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Life in Mexico

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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.

Expenses
Rent$330.00
Cellphone$8.00
Groceries$221.86
Eating Out$193.00
Alcohol$106.00
Toiletries & Medication $34.00
Laundry$32.42
Shopping$45.00
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
Saved$2,811.94

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

1. Hablas español?

While you don’t need to be a fluent Spanish speaker it is a good idea to pick up some key phrases and make an effort to speak the language.

A few phrases we recommend learning are:

  • “hola” (hello),
  • “por favor”(please)
  • “buenos dias” (good morning),
  • “buenas tardes” (good afternoon) and
  • “adios” (good-bye) or
  • “hasta luego” (see you later)
  • “habla despacio” (speak lowly) or
  • “otra vez por favor” (once again please}

2. Be Polite

Mexicans are some of the politest and friendliest people you will ever meet and you should match that by using niceties, so at the risk of sounding like your Mother remember to mind your Ps and Qs.

Always greet people when you enter and use “Desculpe” (excuse me) before asking a question of or directions. It also pays to ask if they speak English before assuming they do and launching into a request.

Mexican communication is more subtle than a lot of tourists are used to and being too direct can come across rude or even aggressive. This is especially true of American communication and Kiwi’s probably lay somewhere in the middle with our direct-ness.

A good example of this is if a street vendor approaches you or offers you something, you should say “Buena Suerte” (good luck) or “Muchos Gracias Ahorito No” (thanks very much. not now) not ‘no gracias’ (No thank you).  It is kind of like the Kiwi ‘yeah, nah’, let them down gently.

3. Take it easy

In Mexico everything moves at a slower pace so you’re better off relaxing and accepting that before you arrive than getting your knickers in a twist. Getting frustrated is only going to get you labelled as rude and then you’ll never get anything done.

First off, you don’t need to go to a phone store to get a SIM card in Mexico, getting a SIM Card is easy. You can pick one up a SIM Card at any OXXO. (OXXO is a chain of convenience stores similar to a 7/11 and they are everywhere.)

After a bit of research, we decided to go with TelCel as our provider because they have the best coverage. We went into an OXXO in Guadalajara and asked for a ‘chip’ and held up our phone. The guy at the counter didn’t speak any English but knew what we wanted and luckily there was someone in line behind us that spoke fluent English and confirmed we were getting the right thing.

TelCel SIM Card, Mexico

How much does it cost?

Buying the SIM card is 50 pesos (US$2) then you load your credit on to it for data and calling, we weren’t really sure how much we’d need or what plan we are getting so we went for the most expensive 500 pesos (US$20) and got 6GB of data and unlimited calls and texts for 33 days.

We paid the $550 pesos and the guy loaded the credit onto the SIM card and handed it back to us.

Topping up

To add more credit when your 33 days are up all you need to do is pop back into any OXXO say ‘recharga’ and give them your phone number and you are away laughing.

Keep the SIM card slip, your number is on the label on the back.

Interested in Living in Mexico, find out how much it costs to live here

  1. Music is life here, you can always hear something playing off in the distance and it’s awesome.
  2. There’s a technique to drinking tequila, hint: you don’t just neck it.
  3. Inanimate objects are masculine or feminine and it can be rather confusing. Meat and bananas are feminine 
  4. Pharmacies are everywhere, like literally on every corner!
  5. The people are really friendly and helpful. We’ve been blown away with how willing everyone has been to offer help, whether they speak English or not.
  6. Lizards on the walls, floors, inside and out are common and some of them make a chirping sound that you would think is a bird.
  7. There are 150 types of chilies and they are NOT all spicy 
  8. Everything from homes to the food is colourful.
  9. Police trucks drive around with officers standing in the back holding machine guns and it’s completely normal.
  10. Limes are cheap, plentiful and there’s more than one kind.

The concludes the 10 things we’ve learned in Mexico this month, can’t wait to see what we learn month when we get more of a chance to explore this beautiful country.

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