Here in America it almost always fees like the only true way to be happy is to be making well over 110k. I don’t even mean being filthy rich by any means. But just to get by on daily while trying to enjoy your short time on this planet. The cost of living from housing to food just seems to be going higher daily. But not everyone can keep up. And the ones that can break their backs in the process. So when I read about this 54-year-old woman who left everything behind to live her life off one thousand a month happily and on a beach I was shocked!!
Back in 2006, Jane Blaser packed her bags and drove alone from California to Mazatlán, Mexico, a colorful resort town on the Pacific coast.
In the states, she had a large community of friends and family. Including her three grown and independent children. She felt restless and unhappy and it wasn’t just the financial burden that came with living here. In the article, she wrote she said “Things that made other people happy left me restless and dissatisfied. I constantly felt like I wasn’t enough and didn’t have enough. I saw friends buying million-dollar homes, expensive cars, and the newest phones. It felt like a game that couldn’t be won — and I wasn’t interested in playing anymore.”
Securing permanent residency status in Mexico has changed a lot since 2006. And although it’s more complicated now, it’s still doable. (Requirements today include a certain amount of stable income, lots of paperwork, and four years of temporary resident status. But the simple tourist visa allows you to stay in the country for six months.)
Her first year in Mazatlan she lived off a total of $9,500. Then she started an arts and entertainment magazine! When she turned 62 she decided to retire even though that meant she would only be bringing in about 1k a month. She knew she could make it work especially with ad revenue trikiling in. Heres some of what she says about her spending habits and how she made that work.
Housing: In my 14 years of living in Mexico, my regular monthly expenses have hovered around $1,000. I’ve never paid more than $400 per month for a rental (and that was for a brand new 1,600-square-foot condo with ocean views). Now I pay about $200 for a one-bedroom.
Bills: Electricity is typically $10 a month, rising to about $35 in the summer depending on air conditioning. Wi-Fi and a cell phone plan (with unlimited international calls) each run about $18 per monttinh.
Food and entertainment: I spend between $100 to $150 per month on gas for my car. You can go to a movie for under $5. I like going out to breakfast and pay about $6, including tip. A fancy dinner might cost around $18. My grocery bills are anywhere between $250 to $300 per month.
Tacos Raymundo, a family-run food stand serving one of Janet’s favorites: Papas locas — potatoes baked in an open fire, split and mashed with butter and sour cream, then covered with carne asada, guacamole and salsa Mexicana. Fresh-made soft corn tortillas are used to scoop out mouthfuls of deliciousness.
Healthcare: I use an international health insurance company for $1,500 per year, and my deductible is $1,000. If I have a cold or a simple health issue, I can go to any pharmacy and consult with a doctor for about $3. A visit to a specialist — like an ear, nose, and throat doctor — might cost $35. Dental care is equally affordable; I recently paid $150 for a crown.
House calls: A plumber or handyman charges about $20 per visit. My vet makes house calls for routine checkups and vaccinations for my two cats, charging $12 to 20 per visit. Recently, an electrician spent six hours at my house installing a ceiling fan, and the bill was only $45. (Speaking Spanish and having local friends definitely helps avoid special prices.)
This life may not be for everyone. It takes a lot of courage and the ability to be wildly adaptable. But there’s something nice about knowing this kind of peaceful escape is out there, tangible, waiting for me if I need it.n