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esperanza

Dec 23, 2011, 7:30 PM

Post #26 of 102 (6774 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Living costs in Mexico

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This is my opinion only...but: I believe that no matter what currency you earn, in most places in Mexico, you spend in pesos. Ten years ago the exchange rate was XXX. Today the exchange rate is YYY. What matters to me is the number of pesos I have to spend every month, not how the exchange figures play out in dollars. IN MY OPINION--and in only my opinion--continuing to live in that world of thinking in dollars vs spending in pesos keeps me from living fully in Mexico. To me, dollars are just a figure that is deposited into my bank each month. What comes out of the ATM when I need money is the currency that counts: pesos.

That's why I only think in pesos, and what I see when I shop, whether it is at the neighborhood tianguis or at Wal-Mart, at Superama or at Chedraui, at Costco or at my corner abarrotes is that the cost of food has in most cases doubled and in some cases has more than doubled. This is not true only in Mexico City, but also in Morelia and Guadalajara.

A few examples: when I first lived in Morelia, I always bought Lurpak butter, priced in 2007 at 17 pesos per 200 grams. Today, that same 200 gram package of Lurpak butter costs more than 40 pesos--no matter what city I am in. Kirkland brand butter from Costco, which is what I now use, cost 55 pesos per 2-lb package in 2009. Today, the same 2-lb package costs 86 pesos. In 2003, bulk peruano beans cost 8 pesos per kilo. Tuesday I paid 22 pesos per kilo at the neighborhood tianguis.

And in 1999, regular unleaded gasoline cost 4.25 pesos per liter. Today, that same liter is nearly 10 pesos.

All of this is why I won't get caught up in the math necessary to compare exchange rates, etc, with what a peso will buy. It doesn't matter. What matters is whether there are enough pesos to get me to the end of the month.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









mazbook1


Dec 23, 2011, 11:33 PM

Post #27 of 102 (6745 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Living costs in Mexico

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esperanza, Believe me, I know exactly where you are coming from. I only do the peso - dollar conversion thing for the ease in speaking with possible expats and those that are still stuck on the dollar standard. I too deal and think only in pesos. BUT I realize that for those on more-or-less fixed dollar incomes, that exchange rate is VERY important. When the dollar goes up in value, their peso bank accounts go up, so they have more pesos to spend. What I was trying to demonstrate was (at least where I live) the inflation of food prices had NOT exceeded the inflation of the peso by any huge amount. Therefore, those on fixed dollar incomes had NOT suffered the loss of buying power that those with only peso incomes have suffered.

Besides Sinaloa having quite reasonable food prices, I NEVER buy any imported food, so I have no way to tell how much it has gone up, although when shopping I am sometimes quite horrified at prices I see on various relatively common imported items.

Gasoline is the only imported item I buy with regularity, and from 1998 until fairly recently, the price per gallon in U.S. dollars stayed about the same. Only within the last year or so (maybe 2 years or so) has it climbed out of the general $210 to $2.40 dollars per gallon cost that was darn constant from 1998 until a year or so ago. It's still less expensive than in the U.S. or Canada, though. Back in 1998, it was a darn lot more expensive than gas in the U.S.


joaquinx


Dec 24, 2011, 5:38 AM

Post #28 of 102 (6734 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Living costs in Mexico

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esperanza made a valid point. If you have lived in Mexico long enough, you think in pesos and not in dollars. I have a friend who still thinks in dollars and will convert pesos using at 10 to 1 ratio. He uses that ratio because it is easier than 13.8 to 1 as it is this week. What you wind up doing is comparing prices in Mexican stores to those that you remember in the US. That can't work, because the US stores are not available here. When I first came down to Mexico, I did this, but as time rolled on, I was comparing the current prices to those in the past. The only time I compare dollars to pesos is when I visit the ATM for cash. I can't look at a price, convert it to dollars, and say "That's a bargain." While I can look at a price and mentally compare it to a peso price in the past and say, "Wow, prices have gone up!"
_______
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.


RickS


Dec 24, 2011, 6:43 AM

Post #29 of 102 (6713 views)

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Re: [joaquinx] Living costs in Mexico

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The OP asked about the 'cost of living' in Mexico. Presuming this person was NOB and was trying to get a feel for how much 'good and services' were costing these days SOB, will relate to dollars.

