Thursday, July 07, 2011
Cost of living in San Miguel de Allende
There is a perception among some ex-pats already living in Mexico that it too expensive to live in San Miguel. Not true. I'm going to give you real-life examples.
Many of the people I know live here on their social security - I being one of them. Mine is $1,200 a month. I have a female friend who lives here and has lived here for five years on $700 a month. Don't believe it? It's true.
Now lest you think that people living on that little bit are being deprived of a wonderful life, let me spell out some of the ways to save in this great place to live. Their lives are full and exciting.
Shopping at tianguis for Ann Taylor, Liz Claiborne, Ralph Lauren, Polo - in other words, name brands often for 20 pesos or a little more. Yes, you do have the fun of digging though stacks but just like finding a diamond in the rough - the thrill of the hunt is part of the joy. The vicarious thrill one gets when complimented on an outfit and thinking, "Geez, this whole outfit cost less then $4US", or $10US or even $15US.
Shopping at the mercado for fruits and veggies. One can hardly carry the bag that costs 50 pesos - stuffed with bananas, melons, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, etc. etc.etc. Also Mega on Wednesday has the most amazing prices.....the place is a three ring circus of Mexicans and ex-pats getting the bargains.
When it comes to eating out, most of us on a budget eat out mid-day or for breakfast. Cafe Monet has an amazingly wide menu for breakfast at the startling price of 39 pesos. The palapa restaurant has tacos for 10 pesos and hamburger con queso for 25! Many, many restaurants have prix-fixe menus for around 60 pesos for a drink, entree, salad and dessert!
Meds come with discounts, if one gets the chains discount card or uses their INAPAM card for additional discounts.
We walk - don't use our cars except when leaving town. Don't eat out but a couple of times a week. Go to free concerts, lectures, art gallery openings and have meals at each other's homes - which is the most enjoyable.
Board games, cards, marjong, Scrabble and pool are a few other ways to spend time without spending money.
Books - we share - we pass on - we review in book clubs. We don't feel deprived.
Yes, there are people here with three cars, swimming pools, large amounts of money, and big houses. But, for the most part, they are generous and share. They share either with those of us who don't have as much or they share with all the charities here who raise funds for scholarships, schooling, uniforms, health care, meals, music lessons, computers. The list goes on and on and on. Volunteering, if you desire, is another free way to enjoy life.
Many ex-pats come here for creative endeavors such as writing, painting, sculpture or jewelry making, to name a few. Many pay rents of from $200 a month on up. And that $200 a month place that comes to mind is adorable - and that includes all the utilties and satellite TV with the most incredible views!
Bargains are here - you just have to look for them. And, for those who brag that it costs them thousands a month to live in Mexico or San Miguel, to be truthful, I feel sorry for them. They've missed the essence of the country.