The cost of living in Mexico is much more affordable compared to its North American neighbours. That being said, the capital is much pricer than the rest of the country. In 2024, Mercer's Cost of Living Survey ranked Mexico City 33rd out of 226 cities – a jump of 46 places compared to 2023's ranking. Other cities, such as Monterrey (115th), are much more economical.

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 costlier.

Both furnished and unfurnished accommodation is available. Standalone houses and apartments are often equipped with fully functional kitchens, which may help expats save on startup costs.

Most long-term rentals will not include utilities in the monthly rental cost, so this is another expense related to accommodation that expats must account for. Still, utilities and property taxes in Mexico are largely affordable for most expats.

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, which are low-cost and free options that have many health benefits, but driving does provide expats with more freedom. Many expats therefore prefer to drive and must budget for purchasing costs, as new vehicles are typically expensive. Other costs to keep in mind are maintenance, insurance 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’ home countries. 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 exceptional, 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 January 2024.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreMXN 32,000
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreMXN 21,400
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreMXN 17,000
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreMXN 10,000
Food and drink
Dozen eggsMXN 42
Milk (1 litre)MXN 28
Rice (1kg)MXN 32
Loaf of white breadMXN 43
Chicken breasts (1kg)MXN 147
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)MXN 75
Eating out
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantMXN 950
Big Mac MealMXN 150
Coca-Cola (330ml)MXN 21
CappuccinoMXN 55
Bottle of beer (local)MXN 50
Mobile phone monthly plan with calls and dataMXN 467
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)MXN 478
Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)MXN 916
Taxi rate/kmMXN 9
City-centre public transport fareMXN 6
Gasoline (per litre)MXN 24.15

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