Cost of living in Mexico: Your guide


Are you thinking of relocating to Mexico? There are a number of reasons to go through with it. It’s the 11th most-populated country in the world, with a diaspora of food, traditions and ecosystems. The country universalised its healthcare system in 2004, which improved the quality of life for most of its residents.

Whether you’re retiring, temporarily relocating, or moving to Mexico for good, it’s important to understand the cost of living. Here’s what you’ll need to know about money and expenses when you’re there.

How expensive is Mexico in comparison to other countries?

Mexico is affordable, but banks and money exchange services are still wildly inconsistent. To get the real exchange rate when transferring funds to Mexico- the same one that you’d see on Google - use Wise. You can always check an online currency converter to estimate what your exchange rate should be.

Money in Mexico is called the Mexican peso (symbolised by $, Mex$ or by currency code ‘MXN’). Although the exchange rate fluctuates constantly, in the fall of 2017, you’ll find the MXN is worth approximately:

CurrencyMexican peso value
Comparing basic cost of living1 bedroom flat in city centre (monthly rent)Meal for 2 (mid range restaurant)Transportation (monthly pass)
Mexico CityMex$9,000Mex$500Mex$300
London, UKMex$39,000Mex$1,275Mex$3,000
New York City, USAMex$55,000Mex$1,350Mex$2,100
Berlin, GermanyMex$16,000Mex$850Mex$1,700
Sydney, AustraliaMex$37,000Mex$1,200Mex$2,300

What are the most expensive major cities?

Here are the top five most expensive cities to live in in Mexico:

  • Los Cabos
  • Monterrey
  • Cancun
  • Cuernavaca
  • Guadalajara

And these are the cheapest:

  • Tlaxcala
  • Zacatecas
  • Tepic
  • Guanajuato
  • Tuxtla Gutierrez

What are general living expenses like in Mexico?

Total living expenses in Mexico CityAverage cost
1 person, per monthMex$18,000
1 person, per yearMex$216,000
student, per monthMex$14,350
3 person family, per monthMex$36,000
3 person family, per yearMex$432,000
Total living expenses in GuadalajaraAverage cost
1 person, per monthMex$15,000
1 person, per yearMex$180,000
student, per monthMex$10,000
3 person family, per monthMex$25,000
3 person family, per yearMex$300,000

What are the average salaries in Mexico?

Although most expats find that Mexico is affordable, you’ll have a more stable lifestyle with a salaried job. In most Mexican cities, even a modest salary will cover most of your daily expenses.

Here are the average salaries of some common jobs in Mexico:

Salary averages for Mexico CityAverage yearly salary
financial analystMex$590,000
graphic designerMex$368,000
mobile developerMex$600,000
product managerMex$1,000,000
software engineerMex$600,000
web developerMex$800,000
Salary averages for GuadalajaraAverage yearly salary
financial analystMex$400,000
graphic designerMex$180,000
mobile developerMex$480,000
product managerMex$600,000
software engineerMex$450,000
Web developerMex$600,000

How expensive is housing and accommodation in Mexico?

Accommodation in Mexico is affordable, whether you choose to live with flatmates or by yourself. The closer you are to the city centre or the beach, the more costly it becomes. Rent in Mexico will usually be cheaper than your home country if you’re coming from abroad. In the table’s below you’ll find an estimate of monthly rent that you’d find in three of Mexico’s most populated cities:

Renting in Mexico CityAverage monthly cost
large apartmentMex$21,000
medium apartmentMex$12,800
small apartmentMex$10,000
student dorm roomMex$8,500
Renting in GuadalajaraAverage monthly cost
large apartmentMex$12,100
medium apartmentMex$7,630
small apartmentMex$6,000
student dorm roomMex$4,150
Renting in CancunAverage monthly cost
large apartmentMex$13,800
medium apartmentMex$9,820
small apartmentMex$8,620
student dorm roomMex$4,160

Mexico has a mixed public-private system that combines a universal public program with smaller, private healthcare programs. There are a number of high-quality medical facilities, but as is often the case, those with more money have better access to them. Dental care in Mexico is about 80% cheaper than it is in the US, and of a similar quality. Some examples of estimated healthcare costs you could see in Mexico can be found below:

Healthcare serviceAverage cost to you
yearly health insurance for 1 personMex$2,600
labor and delivery (private hospital)Mex$5,400
family doctor check-up (no insurance)Mex$400
dental cleaning (no insurance)Mex$575

How much are travel and transportation costs in Mexico?

Mexico is a large country with multiple modes of transportation. While infrastructure doesn’t normally allow for a robust public transportation system outside of the major cities, you can generally find cheap ways to get to where you’re going. Passenger train services are mostly discontinued, but Mexico City has the second-largest metro in North America (outside of New York City). When it comes to transportation, prices in Mexico tend to be fairly cheap. This are some average costs you’d expect to see when traveling around Mexico:

Transportation and vehicle prices for MexicoAverage cost
gasoline (1 litre / 0.25 gallon)Mex$15
monthly bus/transport passMex$300
bus ticket, single useMex$7.70
taxi tariff, 30 minutesMex$60
train trip, single ticket cross countryMex$1,250
Toyota Corolla, newMex$262,000
VW Golf, newMex$260,000

How much does education cost?

Public schools in Mexico are government-funded and free. Many expats send their children to private school, where there’s a monthly tuition fee and an annual enrollment fee. There are many international schools in Mexico and large universities attract students from all over the world. Don’t expect the expensive education that you’d find in the US or the UK – the state requires education to be accessible for most. Here are some cost estimates for education in Mexico:

School in MexicoAverage Yearly Cost
preschool / kindergartenMex$0 – Mex$40,000
private school for lower gradesMex$45,000
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México tuitionMex$0 – Mex$1,800
Universidad de Guadalajara tuitionMex$0 – Mex$1,800

People move to Mexico for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s for weather, cost of living or family, there will be an adjustment. Prices in Mexico can be confusing, so planning your budget can help you feel more in control. With some research and patience, you can have a wonderful quality of life in Mexico.

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This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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