A number of things came to pass when the church bells struck the midnight hour on December 31st, much of its significance temporarily set aside amid the spirited revelry. We found ourselves facing a new year afresh, full of opportunity and potential. What adventures will 2014 hold? What will we make of life & love in the coming year?
Most significantly, midnight marked the 1st full year of our early retirement and world travel. We have learned much and find ourselves happier, refreshed, and ready for more. The final days of our stay in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico are upon us, pressing us out into the world once more. We will remain here a few more days before heading to Mexico City and then Cuba. As 2013 has faded away so too must the embargo, and we wish to witness the cradle from which a new Cuba will be born.
May you too find 2014 to be full of growth and abundance. Onward and upward
Jeremy & Winnie – Go Curry Cracker!
In our final month in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, we continued to expand our horizons. We wined and dined in several new restaurants, ventured out to the nearby towns of Dolores Hidalgo and Atotonilco, and bathed in the hot springs at La Gruta (the cave.) Winnie continued with Jewelry class and I continued to rock the axe
A few things significantly impacted our expenses this month, resulting in a near record low outlay. First, we told the health insurance company to go pound sand, saving us $233 in December and every month to come. We will continue to stockpile that cash for if/when we need it. Since none of our friends were able to take advantage of a free place to stay in Mexico, we rented out our guestroom, twice. The first time for a month and the second time for 2 days. This reduced our overall housing costs. On the flip side, getting ready to leave San Miguel after 3 months combined with the holidays meant we had many more meals and drinks out.
Considering that December is a high spending month for members of the cult of consumerism, I feel a little smug knowing that it was one of our cheapest months to date.
All of the details of our expenses are shared below in various formats and depth. Questions? Please use the comments section to add to the conversation
- Housing – December was the last of 3 months in our great 3 bedroom home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Although rent is $1000, we rented the guest bedroom out for 4 weeks ending Christmas Eve, and then again for 2 days over the busy Christmas weekend. We then added to this, giving our house cleaner a Christmas bonus. All together, housing costs came to $672
- Healthcare – We are now self-insured and no longer have a health insurance premium to pay each month. I elected to have a minor surgery and get a wart removed for a total cost of 800 pesos (~$62.) I was given a prescription for pain medication but didn’t use it
- Groceries – Our grocery spending has been trending downward, normally a good thing, although in our case it was due to increased spending on dining out. We spent $198 on groceries this month, about $3.20/person/day
- Dining Out – We ate at least one meal out 26 out of 31 days this month, with a total outlay of $642 or $10.35/person/day. Some example meals can be seen here.
- Alcohol – We hosted a few dinners and holiday parties this year, adding a bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon, a bottle of tequila, and a few bottles of wine to the bar beforehand. Total spending was $143 this month
- Entertainment – Winnie continued to create fine pieces of silver jewelry and I had a few guitar lessons, although a couple were canceled due to holiday schedules. We also went to a nearby hot springs, visited the towns of Dolores Hidalgo and Atotonilco, and Winnie had a massage
- Miscellaneous – Dolores Hidalgo is known for its hand made and hand painted pottery, and we added a few items to our kitchen (233 pesos, $18.) Why do two world travelers need some random pieces of pottery… I have no idea. They are cute though. In other news, I lost my baseball hat and purchased a replacement (70 pesos, $5.40). Winnie bought a festive pair of Christmas themed leggings, all the rage with the young Mexican girls. We also conducted a few trades through Fidelity ($26.85) in our year-end asset reallocation and tax gain harvesting.
- Other – For the first time, the “other” category was net positive. I sold the guitar amp that I purchased for 1200 pesos back in October for 1000 pesos (~$77.) 200 pesos to rent an amp for 2.5 months seems like a good trade. As a bonus though, I kept the cable for use with the Apogee Jam that replaced the amp. Since a 10′ guitar cable can cost upwards of $20, I maybe even came out ahead on this deal
|Location||Mexico||San Miguel de Allende|
|Housing||$672||We rented out our guest bedroom for a reduction in our housing costs|
|Healthcare||$62||We are now self-insured
Elective surgery: $62
|Transportation||$10||3 taxis and a round-trip bus to La Gruata (hot springs)|
|Groceries||$198||5 kgs of pork ribs for NYE party: 444 pesos ($34, ~$3/lb)|
We ate at least 1 meal out 26 days
|Entertainment||$315||Jewelry class: $185
Guitar lessons: $46
La Gruta: $14 (90 pesos per person)
1 hr Massage: 460 pesos ($35)
|Misc||$80||Baseball hat: 70 pesos ($5.40)
Xmas pants: 150 pesos ($11.50)
Pottery: 233 pesos ($18)
Fidelity trades: $27
|Other Expenses||Atypical and Nonrecurring expenses|
|Guitar Amp (SOLD!)||-1000 pesos ($77)||Sold the amp, but got a free cable|
|Total Other Expenses||-$77|
|Total December Spending||$2,044||$66/day|
December was our cheapest Month in Mexico yet, a good trend. It is hard to say what January holds. We will stay with friends for our remaining days in San Miguel and while in Mexico City, which tends to increase our food spending at the same time it decreases our housing outlay.