Cost of living in Mexico: Your guide

4 minute read

Are you thinking of relocating to Mexico? There are a number of reasons to go through with it. It’s the 11th most-populated country in the world, with a diaspora of food, traditions and ecosystems. The country universalised its healthcare system in 2004, which improved the quality of life for most of its residents.

Whether you’re retiring, temporarily relocating, or moving to Mexico for good, it’s important to understand the cost of living. Here’s what you’ll need to know about money and expenses when you’re there.

How expensive is Mexico in comparison to other countries?

Mexico is affordable, but banks and money exchange services are still wildly inconsistent. To get the real exchange rate when transferring funds to Mexico- the same one that you’d see on Google - use TransferWise. You can always check an online currency converter to estimate what your exchange rate should be.

Money in Mexico is called the Mexican peso (symbolised by $, Mex$ or by currency code ‘MXN’). Although the exchange rate fluctuates constantly, in the fall of 2017, you’ll find the MXN is worth approximately:

Currency Mexican peso value
US$1,000 Mex$19,101
£1,000 Mex$25,105
€1,000 Mex$22,181
AU$1,000 Mex$14,663
Comparing basic cost of living 1 bedroom flat in city centre (monthly rent) Meal for 2 (mid range restaurant) Transportation (monthly pass)
Mexico City Mex$9,000 Mex$500 Mex$300
Guadalajara Mex$4,500 Mex$400 Mex$300
London, UK Mex$39,000 Mex$1,275 Mex$3,000
New York City, USA Mex$55,000 Mex$1,350 Mex$2,100
Berlin, Germany Mex$16,000 Mex$850 Mex$1,700
Sydney, Australia Mex$37,000 Mex$1,200 Mex$2,300

What are the most expensive major cities?

Here are the top five most expensive cities to live in in Mexico:

  • Los Cabos
  • Monterrey
  • Cancun
  • Cuernavaca
  • Guadalajara

And these are the cheapest:

  • Tlaxcala
  • Zacatecas
  • Tepic
  • Guanajuato
  • Tuxtla Gutierrez

What are general living expenses like in Mexico?

Total living expenses in Mexico City Average cost
1 person, per month Mex$18,000
1 person, per year Mex$216,000
student, per month Mex$14,350
3 person family, per month Mex$36,000
3 person family, per year Mex$432,000
Total living expenses in Guadalajara Average cost
1 person, per month Mex$15,000
1 person, per year Mex$180,000
student, per month Mex$10,000
3 person family, per month Mex$25,000
3 person family, per year Mex$300,000

What are the average salaries in the Mexico?

Although most expats find that Mexico is affordable, you’ll have a more stable lifestyle with a salaried job. In most Mexican cities, even a modest salary will cover most of your daily expenses.

Here are the average salaries of some common jobs in Mexico:

Salary averages for Mexico City Average yearly salary
cashier Mex$240,000
copywriter Mex$360,000
financial analyst Mex$590,000
graphic designer Mex$368,000
mobile developer Mex$600,000
product manager Mex$1,000,000
receptionist Mex$250,000
software engineer Mex$600,000
teacher Mex$240,000
web developer Mex$800,000
Salary averages for Guadalajara Average yearly salary
copywriter Mex$200,000
financial analyst Mex$400,000
graphic designer Mex$180,000
mobile developer Mex$480,000
product manager Mex$600,000
receptionist Mex$240,000
software engineer Mex$450,000
teacher Mex$240,000
Web developer Mex$600,000

How expensive is housing and accommodation in Mexico?

Accommodation in Mexico is affordable, whether you choose to live with flatmates or by yourself. The closer you are to the city centre or the beach, the more costly it becomes. Rent in Mexico will usually be cheaper than your home country if you’re coming from abroad. In the table’s below you’ll find an estimate of monthly rent that you’d find in three of Mexico’s most populated cities:

Renting in Mexico City Average monthly cost
large apartment Mex$21,000
medium apartment Mex$12,800
small apartment Mex$10,000
student dorm room Mex$8,500
internet Mex$375
Renting in Guadalajara Average monthly cost
large apartment Mex$12,100
medium apartment Mex$7,630
small apartment Mex$6,000
student dorm room Mex$4,150
internet Mex$365
Renting in Cancun Average monthly cost
large apartment Mex$13,800
medium apartment Mex$9,820
small apartment Mex$8,620
student dorm room Mex$4,160
internet Mex$420

Mexico has a mixed public-private system that combines a universal public program with smaller, private healthcare programs. There are a number of high-quality medical facilities, but as is often the case, those with more money have better access to them. Dental care in Mexico is about 80% cheaper than it is in the US, and of a similar quality. Some examples of estimated healthcare costs you could see in Mexico can be found below:

Healthcare service Average cost to you
yearly health insurance for 1 person Mex$2,600
labor and delivery (private hospital) Mex$5,400
family doctor check-up (no insurance) Mex$400
dental cleaning (no insurance) Mex$575

How much are travel and transportation costs in Mexico?

Mexico is a large country with multiple modes of transportation. While infrastructure doesn’t normally allow for a robust public transportation system outside of the major cities, you can generally find cheap ways to get to where you’re going. Passenger train services are mostly discontinued, but Mexico City has the second-largest metro in North America (outside of New York City). When it comes to transportation, prices in Mexico tend to be fairly cheap. This are some average costs you’d expect to see when traveling around Mexico:

Transportation and vehicle prices for Mexico Average cost
gasoline (1 litre / 0.25 gallon) Mex$15
monthly bus/transport pass Mex$300
bus ticket, single use Mex$7.70
taxi tariff, 30 minutes Mex$60
train trip, single ticket cross country Mex$1,250
Toyota Corolla, new Mex$262,000
VW Golf, new Mex$260,000

How much does education cost?

Public schools in Mexico are government-funded and free. Many expats send their children to private school, where there’s a monthly tuition fee and an annual enrollment fee. There are many international schools in Mexico and large universities attract students from all over the world. Don’t expect the expensive education that you’d find in the US or the UK – the state requires education to be accessible for most. Here are some cost estimates for education in Mexico:

School in Mexico Average Yearly Cost
preschool / kindergarten Mex$0 – Mex$40,000
private school for lower grades Mex$45,000
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México tuition Mex$0 – Mex$1,800
Universidad de Guadalajara tuition Mex$0 – Mex$1,800

People move to Mexico for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s for weather, cost of living or family, there will be an adjustment. Prices in Mexico can be confusing, so planning your budget can help you feel more in control. With some research and patience, you can have a wonderful quality of life in Mexico.

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