Mexico is a beautiful country with a rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and a diverse range of cities and towns to explore. What’s more, it’s also an affordable destination, particularly for foreigners looking to stretch their budget. While the cost of living in Mexico has risen in recent years and may continue to rise, it’s still possible to live on a budget of $1,000 per month or less, especially when compared to the costs of living in the US, Canada, or Western Europe. From lower rents to cheaper healthcare, Mexico offers a range of cost savings that can help you make the most of your time abroad. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most affordable cities in Mexico, highlighting their unique attractions and what you can expect to pay for food, housing, and other essentials. Whether you’re looking to live in Mexico long-term or just visit for a few weeks, this guide will help you make the most of your budget and enjoy all that this wonderful country has to offer.

Each year, more and more people are relocating to Mexico to live as expats there. It’s great for its friendly locals, low prices and perfect weather. Furthermore, you are just a short flight away from the United States. But what if your budget is tight? Is it still possible to move to Mexico and live on, let’s say, $1,000 a month?

In Mexico, you can live a comfortable life on $1,000 a month. The average cost of living for expats, digital nomads and retirees varies between $600 to $2,000 depending on one’s lifestyle choices and their location. Baseline costs in Mexico are around $750 a month. 

Keep in mind, prices are quickly rising in Mexico and all around the world, so once you find a destination you like, more research is needed to get the most accurate current market prices for things such as food and rent.

In Mexico, digital nomads enjoy various types of landscapes, fantastic weather, food, culture, traditions and white beaches. Moreover, living in Mexico is super affordable. In this article, you will learn how one should budget $1,000 in Mexico, including the cost of living and the cheapest locations in the country. 

Mexico for digital nomads, ex-pats, and retirees

Mexico is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, and a staple for Americans on holiday. Many people relocate to Mexico as a result of having a remote job, a location-independent business, or a pension. Furthermore, long-term residence options make settling in the country easy for expats, digital nomads, and remote workers. Are you trying to decide whether or not to make the move to Mexico too?

By doing so, you can greatly benefit from a warm climate, low cost of living, delicious food, and the friendliness of locals. For digital nomads, remote workers, and anyone on a budget, knowing the real cost of living in Mexico is essential. 

Apart from the cost of living, you should know how to get to know the community and immerse yourself in the local culture. The best way to do that is to research the place you want to visit. Then you can connect with your community in many ways:

  • Join local events, festivities, and fairs.
  • Learn Spanish.
  • Volunteer in community projects.

Some cities like Playa Del Carmen and Mexico City became digital nomad hubs due to their affordable cost of living, but they aren’t necessarily the cheapest though. 

You can easily spend $1,500 to $2,000 in those cities if you’re not keeping an eye on expenses, compared to other locations where you can get by on less than $1000. 

Therefore, one of the most important parts of relocation to Mexico is picking the best place to live in order for your finances to breathe.

Can you live in Mexico on $1,000 a month?

One can live in Mexico on $1,000 a month or even less quite easily. In fact, locals live on much tighter budgets. As a foreigner, you will see that pretty much everything costs less than in your home country. Rent, food, transportation and healthcare in Mexico are much cheaper than in the US, Canada or Western Europe. 

Your money will definitely go much further in Mexico. Prices do however vary from city to city and region to region. Baja California and the Yucatan Peninsula for instance are generally more expensive than central Mexico. Large cities are more expensive than smaller cities or rural areas. But overall, Mexico is a pretty affordable place to live.

We’ve laid out for you below a plan for moving to Mexico with a $1,000 monthly budget.

Pick an affordable location

Major Mexican cities have a higher cost of living. Yet, you can live on $1,000 per month in large cities like Mexico City, Guadalajara, Tijuana, or Puebla, but you need to be more careful with money. In fact, you can get by on $800 if you’re frugal. 

Second-tier cities, rural regions or small (unpopular) beach towns will be significantly cheaper. In more off the beaten path places, you can live comfortably on $500-$1,000 per month in places like Oaxaca, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Puerto Escondido, etc. 

With a few sacrifices in terms of lifestyle, you could cut your living expenses down to $500 per month and live relatively comfortably if you are on a tight budget.

Asses major tourist destinations vs. less touristy ones

Places like Cancun, Cabo, Playa del Carmen and other popular beach destinations are slightly more expensive. For example, monthly rent for a 900 square foot apartment in Cancun might be $530 per month, and that price even spikes to about $1,370 in areas along the beach. The cost of living in Cancun for a couple, including housing and groceries, will likely be between $1,975 and $2,040.

