- Download our Moving to Mexico Guide (PDF)
Compared to its North American neighbours, Mexico is much more affordable. That being said, the capital is much pricer than the rest of the country. In 2023, Mercer's Cost of Living Survey ranked Mexico City 79th out of 227 cities – a jump of 70 places compared to 2022's ranking. Other cities, such as Monterrey (155th), are much more affordable.
Nevertheless, many foreign retirees find that their pension stretches much further in Mexico than it would back home. For this reason, along with the relaxed and high-quality lifestyle, the country has become an increasingly popular expat destination.
The cost of living in Mexico varies substantially depending on where an expat lives. It's possible to live inexpensively in the country's rural areas, but life in the cities is considerably more costly.
Cost of accommodation in Mexico
Expats living in Mexico will likely find accommodation to be their greatest monthly expense. This naturally depends on where they live in Mexico, as property prices and rentals can vary considerably. In general, expats will find good value for money when it comes to renting or purchasing property, particularly in the more rural areas. Cities, resort towns and beachfront locations tend to be more expensive.
Both furnished and unfurnished accommodation is available, and houses and apartments often come with fully-equipped kitchens, which may help expats save on startup costs.
Cost of transport in Mexico
Mexico has an extensive public transport system which is affordable and reliable. Buses travel between most towns so travelling around the country is easily done without a car.
Many towns are easily navigable on foot or bicycle, but driving does provide expats with more freedom. Many expats therefore prefer to drive and must budget for purchasing, maintenance and fuel costs.
Cost of groceries in Mexico
For expats considering Mexico as their new home, the affordability of groceries is often a pleasant surprise. While the cost can vary by region and shopping preferences, the overall grocery expenditure is significantly lower than in many Western European and North American countries. Expats will find that shopping at local markets and small grocers, rather than at expat-oriented supermarkets, allows their budget to stretch further.
The abundance of fresh produce, often sourced from Mexico's rich agricultural regions, ensures that meals can be both nutritious and economical. Staples such as rice, beans and corn products are particularly inexpensive. While imported goods do carry a higher price tag, local equivalents are readily available and are a cost-effective alternative.
Cost of entertainment and eating out in Mexico
The cost of leisure and dining varies widely across Mexico, but it remains accessible compared to many expats’ countries of origin. Mexico offers a broad spectrum of entertainment options that cater to all budgets. Cultural activities, such as visiting museums or historical sites, are reasonably priced, providing affordable enrichment opportunities.
Eating out is a favourite pastime in Mexico, with various choices from street food vendors to high-end restaurants. Street food, in particular, is not only a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine but also an incredibly budget-friendly way to dine. Mid-range establishments offer diverse menus at reasonable prices, and even in tourist areas, savvy expats can find eateries that offer excellent value for money.
Cost of education in Mexico
While public schooling in Mexico is free, with expenses only for school supplies and textbooks, private and international schools are often preferred by expats due to their higher standard of education and facilities. Expats can choose between a range of private schools that offer bilingual education and a familiar curriculum to help ease the transition process for their children and secure a quality education. Alternatively, international schools provide a multicultural space for children from all over the globe to get to know each other. While the costs are high, they are generally worth it. School fees range between institutions.
Cost of healthcare in Mexico
Some public healthcare facilities in Mexico are excellent, providing a high standard of care. That said, many expats prefer private hospitals, but these come at a heftier price. Expats with international medical schemes must ensure that their insurance covers the specific hospital they visit. Healthcare expenses quickly add up with check-ups, medication and additional support, so it's important to research the best insurance companies.
Cost of living in Mexico chart
Note that prices may vary depending on location and service provider. The table below is based on average prices for Mexico City in November 2023.
|Accommodation (monthly rent)|
|Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre||MXN 29,000|
|Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre||MXN 20,100|
|One-bedroom apartment in the city centre||MXN 15,200|
|One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre||MXN 9,400|
|Food and drink|
|Dozen eggs||MXN 49|
|Milk (1 litre)||MXN 27|
|Rice (1kg)||MXN 31|
|Loaf of white bread||MXN 40|
|Chicken breasts (1kg)||MXN 76|
|Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)||MXN 70|
|Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant||MXN 900|
|Big Mac Meal||MXN 149|
|Coca-Cola (330ml)||MXN 19.87|
|Bottle of beer (local)||MXN 28|
|Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)||MXN 2.83|
|Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)||MXN 460|
|Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)||MXN 1,330|
|Taxi rate/km||MXN 7.11|
|City-centre public transport fare||MXN 6|
|Gasoline (per litre)||MXN 24|
What do expats say about the cost of living in Mexico?
"Apartments in Penang, Malaysia are massive and extremely affordable (read = super cheap). That’s not the case here. We are paying more than double for a place half the size. We weren’t prepared for that mindset shift when we started apartment hunting." Read our interview with Kirsten, an American expat living in Mexico for more.
"Home prices in the upper end are not cheap. One CAN find bargain homes however, outside the center of town. Domestic help is pretty cheap and most people have a maid or gardener or both." For more insights, read our interview with Susan, an American expat living in Mexico.
►For more on expat finances, have a look at Banking, Money and Taxes in Mexico
►Read more in Working in Mexico
Are you an expat living in Mexico?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Mexico. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance - 10% off any plans bought in November and December 2023
With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider. Cigna is currently offering a 10% discount for seniors (over 60) on their Silver package.
International Movers. Get Quotes. Compare Prices.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.