Hola mis amigos, I am back with another spending recap for my THIRD month living in Mexico after quitting my job and taking an early (temporary) retirement to travel!! Damn, time flies!
My January spending was just a bit inflated since I had some immigration and vehicle import costs and a 6-month policy for Mexican car insurance. February was also a bit inflated since I had to also renew my 6-month policy of U.S. car insurance and I was traveling pretty frequently. Luckily… I stayed put for a while in March, had no unintended expenditures, and was able to make out below budget while still enjoying my life to the fullest. YAHOO — more money for later!
During my third month in Mexico, I spent a week in San Pancho and Sayulita, and the remainder of the month in Puerto Vallarta — in a little barrio called ‘5 de Diciembre’, Cinco for short.
So, the grand total for March 2022? $1,801!
March 2022 spending… in detail (in USD)
|Food & Dining||$412.68|
|Health & Fitness||$179.25|
|Bills & Utilities||$81.18|
|Auto & Transport||$68.08|
|Fees & Charges||$53.25|
|… everything else (Taxes, Personal Care, Pets, Gifts & Donations, and Home)||$114.98|
As per usual, “Travel” — which includes hotels, vacation rentals, and other general travel expenses — was my biggest expense for March, at $594.92, well under my budget of $800-900. Cue the applause!
I spent two nights at a friend’s place in San Pancho, four nights in a hotel in Sayulita for which I had a Booking.com wallet credit ($160 – my $117 credit = grand total of $43), and the rest of the month I paid cash for a furnished studio in Puerto Vallarta’s Cinco neighborhood. This was a direct-to-owner rental, meaning I could skip all those pesky Airbnb fees (try Facebook Groups or Facebook Marketplace to search out DTO rentals!)!
Also, spending money every month on travel means I am continuously accruing points, so I decided to cash in yet another Chase Sapphire travel reward — trading 2,400 points for $30 cash back on an Airbnb experience. (I love this credit card!!)
“Food & Dining” was my second biggest expense this month (instead of Auto & Transport like the last two months!) and includes restaurants, groceries, and alcohol & bars, at $412.68. This was just a little bit less than last month because I bought more groceries and cooked at “home” a little more often.
I do think dining out in Puerto Vallarta trends a little higher than elsewhere in Mexico, but perhaps that is to be expected due to the tourist effect. Or maybe you just gotta pay a bit of a premium to be by the beach!
“Health & Fitness” is my international health insurance that covers me both in the U.S. and abroad, provided that I remain outside of the U.S. for at least 6 months out of the year. While I paid the policy in full, I “split” the transactions into 12 payments of $157 per month in my budget tracker Mint so it doesn’t hit me all at once. If you’re interested in trying Mint, it’s free; sign up with my referral code here. My additional spending in this category includes the antibiotics I bought at the pharmacy (no prescription required) after getting my finger bit at the beach by a dog who started fighting with Penny. (Penny was fine, I was collateral damage.)
“Entertainment” includes expenses like tours, park or museum entrance fees, and my music streaming membership. A favorite experience in March was an authentic Mexican cooking class and 5-course meal with Miriam’s Culinary Experiences… read more about it below!
“Bills & Utilities” includes my unlimited AT&T cellular plan and mobile hotspot (which works in Mexico).
“Uncategorized” is cash from the ATM that I haven’t spent yet or tagged with a category. This includes my rollover for next month. Besides, these are typically small or miscellaneous purchases, like water, that I just don’t have time to keep track of.
Dang! “Auto & Transport” was one of my lowest expenses in March, at $68.08. (It was a lot higher the last few months as you’ll read in my other budget recaps.) Since I stayed on the coast most of the month, and usually walk instead of drive, I only filled up my tank twice!
“Shopping” includes a new swimsuit and a cute new top from the mall in PV. I rarely shop, but it’s nice to have a fresh new option every once in a while.
“Fees & Charges” includes half the Costco membership (I share with my mom) which I kept because there are Costcos in Mexico. It also includes debits from my refunded ATM fees!
Well, there you have it! I spent $1,801 my third month in Mexico, semi-retired — and I still totally enjoyed myself. At this rate… I’ll stay within my budget for the year ($30,000), which means my mini-retirement will last even longer. ❤️❤️