Monday, October 15, 2007
Price Check, Please
Atencion, the San Miguel English language weekly newspaper had an interesting article this week by Jim Karger titled "Is it really cheaper to live in San Miguel?". I'd give you the link to the article if I could find a way to link to it but so far I haven't found one. Mr. Karger looks at both eating in and eating out and his conclusion is that food is about 25% less expensive than on the other side of the border. But his comparisons are in large grocery store chains on both sides of the Rio Grande and in Restaurants that cater more to the expats, the wealthy Mexicans who visit on the weekends and the tourist from around the world.
He has done his research and it is an interesting article but I think his premise on the cost of food is missing a couple of points. If you shop at the supermarkets and eat in the "up-scale" restaurants, I'd agree with him and in all fairness he is really addressing the belief of many people who are thinking about becoming expats in Mexico.
But there is another way to live in San Miguel. First, buy in the mercados and at the Tuesday Tiangus. Buy the local fruits and vegetables. I've been trying to remember some exact numbers from our trip to the Tiangus a week or so ago and I don't think I'm far off when I say that I could have bought 2 kilos of small yellow local apples for 20 pesos. Ahh...I just found a picture I made at the Tiangus and added it to the blog even though it isn't the a great example of my photography. The price was even better, 2 kilos for 16 pesos. And that is just one example. The prices there and in the mercados, except the one outside of Espinos, are less than the supermarket.
Secondly, if you are going to eat out look for some of the small neighborhood places that have some ambiance where the prices are more reasonable. Examples are Cha-cha-cha and Rinconcita. In fairness Mr. Karger was trying to look at restaurants that were similar to those you eat at in the USA and there the prices are higher than the neighborhood places. In general the problem with the prices in our San Miguel restaurants is that the food is not as good as we find in Houston. Restaurant food in San Miguel is okay, it is not bad and the tourist seem happy with it and most of the expats seem happy with it. But when compared to some of our similar favorite places in Houston, San Miguel food is mediocre. That I can't figure out since the ingredients for the most part cost less and the labor is cheaper. I don't know....maybe I'm just a restaurant food snob.
What we are really talking about here is "What is the Cost of Food in San Miguel?" I think Mr. Karger's article is not too far off. In my own personal experience I think we eat for about 30 to 35% less than in the USA. Next Mr. Karger is going to compare land and construction costs and I think that some people will be shocked at what those items cost here. But San Miguel, we are told, is one of the more expensive places to live in Mexico.
For those of my readers who live in other places in Mexico, tell me what you pay for a kilo of:
What would be the cost of an entree at your favorite neighborhood place? At your "going out to DINNER" place? I'd like a "price check, please."