Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cost of Living

Since we have moved into the apartment, I've been acquiring kitchen stuff....jelly, catsup, mustard, horseradish, pickles, cheeses and of course seasonings, sauces and vinegars that you see above. Most of the stuff in the refrigerator will be consummed before we leave but most of these bottles will still have a lot of miles left in them. It is really amazing how many prepared condiments that we use in cooking. No wonder our food is so tasty.

Setting up house is expensive but fortunately this apartment came furnished with all the sheets and towels. Really all we needed to do was move in and buy groceries. I kept a ledger of everything we bought, and I do mean everything, that it took to furnish the San Miguel house. It was shocking even though we were buying things at discount stores and consignment shops.

But where I'm headed with this is, I've been thinking about what is the difference in our cost of living here and in San Miguel. At first I didn't have a handle on it at all because usually when we are in Houston we are on "vacation" and we expect to spend more just like you would on any vacation. After we realized that we would be here for a while, we made some adjustments. We stopped using credit cards. I use to be able to keep a running total in my head of all the charges on the credit cards because I was the Chief Purchasing Agent in the household. Now that we are retired, Ned does as much purchasing if not more that I do. I can't keep track of it in my head like I use to. So we have gone back to our San Miguel method of cost control. We cash a check for the week's expenses and on any day we can add up what is in our pocket and know where we stand on our budget. A little simplistic but it works.

My rough estimates of the differences of the cost of living is that we are spending about 1/3 more for food and entertainment. Gasoline is the big kicker. We seldom drive the car in San Miguel so sometimes we'll go for a couple of months without buying gasoline. Here the tank gets filled about every 7 to 10 days. Right now there isn't that much difference in the cost of gasoline between Mexico and the USA. It is the number of fill-ups that makes a big difference. Here we live in houses with air-conditioning and while electricity is expensive it costs less per kilowatt hour than in Mexico. I can't even imagine what it would cost to air-condition our little house in San Miguel.

I'm totally leaving out the cost of housing. I'm just looking at expenses day-to-day. Even though San Miguel is more expensive than most places in Mexico, I think in San Miguel we live on about 1/2 of what our expenses are in Houston.


Sam said...


I enjoy reading your blog...it is great. Bob and I also keep track of all of our expenses...in San Miguel as well as home. In today's economy it is necessary to live on a budget. Remember, we are retired CPA and Banker. When we are in San Miguel for the three months, we spend about 70% of our budget. Plus we save on all of the heating costs!!

Hope all is well with you and Ned.


Billie said...

Sam, If I only consider food and entertainment we would probably be at 70% as well but that gasoline expense in Houston really changes the numbers. I've gone through times when we tracked every expenditure but now a days, the "How much money is in the pocket for the rest of week" method is keeping us on track.
Sure looking forward to seeing you guys this winter.