Income and Expense Report


Merida has a reputation as one of the expat havens on Mexico and as such we were expecting the prices to be a little higher and we weren’t disappointed in that regard.

It was definitely one of the more expensive places we’ve been in Merida and in all honesty not all that it’s hyped up to be. It could that Covid was impacting our experience or we’d just been spoilt with so many other Mexican gems before getting here but we left with a little feeling of ‘meh’.

However there is plenty to do just outside the city, here are our highlights for Merida:

  • ALL of the ruins but in particular Uxmal and Mayapan. Chichen Itza was impressive but a little too busy for us.
  • Cenotes, cenotes, cenotes. I mean what’s not to like.
  • And…. that’s about it! A lot of the museums and galleries were closed and to be honest we found Merida a little boring, which seems to be an unpopular opinion 😬

Below are our costs for 28 days in Merida for two people, in USD.

Rent (see the Airbnb we booked here) $997
Cellphone (for 2 phones) $29.96
Groceries $174.05
Eating Out $459.37
Activities (see list below) $521.82
Toiletries/Pharmacy/Personal Care $82.35
Laundry $0.00
Ubers around the city $66.09
Bus to Playa del Carmen $43.24
Taxi from Airport to AirBnB $24.97
Total expenses $2,398.85

Activities include:

  • Mayapan 
  • Uxmal and Choco-Story
  • Chichen Itza and the pink pools 
  • 2 x Cenote trips
  • Day trip to Progress 
  • Walking tour in Merida City

We always feel a little bad when we don’t love a city we’ve stayed in (it’s actually only happened once with another very popular spot – San Miguel de Allende).

We are extremely grateful to be here and still had a lovely time but want to keep it real and share when something or somewhere wasn’t what we expected or what it’s hyped to be.

Thinking of moving to Mexico but not sure about finances. Read our full breakdown on cost of living in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico

In December we spent most of the month in San Cristobal de las Casas (we were in San Cristobal de las Casas from 23 November – 19 December) and, moved to Merida towards the end of the month.

The cost of living in San Cristobal was comparatively cheaper to other places we’ve been in Mexico however that last week or so of the month our costs up.

Eating out was a big expense for us this month with $358.67 of the total falling into San Cristóbal de las Casas and $336.28 over only 11 days in Merida! Oops.

We also spent a significant amount on activities while we took a few weeks off work. The below total for activities includes:

December 2020: Income and Expense Report

Rent (AirBnB Merida, paid in December for 19 Dec – 16 Jan) $1,000.29
Cellphone $20.00
Groceries $151.01
Eating Out $694.95
Activities $577.86
Toiletries/Pharmacy $14.14
Laundry $15.26
Laptop Repayments $91.00
Taxi (San Cris) & Uber (Merida) $50.85
Travel (flight) San Cris to Merida $112.31
Total expenses $2,727.67
Income $6,120.71


Our income and expenses is for x 2 people and is made up of multiple streams (and excludes business expenses such as VAs, other. contractors, software etc.)

All $ mentioned are converted to USD using the latest exchange rate at the time of reporting.

In December our income was made up of:

  • $207.71 Teaching English Online
  • $3,934 Freelance (in December 2 x clients were late paying invoices for work that had been completed to the value of $1,410 which will be transferred to the month it is paid)
  • $1,979 – Part-time employment income

Planning a trip to San Cris? We hope you found this post on the cost of living in San Cristóbal de las Casas valuable – let us know if there’s anything we’ve missed.

Thinking of moving to Mexico but not sure about finances Every month we share the cost of living in Mexico with a full breakdown.

In November we spent most of the month in Oaxaca, and honestly, given the amount we ate out in Oaxaca, November isn’t as bad as I thought! Check out restaurant reviews for Oaxaca here.

Rent $621.00
Cellphone $30.18
Groceries $116.05
Eating Out $624.82
Activities $307.98
Toiletries/Pharmacy $30.10
Laundry $14.83
Laptop Repayments $91.00
Cold weather clothes $45.36
Overnight Bus Oaxaca to San Cris $92.00

Total expenses $1991.14
Income $4.848.83


Our income and expenses is for x 2 people and is made up of multiple streams and excludes business expenses such as VAs, other. contractors, software etc.