So expect to spend closer to $1,500 per month in those popular destinations, although it is possible to survive on $1,000 if you’re very frugal.

Consider the necessary expenses

The most significant and first expense you will encounter is rent. To be on the safe side, calculate at least $450 for a livable one-bedroom apartment that has all necessities. 

For utilities, the electricity bill will likely cost between $25 to $50 a month. Gas will be about $25 a month, cable TV will be $30 and basic telephone service will be $20. 

Eating out in a nice restaurant will cost you up to $15 per person. Grabbing a quick lunch at a local cafeteria goes for $3 to $7. Street food is available for as little as $1. A kilo of fresh fruits like mangos or oranges costs around $1 in season. A kilo of avocados sells for about $1.25.

The Cheapest places to live in Mexico on $1,000 per month

As previously mentioned, living comfortably on $1,000 per month is more easily achieved by choosing a cheap place to live in Mexico. 

According to Nomadlist and Numbeo, cheapest places in Mexico are: 

CityAverage Rent
Oaxaca City$406
Merida, Yucatan$464
Santiago de Querétaro$553
Puerto Vallarta$550
San Cristóbal de las Casas$789

The minimal cost of living for expats in different Mexican cities:

CityEstimated Cost of Living (per month)
Puerto Vallarta$721
Mexico City$1,161
Playa del Carmen$1,161
San Miguel Allende$1,900
Note: * indicates that the estimated cost of living was not available and has been sourced from other websites.

How much money do locals make in Mexico?

When budgeting for the cost of living, you naturally need to understand the standards of living in this country. That always depends on the income of residents. Places with high salaries have a higher quality of life, and hence a higher cost of living.

But you might be wondering, what are the average salaries in Mexico? Will $1,000 be enough to keep up with local levels?

Mexican salaries aren’t particularly high. In fact, they are low. Hence, someone coming from a developed Western country will benefit greatly from the local economy.

For example, about 11 million Mexican employees earn minimum wage, which is $6.81 (2021) per workday or $136 per month. That’s not even one fourth of the USA’s minimum monthly wage.

Yet, Mexico does have some careers that are paid quite well compared to the rest of the salaries in the job market. For example, web developers make an average of around $38,000 per year.

However, the average annual income in Mexico is about $10,500, or $875 monthly. But unfortunately, most citizens live on less than that. What that means for you, the expat, is that $1,000 will be above the average earner and you shouldn’t worry about whether it’s possible to survive on that budget.

Living in Mexico on $500 a month – is it possible?

Believe it or not, it is possible to live on $500 a month in Mexico. But the real question is, “Do you really want to do that?” The lifestyle with that budget won’t suit most people, and you might not survive long if you’re living that frugally. 

But if you are determined to live on $500 a month in Mexico, Merida in Yucatan will offer you the best value for that budget. Merida is one of the cheapest places in Mexico to rent an apartment. The price starts at $80. 

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Mexico?

Everyone has a different understanding of comfort. If for you it means having a place to live, cooking and eating out occasionally, plus using health care services from time to time, that can all be done for under $1,000 a month in Mexico. 

As we said previously, the cost of living varies depending on the Mexican state and city you reside in. In some places, you can live comfortably on a particular amount, but in others, it might be a challenging task. 

In the end, the average cost of living across Mexico varies from $600 – $2,000. We reiterate that on average, your baseline costs in Mexico will most likely be around $750 every month. 

And although housing will be the biggest expense, even Western-style apartments are affordable in Mexico. Ultimately, a single person rarely spends more than $1,000 per month while living a comfortable, modest lifestyle.

An example of a comfortable life in Mexico 

With a monthly budget of $1,000-$1,400, everyone will find their life comfortable in Mexico. You can rent at least a one-bedroom apartment with air conditioning in a good location. Moreover, you can even afford a maid once per week. They charge only $3-$4 per hour. 

The Cost of living in Mexico in 2023

Here are some rapid fire facts about the cost of living in Mexico. 

  • Family of four estimated monthly costs are 2,009.9$ (36,509.5MXN) without rent.
  • A single person estimated monthly costs are 562.4$ (10,216.7MXN) without rent.
  • Cost of living in Mexico is, on average, 46.2% lower than in United States.
  • Rent in Mexico is, on average, 70.5% lower than in United States.

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

  • Los Cabos
  • Monterrey
  • Cancun
  • Cuernavaca
  • Guadalajara

Here are the cheapest cities to live in Mexico in 2022:

  • Tlaxcala
  • Zacatecas
  • Tepic
  • Guanajuato
  • Tuxtla Gutierrez

Examples of monthly costs breakdown for a budget of $1,000.