The last few posts seemingly are related to the reality of today's SOB life for a resident. I think it would only be realistic to think in terms of pesos and not dollars if one's existence is 24/7/365 in this country. But to us who's reality is NOB we need to convert to some extent pesos to dollars when we are SOB to get a feel for whether we want to purchase a given good or service. We, or at least I, make that decision every day NOB as you probably do SOB. When I go by a restaurant in SMA and see a price of 160 or 85 or 240 pesos, it does not give me needed information until I think for a moment 'in dollars'. Dollars are my reality.... pesos are yours.

Another topic was seemingly inflation.... the reality of inflation in Mexico. When I talk to some of my friends who live SOB, they invariably get around to talking about how much prices have risen. Terrible. Their general mindset is somewhat stuck in NOB prices as they were when they left NOB in 2000, and they are quite concerned that their dollar (retirement funds/SS) does not go as far because things cost so many more pesos than before. Well welcome to reality. Neither do mine NOB. I could give a similar accounting as did Esperanza as to how much a given item costs now versus back when.

To me, it is still very much more inexpensive SOB for most things I do/buy here. And that, I think, was the gist of the OP's original question.


chinagringo


Dec 24, 2011, 7:47 AM

Post #30 of 102 (6693 views)

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Re: [RickS] Living costs in Mexico

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Rick:

I tend to agree with your basic premise as related to people like yourself and ourselves who don't live SOB. However, from my observations, all too many full time foreign residents still think in terms of dollars and justify their costs based upon what they would have paid back home. What this indicates to me is that they are failures in actually adapting to Mexico and the economy. On other forums and in person, all too often I see or hear comments made to that effect and very little reference to the actual quality of a product or a service. Since we are both quite familiar with the Lake Chapala area, it provides a perfect example. As a group, many residents of that area are totally clueless about just how the price or quality of a given product fits into the big picture since they hunker down in the foreign community and experience or learn NADA!
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



richmx2


Dec 24, 2011, 8:32 AM

Post #31 of 102 (6680 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] Living costs in Mexico

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The only NoB income I receive is an occasional royalty check, which barely covers on-line purchases from one quarter to the next, so it's kind of irrelevant to compare foreign and Mexican prices, since the only things I buy in dollars are priced in dollars. I don't have a high an income, something on the lower end of the Mexican professional class. The only way to make comparisons would be by percentage of my income. NoB, I normally paid abut 35 percent of my income for housing, here it's closer to 45 percent and food was about 12 to 15 percent, and is now closer to 20 percent.

I'm able to get by where neighbors at the same income level are really starting to hurt mostly because I don't have kids to feed, and I'm something of a recluse without a lot of social obligations. Nothing against either kids or social obligations by the way... I'm all in favor of them. I suspect that I'm not alone in retaining some NoB "lifestyle expectations" that rack up the expenses. And, the only way I can survive is either to get more income or cut back somewhere. I think that those who move here expecting to live a NoB lifestyle have to expect to pay for it, and the old lifestyle expectations are getting more and more expensive, even there.

Of course I want a sustainable, comfortable life, but a lot of what I think are needs are only wants, and you can't always get what you want, nor should I expect to.


http://mexfiles.net
http://mexicobookpublishers.com


Gringal

Dec 24, 2011, 9:15 AM

Post #32 of 102 (6669 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Living costs in Mexico

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The large increase in the cost of beef over the seven years I've lived here is just a fact. Inflation in prices is hurting retirees who are not getting comparable increases in their pensions and whose investments have either tanked or are getting diddly squat return in interest. The pinch will likely get worse. This will inspire some to become creative about their small economies.

I didn't eat much beef to begin with and have now converted to fish and chicken as the regular staple of meals. I save by buying Mexican brands of prepared or canned food. For one thing.....the poultry and fish are a healthier choice, so my body is happy with it.

I've also noticed that other countries such as Japan, China and India, among others, use meat as a small part of the main dishes and rely on flavoring to enhance them, as opposed to the U.S. model where a large slab of meat is the star of the meal. In Mexico, there are many popular dishes where the meat is secondary to the rest of the meal. Delicious.

All in all, I know from my experience in the U.S. and in Mexico that you can have a much better lifestyle here for less than there.


joaquinx


Dec 24, 2011, 9:35 AM

Post #33 of 102 (6659 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Living costs in Mexico

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Inflation in prices is hurting retirees who are not getting comparable increases in their pensions and whose investments have either tanked or are getting diddly squat return in interest. The pinch will likely get worse. This will inspire some to become creative about their small economies.