In November our income was made up of:

$663.69 – Teaching English Online
$2214.02 – Freelance (in November 3 x clients were late paying invoices for work that had been completed to the value of $2,076.20 which will be transferred to the month it is paid)
$1972.12 – Part-time employment income

All $ mentioned are converted to USD using the latest exchange rate at the time of reporting.

We also did a healthy dose of shopping this month that we have chosen NOT to include on our report in order to keep its accurate but for transparency sake the shopping, including shipping to New Zealand came to $1,100 and was things for our future home that we wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else – Zapotec rugs, art etc.

We hope you enjoyed reading about the cost of living in Mexico, stayed tuned for next months report.

For the first time in 7 months we are in the negative and spent more that we earnt eeekkk.

We found San Miguel de Allende rather expensive in comparison to other cities or regions, not necessarily unjustifiably so – there were plenty of delicious restaurants with atmosphere and food to back up the prices but that didn’t help our wallet – the tours and activities were also more expensive than what we’d come to expect from other places but again they were pretty good and we can’t complain.

We managed to jam a lot in, in October including a trip to Xilitla to see the Sir Edward James surrealist garden, Querétaro and Mexico City. Although in Querétaro we spent the majority of our time in a mall after Zahn’s phone died and we had to take it to an iShop – luckily we were able to repair it but we ended up buying Addison a new phone as old one was locked and couldn’t take a Mexican (or anywhere else for that matter) sim card.

Unfortunately we also had some WIFI issues in San Miguel de Allende that prevented Addison from teaching which affected our income and we purchased extra data plus a Sky Roam WIFI device which we do no recommend, after purchasing an “Unlimited” Day Pass we were throttled down to 2G speeds after only using 1.5GB and the support was terrible and couldn’t let me know what the throttle limit was.

Our AirBnB hosts were great and tried to help with the internet speed but it wasn’t enough for our needs. It also seems we weren’t the only ones having issues and a slow connection is common in SMA.

So what did we spend all that money on!

Tours and activities

  • Teotihuacán Mexico City Day Trip $112.14 
  • Dia de Muertos Tour to learn about the traditions $77.84
  • Food Tour in San Miguel de Allende $254.78
  • Walking Tour CDMX $19.46
  • Tres Raices Vineyard Wine Tasting $20.56
  • La Gruta Spa $24.32
  • Canada de la Virgen Pyramid Trip $160 included lunch and astronomy talk
  • Charco Del Ingenio (El Charco del Ingenio Jardín Botánico y Área Natural Protegida) $4.85

Extra Accommodation

  • Hotel in Xilitla $17.10
  • AirBnB in Querétaro $51.36
  • Hotel in CDMX $134.32


  • Flight to Oaxaca from CDMX $71.36
  • San Miguel de Allende to Xilitla including stop in Pena Bernel and Querétaro $436.87 (includes tip, private driver, entrance to the Edward James Garden and guide) 
  • Bus Querétaro to Mexico City $32.88

Full breakdown:

Accommodation in San Miguel de Allende$557.03
Additional accommodation$202.78
Entertainment $669.10
Shopping including shipping to NZ$305.81
Eating Out$476.99
Laptop Payments$103
Subscriptions (Apple Storage & Netflix) $23.23
Cellphone Plan $58
Addison New Cell Phone$274.33
Art Classes x 4$90
Sky Roam$148
Total Expenses$3,646.49

Total Income

Prices are listed in USD and are for 2 people.

In September we had the most amazing AirBnB right in the historic city center – the view from the terrace and mater bedroom was absolutely stunning!

Guanajuato was great value money in terms of accomodation, food and activities.

We barely ate in with some many good, cheap options on our doorstep, within minutes we had Ojillio for cocktails with a view, Los Huacales for Mole Chilaquiles (it’s not on the menu but ask for it), there’s also a place next door to Los Huacales that is bright pink and turquoise that makes great coffee and tortas. A little further is Truco7 (Mexican) and La Ronda for beer, wings and pool.

Breakfast is a cheap easy meal in Guanajuato with coffee, juice, fresh fruit, bread and a main like chilaquiles for $80 – $120 pesos ($4 – $6).