Monthly expenseU.S. $
Rent one-bedroom apartment400
Utilities (electricity, water, gas)50
Mobile phone10

Rent in Mexico

We touched on this a bit before, but let’s explore rent in Mexico further. Housing in Mexico is amazingly affordable, especially if you rent local accommodations that are not made for tourists. And here’s some good news for those who love to cook: houses and apartments come with fully equipped kitchens. 

Rent prices for one or two-bedroom apartments start at $450 in average-sized cities as long as you avoid tourist resorts and towns. You might pay double or triple that price when choosing a popular location. 

Moving to Mexico from the US is a great way to save money on rent. In sunny Los Angeles, the average cost of renting an apartment is about $2,500 per month, while renting the equivalent of that in Mexico City will be about $500. 

Food in Mexico

Let’s also look a little further on food prices in Mexico, which is by far the best thing about living in Mexico, right! You will be spoiled in many ways. For example, a cheap quesadilla costs 15 pesos (just over $1). A taco costs about 40 pesos (about $3.25), and a good meal in a solid restaurant will be between $10 to  $15.

For groceries to cook at home, $200 per month should be enough for one person. Moreover, you can save money by shopping at local farmer markets. Alcohol is also affordable in Mexico. Tequila can cost $8 to $25 for a bottle depending on the brand. Wines start at about $5 a bottle.

Expat Healthcare in Mexico

If you are moving to Mexico from the US, you will also save money on medical bills, and you can do that using international or local health insurance. The price ranges depending on your coverage, but the average is $500-$600, and up to $1,500 per year. 

These coverages also include a deductible that you need to pay in case of the use of medical services.  

Average coverage will have a deductible that is less than $500 and up to $1,000. The average copay is 10% of the service, whether it’s medical or dental. Should you have a cold or a simple health issue, you can go to any pharmacy and consult with a doctor for about $3. 

Yet, even visiting a specialist might cost you just $35. Furthermore, dental care is very affordable too.

How to get a remote job and relocate to Mexico 

If your goal is to move to Mexico and live on $1,000 you will need to earn this money somehow too. Most importantly, your employer must be compliant with the fact you are living and working from Mexico, and that’s not always easy.

But we are here to help. Support Adventure is known as the expat outsourcing company as we hire talented people from around the world who want to work online from anywhere. Apply for a remote job with us on our IT support jobs page


Tony · March 23, 2023 at 11:59 pm

Is it safe for Americans to live there. What about the kidnappings that goes on is that true if it’s been asked what was the answer

    Jeff @ Support Adventure · March 24, 2023 at 6:00 am

    Hi Tony,

    We can’t really give much advice on general safety for any country, it’s best to follow your own countries foreign ministry or Department of State guidelines in your case, here’s the link for Mexico advisories from the State Department.

    In our experience though, you need to take precautions in any country not to show up in potential high crime areas looking like a tourist and flashing expensive laptops or cameras. You can educate yourself online before traveling on what areas are best to avoid as a tourist and stick to those same guidelines as a digital nomad.

    Stay safe out there!

    Alexandra Weeks · April 17, 2023 at 7:02 pm

    Hi there, yes kidnapping is a thing in Mexico and every where in the world. I would recommend to look at the news and choose carefully where you like to visit. You can go for a few days and check the place out. Look at your surroundings is it safe, is there security, or is it in the middle of main Highways and lots of sketchy people all over? Here in the us there’s , school shootings way too many. Shootings at popular events etc. there’s human trafficking as well, etc. it really depends on who and where you hang out. When In mx, I recommend to low key it. Just plain joe/ Jane. Nothing shiny, look at reviews don’t make your self a target, by showing off your Michael kors purse or target fancy look alike watch. You already stand out by not been 4 foot and totally diferent looking. Exchange your money at a reputable place like a very public exchange house and never alone just in case. etc. bee smart. Never use the atms!! Avoid Mexican banks as well…talk to your hotel staff.. they probably have a reputable atm inside the hotel.. Know where the American consulate is located and avoid taxi cabs for sure. But most definitely do your research on the place you like to visit. Hope this helps 🙂

    Paul Deux · May 13, 2023 at 5:12 pm

    I live in Mexico now. It is much safer than the US, for sure. All those “kidnappings” you are talking about are NOT exactly true. Tip: Stop watching CNN and BBC. Become a reader.

