Before you get really excited about your potential move to Mérida, I recommend making a list of needs and wants, like to haves and must-haves. At times, emotion can overtake the practical side. When moving, especially to a foreign country, practicality must be first. Best Budget Tips for Mérida will help you get all your thoughts in order for a successful trip!
6 overlooked considerations when moving to Mérida
- Travel: will you need to travel to and from your home country (U.S., Canada, Europe, etc.)?
*I planned on traveling back to Dallas 2 – 4 times a year. Airfare costs for different times of the year can vary dramatically.
- Business transactions: will you have items that will require you to personally be present in your home country?
*I still have clients in the U.S. that request my services. However, I decided to pass the cost of my flight and other related expenses to the client which they were happy to pay for.
- Cell phone: will you keep your cell phone or will you convert to a Mexican number?
*I kept my U.S. phone and purchased a Mexican phone with a monthly plan. I purchased a refurbished iPhone 6s through Amazon.com.mx and it cost $150. My monthly service with TelCel runs about $10 U.S. To further reduce expenses, I am considering canceling my U.S. service and using WhatsApp for all my contacts.
- Health insurance: do you have health insurance and/or will you want health insurance in Mexico?
*I don’t have health insurance because it was not affordable for me. I never went to the traditional doctor. Insurance did not cover any alternative or holistic treatments I utilize. Now that I live in Mérida, I am comparing different insurance plans and other resources.
- Transportation: do you want to have a car in Mérida? If so, car purchase, insurance, and gas costs will need to be part of your budget.
*I did not want a car. I was tired of driving and research showed that Uber was an extremely affordable alternative. Car payment, gas, insurance and maintenance costs would be alleviated and replaced with nominal Uber fees.
- Start-up/getting established costs: are you bringing some things with you or do you plan to completely start over? Determining costs to purchase items vs. shipping or bringing them in suitcases should be factored in as well.
*I decided to bring only what would fit inside suitcases. If this meant transporting goods over a period of time, I was satisfied with that. Once I determined this, then I had to figure in the costs of baggage fees and project how many “trips” I might need to make.
Having some information prior to your on-the-ground research will provide a great foundation when you arrive in Mérida.
Remember, emotions can get the better of us so having a list you can easily refer back to will help serve as a gentle reminder.
The bottom line . . .
It’s important to conduct your own research however having a place to start is helpful.
6 things you must decide on when living in Mérida
- Location: Are you within walking distance of a market or will you need to take Uber? Do some practice runs to factor in this cost.
You may also find that going to the grocery store via Uber once a week with smaller items picked up at your local market within walking distance is more cost-effective.
- Household: Do you need a washer and/or dryer? Or would you consider/prefer to take your items to the lavanderia? Weigh the cost of electricity vs. outsourcing your laundry.
- Electricity/Air-conditioning: Many houses have mini-split A/C systems and are only air-conditioned in certain areas. Keep track of your usage, the temperature and time of year for a baseline of what these cost during the year.
For electricity, if you go over a certain amount, your rate will increase exponentially. Take special care when running your electricity until you have a good baseline for usage.
- Other Utilities: internet, gas, cable, trash. You will have a gas tank that will be filled based on your usage and the size of your tank. Internet costs will be based on speed. Regular trash pick up is non-negotiable!
- Service providers: You will find that service providers here are extremely cost-effective. What would be beneficial to you as well as help someone else? Pool service providers, house cleaning, gardeners are the typical ones to hire.
- Water: Drinking water from the tap is not recommended. Putting water into your budget may seem odd but you have many options when it comes to bottled water.
4 items that can dramatically affect your cost of living
- Personal services: haircut, color, manicure, pedicure, etc.
- Alternative/holistic care: acupuncture, massages, spa treatments.
- Restaurants/entertainment: eating out, dancing, cultural experiences like museum entrance fees, city tours, etc.
- Clothing: you may find you need to replace your clothing and shoes more often because of the harsh conditions of the weather. Additionally, lighter fabrics will help you stay cooler in the scorching heat of the summers where you will hear “mucho color” many, many times.
Keep in mind, your actual cost of living will be determined by how you live. I always recommend keeping an itemized list of your expenses for a period of 90 days to determine exactly where you are spending your money.
It really is that simple . . .
Once you have the first 90 days under your belt then you can adjust as needed.
A “peace-of-mind fund” will help with emergencies and unknowns
In the beginning, you have a few more expenses to get you established and up and running.
I also set aside a “peace-of-mind fund” for emergencies and unknowns.
This was quite helpful because I typically run a pretty tight budget.
Since I was moving to a completely new and unfamiliar place, I needed a little slush fund for the unknowns. Creating this fund had a tremendous impact on helping keep my stress low when I had unforeseen expenses pop up.
I had some rental issues, needed some new clothes for the hot weather, required a portable table for my computer, wanted a fan, and some other household items. Because I had money set aside for unforeseen expenses, it did not add any financial stress.
No matter where you live, your cost of living in Mérida Mexico is dramatically impacted by your lifestyle. You may choose to live like a local. You can also live a more luxurious lifestyle on a much lower budget than you’d pay in many locations in other parts of the world.
One of the main reasons I chose Mérida is because it has culture and arts mixed with gastronomic delights and modern conveniences (like Amazon…smile).
Mérida provides just about anything you’d ever want or need from goods and services to a wide variety of neighborhoods and housing choices. It is also close to the beach so you can escape the city for the quiet, serenity of the ocean waves just a few miles away.