For paid activities in September we did:

  • The Funicular to see El Pipila $5.51
  • Momias Museo (the Mummy Museum) $4.59
  • Callejoneadas $11.60 – watch our Callejoneada video and review here
  • Diego Rivera Museum $1.38
  • The Arts Museum $1.84
  • Ex-Hacienda San Gabriel $15.07 including taxi there and back
  • Mina La Valenciana $4.13
  • Walking Tour (in San Miguel $18.93)
Ex-Hacienda San Gabriel

Zahn did a we bit of shopping in Guanajuato buying earrings, other small items and a sweater for the colder nights

Zahn buying more earrings

Other costs that came up during September was our tourist visa renewal – the visa process itself was free but we elected to have Sonia Diaz an immigration consultant complete the process for us at $250 pesos each.

We also arrived in San Miguel de Allende at the end of the month and spent more than usual on data for our phone because the WIFI in our AirBnB was pretty poor but overall we are happy with our September spending.

Full breakdown:


Entertainment $77.98
Eating Out$222.12
Laptop Payments$103
Subscriptions (Apple Storage & Netflix) $23.23
Cellphone Plan $77.54
Tourist Visa (FMM) Renewal$236.60
Total Expenses$1,716.71

Total Income

Prices above are in USD and for 2 x people

Income is down and expenses are up (again) this month.

I’m kind of ashamed that our eating out bill is nearly as much as our rent 😳 We’ve received so many recommendations for good food spots, eating out has been a huge part of our entertainment in Puerto Vallarta, thus the large bill. We’ve mixed it up with some higher-end restaurants as well as local taco stands and they’ve given us a great experience.

Other than the food we’ve also done three x full-day trips – The Botanic Garden, San Sebastian del Oeste, and El Tuito, Mayto & Tehuamixtle. We attended a cooking class where we made six salsas and we and did two taco tours.

  • Accomodation $493.71
  • Food (Groceries) $166.90 
  • Transport $114.49
  • Entertainment $613.96
  • Laundry $22.44
  • Dentist $121.18
  • Shopping $56.24
  • Eating Out (includes drinks) $467.97 

Total expenses $2,056.90
Total income $4,512.43

Overall we lived a champagne life on a beer budget this morning and wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d like to say next month we’ll be laying low and sticking to our $1,500 budget but we’ve already got a two-day trip planned to our next city Guanajuato which is likely going to push us over.

Hasta luego amigos

A round up of our costs for living in Sayulita for the last month.

Our takeout bill is on the rise but with so many good restaurants in Sayulita offering delivery it would have bee rude not to, right? Restaurants can open as of today (June 1st) but have to maintain a maximum 30% occupancy so we are looking forward to getting out and actually eating inside a restaurant again.

Even with the increase in takeout, we managed to spend slightly less than in May by figuring out the best places to get our groceries cutting our Netflix subscription and reducing our accommodation cost slightly by renting directly to save on the Airbnb fees and the peso weakening against the USD

We are expecting in June our food and accommodation bill will increase as we’ll be moving house and maybe even the city halfway through the month so it will be interesting to see how that goes.

We are also working on a new business/social enterprise (more on that later) so have included business expenses in this month’s report.

A full breakdown of income and expenses is below.

Eating Out$193.00
Toiletries & Medication $34.00
Subscriptions (Spotify, Gym, Apple)$40.00
Laptop Repayments$91.00
Courier Tax Return$33.00
Business Expenses (Domain Fees, GSuite, Hosting etc.)$72.78
Total expenses $1,207.06
Income $4,019.00

Our income comes from teaching English online, freelance Shopify development work, and Zahn’s remote job in New Zealand.

When we first started looking at traveling and working online one of the biggest questions we had was how much does it actually cost and how much do we need to earn?

Expenses vary country-to-country and even city-to-city so we have been keeping track of all of our expenses from beer to rent and documenting it to provide some understanding for anyone looking to go down this path. 

Below is a full list of all our expenses and income from 1 – 30 April 2020 in Sayulita Mexico. We are currently in quarantine due to COVID-19 so haven’t been able to do any tourist activities, eat out (other than a few delivery splurges) or travel this month.

April Expenses                                            

Rent – $389.00
Cellphone -$8.00
Groceries – $253.31
Alcohol and Cigarettes – $106.00
Toiletries – $22.00
Laundry – $21.36
Shortcut to Spanish Online Course – $116.00
Subscriptions (Spotify, Netflix, Gym) – $29.98
Laptop Repayments – $91.00
Other – $305.00

Total expenses  – $1,341.65
Income – $2,683.00
Saved – $1,341.35

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