Mexico: Living at the Beach on $800/month

One of the first questions that people ask before moving abroad is how much money they should expect to spend per month. And the answer is always, it depends. Which is true. This post is specific to the country of Mexico, which right now has a favorable exchange rate for those who are making dollars. But it still depends on the city, location within the city, the size of the dwelling and lifestyle factors. There seems to be two types of expats that relocate to the developing world; those who want to live like a king and those who want to blend in with the locals. I am definitely the latter.

That being said, I do enjoy eating out a couple times a week, and I love my margaritas on the beach. I’m sure we could slice the budget down even further by giving up those luxuries, but I’d rather not. I decided to relocate with my daughter to Progreso, in the state of Yucatan, Mexico. It is a small beach town. There is a retired ex-pat population and cruise ships stop here 2 – 3 times per week, but other than that, it isn’t a big tourist destination, which is exactly what I wanted. It is about 4 hours by bus to Cancun so we are also close enough to a major airport and a tourist hotspot if we want a little more adventure.

Progreso is a small, quiet and relaxing beach town.

Our Expenses in progreso, mexico

Rent: $200 USD monthly for a furnished studio apartment with separate kitchen and bathroom. Utilities (electricity, water, cable, and internet) included.

Part-time nanny: $35 per week

Food: $30 per week ($25 at the grocery store and $5 at the market)

Well baby visit: $20 once a month

Vaccines: free

Formula and Diapers: $16 per week

Transportation: $3.50 per week. (I take a taxi to the supermarket at the entrance to the town once a week.)

Laundry service: $3 once a week

Spending money per week: $57.50 for eating out, buying clothes, medicine, etc.

Personal Insights on mexico

As you can see, we don’t spend much money at all compared to living in the U.S. Mexico has always been a bargain for expats, but even more so recently. The exchange rate, which is nearly 20 pesos to 1 dollar, helps save a lot of money monthly, especially on formula and diapers. I also make my own baby food with fruits and vegetables from the market and a blender.

One of the biggest money savers is that we don’t need a car. Our apartment is located 2 blocks from the beach and 4 blocks from the town’s market and supermarket. Everything is within walking distance and my daughter loves to go for walks in the stroller. Our other entertainment is the beach, which is free.

Her stroller is our main mode of transportation, even on the beach.

And although she isn’t quite ready to play at the parks, there are plenty of them around. Overall, Mexico is a very family friendly country and you can find children playing in the streets and at the parks well into the night.

There are plenty of free parks for kids and some have exercise equipment for adults.

I try not to eat out every day, but when I do want to treat myself to a margarita, they run about $3 at the beachfront restaurants and food is $5 – $8 per plate. If I go to eat at the market, meals are $2 – $3.50. At the end of the week, I always have spending money left over.

Additionally, if I were a single person, I would be spending just $576 monthly, as the nanny, pediatrician and baby items run about $224 per month.

To make sure you get the best deal possible when you move to mexico or abroad

  1. Learn the local language. If you don’t, you will end up paying much more for housing.
  2. Rent a hotel room or Airbnb for a few days. You will find the best rental prices by walking around and looking for “for rent” signs.
  3. Ask the locals (The lady that owns the laundry mat found our current apartment for us).
  4. Weigh the pros and cons of the location. You may pay more to be downtown but if you save on a car payment, gas, maintenance and insurance, it may be worth it.
  5. Ask your landlord about throwing in appliances and/or furniture. Mine was able to lend me a gas stove and propane tank so I didn’t have to purchase one myself.

Do you have questions?

I hope that this has been helpful to you if you are considering moving abroad. If I have forgotten anything or if you have a question, please comment below.

If you are considering moving to Latin America, I provide online Spanish lessons. You can find more information about them here.

Note: Prices are in USD and have been calculated at a 20 pesos to 1 dollar exchange rate. The actual rate at the time of this post was 19 to 1. In recent months the peso has fluctuated between 18 and 22 to a dollar.

 

Work Online: The Best Entry Level Jobs

More and more companies are hiring employees to work online. If you are thinking about becoming a digital nomad, or have already made the decision to, then you need to figure out a way to support yourself financially during your travels. Additionally, if you are a stay at home parent, working online can be especially appealing as you can save on commuting and childcare costs.