Here is the place to make comparisons between the peso and the dollar. How well do I live in Mexico on the peso compared to how well I would live in the US on the dollar. When I look at my budget here, the biggest savings is in my rent, doctor fees, and medications. My rent is a fifth of the pitiful apartment I rented in Dallas and I have saved enough here to buy a new car from a Mexican dealership. I will admit that I never expected to duplicate the life-style that I had in the years that I lived NOB, but I never complained either.
_______
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.


Rolly


Dec 24, 2011, 10:15 AM

Post #34 of 102 (6649 views)

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Re: [joaquinx] Living costs in Mexico

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There is no question that my retirement income provides a more comfortable life in México than I would have had by remaining in Los Angeles. I didn't come here for economic reasons, but it has turned out to be a welcome collateral benefit.

Another unexpected plus is that I have more friends here than I had in LA. AIDS took so many friends that I had only four close friends left. I have three times that many in Lerdo. And of course I also have acquired many cyber friends that I never would have found NOB.

And I'm happy to be out from under the burden of a large yard to maintain.

Rolly Pirate


Rolly


Dec 25, 2011, 1:35 PM

Post #35 of 102 (6541 views)

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Re: Living costs in Mexico

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In today's El Siglo de Torreón newspaper, there was an article discussing the drought-induced shortages of corn and beans.
Tortillas now selling for 8 to 10 pesos per kilo may be up as high as 16 pesos in the next year due to the shortage of white corn. Yellow corn for livestock feed is already being imported from the USA forcing up the cost of meat. Beans have been on an upward climb for some time. While the price of tortillas and beans may not mean much to most expats, these higher costs will have a major impact on most of our Mexican neighbors.

Rolly Pirate


stevebrtx

Dec 25, 2011, 2:57 PM

Post #36 of 102 (6522 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Living costs in Mexico

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I drove up to Ixtlahuacan Del Rio today for my annual Christmas venture, somewhat an inconsequential "luxury" for me, but one that a lot of people along my path would have found an expense not affordable. For most of us, a few centavos in price of tortillas is not even noticed, but, for many or our "neighbors" it's a significant increase in the basic cost of living they must overcome. Many of us are blessed during this special season don't ever forget.


tezalan47

Dec 26, 2011, 10:36 AM

Post #37 of 102 (6435 views)

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Re: [GringoCArlos] Living costs in Mexico

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Hi I´m English & am moving to Ensenada next year(2012) from Valencia ,Spain . What a great web site is mexconnect congratulations . Your list of costs was VERY help full . After looking at all the remarks about electricity , I must admit I am a bit confused at these apparent differences ???? As I understand it Mexico ( in general ) is the 3rd most expensive in the world for electricity??? Another question for everyone ,,, here goes ; my wife is Mexican & we shall be buying our "dream house " (when we find it!!!) NO mortgage & will be living ( without digging into our savings ) on approx. $1500 per month, we both smoke , eat out 2 to 3 times per week ( normal restaurants) drink a little,enjoy kareoke , dancing , living life as young 60+ year olds , oh and with our 2 dogs & hope to visit my sons in the UK once a year, is this enough to live on??

Hi , to all in Mexico I´m from Spain & shall br moving to Ensenada next year (2012) . My wife is Mexican & I´m English . At the moment we live in Valencia ; we´ve visited & looked at SAN CARLOS ( Sonora ) but I could not stand the summer HEAT !!!! Oh those English mad dogs


YucaLandia


Dec 26, 2011, 12:33 PM

Post #38 of 102 (6407 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Living costs in Mexico

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Rolly,
Do you think the price of tortillas will actually rise to $16 pesos per kilo next year? How do the government price supports on basic commodities like tortillas affect the ultimate prices when the materials costs rise? (Will government subsidies/spending moderate/reduce tortilla price increases?)

For people who eat only local or Mexican produced foods from Mexican commodities, the government price supports can make a big difference in our food budgets for tortillas, beans, etc. If you are eating lots of imported foods like grapes, apples, avocados, Mexican bread from wheat, rice, Mexican corn products, etc, then the prices we pay here and costs of living are not stable when the peso value drops.

We had a department of agriculture official tell us that Mexico imports roughly 45% of her food, including a lot of fruits, vegetables, wheat, corn, soy and rice, so, it's pretty difficult to avoid foods that are imported or have imported content = increasing food prices, even if you are buying Mexican brands. If you eat only local in-season fruits, then you won't be quite so affected by US and Canadian inflation and commodities price increases.
-
-
Read-on MacDuff
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com

(This post was edited by YucaLandia on Dec 26, 2011, 12:34 PM)


surebought

Jan 1, 2012, 9:31 AM

Post #39 of 102 (6209 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Living costs in Mexico

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All very good insights on this post. I would like to add or confirm that property taxes are almost a gift. All the Mexicans turn their boilers to pilot when not using the shower. The Central Region, Guadalajara, DF, to Puebla is noticeably cheaper overall than the border regions.


