinmer

richinmer

    Lurker

  • Members
  • 1 posts

Posted 12 January 2011 - 10:42 PM

Many excellent points and tips have been offered. I am not certain, but if I recall correctly, the minimum monthly income requitement for an FM3 may be $1400 USD. Also, the cost for obtaining the Mexican health care/IMSS is $300 per year, depending on age. Having been in Merida for six (6) years, there has definitely been an increase in many cost areas such as food, pool service/supplies, etc. Even the contractors have siezed upon the opportunity to charge more to the growing expat community. There are indeed many cost savings, but alas prices are escalating. There are long term rentals available for $600 per month. Deals can be had.

#11 Dave_in_Ont

Dave_in_Ont

    Veteran

  • Supporters
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,823 posts

Posted 12 January 2011 - 10:47 PM

AMEN Al..on the "rent for a year first" comment!!!

We have seen people come, buy, and then go because they fell in love after 2 weeks and then decided Yucatan, Mexico, Spanish, humidity, garbage, dogs or whatever was just not to their liking.

Driving Through Mexico


Seven years snow free, and still counting on my luck!!!


#12

  • Guests

Posted 13 January 2011 - 08:55 AM

Pennsy Al's suggestion on finding a location in the U.S. is an excellent one. Staying in the U.S means retaining certain safety nets not available in Mexico.One does not need to move to Mexico to lower one's cost of living. I suggest eliminating some of your existing expenses like cable tv, internet, any vices,alter your eating habits and above all alter your attitude towards your life. Understand what your true priorities are. All of this will need to be done living in Merida (at least at the start) so you might as well commence on that track. We've lived here for 7 years now and our house has always been our number 1 expense. Whether it be renos,repairs,repainting, additions, furniture, appliances or the repurchase of stuff as things just do not last as long. Owning a home is not necessarily cheaper (but needed to get under the yearly income requirements for an FM2). Absolutely rent for at least a year. That will allow you time to scout out locations around the city for home purchase. Your location will have a big bearing on your overall expenses. Contrary to popular beliefs shopping in the mercados is NOT cheaper. I have done a broad comparison in prices in the mercados to that of the grocery stores and overall the grocery stores win out every time. Fruits are generally cheaper in the mercados but vegetables are cheaper overall in the grocery stores. Plus the selection is far larger. Unless one lives very near a mercado they do not make up the difference in price for travel, selection, convienence and they do not carry stuff like toiletries, limited canned goods, cleaning supplies etc.
Can one live in Merida on $1200.00 us /month? Yes. Comfortably? No, but comfort is a matter of opinion.

#13 TXbushwacker

TXbushwacker

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 121 posts

Posted 13 January 2011 - 09:46 AM

All are Excellent points to consider. I also feel that renting a home, or living in Merida for at least one year will be a great personal adventure let alone be a outstanding opportunity to mingle with the people, and learn a "more relaxed" lifestyle.

Enjoy..

Mike
The Republic of Texas – Not just a state but an attitude!

#14 whazzoo

whazzoo

    Genius naturally

  • Supporters
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,104 posts

Posted 13 January 2011 - 10:09 AM

A couple of other things need to be considered

1) is your pension indexed? If not your 1200 dollars USD will get smaller over time as cost rise.
2) Your 1200 USD equals X pesos at todays exchange rate, but what if the exchange rate varies substantially with a lower US dollar? Then you 1200 dollars will go no where near as far.

Whazzoo

Aerocretos de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V.

General Contractors

999-273-0840 www.aerocretosdemexico.com 999-955-0503

 

 


#15

  • Guests

Posted 13 January 2011 - 10:30 AM

To anyone who says that you can live comfortably here on $14,400.00 us a year, are you actually living here (full time) on that amount? Not a penny more. Are you actually doing it?

#16 chuburnaman

chuburnaman

    Veteran

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,140 posts

Posted 13 January 2011 - 11:00 AM

KatiebeGood,
Is the $1,200 takehome or gross? The ability to live on this amount will certainly depend on your definition of living.
You might consider the alternative of renting for a extrended period of time to make sure this is the lifestyle you expect. You can rent a small 2 bedroom off the beach for around $700 per month. You should start looking at the websites to get a feel for housing prices and what you can afford. You could start with tierrayucatan.com or Mexintl.com.
I would also suggest reading alot of the info on Rollybrook.com. This has a tremendous primer on moving and living in Mexico. Once you have read his site you would then be prepared to ask alot more questions to members on this site.
Give it a shot and then shoot away with the hundreds of questions you will then need answered.
Hope this helps.

#17 Tennismaster007

Tennismaster007

    Lurker

  • Supporters
  • 3 posts

Posted 13 January 2011 - 11:43 AM

All are Excellent points to consider. I also feel that renting a home, or living in Merida for at least one year will be a great personal adventure let alone be a outstanding opportunity to mingle with the people, and learn a "more relaxed" lifestyle.

Enjoy..

Mike



#18 Tennismaster007

Tennismaster007

    Lurker

  • Supporters
  • 3 posts

Posted 13 January 2011 - 11:44 AM

Good point but if the Jews return the land they took from the Arabs they might be peace also.

#19

  • Guests

Posted 13 January 2011 - 01:37 PM

I am 63 years old and living in Oregon on unemployment which will run out soon.  Then I will be forced to take early retirement.  I am seriously considering moving to Merida and wonder if my Social Security income ($1,200 a month) will be enough to live on.  I will have enough $$ to buy a house outright so my Social Security would go strictly to living expenses.  From what I can figure out, I should be able to live quite comfortably on that amount of income, but I'm not sure.

Anyone want to impart some advice or words of wisdom on this subject?

Also, are there any problems collecting Social Security while living in Mexico?

Katie, is that amount before or after they remove 117.00 for medicare?
Also you put your SS in your bank and use a debit card in Mexico.

#20

  • Guests

Posted 13 January 2011 - 01:55 PM

Good point but if the Jews return the land they took from the Arabs they might be peace also.

Is this on the wrong forum?




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users