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The Cost(S) Of Living In Merida....


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#1 PatrickandTerry

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 03:29 PM

Terry from Maine again, with what may be considered a politically incorrect line of questioning. So I ask your forgiveness up front if I am digging too deep. Patrick and I are trying to determine some rough idea of how much it will cost us to live in Merida as expats. As we understand it, we cannot work in Mexico unless we have a very specialized skill not found in the local population. That rules both of us out. Patrick and I are not wealthy, we're not trust-fund babies, we're not internet entrepreneurs, we're both pretty run of the mill. I am just wondering……are most of you living off social security/retirement funds? If you work, what sort of work do you do? I know that the "cost of living" is a totally subjective determination based on lifestyle and other variables, but……oh hell, I'm tippy toeing around what I want to ask……

I would be interested in hearing what some of you would consider a necessary monthly income to maintain a comfortable middle-of-the-road, US style, middle class existence in the Merida area. This would be assuming the residence was paid in full, as well as one vehicle. I'm talking a simple but reasonably comfortable daily life - nothing fancy, no dining out four or five times a week, no maid, no extravagant extras, just a nice home in a solid neighborhood, a reliable vehicle, high speed internet, some sort of medical coverage, utilities, etc. What sort of monthly income would a couple need to live that way in Merida or one of the coastal communities? Would purchasing a home with additional income potential be a smart move? (i.e.-an apartment, casita, etc.) I looked around at your other forum topics and I even did a "cost of living" forum search but nothing popped up. When it comes to weekly/monthly costs, we have no idea what to expect. A wiggly line in the sand sort of starting point is what we are trying to determine, if that's possible.

As I said, if I am poking around topics that are too delicate I apologize. Simply ignore this one. But if you can offer any personal perspective in a very generalized way, I (we) would be very interested to hear from you.

Thanks again everyone…….Terry, of PatrickandTerry



#2

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 03:55 PM

Trust me there are several long threads on the coast of living here in the forums.
I believe the general consensus was between $1000 to $2000 US.
With lots of variables in there like your health, w/wo a vehicle, own or renting house.
You can work here however if you own a business, it's just no one can hire you unless
you have a needed/special skill.

#3 ELNIDO

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 03:57 PM

The topic has been covered extensively on Yolisto. Here are three forums that I found with a simple search.

http://www.yolisto.c...opic/1126-hola/
http://www.yolisto.c...ational-living/
http://www.yolisto.c...ve-comfortably/

#4 whazzoo

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 03:57 PM

Terry from Maine again, with what may be considered a politically incorrect line of questioning....
As I said, if I am poking around topics that are too delicate I apologize. Simply ignore this one. But if you can offer any personal perspective in a very generalized way, I (we) would be very interested to hear from you.

Thanks again everyone…….Terry, of PatrickandTerry


Wow, are you going to get some diverse numbers. If you own your home and car and live what I would call a normal life. You will spend somewhere around 1800 to 2200 a month. That means eating out when you feel like it and not doing all your shopping at Costco or Walmart. Some months may be more and some less as need arises. But 2000 should be quite livable.

I am sure others do it on less and others need more.

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 04:00 PM

Hola Terry, of PatrickandTerry ...

First: If you want to search Yolisto, skip the search box on the site and go directly to google. Plug in whatever you're looking for, + Yolisto and voila!

http://www.yolisto.c...ving-in-merida/

That thread, as I recall, got a little contentious, and I haven't read it through, so am not sure how well it answers your question, but the title looks good, right?*

Here's another one ...

http://www.yolisto.c...to-meridamaybe/

If you want to recreate your north of the border lifestyle, complete with shopping at Costo, the malls, etc. it seems that you'll pay about what you pay up north.

When we are in Chuburna, and assuming we ever get there again <_<, we eat mostly from the local market, which I swear is so cheap it has to be subsidized. We don't use A/C, we run the pool pump an hour or two a day, and generally get by with few expenditures. It's cheap for us. Very cheap. But we don't drink, and don't eat out often. That plays a big part in our thriftiness down there.

Don't ever hesitate to ask a question here. It's fun for me ~ for many of us ~ to see y'all excited about the change.

Other folks can talk about work. My choice was not to work. Early retirement after 20 years of child welfare hell.


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#6 PatrickandTerry

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 04:18 PM

This is like asking the magic mirror a question and voila...answers come forth. Thanks Whazzoo and jiminchelem, thanks-everyone. Lynette, your Google search suggestion is much appreciated, as are the links you provided, ELNIDO. Seriously, you folks are so helpful.
.......Terry

#7 Dahmel

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 05:37 PM

Actually the answer is $1,455.23 per month per person if you are a couple. There, finally a definitive answer. :)

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 07:14 PM

Sounds about right.

