How Lower Costs in Mexico Mean More Money for Luxuries

Whether you are looking for a full-time retirement haven or want to escape the winter up north, Mexico has a lot to offer in the way of weather, culture, and cost of living.

Puerto Vallarta, sometimes referred to as the San Francisco of Mexico, is expensive by Mexican standards, but still less than half the cost of many American cities. There may be less expensive Mexican cities to live in, but they don’t have the beauty of the Bay of Banderas, the Sierra Madre Mountains, friendly people, diverse culture, and, of course, the beautiful weather.

All these things drew me and my husband Judd to this Pacific coast beach town from our stressful lives in Minneapolis. Then we found we could live here on our Social Security.

Since moving to Puerto Vallarta, we’ve found we make substantial savings on daily, weekly, and monthly expenses. Here are a few examples of our household savings:

ExpenseMinneapolis cost Puerto Vallarta cost
 Rent $1,650 $1,100
 Cellular service $30 $12
 Cable $60 $24
 Electricity $40 $24
 Internet $40 No Charge
 Groceries/weekly $80 $50
 Dinner out $60 $26
 1 lb coffee $14 $7
 Beer out $5 to $7 $1 to $3


The rent figure is based on a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, less than two blocks from the ocean and that includes internet and maid service.

The savings we realize on our living expenses leaves more money for personal and luxury expenses. In the past couple of days, I got my haircut, eyebrows waxed, and had a nearly hour-long therapeutic massage all for under $100. The same services in my home city of Minneapolis at similar establishments would have cost me over $275.

Many people already flick to Puerto Vallarta and other Mexican cities to have required, elective, and cosmetic surgeries and dental work done. Even if you have insurance in the U.S. for things like routine dental care when you factor in deductibles, co-pays, and premiums you may end up paying far less in Mexico. I just got my teeth cleaned for $30.

Here are just a few example prices for some personal and beauty treatments:

ExpenseMinneapolis costPuerto Vallarta cost
 Haircut $60 $20
 Eyebrow wax $20 $10
 Massage $100 $50
 Acupuncture $80 $50
 Teeth cleaning $120 $30


With the savings we make on everyday living costs, we’re also able to eat out at the many restaurants. Although there are plenty of upscale restaurants to choose from, we’ve eaten some of our best meals in the local eateries. One of our favorite places is Travisio’s where you can get two big fish tacos for about $3 and a hamburger for the same price. Add a couple of beers and we get lunch for just over $10…including the tip.

So, if you are looking for retirement in paradise at a cost that’s a lot less than you’d pay at home, you need to check out all that Puerto Vallarta has to offer.

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