Living in Los Cabos: More Cost of Living Info For Retirees
Here is the second part of my cost of living post… for those who just jumped in, I’ve been working with someone who is planning to retire to Mexico, and is doing their homework in advance. And she’s asking some tough questions, but good ones. The other day she asked me for the price of electricity (great question), water, propane, internet, phone and insurance. These are some of the basic items in anyone’s budget; so instead of emailing her I’m putting it in the blog so others can benefit, too. Yesterday I tackled electricity, let’s try for the others….
Water is available from a number of sources depending on where you’re buying your home: city water, private de-sal, or trucked in well water. If you’re trucking water in, I believe the going rate for a truck load (we call them pipas) is about $175 US per truck and they generally carry about 2,500 gallons. The most cost-effective and best place to call is the fire department, they have a tanker truck and sell water to off-set the cost of their operations. Since they are a cause EVERYONE wants to support, I’d recommend calling them first. They’re also quite a bit less expensive than the private companies. Other, private trucks are also an option; if you have a property manager be aware that they will typically add something to the actual cost for their own profit.
Private de-sal water is priced individually, so if you’re buying in a community with de-sal water ask prior to making an offer.
City water is quite inexpensive, generally your least expensive bill. Like electricity (see my previous post) the more you use the more you’ll pay. Unlike electricity (at least it appears to me) that all areas pay the same rate. If you use up to 15 m3 per month your bill will be 206 pesos, or about $18 US dollars. This charge includes sewer fees. For consumption between fifteen and twenty cubic meters the rate is 3.48 pesos per; the rate continues to climb with usage to the maximum of 21 pesos per cubic meter, with the DAC equivalent of 22 pesos for those using more than 1,000 m3 per month. Oh, how many gallons are in a cubic meter? I just called dear husband Bob, the retired engineer who put in thousands of hours on our homeowner’s desal plant, there are 264.172 gallons in one cubic meter. So to be a water hog and pay the maximum rate you’d need to consume 264,172 gallons every single month! One quick caveat: city water doesn’t pump 24/7, and at times of the year you may not get all you want. So it would be safe to budget for a few trucks during the summer months; if you don’t need them it will be a pleasant surprise. Also be aware that where your new home is will have something to do with water supply; for example we just had lunch with a friend who lives in Santa Carmela on the corridor. She says she can’t even remember anybody there needing a water truck. Yet closer in to the city they are extremely common, guess we’re at the end of the line. We’re still on city water and our bill is rarely over about $33 US per month, including sewer.
I just checked with GlobalGas, one of the propane suppliers and was told the rate is 6.37 pesos per liter. Let’s do the simple, inexact kind of math most of us use down here. There are roughly 4 liters in a gallon, so that’s roughly 25.50 pesos per gallon. I haven’t checked the exchange rate yet today, but it’s been hovering around 11.5 for weeks. So that comes to a little over two bucks a gallon. Mas o menos, as we say.
I’m sure it’s possible to get broadband without a land line, but right now the TelMex website isn’t co-operating with me and their offices are closed. So let’s look at the bundles they offer on Infinitum, their broadband service, packaged with telephone service. The lowest cost is $389 per month including taxes, so that would be just under $34 US. This includes a land line with 100 local calls, 100 minutes of long distance and unlimited broadband connection. The most expensive package is $999 per month, or about $87 dollars and seems to include unlimited local, long distance to Mexico and the US and unlimited internet. Long distance calls to other parts of the world are billed out at two pesos per minute. Cell phone? Well, that’s another blog (search this blog for Profeco to learn why). You really don’t need the land line, but at least this will serve as an example.
Oops! I’ve used up my space and haven’t even gotten to her last 2 questions, which were the costs of car insurance and home-owners. So, I’ll post this and zip back with those answers.
Carol Billups is Broker/Owner of REALTY EXECUTIVES Los Cabos. A Certified Home Marketing Specialist, she has enjoyed working with both buyers and sellers for over ten years and still thinks hers is the best job on earth. She is also the real estate columnist for Los Cabos Magazine and Chairman of the AMPI Los Cabos Board of Realtors. You can read more of her articles on www.reloscabos.com. You can reach her from the U.S. or Canada at 1-760-481-7694, or in Cabo at 044-624-147-7541.
© 2011 Carol S. Billups