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Dec 11, 2010, 9:41 AM

Post #1 of 7 (12497 views)


Moving to Ajijic

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I am coming to Ajijic in early January. I am traveling with my small dog, and I have an apt. in the village for 2 months. After that time, I plan to look for a small house in the village -I will not have a car. Any advice on how much I may need to pay for a small house after the high season is over; are most houses furnished or unfurnished; how easy is it to pick up used furniture and kitchen supplies etc. from other residents. I cannot afford to have my furniture moved down from the Bay Area, though I have a few pieces I would love to bring if I could find an inexpensive option. How much is a good estimate for electricity per month; groceries for 1 person per month, for a person who cooks a lot. Thanks.


Dec 11, 2010, 1:57 PM

Post #2 of 7 (12448 views)


Re: [PatriciaHemingway] Moving to Ajijic

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'Most' rental houses are furnished, and the pricing is all over the board depending on the normal criteria..... location and quality/size. Availability after the high season will be much better and you will be able to find places anywhere from $450 to more than $1,000/mo. The length of term of rentals seems to make more difference than high/low season. Short term (less than 6 months) is higher as one may expect. Snowbirds will begin to leave around March 1 and by April there will be plenty of choices.

There are several bazaars where one can pick up just about everything used in a house. Not knowing your 'preferences' it would be hard to quote monthly grocery costs. If you can only stand to cook imported foodstuffs and therefore shop only a SuperLake (gringo heaven groceries) then you'll pay more than NOB. If you avail yourself of perfectly good foodstuffs but produced in Mexico you'll spend less than NOB. There is great availability of 'local' foods and wonderful fruits and vegetables.

Electricity is about the most expensive 'commodity' in Mexico but unless you run a pool pump and/or have to have an electric heater or something similar a lot, your electric bill will not be terribly high.... maybe $40-$50 for 2 months. Cooking is done with propane and that may cost you $75-$100 every 3-4 months. Telephone is about $17/mo. Adding Internet to the phone will add about $25/mo. for lower speeds. If you need more, you can get a medium speed Internet connection, 200 local calls, some long distance and some call to NOB for $599 pesos.



Dec 30, 2010, 9:17 PM

Post #3 of 7 (11840 views)


Re: [PatriciaHemingway] Moving to Ajijic

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I agree pretty much with what RickS says. To give you an idea of actual costs, my wife and I moved down here 3 1/2 years ago and our basic costs have remained pretty stable.

We live in a 2 br, 2ba condo for $575 (USD)/month on a long-term lease. We had to shop around to find this deal, but they are definitely out there more and more. RickS is right about the April/May period being flooded with rental opportunities. Definitely scour the bulletin boards at the Lake Chapala Society (LCS), the groceries such as El Torito and SuperLake, and Dona's Donuts. Those will have much better deals than you will find at a rental agency.

We pay about $300 pesos/month for electricity, and about $400 pesos/month for propane. Telephone/internet service through Telmex runs about $470/ month.

We have a small low-maintenance Japanese car with good milage that we don't use a lot. In 3 1/2 years we have put on only about 10,000 miles, including the initial drive down here from the US. So, gasoline use is only about 1 tank/month, or about $350 pesos. We walk most places around town which not only saves money but is healthier and more fun. Auto insurance runs about $400/year USD.

For food and household supplies, we spend approximately $500 pesos a week, shopping primarily at the Soriana store in Chapala. We shop carefully and buy Mexican brands and particularly store brands when they are available. They are generally just as good as imported products and can cost only 1/3 as much.

Other substantial expenses include our immigration (FM3) for which we use a local facilitator and which costs us (total) about $5000 pesos/year. We also are signed up for IMSS for health insurance which costs (using the same facilitator) about $5500 pesos/year to cover both of us. We use the IMSS as a catastrophic back-up and just pay out-of-pocket for routine medical, dental, and pharmaceutical. We figure all those expenses add up to approximately $2500 pesos/month or less for the two of us.

