Are you moving to Mexico? Are you CRAZY?! Just kidding. I’ve been there and done that. My family thought I was crazy too.
There are tons of ‘expats’ that move to Mexico’s tourist areas. People think they must be nuts, but I think it is a smart way to go if you are looking to save money while living in paradise. I was lucky enough to live in Cozumel for one year. Don’t get me wrong, parts of it were extremely difficult. However, there are some major benefits.
We met a couple that had just retired and only had enough funds to live in the USA for 6 years. They moved to Cozumel and had enough funds to last them 24 years.
If you are looking at moving to Mexico I will teach you some things I wish I had known before leaving the USA.
Store your things somewhere in the States and rent a fully furnished place down there.
This is the far cheaper option in almost every way. Shipping is very expensive and rent is extremely cheap in Mexico. We were able to rent a beautiful 2 bedroom 2 bathroom house that was fully furnished for about $400 per month. Depending on the exchange rate you could be saving even more on your rent.
For instance the set cost for our rent was 7,500 pesos. When we take money out of our USA bank account it stays up to date with the exchange rate.
Here is an example: If you take out 7500 pesos and the exchange rate is 20 pesos to the dollar that day, it would be $375 taken out of your account. The next month you take out another 7500 pesos for rent but say the exchange rate is 18 pesos to the dollar that day. Then it would be $416.67 taken out of your account. The higher the peso is, the more value your dollar has.
Bring as little as possible when moving to Mexico.
Here is the part I regret the most. I showed up with practically all of my stuff- my shoes, bedding, kitchen items, pillows, etc. Not only did I barely use any of it but I ended up leaving it there because I didn’t want to bring it back. It is expensive to check multiple bags. The house had most of the things I needed anyway. The only pair of shoes you need are flip flops, and you are going to buy new clothes there to help you adjust to the climate.
There is an exception to this. We had friends that moved to Cozumel on a cruise ship. Like…they took a cruise ship to Cozumel and never got back on the boat. Insane yet genius! You can bring as much luggage as you want onto the cruise ship. Then when you get to your destination you just take all of your stuff off with you. It is a rare thing and only one family I know was crazy enough to do it that way, but I find myself thinking, “I should’ve done that!” often.
Items I definitely wish I would have brought:
- Crock Pot- Cooking with an oven bring so much extra heat into your house. It’s awful.
- Any candy you can’t live without- Sweets in Mexico aren’t great.
- My own snorkel gear- It is actually cheaper to bring that from the states than buy it in Mexico.
- A bike trailer for my son- We got around mostly on bikes, and it was super helpful to have one. We did end up bringing one from the States toward the end of our year there. They do not have anything like those down there. We sold it 5 minutes after posting it online.
Do research before you move.
Facebook is a great resource to ask any questions you have before moving. There are expats in almost every area you would want to move to in Mexico. For Cozumel there is a Facebook page called Cozumel4you. Any questions you have someone can answer them on that page. You can even find a place to live completely online without having to go down there first.
I would suggest renting a house owned by a Mexican.
They are more lenient with what they let you do to the place, and they are far cheaper with their rent prices. There are some amazing houses for rent that are owned by the Mexican people. We rented from an American owner and were way over priced. Americans are a bit stingey as well. If you rent in the USA you probably know what I mean. Mexican culture is more laid back and sometimes it is easier to work with that. On the other hand, sometimes it definitely is harder.
If you have medical problems you will have to return to the States often.
I believe the climate and energy in Mexico is actually an amazing healing element to those that are sick. It can do wonders for them, but anyone who is sick will need to get care in the States. Medical care in Mexico is a little bit horrifying. I had a baby there, but women have babies there all the time so I figured they probably were okay with that.
If you have cancer or anything that requires a lot of treatment, return to the States for as much of that as you can.
Insurance is not a thing in Mexico. No one has it. It was cheaper to get an ultrasound in Mexico than my co-pay would’ve been in the States. So in my opinion, don’t worry about insurance if you are going to live in Mexico.
Use Xoom to get out any money you need.
The ATM’s get expensive and limit you on how much you can take out. They also charge you more fees if you are taking out a higher amount of money. Xoom charges you about $5 to take out around 25,000 pesos. It is cheaper for you to take the money out in bulk. You can send it straight from your bank account to a store that works with Xoom near you and go pick it up. It is safe, and by far the easiest way to do it.
Don’t be afraid to shop in their local markets.
My husband had serious stomach issues before we moved to Cozumel. After living there for one month he did not have any of the same issues he used to. It really goes to show how much they alter our food in the States. Their food isn’t packed full of disgusting crap like GMO’s or chemicals, and very few things are processed. I shopped at their local markets where meat was hanging on hooks outside. The meat is cut every morning and tastes extremely fresh. NOT ONCE DID I GET SICK. When we moved back to the USA it took us months to stop getting sick after eating food here. Especially fast food! It just destroyed us.
Culture shock is REAL.
It takes a long time to adjust to the culture in Mexico. I did not like it to be honest. I had a hard time with a lot of people down there, but there are some really amazing qualities they have as well. You have to find the good, and understand their culture to really know why they are doing things the way they do.
I learned that the USA, with all of it’s problems, has a pretty decent government system. We also have great opportunities for women. Women are putting up a big fight here, but I struggle with it because most of these girls have no idea what it is like to be a female outside of the USA. Women in the United States of America have more than they could ever imagine.
Don’t be afraid to move somewhere new! It was a great experience for us. I look back at that time often and miss it desperately.