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Everything in moderation.  If you ate healthy NOB you will do so here and spend less. If you didn't you will probably still save money unless you buy EVERYTHING at SuperLake. A common belief, IMHO, among newbies is that everyone eats better here. Probably not true. We are not fortunate enough to have a SuperLake here in PV but we do have Casa Imports and another small deli that carries many meats, cheeses and import items. I recently bought a can of corned beef hash, and a jar of Vlasic pickles. They each cost around $165 pesos. We will get 3 meals for 2 people out of the hash, so about $1.50 US per serving and the pickles will last a good while and my wife will enjoy each and every one she has with a sandwich. What we save by eating 90% of our meals at home means we can splurge on similar items whenever the mood strikes. Many of our friends eat 90% of their meals out and that's what makes the world go round.

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No one has mentioned medical. We have excellent doctors, labs, and hospitals. You will probably pay out of pocket for most of it. If you do not make insurance arrangements, please do not have a fund raiser to cover your bills. Medical is usually very affordable, but it is easy to suddenly hit a time when you will run uo $50,000 USD or more.

 

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We are not budget conscious, but do pay attention. I like SuperLake because it has 95% of what I need. Ismat at Gossip's and Avocado Club feel likewise, as does the guy I take cooking classes from. Pancho is a little cheaper than Walmart on Mexican products. Walmart is doing a better job on fresh veggies than they used to do. Adjacent to SL are the best fish monger and the best butcher lakeside, so more one stop shopping. 

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13 minutes ago, tomgates said:

We are not budget conscious, but do pay attention. I like SuperLake because it has 95% of what I need. Ismat at Gossip's and Avocado Club feel likewise, as does the guy I take cooking classes from. Pancho is a little cheaper than Walmart on Mexican products. Walmart is doing a better job on fresh veggies than they used to do. Adjacent to SL are the best fish monger and the best butcher lakeside, so more one stop shopping. 

I agree, and Ismat is not the only restauranter who shops there.

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Just a comment on the idea of "eating like the Mexicans do". Any Mexicans that have funds anywhere close to what you will have available to spend will buy their food almost exclusively NOT at the Tianguis, Not at the Mercado, nor at the Corner Store. They will buy at Walmart,Sorianna,etc., Speciality stores and Meat Markets, shopping often at Sam's and Costco. They eat out or Party most weekends, and drive nice cars. THESE are NOT the Wealthy Mexicans, but what can be referred to as "middle class" Mexicans, more like you and probably many of those who live at Lakeside. The Mexicans who frequent the Tianguis and Mercado, and buy from Corner Stores are generally the Poorer Mexicans. Take a very close look at these Mexicans at these places and you will see a vast difference in their dress, and speech, if you are fluent in Spanish. You will also find, if you are interested in things like this, that they do not live in many areas here that actually do have some Extranjeros, as they feel it is not in their families best security interests to live there. Most will live in a Secure, Gated Community, as they would never press their luck to live anywhere else.( I find it interesting that extranjeros will live in areas that Mexicans would never consider living in, and these Mexicans were born and raised in Mexico).

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Echoing other wise advice here if it is true that it takes at least a year to learn the ropes and find where the values are when you move to a new city in the U.S., the same is true here - and that's assuming you learn some basic Spanish and really make an effort. 

A couple of key areas where costs can make or break your budget:

1. Housing: do all your research on the internet rather than looking at physical bulletin boards, walking the neighborhoods and networking and you might pay $700-1500 or more for a gringo-owned place furnished with someone else's stuff. That's still good value if you're moving from the West or East coast, not so much compared to renting a comparable-sized place in Chapala or Jocotepec for 3000-6000 pesos (~$220-440) and furnishing it yourself. 

2. Super Lake is great for imported foods but the best quality fresh fruits and vegetables at the best prices are found in the small local fruiterias and verdurias in the villages (Ajijic and Chapala both have great ones, though of course Chapala has many more options). The Chapala tianguis is also good, Ajijic one just for tourists. 