      Teresa · May 25, 2023 at 1:05 am

      They ARE true. I know TEN PEOPLE who have been kidnapped, including one of my nephews. Two of the ten were never seen again and are presumed dead. My nephew (and his friend) were able to get away. NO ONE should be able to say they know then people who have been kidnapped. It varies a lot depending on where you live. But people no not make light of a serious issue.

      Randy Hollrah · July 18, 2023 at 5:00 pm

      Paul, where in Mexico do you live?

    Jeffrey · July 18, 2023 at 7:45 am

    I want to move to Mexico and be with my lady I’m concerned about our safety being mixed ; American and Mexican lady the way it looks we could live a comfortable life

      Jeff @ Support Adventure · July 18, 2023 at 7:58 am

      Hi Jeffrey,

      Thing is, no country is safe, a lot of places in the States are also super sketchy. As long as you don’t do dumb stuff and look like a walking wallet with a $5000 camera in a sketchy neighborhood you should be fine.

      Before moving anywhere you should take a long vacation there and pretend like you’re staying. Meet the locals and they will help you understand the dynamics of the city you’re looking to move to.

      Mexico is generally easy to understand in terms of knowing where to go and where not to go, nothing unexpected is likely to happen.

      Good luck with the move!


    Thomas J Boyd · August 31, 2023 at 6:06 pm

    Are these towns safe for a retired male

    Dana Wise · November 19, 2023 at 4:40 am

    I want to move and live on my Social security from U.S soon. I am 75 yrs. Female. I earn 850 dollars a month SS. Help me know facts!

Sil Gomez · March 31, 2023 at 1:52 pm

update your prices…way outdated

    Jeff @ Support Adventure · April 6, 2023 at 6:41 am

    Hey Sil, thanks for pointing this out.

    The post is a bit old an a lot has happened in the past 18 months, so we’ll look into making an updated one.

    Teresa · May 25, 2023 at 1:06 am

    Was just going to say the same thing. I have never in my life paid 40 pesos for a taco, maybe an ORDER of tacos.

      Brooke Flores · August 15, 2023 at 12:56 pm

      It’s about $30 pesos per taco in Tijuana/Rosarito now.

Michael Groh, Jr. · April 2, 2023 at 10:24 pm

I’m interested in moving to Mexico as I had a friend that I worked with who said very good things about Mexico. I am no longer in contact with my old work friend but I am permanently disabled and I am not allowed to work in the United States Of America but I have a income of around $1,000.00 for the rest of my life to live on as I was a minor league baseball player but The United States Of America say’s I am too old and sick to do anything. I was also the Actor known as Brad Pitt and the creator of the music band Tool known as Brad Maynerd but I was viciously attacked as I no longer look the same as all of my money was stolen as the United States Of America forced me into prison from around 9/11 until around August of 2022. A lot of other very very bad things have happened here in the United States Of America as I want to move to the cheapest location and live out my life as I made trillion dollar bills for president Clinton but he refused to pay me 20% of the trillion dollars as he was the one who put a hit on me as he and most of his followers tried to kill me and reap my money through all eternity as I am looking to possibly move to preferably somewhere like populated Mexico City. So if you can help me please get back to me as soon as possible so I can make the move.
Your’s Truly, Brad Pitt

    Jeff @ Support Adventure · April 6, 2023 at 6:40 am

    Nice to finally meet you Brad. I suggest you visit our IT jobs page to see if you can supplement your income before moving to Mexico as trillions might just not be enough.

Rachel · April 6, 2023 at 11:22 pm

The rates here are not accurate 1000$ for two people is not nearly enough to live comfortably especially if you eat healthy. I live here and i know. Revise your rates.

    Jeff @ Support Adventure · April 10, 2023 at 7:32 am

    Hey Rachel,

    Well noted, our team is preparing an update for this article, we’re reaching out to our guys working from Mexico to get the most accurate information possible.

    Stay tuned for the update!

alana · April 17, 2023 at 11:43 pm

I am a single 39 year old female that has allways been very interested in moving to Mexico. Are there any remote positions that are entry level or do not requier diploma that, with a little bit of savings for the move, would afford me to live comfortably or would pay around $1000.00 a month?

    Jeff @ Support Adventure · April 18, 2023 at 11:00 am

    Hi Alana,

    We have a number of posts on how to get a remote job in our blog, specifically our careers category.

    You can also check our post on how to get remote work without a diploma here.

    In addition to that, if you’re technically oriented, you can also check out our remote IT jobs page, where you can find our open positions that don’t require a diploma either.

