Cost of Living

I did a post a long while ago about the cost of living in Mexico, and of income expectations for TEFL teachers. But times change, and economically this is, so I’m told, a different era entirely that we have entered.

But to be fair we haven’t noticed it quite so much. Yes food prices have rocketed. But food was so cheap before, that even if everything had trebled in price, it would still seem like excellent value in comparison to the UK or US. It just depends on your level of income.

The problem is that there are so many millions of people who were on the bread line, living in poverty (and it won’t matter which matrix you choose to use to define poverty) that just modest rises puts pressure on a lot of low income households. Luckily, we’re not in that position. In fact we have some income in US dollars, and with the value of the peso plummeting, our income has increased substantially. Mexico is a good place to be for anyone with income in dollars, be they an ex-pat or a tourist.

But back to expenses. I totted up our main monthly bills to see what we’re paying. It has to be said, I am very fortunate. My wife owns our home, so there is no rent to pay. That saves us three to four thousand pesos a month. It also doesn’t include medical insurance, because we aren’t insured. We really should be. It also doesn’t include Paola’s university bill of 5,000 pesos a month, but then I haven’t included her salary either, which covers that plus a little bit extra.

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So a total of 4,000 pesos a month. that could be reduced of course by removing a few luxuries. If only we could get Cablevision in our area – then we’d be paying 600 pesos for phone, TV and internet instead of over a thousand! But for TEFL teachers renting a room in a shared house (quite common) the net and TV are quite often thrown into the bargain.

My income? It fluctuates – I teach business English, so cancellations are unpaid. One thing that has to be said is that you’re unlikely to be able to save money in Mexico City, no matter what type of teaching you do. I now get between 180 to 250 pesos per hour, and work 18 odd hours a week. If all is good I can take 13,000 to 15,000 pesos per month. Which is pretty good. In a language school teachers can expect 8,000 to 12,000 pesos per month. There are positions for the well qualified in universities but even then the salary won’t be much more than I earn.

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