How Much I Spent in My 6th Month Traveling Mexico

Well guys, the year is halfway through, which means my six months in Mexico have sadly come to a close. To say my time there was incredible is an understatement… and I’m still processing! At the time of this writing, I’m in Austin, TX for the 4th of July weekend and to get some of my USA errands handled before I head up to Kansas to see family — and then I head overseas in late July. (First stop, Slovenia!)

I was traveling a lot during the month of June, and you’ll see it reflected in gas and tolls — from Oaxaca, to Veracruz, to Puebla, to Querétaro, to San Luis Potosí, and of course, crossing the border. I also got some health needs taken care of, for both me and Penny — “hers and hers” dental cleaning! And I “splurged” on a tour package in Mexico’s Huasteca Potosina region that was a little more money than I’d typically spend but totally worth it. More on all that to come.

And it’s very interesting, I think, how my relationship with money has evolved over the last six months since I quit my corporate job. I am not only much more conscious about shopping, I’m conscious about all other types of spending — when you don’t have a steady paycheck anymore, and money doesn’t just appear in your bank account — I am deeply aware of the risk of depleting my reservoir prematurely by making any snap purchases. I’m constantly thinking of ways to save a few bucks, to barter or trade, and I very rarely overindulge anymore — instead of “one more pint,” it’s “I think I’m good, thanks.” I’m canceling and minimizing as many subscriptions and bills as I can, if I need to shop, I’m checking out the thrift store first, and I’m also exploring ways to make some passive income — and especially, now in the inflation-ridden United States of America, I feel the value of a dollar more than ever before. 

So, here it is! In June 2022, I spent a total of $2,375.33 USD, or $79 per day. And during my total 180 days in Mexico, I spent a total of $13,446.76 — that’s an average of $75 per day. And remember, that’s EVERYTHING… it’s not just my travel spending, it’s my life spending!

June 2022 spending… in detail (in USD)

Food & Dining$391.61
Auto & Transport$325.11
Health & Fitness$194.25
Personal Care$113.81
Bills & Utilities$81.13
Business Services$80.07
Gifts & Donations$49.64
Fees & Charges-$7.26

As usual, “Travel” — which includes hotels, vacation rentals, air travel, and other general travel expenses — was my biggest expense for May, at $860. AND I actually used a lot of points and redemptions in June! In Puebla, I cashed in 52,000 Hilton Honors points for a four-night stay, and I redeemed $177 in cash back for 14,160 Chase Sapphire points via Chase’s Pay Yourself Back program. In June, I also booked my flight to Slovenia, which cost me 30,000 American Airline points and $27 in taxes. My 4-night, 4-day tour package in Huasteca Potosina is also included in this section, even though the package included all my meals (it didn’t really make sense to split those into the dining category). So, if not for all my points redemptions, I would’ve spent well over $1,000 on Travel in June — one of the reasons I carefully time my points redemptions in times of heavy travel spending. If you’re interested in a travel credit card, Chase Sapphire is great.

»If you want to sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, use my referral link to make my day — I get bonus points!

“Food & Dining” was my next largest expense this month and includes restaurants, groceries, and alcohol & bars, at $392. This ends up being just about $13 a day. I think I was consciously trying to cut down on my dining spending this month because I overspent in May — and dining is the easiest place to cut!

I spent $325 on “Auto & Transport” in June — yikes! This category includes tolls, gas, taxis, ride share, and parking. For my American readers, regular gas in Mexico, at the time of this writing, was a little less than $4 a gallon — and with all the driving I did in June, I spent $192 on gas. Tolls were another big expense — $110. 

Also, I’m awaiting the reversal of my TIP (Temporary Import Permit) deposit. (When you cross the border with a non-Mexican vehicle, you have to put down a deposit to ensure you’ll leave the country with your vehicle on-time.) This was about $420 and, according to the woman running the Banjercito kiosk in Allende, Coahuila, Mexico, it can take up to 5 days to process and be refunded to my credit card, so I should receive it in early July. Unfortunately for me, that money will go directly to replacing my side mirrors that were stolen in Mexico City (read about that here).

In June, I spent $194 on “Health & Fitness.” This includes a trip to the dentist for $37, and 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, it’s free.

June was a big month for Penny — my “Pets” spending category rang up at $188.69. In Queretaro, I took Penny in for her annual teeth cleaning under anesthesia. Exam, bloodwork, administration of three vaccines, and “profilaxis dental” cost me $177 (Penny, get a job!!). That’s at least one-third to one-half that it would cost in the U.S. My Pets spending in June also included one month of flea and tick. If you would like more information on how I found a vet and arranged Penny’s teeth cleaning, please comment me!

“Personal Care” in June included a bikini wax, laundry service, and my $80 Hand & Stone facial/massage monthly membership that I’ve since cancelled (I’ll use up my credits during my time in the states!).

“Bills & Utilities” includes my unlimited AT&T cellular plan and mobile hotspot (which works in Mexico and Latin America). I’ll look into ways to reduce this cost when I leave North America. 