#9 Theresa

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 07:45 PM

We pretty much live on air...not much money. We spent a bit getting set up a household, we're very low tech. Have a small refrigerator and no a/c.I expect that if you took your NOB expenses and either upped them by 20% or reduced them by about 1/3 you would have a good budget. Because it depends upon what you think you need. If you need corn feed beef or if it's okay to eat local leaner beef. If you speak Spanish your choices open up more too

Since food and entertainment really are variables.All prices are in pesos Off the top of my head and assume that four and half weeks makes a month, though it's really 4.33.

Our average CFE bill is $500 (it seems to be either 400 or 600) so 250
We pay trash yearly so about $13
our agua potable is $80 so $40
We have a big propane tank that gets filled about one every 9 months for $1500 so $167
The real drinking water is about 3 garafons a week at $22 each so $297 even Mr Dog drinks bottled water
If you include aguinaldo,holidays and bus fare our very part time housekeeper gets $1185
We pay about $600 a month for DSL and a landline through TelMex (we don't have any sort of TV except rabbit ears)
The pool service gets $310


So that comes to MN$2862 at today's rate that's USD$204 Those are items that are pretty constant in our lives. We also have fees and taxes related to our house. We probably spend more on medical care than most people and less on entertainment. We walk a lot, take buses and sometimes taxis. I spend way too much money on plants and stuff like that. Some hobbies are cheaper here some aren't. Then there are repairs to maintenance for our house, we just repainted and stuff.

You're really better off asking about specific things like the price of particular foods.
regards,
Theresa

#10 Dave_in_Ont

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 08:03 PM

I agree with EPF...Dahmel is pretty close to what we spend. He might be off by a few bucks but close. That figure includes monthly rent and vehicle costs for Shirl and I.

If renting a home and driving your own vehicle...$3000/month US sounds about right to me, for 2 people. We drink and smoke though.

If we quit drinking and smoking and never ate out we could probably cut the cost down to $2000 US per month. But then we wouldn't have as much fun!!! :lol:

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#11

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 08:41 PM

Having fun in the Yucatan..............priceless.
But if you really want to, you can live cheaply here!

#12 CasiYucateco

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 08:55 PM

The main question is whether you are planning on adapting your lifestyle to a more "Mexican" style of living - open air living, cook simple meals at home, enjoy time with friends. Or do you need AC in more than one room and more than night-time only? Higher cost foods, expensive pastimes, number of trips back north, etc, etc.

You said

middle-of-the-road, US style, middle class existence in the Merida area


In my experience, the more you try to make Mexico like the USA: pressurized water system, AC, pool, dishwasher, various other appliances, etc, the higher your costs are going to be - possibly dramatically higher. What can you do without in your current house? What is indispensable?

Each of those things adds more monthly maintenance expense compared to the "regular" way things are done: gravity flow water, hand wash the dishes, simpler living, simpler tastes. And those will add up quickly.

Here are a few recent maintenance expense examples: Spring Maintenance.

A fairly comprehensive article with follow-up discussion:

The Cost of Living in Merida Yucatan

It's pretty important to control your electricity expense, which is one reason that having many gadgets and appliances is less advisable for inexpensive living.

Saving Energy in the Yucatan

Anything imported, "US middle class," or above basic necessities usually costs more in Mexico, sometimes much more, than in the USA.

The basics which local people live on from day to day may be cheaper, but the more particular your tastes, the more the costs add up.

Off the cuff: $1000 to $1500 per person, minimum. Plus, you have to show sufficient income for your visa.

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#13 Corrineg

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 08:55 PM

I can't believe Theresa's power bill is so cheap. Our power bill is anywhere between 1400 - 1700 pesos for 2 months and I try my best to turn off lights in rooms. But the fans and 2 computers and air conditioning will add up. So it's true, the cost to live here will vary for every household. But in the end, it is still cheaper to live here than it was back in Saskatchewan. Utility bills there were getting ridiculous. All I can say Patrick and Terry, come and join us here in the Yucatan, you probably won't regret it.


#14 CasiYucateco

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 09:35 PM

I cannot remember if Terry and Patrick have said they've vacationed in Merida before and in what months, if they have.

You all seriously should take a couple one or two week vacations in different times of the year before deciding to pick up and move. Even if you've lived in Florida or Mississippi, I personally feel the heat of the sun is quite a bit different - higher - than "up there." You almost have to reschedule your life to do things outside the hottest part of the day - learning to live with the solar heat.
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#15 reelcrazy1

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 10:47 PM

Even if you've lived in Florida or Mississippi, I personally feel the heat of the sun is quite a bit different - higher - than "up there." You almost have to reschedule your life to do things outside the hottest part of the day - learning to live with the solar heat.


Living in the Houston area with 100+ degree days with 95-100% humidity feels totally different than the 100 degree days in Merida. I can't explain it, but the sun seems "hotter" to me, yet the air is more bearable than Houston. Must be the humidity, breeze, or maybe the shady side of the streets I learned to walk on! Posted Image As long as cool showers await, both in the house and weather-wise, the heat for me, should be bearable. I will, however, be bringing my portable A/C to run at night. I HAVE to be somewhat cool to sleep well! Don't know if I can adapt otherwise.