We keep our entertainments inexpensive. We go out to lunch 2-4 times a week rather than dinner. Lunches for two at local restaurants will run between $100-200 pesos. We hang out with friends, go to all the free fiestas, take walks around town, hike in the mountains and read a lot. I engage in photography and publish a photo-journal blog. Both are essentially free activities, if you don't include the original purchase of the digital camera and computer. My wife paints and works on our small patio garden. We take a Spanish class once a week costing $300 pesos/month for the both of us. I suppose I should include our $800 pesos/year dues to the LCS which is an extremely small amount to pay for all the wonderful services the LCS provides, including a relatively large library, a video library, and access to very low cost book purchases ($7 pesos for soft back, $10 pesos for hardback), great gardens to hang out in and many, many classes and groups.

Of course, all the figures above apply to two people, but you can see the general drift. You can spend more than the above, and lots of folks do, but you don't need to and we don't feel ourselves deprived in any way. In fact, we live pretty much the lifestyle we had in the US, without the stress and general insanity of north-of-the-border living.

At current exchange rates, $1.00 USD = $12.38 pesos. I have used pesos or US Dollar figures according to how we pay. I'll let you do the math, if you want, since it's late in the evening and I am, after all, retired.

Good luck on your move

P.S. Here is the address to my photo-journal blog about our adventures around Lake Chapala and traveling in Mexico. Despite Rolly's no doubt excellent instructions, I am not smart enough to make the link active. Just copy and paste this into your url box on your browser


Jan 1, 2011, 8:17 AM

Post #4 of 7 (11681 views)


Re: [cookj5] Moving to Ajijic

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Hello cookj5,

Let me compliment you on your reply to Patricia Hemingway about her move to Ajijic. That is the type of information that Mexico wanabe's really need. I only wish that I had had the same type of information when I moved to Jerez some 20 years ago. But at that time I didn't know if Mexconnect existed or not. Perhaps it didn't.

Anyway you have done a good job. Congratulations.

As ever. jerezano


Jan 1, 2011, 10:28 PM

Post #5 of 7 (11596 views)


Re: [jerezano] Moving to Ajijic

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Thanks Jerezano! I appreciate the "attaboy!"

I did notice, looking over Patricia's original post, that I said nothing about her questions of furnished rentals and how (and whether) to bring a limited number of furnishings with her. Nearly all rental advertisements I have seen mentioned "furnished". However, this may vary from a few sticks of well worn basic stuff on one end, to rather opulent with art on the walls, toilet paper on the roll, and more kitchen utensils that I have any idea what to do with. Traveling light and keeping a tight and realistic rein on our personal requirements greatly enhanced our rental choices (and our mental health, I might add).

Patricia doesn't say whether she is intending to stay long-term, or only for a year or two. Obviously, if there is an intent to return within a couple of years or so, it probably makes more sense to leave everything possible in a storage locker and come down with just the minimum.

We are definitely in the long term/permanent category. However, we initially decided to leave enough stuff in a US storage locker to basically furnish a place if we decided we'd made a mistake and wanted to return. We arrived in Ajijic with what we could fit in a Toyota Corolla. In 3 1/2 years, we have naturally accumulated some additional stuff, but we could still probably move with 3-4 trips in our Toyota.

After studying the matter, it became pretty clear that it would cost more to move our stuff down than to buy all new stuff down here. And we don't need to do that, because most rentals we have seriously looked at come pretty well furnished. In addition, who wants to lug tons of stuff from one rental to another? Even further, what do you do with all the stuff that is already in the rental unit if you bring lots of stuff down? Typically there is very limited storage in rentals. You certainly don't want to fill up the garage, if the rental comes with one, because you definitely want your car parked securely off the street.

