How much will it take to fill a jar?
Remember those questions from our rhetoric classes in high school?
They were designed to make us think -- to deconstruct the proposition into its components -- before we started to solve what was obviously irresolvable.
What type of jar? What size of jar? Fill it with what?
I think of those classes every time someone asks me: How much does it cost to live in Mexico?
From what I have read on other blogs and on Mexico message boards, that must be the most popular question asked of those who have taken the leap. And I was one of the breed before I made the move. I wanted to know if I could afford to retire -- and still not starve.
I have been an attorney long enough to know that questions of this nature can always be answered in two words -- it depends.
It depends on the life you want to live and where you want to live it. You can live like a pauper. Or you can live like a king. It depends on what you want to spend.
Last month I talked about some of those factors in luxury of la luz while discussing electricity costs in Mexico. But the best example would be my own expenses for the past four months.
I live in a little Mexican fishing village house-sitting a three-bedroom, two-bath home on the beach. It is just the dog and me. I take Spanish classes as my entertainment -- and education.
Here is the average of our monthly expenses over the past four months.
A few observations on those figures:
First, an obvious point: old dogs can be expensive. I use a veterinarian in Manzanillo, who has been very helpful to Jiggs. But he is more expensive than the local veterinarians.
Second, utilities appear to be inexpensive. Propane is not very expensive. I use it to cook with and heat water for washing dishes. Some people use it to heat water for showers. I don't; the water is warm enough without heating it. Fortunately, I do not use much electricity; it is a very expensive commodity -- based on my Oregon experience.
Third, auto expenses appear low. I did not include the cost of insurance that I bought in The States. Add in $50 a month for that. The rest is mainly fuel, and it is more expensive than in The States. I simply have not driven much in the last few months.
Overall, I save between 10% and 20% on my living expenses in Salem. Some things are more expensive, some less. As I continue my adventures, I am certain I will learn to marginally cut back on some things.
And, of course, if I move to the central highlands, my non-existent entertainment budget line will soar.
Every person's budget differs. It will be interesting to hear from the rest of you about your own expensive experiences.
Gentlemen and ladies, start your budgets.