One of the most asked questions on web boards is, “What does it cost to live in Lake Chapala?” Obviously the answer varies greatly. I know couples who live on as little as a $1000 per month and it only goes up from there. Depending on your lifestyle, and whether you own or rent, the true cost of living Lakeside can be difficult to pin down.
Inspiration for this blog came from a Jerry Brown Travel YouTube video. Here is the link if you choose to watch it.
I have taken his costs and compared them to my own cost of living with my partner, Ricardo, and where possible, averaged out the cost for each section. Jerry Brown doesn't cover everything and he keeps different categories than I do but I have tried to be a comprehensive as possible.
All costs are in USD and are based on a couple with 2 cars.
Jerry Brown $575/mo. Food and dining
+ $35/mo. House supplies = $610/mo.
Michaela & Ricardo $720/mo. Food/Dining/House supplies Avg cost $665
Jerry Brown $60/mo.
Michaela & Ricardo $40/mo. Avg cost $50
Car Insurance/Gas/Repairs/Tolls/Air Care/Tax (for 2 cars)
Jerry Brown $85/mo. Insurance only
+ $85/mo. Gas/Repairs = $170/mo.
Michaela and Ricardo $200/mo. Insurance/Gas/Repairs/Tolls/Air care/Tax Avg cost $185
(Jerry Brown is not clear if he has one car or two but his insurance cost is so high
I went ahead and based it on two vehicles. We have 2 older vehicles so our insurance
cost are less but we probably have higher repair costs)
We don't personally have T.V. but most gringos enjoy satellite service by Shaw or Bell Avg cost $50
Cell phones(2)/House phone/Internet
Jerry Brown $45/mo. Cell phones
Michaela and Ricardo $45/mo. Cell phones (2)/House phone/Internet Avg cost $45
(cell phones include unlimited calling to the U.S. and Canada and House phone
includes 100 calls per month to 42 countries with no time limit)
Medical/Dental Visits and Medication
Jerry Brown $55/mo. Medical/Dental visits
+$40/mo. Medications = $95/mo.
Michaela and Ricardo $85/mo. Medical/Dental visits/Medications Avg cost $90
Utilities (Gas/Electric/Small Home Repairs on Rental/Gardener/Maid (1X per week))
Jerry Brown $85/mo. Only covers gas and electricity
Michaela and Ricardo $200/mo. Gas/Electric/Home Repairs/Gardener/Maid
Garbage pick up Avg Cost $200
(My electric and gas comes to only $20/mo. His figure of $85 for only gas and electric seems high but I have seen gringos use $75-80 per month. Things like pools and keeping the T.V. and lights on constantly can push you into the highest and most expensive tier.
I am going to go with $200 on this one as Jerry Brown did not include anything for home repairs even though he rents. Most minor repairs fall to the renter to pay. Gardener/maid and garbage pick up are are additional expenses but relatively minor)
Jerry Brown $55/mo. (not sure why his is so high)
Michaela and Ricardo $20/mo. Cost $20
(I based this on a temporary visa for 2 people and doing the paperwork yourself)
Jerry Brown $35/mo. He only included clothing
Michaela and Ricardo $220/mo. Includes clothing, liquor, gym, yoga,
massages, etc. Anything of a personal nature
that doesn't fit in the other categories Cost $220
Missed Items (Jerry allotted $150 but I don't miss that much) Cost $50
Cost of Living Grand Total Cost $1575
Jerry Brown came up with a cost of living figure of $1390 USD per month without rent so these figures appear very much in line overall.
Rents here also vary widely from $400 to over $2000 dollars. I rent for $650/month but I would consider that to be the low end on rental spectrum. Most common would be $800-$1000 so let's average it out to $900 for the purposes of this blog bringing our total with rent to $2475 USD/month for a couple with 2 cars.
Of course it you own you own home, cost of living changes a bit but not too much. Fortunately, taxes are very low ($150-300/YEAR), but there may be HOA fees (depending on where you live) and possibly metered water (usually only $100-300/year) and large home repairs to consider. Too find out more, please read my blog on Home Maintenance Costs.
A big item that is missing here is Medical Insurance. This, too, can vary widely depending on a number of factors such as age, health, deductibles, etc. so I have purposely left it out. Please read my other blog on Health Care Options In Mexico.
I know you have found this blog to be extremely informative so don't miss out on the next one and Subscribe here. Thanks for Reading!