Many jobs can be done remotely, such as web design, graphic design, APP developers, etc. But, most people don’t have the skills or training (or the time or money to go back to school) to obtain these positions. In this article, I am going to outline the realistic online work opportunities that can get most people on the way to infinite travel. And to be clear – you won’t find any scams on this list or MLM jobs. These are legitimate positions which will help you earn a stable income, as long as you have access to the internet.

It’s important that you don’t get discouraged by the salary estimations listed below. If you are traveling through most parts of the world, you will be making much more than the local salaries (for example, I am currently in Mexico where the minimum wage is about $4 per day). It will allow you to live comfortably and perhaps save a little along the way, depending on your lifestyle.

my recommendations for entry level jobs to work online

  1. Teach English (or another language) online

This is how I make my living as I travel. I teach English and Spanish online. While I have my university studies in language education and teaching with technology, this isn’t a necessity in this field. There are plenty of Asian-based, online English companies that will hire and train native English speakers to teach online. You can expect to earn $8 – $16 an hour with most companies. If you are starting out in this field, I can recommend trying Tutor ABC, Open English (if you are bilingual Spanish/English or Portuguese/English) or Education First. They are the largest companies, with comprehensive training for new teachers and many students. If you enjoy working with children, try VIPKid, which pays a little higher.

  1. Virtual Assisting

More and more VA jobs are becoming available as people are working from home and don’t necessarily have the room to have a live assistant in their home office. Additionally, you may end up working for someone abroad who needs your native English language skills. VAs are responsible for checking e-mails, setting appointments, communicating with customers and anything else an in-person assistant may be asked to do. Pay varies depending on the location of the company but a U.S. based one should pay at least $7.25 an hour.

  1. Customer Service/Support

Companies like Amazon, top hotel chains, and United Healthcare are hiring remote agents to handle incoming calls (there are also thousands of sales related remote call center positions available but these don’t guarantee a steady income and most people don’t enjoy selling). You may be dealing with upset customers, making hotel reservations or helping patients with insurance questions, just like a call center employee would in an office. Amazon was advertising their positions just before Christmas at $10 an hour.

  1. Data Entry

If you are somewhat familiar with computers and are a fast typist, then data entry may be a good fit for you. Companies hire people to fill out their software with information on customers, purchases, internal statistics and more. You may have to be trained on their software or it could be in Microsoft Excel or another program that you are already familiar with. Pay varies depending on the company and type of information, but the median wages are around $15 per hour.

  1. Non-medical Transcription

Transcription is the act of listening to an audio and typing what you hear. It’s as simple as that. It does require you to be very fast at typing and detail oriented, but there is a large demand for this type of worker. I have done freelance projects in the past, transcribing YouTube videos for English materials. Other possibilities may be transcribing podcasts, radio broadcasts, television programs and more. Non-medical transcription requires no special training other than an excellent grasp of the target language. Pay is usually determined by the number of words you have to type or per hour of audio, so the faster you type, the more money you will make.

Travel to exotic destinations without having to take off work. 

Options for Certain Skilled Workers

These jobs deserve some honorable mentions, although they may require some type of industry knowledge or training:

  • Medical transcription
  • Medical billing and coding
  • Call center technical support
  • Social media marketing
  • Content/technical writing
  • Translation

Legitimate Job Websites to find Remote Work online

There are many more websites to find remote work, but these are ones that I have experience with personally. You can also find remote positions on big job websites like Monster.com.

  • Ratracerebellionhttp://ratracerebellion.com/ In addition to their big list of work from home jobs, this website has a separate section for call center/customer service jobs.
  • Upwork https://www.upwork.com/ Make a profile and then begin searching. This website has plenty of jobs in each of the categories listed above. In addition, you can easily find online English teaching jobs on this website.
  • Freelancer https://www.freelancer.com This website is best for finding data entry and virtual assisting jobs. You will also have to make a profile to be able to submit proposals.

Equipment/Set-Up

  • A quiet, professional place to work (no dogs barking or children crying in the background if you plan to teach online)
  • A laptop
  • A USB connection headset (I recommend the Microsoft Lifechat LX-3000, which many companies use as their standard equipment, which can be purchased at Amazon.com:

  • A strong internet connection (note: some companies require a hardwired connection with a LAN cable. You can purchase one here:

 

FYI: The above are affiliate links.