So, if you are coming down long-term and intend to rent, I advise that you sell, give away, or dump whatever you possibly can. We found it tremendously liberating to divest ourselves of all that "baggage" we had been hauling around or storing in closets or the garage or attic for all those years. I just wish that I had a button that I could press to make all that stuff still in our US storage locker disappear (along with the storage charges).

Should we ever decide to bring some of our US stuff down, what we would probably do first is get rid of most of it. The rest (the really, really important stuff) we would bring down in a U-haul to one of the border cities (probably Laredo because it is closest to Ajijic) and get another storage unit. Then, we could make periodic trips up to the border and bring it across a little at a time, and probably double-up the trip with some US shopping. My guess is that the closer our stuff got, the less of it we would decide is in the "really, really" category.

Less is definitely more.


Jan 8, 2011, 12:53 PM

Post #6 of 7 (11334 views)


Re: [PatriciaHemingway] Moving to Ajijic

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There are other options-
Men who have been the main responders have differing opinions from most women about what is valuable in your home-most would be happy to dump almost everything and start over "Spartan LIving"??? sounds like you would rather bring some of your household furnishings.

Several of us have written about this extensively on the other forum- Most women are sorry that they gave, dumped or sold possessions that they discover they want or need here, sooner or later-all the things you normally used everyday suddenly become really important, then you won't be able to replace them because they are not available or too expensive.
i.e. Lampshades

IMO inexpensive furnished rentals for the longterm are sparse and poorly furnished-what seems like charming Mexican furniture to the the newcomer soon becomes really uncomfortable. Unfurnished rentals are not common at Lakeside but can be found or arranged but Decent home furnishings, lamps bed linens ,most other things are much more expensive in Mexico and to have any choice you need to go to the city and even though its a huge city -it is not like shopping in SFO Bay area. Consignment stores in Ajijic are really expensive primarily sell "antiques" and really used furniture for high prices -so the concept of bringing your furniture etc makes sense.

I'm also from the Bay Area, where your car is your right arm. I know several women who came without a car. You may think you don't need a car- but that means you will become dependent on friends in the long term-something to really think about
we Moved contents of 2600 sf home plus a to Lakeside little over 4.5 yrs ago for just under $4850.00-Instead
I DID NOT use any of the Ajijic moving companies whose rates are exhorbitant and who subcontract the work in the US used a commercial frieght Company- spent a month packing and filled an entire 53ft trailer (largest commercial truck available)and did all paperwork in SF at the Mexican Consulate. It was a lot easier to do it there than here

Good Luck and Think about the alternatives before you make the move.


Jan 8, 2011, 1:09 PM

Post #7 of 7 (11327 views)


Re: [privado] Moving to Ajijic

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And then there are those like us who brought what they'd been looking at for years and wanted to continue to sit on and use...even the fancy dancy stuff like china, crystal and silver, which by the way many women regret having given to family or sold for a pittance. Once they get here they realize that all those years they didn't use those things was a time issue and now they have the time to fix a great meal, dress the table and sit around and talk after dinner for hours.

Either way we chose to bring it, the family room stuff the dining room and the bedroom plus some extra pieces that we especially liked. We too left some things behind but after 2 years we sent family to the locker to take what they wanted and then cancelled the contract and gave what was left in there to the guy behind the facility desk as his personal property and he sold it at the twice yearly auction of people's left behind stuff. In our case he got to keep that money from our unit.

We chose based on what we wanted to see if per chance one of us was housebound for any length of time. We picked the pieces that were meaningful to us personally and which we had raised our family on.. don't regret it at all. We chose a large enough rntal to accomodate our needs and one with bad enough furnishings that we could convince the landlord to sell it off and use the money to update the appliances.

The days of uncomfortable and dirty trash furniutre in rentals is quickly disappearing. Since nicer is available furniture-wise here in Mexico, nicer is now expected at a certain price point, and that is getting lower and lower ever year. Especially with the economy and diminishing numbers arriving.

Either way, don't sell it all or give it all away. Keep the good and important stuff at least.
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