    Good luck with your move!

Bruce · April 22, 2023 at 5:11 pm

I’m colecting SSI and waiting for my Medicare to kick in . Can I still colect if I’m living in Mexico ? And will I be able use my Medicare for medical , dental , vision and hearing ? Thank You … Bruce

    Jeff @ Support Adventure · April 24, 2023 at 6:51 am

    Hi Bruce,

    We don’t have that information available, but a quick google search comes up with a Medicare information hotline number which you should probably call to get the answers you need.

    Kevin Hall · April 24, 2023 at 8:23 pm

    You can collect social security. You cannot use medicaire.

    Please note that the financial requirements to qualify for residency in Mexico are quite steep:
    $3300 per month or $55,000 in assets for temporary residency; and
    $5200 per month or $225,000 in assets for permanent residency.

    So whether you can live on $1000 a month is a moot point, because you can’t move to Mexico on that income.

    Justin · April 29, 2023 at 8:53 pm

    you cannot collect SS if you are not living in the United States. What most people do who collect SS while living in Mexico is they have their mail from US, State, County and other government agencies delivered to a family member or they rent a mailbox near the border or rent a digital mailbox (that scans your mail, deposits checks, etc). If you type your question in google or duckduckgo search, you will get more detailed information.

    Goyo Max · June 7, 2023 at 2:01 pm

    You will not be able to get SSI in Mexico. SOCIAL security you can get. But Supplemental Sec. Income, disability payments, are not paid to anyone living outside the USA

Julia Allen · April 29, 2023 at 9:29 am

I’ve been researching homes for sale in isolated, non-touristy areas and have had no luck. I keep getting redirected to the popular vacation sites. Where homes are in the millions. I just want to live on $24,000k/year. It’s just me and my dog. Is this feasible and if so where should I be looking? Thank you 😊

    Barbara · June 9, 2023 at 3:45 am

    Search here:
    Translate here:
    You’re welcome 🙂

    Barb, Tijuana

Brad · June 17, 2023 at 4:08 am

Prices examples are way too low. Mexico is much more expensive

    Jeff @ Support Adventure · June 21, 2023 at 1:33 pm

    Hi Brad,

    We consistently try to update this article to keep up with the inflation, but it’s proving to be quite a challenge.

    Our team is planning a remote work expedition to Mexico soon though, to check the prices in person.

Pam · July 12, 2023 at 1:13 pm

If I make $1795 a month in Social Security what are the financial requirements to relocate to Mexico. And can I bring my pet with me.

Joe · August 1, 2023 at 3:12 am

As of 7/31/2023, it is extremely difficult to find rentals in “expat” areas of Mexico for much less than what the US is costing. Purchasing homes is the same story. Don’t believe everything that you read.

Brooke Flores · August 15, 2023 at 1:15 pm

Even after this website did the April 2023 “update”, it is still extremely inaccurate! The cost of living in the Tijuana area is at about TRIPLE what they put. The cheapest rent you can find would be around $600 USD alone, unless youd like to live in a shack. You can check facebook marketplace for rentals to get an idea on the current pricing. Inflation has been no joke in the last year. I pay $700 for an unfurnished home on a shared lot. Also, the cost for food is expensive as well. My bills add up to about $1600 per month for just my husband and I (and we just had a baby so this is about to go up 😭). That only includes rent, food, gas, electricity, water, and propane. People who tell you that Mexico is cheap are either oblivious or lying. In comparison to California, TJ/Rosarito is cheaper but everyone knows how expensive Cali is. I suggest moving to a different STATE in the USA, versus moving to Mexico if you have the choice.. especially if you are trying to live in a decent area.

    Fred · October 24, 2023 at 8:42 pm

    Of course Tijuana is going to be more expensive. You’re right on the border of California. The rest of Mexico isn’t as expensive. You’re experience is for one border town, not all of Mexico.

John arnold · September 2, 2023 at 6:47 am

Your rent prices are very very out of date. Very few expats would want to live in Guadalajara or Chapala in a 500 usd home…. The minimum rent today.. For a furnished 1 bedroom that’s in good shape.. Is 12.000 mxn… Approximately 720 usd.

Just go to Facebook marketplace and look at your options… A dump for 600 usd and getting nicer beyond 800 usd. It’s common in San Miguel and Guanajauto to be asked to pay 870 usd.. About 15.000 mxn… For a cozy 1 or 2 bedroom place.

Mexico is no longer affordable for many.. With these new prices.. Italy.. Spain.. Croatia are about the same… and far safer.

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