International cuisine at good restaurants like Gossip's or Jardin de Ninetta costs less than half of U.S. prices, but for us those are still special occasion places considering that three delicious tacos de barbacoa each loaded up with fresh veggies costs the two of us 54 pesos ($3 total) for lunch for two. 

Everyone has different priorities. We choose to pay up for a nicer rental, eat mostly truly local (Mexican) food out and cook the European stuff at home, skip the hassles and costs of car ownership and leave the pets, pools and gardeners to others. Our monthly costs are a good 35% less than they were in Tucson, where we led a very low-cost lifestyle. 

Here's a link to a local food blog that contains info on some of the grocery and restaurant options:

https://eatinglocalatlakeside.blogspot.mx

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On 7/5/2017 at 1:16 AM, Jim Bowie said:

You need to realize that everyone is different here. Each person basically buys what they want and when and where they want it, and many are not concerned with prices. If you want food similar to what you buy NOB, then you will pay much more here. Many do. Some buy Mexican brands, and some shop at the Tianguis and corner stores. Remember, the Tianguis is NOT a local farmer's market and these people will short you often on your purchases. Do not get "taken in " by the remarks of some who will tell you "the fruit and vegetables are so fresh and pesticide free". Remember: in Mexico, seldom do venders throw out over ripe and rotted food; they sell it, as there usually is not that much of a markup where they can just get rid and take the loss. You must thoroughly clean all produce and soak it in a solution to kill anything there that would cause you illness. Many soak their meats, too. You will hear from some who claim they can eat anything anywhere and never have had a day of illness in their entire life. My guess is that you will NOT be one of those. You must wash your hands often and take care of parasites/amoebas when you get them. Some regularly take medicine every 6 months, just to be safe. Even the "best" restaurant foods here sometimes can cause people problems. Of course, there will be those who tell you that happens everywhere, so think nothing of it happening here. We find it best for us to eat mostly at home, where we know how things are prepared and how clean things are. But, everyone does their own thing and there really is no concensus. Bottom line, remember you are in a Foreign country, very different from where you came, so use a Lot of common sense and don't be awed by how "cute and quaint" things and people are. Often you will pay a higher price for things than locals do because you are a foreigner and have a Lot of money. Once you have lived here for a year or so, you will find your own style and know the ropes much better. Some of us have survived here for nearly 20 years. :D

Thanks for all of this info. What have you found is the best solution to soak your produce in to eliminate the parasites/amoebas, etc.? And, what is the medicine that people take every 6 months to avoid illness? 

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2 hours ago, Marlayne said:

Thanks for all of this info. What have you found is the best solution to soak your produce in to eliminate the parasites/amoebas, etc.? And, what is the medicine that people take every 6 months to avoid illness? 

Microdyn and Albiosan are two of the most common brands used to disinfect produce. Oxal or Vermox every six months are often recommended by local doctors. 

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11 hours ago, Marlayne said:

Thanks for all of this info. What have you found is the best solution to soak your produce in to eliminate the parasites/amoebas, etc.? And, what is the medicine that people take every 6 months to avoid illness? 

We use Bactericida (found at Sam's Club ) in a liter size blue(?) bottle and at first we used Vermox but found that not to be the best choice, so we switched to Albendazole and Paromomycin, as Vermox does not treat the 2 things. My suggestion is to go to a Dr. Simi doctor and ask, as they are Very Familiar with meds for both( as many Mexicans constantly suffer from these two conditions), as the treatment is different. Suggestion: use Google in Mexico a LOT to check out almost everything until you get used to how things need to be done here and what to use. ALWAYS check any meds suggested by any doctor/dentist, as they often use drugs not approved in the US, nor in Europe, and you may decide you are not interested in taking them either.  Just takes a while to learn the ropes, but you will. Make the best informed decisions you can, but they need to be YOUR decisions. :D

 

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