Vichil

Jan 1, 2012, 10:12 AM

Post #40 of 102 (6193 views)

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Re: [surebought] Living costs in Mexico

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Southern Mexico is even cheaper.


Yacatecuhtli


Jan 1, 2012, 4:50 PM

Post #41 of 102 (6136 views)

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Re:Living costs in Mexico

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Cena de Año Nuevo con altos costos (infografía) Tendencias • 31 Diciembre 2011 - 11:37am — Notimex

Entre mil 500 y 3 mil pesos serían el costo total que gastarían los mexicanos para la cena de fin de año.

New Years Eve dinner with high costs
Between 1500 and 3000 pesos would be the total cost that Mexicans spend New Year's Eve dinner.


http://www.milenio.com/...4edd9ba2735fc2cd4137

interesting information I thought .......


! Al pan, pan y al vino, vino !

(This post was edited by Yacatecuhtli on Jan 1, 2012, 4:58 PM)


martian95524@yahoo.com

Jan 7, 2012, 5:20 AM

Post #42 of 102 (5934 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Living costs in Mexico

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Hello,

I am assuming you live in or around Mazatlan. My father lived and owned a business there for many years. My last visit there was ten years ago, and I have heard the city has changed, mainly due to its proximity to the drug cartels centered in the state capitol up north.

For years I had planned on retiring to Mazatlan (at least spending winters there) Is the city safe for ex-pats? I have tried to follow news events and have heard the police there have been fighting the drug cartel and that they have suffered casualties, with (infrequent) bodies and gunfighting in the streets. Recently I have been looking at other locations such as Puebla, Xalapa and Aguascalientes (I think the latter may be too expensive, judging from what I have been reading)

Mazatlan was always one of the less expensive cities, even though it boasts many amenities. Were you quoting Sam's Club or Costco prices? Was Gigante able to compete? Or Plaza Ley? How about the Centro Mercado? How did they adapt?

I am hoping I can still rent a two or three bedroom home for about 300. per month in the Gaviotas area, or is that a pipe dream?

As for food, were you talking T-bones or rib steaks, flank steaks, tri-tips or rack of ribs? Ham? A six-pack of pacifico? (small bottles)
How much for a five kilo (ten-pound) bag of Russet potatoes? For an ear of corn? For a bunch of carrots? Radishes? Apples? Oranges?bananas? Limes? (Mexican limes are the BEST!)

Is it still about .45 cents to take the city bus all over town, and is it still safe? Can you pick up Kindle? Are there lots of free wiFi spots yet? Where? How much for a new moped?

Can we find beach shirts in 2X or larger? Same for shoes size 12w or larger (U.S. size)

What does it cost to see a rock or pop concert? A movie in the golden zone? A bullfight? The water park? Is it still safe to go to these places?

I do not expect one person to answer all of this. Perhaps several people could answer these questions. I know things there are not really normal, but just how off-normal is it?

Thank you all,


BILL


Minerva909

Jan 7, 2012, 8:51 AM

Post #43 of 102 (5874 views)

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Re: [joaquinx] Living costs in Mexico

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This "thinking in pesos versus dollars" threat within the cost of living threat is interesting, however I find some position more emotionally than logically motivated, type "you live in Mexico, you spend in pesos you should think in pesos" while logic tells you to think in currency that you get your income in and how much it buys you at any given time and in any given place.

Retirement guides for Europeans usually have more complicated comparisons, factoring in the level of taxation (in Europe you usually pay taxes on your worldwide income in the country in which you live over six month in a year, and it might make a whole lot more of a difference than just comparing prices of bread, butter, beef and veggies), the availability and cost of services (medical, dental, etc.)

Besides many Europeans have taken advantage of globalization and the free flow of labor within EU, so they, like I can have partial pensions from several countries, in several different currencies. Here euro helped, but not always: I for example have one pension in US$, another one in euro (for combined employment in euro currency countries) and two pensions from non-euro countries, in two different currencies.
Wherever I live I should, logically, think mainly which pension to spend first (the one with the most advantageous exchange rate) which last and which to save for later, when the exchange rate improves.

Counting cost of living in the prices of the country in which I live would only make sense if I were willing to move elsewhere and would like to factor in the cost of living.