“Business Services” includes the cost of my domain, the cost of hosting my website, and my email client. (Did you know, I don’t make money on my blog — I actually lose money? If you enjoy my content, want to support the lifestyle, or just want to treat me to a cerveza, consider sending a Venmo donation to @juliebrose.)

“Entertainment” includes expenses like tours, park or museum entrance fees, the movie theater, and my music streaming membership. In June, I went to Hierve el Agua, which was $3.50, I went on a free walking tour in Puebla and tipped 200 pesos ($10), and I saw the Jurassic Park movie on 3D IMAX for $7.50. I also took a tour at winemaker Freixenet Mexico, which was really cool to see, and visited Tamasopo Falls (a dog-friendly water park), which was $7.50.

“Gifts & Donations” are just that — charitable donations or gifts for loved ones’ special occasions — and some things I brought home from Mexico for the family (sssshhh!).

And “Shopping”? I bought a sparkly headband at the market in Puebla for $4 and a pair of sandals for $18.

“Home” is my rental insurance policy that protects the items I store in my mom’s house.

“Uncategorized” is cash from the ATM that I haven’t spent yet or tagged with a category. These are typically small or miscellaneous purchases or tips that I just don’t have time to keep track of.

“Fees & Charges” are my reimbursements for ATM fees. Thanks Fidelity Cash Card!

Well there you have it — for the month of June, I spent $79 per day and $2,375 total… and during my total 180 days in Mexico, just under $13,500, an average of $75 per day. If I can keep this up, that’s $27,000 for the year — the American poverty level for a family of four — but decent living elsewhere around the world. 

I also have to shout-out to my friend Anthony, whose apartment I am staying at in Austin while he’s on vacation. I would never be able to afford a week in a place in downtown Austin — one week would obliterate my entire budget! — so acts of kindness like these really mean so much to me. (I literally cannot afford to stay in the U.S. long-term without getting another job, which is why I’m practicing geo-arbitrage as much as possible while I’m “semi-retired.”) Thank you so much, Anthony!!

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9 thoughts on “How Much I Spent in My 6th Month Traveling Mexico

  1. We were just discussing a possible trip to Mexico with our dog. Our plan was to stay in one place for a month. We were curious how it was to travel with a dog. Is it hard to find accommodations that accept pets? What do you do if you want to go somewhere dogs are welcomed (museum, dinner, etc.)? Any problems crossing borders? Do you plan to take her to Europe? Also, my childhood dog was a German shepherd named Penny. Any suggestions on a good place to hang for a month in December? Like good restaurants, urban, decent weather. Beach not necessary.

    1. Hey Eric! Thanks for commenting. I answer a lot of your questions here:
      And here:
      We’ve never had any issues crossing borders by cars, and we’ve done both Mexico and Canada. I’d recommend Mexico City for your month… it has everything!! Or, check out this article for inspiration:

      1. Thanks for the response Julie. Your articles were really helpful. CDMX is definitely being considered, we spent a couple of weeks there last summer and loved. We’re also thinking of Oaxaca and Puebla and a few others. Looked like a great trip.

      2. I liked both of those cities as well! Maybe schedule a few weeks in each after CDMX to get a vibe. I for one would definitely spend more time in Puebla, I like that it’s the 4th biggest city in Mexico and I am finding I gravitate a bit towards a city when I’m thinking long-term potential — I like a little more infrastructure and things to do 👍🏼

  2. Love it! Nice and cheap, but it definitely doesn’t seem like you sacrificed quality of life or general enjoyment, which is good. 🙂

    I’ve got to ask, though, why on earth is Business Services so high?! I’ve had hosting and email for a site in the past (and I used to do a lot of freelance webmaster sort of work) and it wasn’t anywhere close to $80 a month. There’s probably something cheaper out there.

    Also, regarding cell phones: AT&T is the worst. They are SO EXPENSIVE. When I’m in the US, I have Metro by T-mobile. Not the best data speeds, unfortunately, but navigating with Maps works and I can use WiFi when necessary. When abroad, I’d say get a local SIM card and a plan in whatever country you’re in. It’s way cheaper than paying for international on AT&T, the Money Gougers of Cell Phone Plans (I just made that name up, haha).

    1. Business services are a lot of things. Calendar tools, cloud storage, analytics, etc. — the costs of building a business. I’m trying to keep it down, but I’m at the point where I need to invest a little more for growth. :-/ Nothing is free anymore! And I’m definitely looking at my options for cellular service when it comes to Europe. I definitely cannot condone their $10/day international fees!!

      1. Ah, I see… sounds like you’ve got more tools than I realized and you’re very aware of costs, which is good. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. 🙂 I can’t wait to see your business grow! Look into Metro or Visible or a lower cost provider in the US and local providers overseas – I totally agree that $10/day is OUTRAGEOUS! 😮

  3. Please provide a company and/or insurance policy name that allows for coverage at home and out of country – that sounds perfect for me – I can travel 6 mo a year.

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