Before moving to Playa del Carmen, it’s important to calculate the cost of living and create a budget. Living within your means is important in order to maintain a stable and happy lifestyle. Fortunately, Mexico is rather cheap for people whose main income is in dollars, euros or British pounds thanks to the drop in the currency exchange. However, certain things are comparable – such as gym memberships – and having a general idea of how much you will spend in groceries, transportation, entertainment, healthcare and others.
The Cost of Living in Mexico is Significantly Less
On average, a person can spend anywhere from $10 USD to $1000 USD per day. This all depends on the person, where they live, the activities they enjoy and other daily things. However, the average person will spend $30 USD per day in Playa del Carmen. This comes to about $900 USD per month, including groceries, transportation, rent, bills, and others. Now, take into consideration that while Mexico is generally cheaper than the United States and Canada, Quintana Roo is the most expensive state in the country. The cost of living is very obviously less than in other countries, but you might realize that you are paying more for things than you would in other states.
Things that might be more expensive in the region are furniture and home décor, cellphones, laptops and computers, some clothing items and imported food items. The latter is especially important to highlight as many Americans and Canadians love shopping for stuff they would find back home. However, the importation taxes mean the prices tend to be higher than you would usually pay in the US.
Comparison Between the US and Mexico
On average, the cost of living in the United States is actually 113.18% higher than it is in Mexico. And rent is 281.11% higher up north than it is in Mexico. Here is a comparative table of general expenses between the United States and Mexico:
|Item||Cost in the US||Cost in Mexico|
|3-course meal for two at mid-range restaurant||$50.00||$21.24|
|Coke/Pepsi (0.33 lt.)||$1.77||$0.67|
|Water (1.5 liters)||$1.77||$0.74|
|Milk (1 liter)||$0.84||$0.88|
|Eggs (regular, 12)||$2.35||$1.35|
|Chicken breast (boneless, 1kg)||$8.56||$4.39|
|Lettuce (1 head)||$1.51||$0.70|
|Gasoline (1 liter)||$0.79||$0.93|
|One-way ticket (local transport)||$2.25||$0.42|
|Taxi start (normal tariff)||$3.00||$1.59|
|Basic utilities (electricity, heating cooling, water, gas, garbage – monthly)||$148.91||$37.36|
|Internet (60 mbps, unlimited data, cable/ADSL)||$60.76||$25.16|
|Fitness club (monthly)||$36.21||$29.98|
|Cinema (1 seat)||$12||$3.72|
|Rent (1 bdr condo in city center)||$$1,235.83||$299.77|
|Rent (3 bdr condo in city center)||$2,010.25||$597.91|
|Average price per square meter to buy condo in city center||$2,424.10||$1,176.82|
*Prices in USD.
*These costs are averages for the whole country. You can check averages for specific cities here.
Other Costs to Keep in Mind
Other things to consider, of course, are the activities such as visiting the many natural attractions in the region. Luckily, access to the beach is completely free. However, certain protected areas have a voluntary donation of between $3 to $5 USD.
When it comes to home maintenance – besides utilities – you might want to consider cleaning services, monthly maintenance fees and gardening services (for stand-alone homes). All these services are significantly cheaper in Mexico than they are in the United States or Canada. Another thing you should consider is building a home from scratch or purchasing one. While an average price for a condo unit in Playa del Carmen is about $200,000 USD (a hefty setback in savings), when comparing to the cost back home this is a steal. Besides, you have quick access to the beach, cenotes and a great deal of natural wonders just minutes away.
Put Things Into Perspective
When you put things into perspective, you will realize that the expense in paradise is completely worth it. That is one reason why one million American expats call the Riviera Maya their home today. Added to that is the low cost of taxes, too. When you purchase a home, you will realize the huge difference in property tax payments, lawyers, notaries, and more that would really drain your bank accounts anywhere else.
The average cost of living in Playa del Carmen will come down to your lifestyle, of course. Those that enjoy eating out more and cooking less will see an increase in their monthly budget. If you want to save money, buy groceries. If you want to walk out on your balcony and be looking right at the ocean, you will likely pay more for rent or mortgage. If you can live just a few blocks from the beach, your mortgage or rent will be lower.
Regardless of your lifestyle, preferences and general expenses, you will see a great difference in your monthly budget between Mexico and the US. It’s time to consider your big move to paradise. You’ll see a better lifestyle and great savings.
And remember, at Top Mexico Real Estate…we make it happen!