Thus: counting in pesos when your income is in dollars, and you do not plan to leave Mexico and choose another country to live in... does not make any sense to me.


(This post was edited by Minerva909 on Jan 7, 2012, 8:57 AM)


joaquinx


Jan 7, 2012, 9:07 AM

Post #44 of 102 (5862 views)

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Re: [Minerva909] Living costs in Mexico

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This "thinking in pesos versus dollars" threat within the cost of living threat is interesting, however I find some position more emotionally than logically motivated, type "you live in Mexico, you spend in pesos you should think in pesos" while logic tells you to think in currency that you get your income in and how much it buys you at any given time and in any given place.
(medical, dental, etc.)


You do make a good point, but let me expand on this. One is that my US pensions are fixed, albeit they have a COLA at the beginning of each year, while the exchange rate for the peso changes daily. When shopping, I can compare the change in prices (due to inflation) in pesos rather than converting the old peso price with the then conversion rate of the dollar and doing the same with the current price. Two, I can detect a rise in the price of a commodity in pesos and have no idea of what it cost before in dollars.

As for my income. Yes, it is in dollars, but I budget my expenses after I convert the dollar amount to pesos. I guess we do it much differently without overspending and going broke before the end of the month.
_______
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.


Minerva909

Jan 7, 2012, 9:52 AM

Post #45 of 102 (5844 views)

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Re: [joaquinx] Living costs in Mexico

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I agree that if you convert all your dollars to pesos and make a budget in pesos, counting the peso prices of commodities which you must buy no matter whether it is a good value (in dollars) at a particular moment makes sense. But for those luxury or less frequent purchases, like electronics, appliances, it still make sense to compare the price in Mexico - in pesos to the price of this item elsewhere - in dollars (say you could buy it in the USA instead at the next trip there) as it gives you more educated pricing info than counting all only in pesos. And this comparisons make sense no mater if you have little money or a lot - but especially if your funds are somewhat limited.


(This post was edited by Minerva909 on Jan 7, 2012, 9:59 AM)


Rolly


Jan 7, 2012, 9:58 AM

Post #46 of 102 (5839 views)

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Re: [joaquinx] Living costs in Mexico

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In my daily life, I think, plan and budget in pesos. The only time I think in dollars is when I write restaurant reviews on my website. I list costs in pesos and dollars. I do the dollar conversion because most of my readers don't live in Mexico.

Rolly Pirate


joaquinx


Jan 7, 2012, 10:13 AM

Post #47 of 102 (5831 views)

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Re: [Minerva909] Living costs in Mexico

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Interesting. I recently bought two expensive items. A refrigerator and a laptop. I didn't shop the fridge in the US simply because I couldn't drive up to the states and buy one. I went to a number of local stores and shopped for the best price in pesos. The laptop was a different story. I shopped different on-line stores in the US and compared their prices to those I found locally. I don't visit the US often enough to schedule a trip simply to buy a laptop. In fact, I haven't been to the US in over four years and that was to the border to sign up for SS. Since many of the on-line companies do not ship to Mexico and when you find one you have to add in sales tax, shipping, IVA, duties, etc. to the listed price. I wound up buying one at Sears here in Mexico and got a 10% discount. In making the comparisons on those laptops found locally, the thinking was in pesos.

I know a number of people who constantly convert pesos to dollars using a 10 to 1 ration, which skews the price but it is easier than 13.85. I've been in Mexico for over twelve years and I do remember that in the first few years that I was converting everything. Then I realized that I couldn't remember the prices of items NOB and started to make comparisons in pesos from earlier purchases.
_______
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.


clariboe

Feb 19, 2012, 9:27 AM

Post #48 of 102 (5236 views)

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Re: [GringoCArlos] Living costs in Mexico

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I really appreciate the list of goods with prices, but is there a quick way to convert kg, kilo, liters, etc to US units?


joaquinx


Feb 19, 2012, 9:37 AM

Post #49 of 102 (5234 views)

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Re: [clariboe] Living costs in Mexico

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I really appreciate the list of goods with prices, but is there a quick way to convert kg, kilo, liters, etc to US units?


a kg or a kilogram is 2.2 pounds. a liter is roughly 1 quart. a liter of water weighs 1 kg. a kilometer is roughly 0.6 of a mile.
_______
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.


bournemouth

Feb 19, 2012, 9:55 AM

Post #50 of 102 (5219 views)

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Re: [clariboe] Living costs in Mexico

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This website will help: http://www.onlineconversion.com/
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