Live in Mexico like a king for $20 a day.
OK. I made up the slogan, but the first articles I read about retiring in Mexico emphasized how inexpensive everything is.
I recall an article of a couple who rented a house outside of Cabo San Lucas with a maid, gardener, and swimming pool (if somehow all three were on the same level). They claimed their total monthly budget was something like $1500.
Now, you would have to be a grade A slack-jawed idiot not to realize that the couple were elbow deep in the real estate business. The same type of people who are still trying to bamboozle Americans and Canadians to invest money in Mexican tourist destinations to get in on the carcass-picking from the "stampede of Baby Boomers" headed south.
I eventually found some very good sources (mainly among our blogger colleagues) that added a dollop of reality to my cost expectations. From those sources, I concluded you can save money in Mexico. Maybe 10% to 20% overall if you want to live a life style similar to the one you left behind. You can save more by giving up some things.
One of the most complicated items is electricity. As a commodity it is very expensive in Mexico. But it depends what you are comparing it with. The Pacific Northwest is blessed with very low tax-subsidized electricity. The eastern seaboard pays a premium for its kilowatts.
But, even by New York standards, Mexico power can be breath-takingly expensive.
Of course, like all commodities, it depends how much you use. And that is where Mexican luz shines. I live in an area where no one heats -- with electricity or anything else. Cooking and hot water are propane-assisted.
For most people, electricity runs lights, refrigerators, water pumps, microwaves, and assorted small appliances. Those are the basics. And then there are the folks who add pool pumps and air conditioners.
I fall in the first category. This week I received my first electrical bill for the months of May and June -- $490 (MX). Or $245 (MX) a month. About $19 (US) a month. My June bill in Oregon last year was about $60.
So, there are some savings for electricity. Of course, if I start using the air conditioner in the bedroom (and I have now used it two nights), I will see my total rise.
The potential expense of electricity is one reason the owner of the house I am sitting is acting as a good steward with electricity. In the areas where lights are needed for navigation, she has reduced the wattage. A good idea for all of us to consider.
In fact, Calypso has been pushing similar ideas for some time.