#16 nickandwill

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 08:35 AM

I agree with reelcrazy1 about the heat. The sun is hotter down here but it is still more tolerable than July and August in Indiana.

As for the cost of living. We do just fine living off of 2,000 dollars a month. We moved down here with basically nothing except for what fit on the plane. With $2,000 a month we can afford rent, utilities, food, entertainment and we still have money to buy things that we need to replace from the states. The exchange rate really effects our budget. The Peso dropped a lot last month, so we were able to buy some new furniture with the extra money.


#17 ChuckD

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 08:51 AM

I agree with reelcrazy1 about the heat. The sun is hotter down here but it is still more tolerable than July and August in Indiana.

As for the cost of living. We do just fine living off of 2,000 pesos a month. We moved down here with basically nothing except for what fit on the plane. With 2,000 a month we can afford rent, utilities, food, entertainment and we still have money to buy things that we need to replace from the states. The exchange rate really effects our budget. The Peso dropped a lot last month, so we were able to buy some new furniture with the extra money.


I'm assuming you mean $2000 dollars/month, not pesos, right?
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#18 nickandwill

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 09:24 AM

Ooops, yes. I do that to Will all the time. I say pesos when I mean Dollars and vise versa. I did edited my post. :)


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Posted 07 June 2012 - 10:01 AM

Again depending on what you want/need and are willing to compromise on makes all the difference in what it will actually cost you to live on. You NEED Dahmel's stated amount (I'm sure that's correct, but did not check back on our papers for verification here in Merida) to live here on a full time basis, and will have to prove that monthly income for 3 months of the year when you renew your visas etc...For us because we are married, J pays the full amount and for the spouse they require 1/2 that amount (but that's only if you own a house). It would be harder if one had to pay rent on this amount.

We find that we need $2,000 CDN to live here comfortably. We very seldom go out for dinners...perhaps once every 6 or so weeks, and only occasionally order in pizza. We will grab a snack or a light lunch and a beer if we're downtown shopping or walking around. We do eat very well at home, entertain quite a bit, we drink and I smoke. We don't buy expensive wines. We have 5 dogs so there are vet bills and regular expenses for them. We do our own pool maintenance, but there's also the cost of chlorine, clarifiers, etc. I have a cleaning helper in one day a week for domestic purposes, but J does all the yard maintenance, trimming trees, hedges, replanting etc.

We don't have a vehicle so we take taxi cabs if it's the two of us and it's too far for me to walk...other than that John bikes or walks to most places...including Wallmart etc..then, if walking, he'll take a cab back with the groceries. For the price of cabs here, we find it's hardly worth it for two people to take a bus when for only a few pesos more you can take a cab. You can take a LOT of taxi rides for the cost of a vehicle, the maintenance, gas, insurance etc per year, and you don't have to worry about anything in case of an accident.

I hope all these posts help to give you an idea....everyone has their own idea of how they choose to live here in the Yucatan. I'm sure you two will find out what works for you in very short order. Good luck on your new adventure!!!

#20 PatrickandTerry

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 03:19 PM

Thank you everyone, seriously...thank you. I (we) genuinely appreciate your input on this topic, and many of you have raised some excellent points. Obviously, personal expectations of "required comfort" will raise or lower the monthly expenses and overall costs. The willingness to "adapt to a more Mexican style of living was mentioned by CasiYucateca, it's something that in my mind would be a requirement if one expects to find life satisfying. But that said, I have no frame of reference for this whole adventure so making US comparisons is all I can do at this point. The very idea of moving to another country is all very "foreign", in every sense of the word. I get the impression from several of you that Merida is a part time home for now, if so, do you have plans to make it permanent at some point?

Dahmel, I'm impressed by the definitive precision of your numbers, down to the penny.
Theresa, your breakdown of average monthly costs is so helpful. Thank you.
CasiYucateco, your links are great, I bookmarked each of them.
All of you, your feedback is providing some much needed data for establishing a financial baseline.

Based on all you've said I will admit my head is spinning right now - can we do this, what are we willing to compromise on, what if this happens or that happens. I'm hoping that's something you all went through as well.

CasiYucateca, you asked if we have vacationed there before. No, we have never even been to Mexico, let alone Merida. That must sound rather crazy I suppose. We had planned to come in August but a family commitment is preventing that. We plan to make a number of visits in the next year and a half or so, during different seasons.

Gravity fed water as opposed to a pressurized system, okay…that's something I hadn't really considered as a variable. A/C for sleeping would probably be a necessity for us, but heat and humidity doesn't bother us as much as cold. For a shorter stay, a vehicle might not be a necessity, but for an extended/permanent stay, I'm not sure we could be without one, especially if we settled in a coastal community. Lots of variables. I suspect we'll have to wait until we have Yucatan soil under foot before many of them can be sorted out.

Thanks again everyone for your time and personal perspectives.

Terry




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