The 10,000 – 15,000 expatriates who live in the Ajijic, Lake Chapala area benefit from both the lower cost of living in Mexico, and the strength of their dollars when converted to pesos.
The Lakeside area is a conservative, “suburban” area. You’ll find parents walking children to and from school, residents strolling to local markets and shops, and visitors touring the local restaurants and galleries.
It is not unusual to see a horse tied outside a restaurant or market, while their owner is inside dining/shopping. Here people know their neighbors, both Mexican & expatriate.
The prices of most things are dramatically lower in Mexico. For example:
~ Property Taxes are very low in Ajijic, and in Mexico, as a whole. The predial (property tax rate) is .08% of the assessed value; so taxes on a home might run $200 – $300 per year. If you pay in full annually by the end of February, you’re eligible for a 10% discount. To give an example: a home here in Ajijic Mexico valued in the $300,000 USD range would have a property tax of around $2,300 pesos or a little less than $200 USD for a full year.
~ A visit to an English-speaking doctor is about $36 USD/$48 CAD at Lakeside; and the visit can last an hour or more.
~ A trip to the dentist for cleaning & X-rays is between $31 USD ($42 CAD) here. Many people come to Mexico specifically for the excellent quality dental procedures available for a fraction of the cost elsewhere. Crowns, implants & root canals are a great deal more affordable.
~ A house call to change a flat tire or jump a battery can be $5.
~ It’s not unusual to have dinner for two, in a nice restaurant with a bottle of wine included, for around $40 to $50.
~ Two can enjoy a breakfast of champions for under $10.
~ Fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful and inexpensive.
~ Most services (gardeners, maids, repairmen, craftsmen) are quite affordable … gardeners and maids earn about $4 to $5/hour.
~ Most homes do not have or need heating or air-conditioning, which keeps down utility bills. There are only a few weeks a year when one may feel the need for heat or air-conditioning, and these issues can be addressed with ceiling fans and fireplaces, or you can purchase a wall-mounted, ductless heating/cooling system, for your bedroom or wherever you wish.
~ Thanks to abundant year-round sunshine, many homes have solar electricity/hot water, which means your electric bill can be as low as a few cents or a few dollars a month.