San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

We spent the entire month of November 2013 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  It is an incredible city in the central highlands a few hours north of Mexico City, with great food, music, art, and people.

The 19th Annual International Festival of Jazz and Blues took place in town this month, and we had our fill of both jazz and blues.  We spent an evening at a concert with the Dennis Gruenling and Steve Guyger Blues Band, with some wickedly good harmonica playing.  We also spent many a night sipping glasses of vino to the soothing songs of Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, and occasionally the Doors or Beatles at a local piano bar.

We had a potluck Thanksgiving dinner at the home of friends, with turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and thanks to the magic hands of Winnie, incredible pumpkin and coconut creme pies made from scratch.  It isn’t always easy, making great food in a kitchen with unfamiliar equipment, but we make do.  What do you do when you are making dough and don’t have a rolling pin?  Substitute a wine bottle, of course.

Pumpking & Coconut Creme Pies

Pumpking & Coconut Creme Pies

Some friends recently moved to Mexico City and were able to spend 4 days with us.  We love it when people are able to step outside their normal busy schedules and share some time with us.  Hopefully more friends will be able to join us for a time in the coming months and years

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

Nov 2013 spending

  • Housing – We are in the 2nd month of renting a 3 bedroom house for 13,000 pesos/month (~$1000.)  Some friends stayed with us for a 4 day weekend and loved it as much as we do.  Since none of our friends are able to come visit in December, we rented out one of the bedrooms for $100/week.  Our new roommate stayed with us 5 days in November, reducing our housing expense for the month to $930
  • Healthcare – Now that the Affordable Care Act means we can always get insurance in the future if we return to the United States, we decided to cancel our policy and self insure.  Starting December 1st, our health insurance cost will be $0.  Unfortunately, we still had to pay the full month of November as Regence BlueShield of Washington has a policy of not allowing a policy to cancel in the middle of a month.  I suppose this is further evidence that corporations don’t care about people.  Feel free to contact them if you think this is as stupid as we do 🙂  They are on Twitter and Facebook too
  • Groceries – Spending on food for home was down this month, to $259 ($4.32/person/day.)  This includes ~$40.00 of ingredients to make pies for Thanksgiving, but is otherwise primarily organic vegetables from a local farm and meat from a small butcher
  • Dining Out – Food spending from restaurants, bars, and street vendors totaled $482 this month (~$8/person/day.)  Our friends graciously treated us to 2 dinners out, and we also attended a wonderful Thanksgiving potluck dinner.  Total food spending was below our long term Mexico average of $29/day
  • Alcohol – Spending on the nectar of the gods was about average this month, coming to $99 (less than $2/person/day.)  $31 of this was for wine and tequila that we brought to a dinner party, and another $30 was for a round of ginger margaritas with friends.  The remainder was for glasses of wine at our favorite jazz club
  • Entertainment – Winnie continued with jewelry class at a different studio with a lower price tag of $185/month.  It is with the same teacher and the studio is closer to home.  Total tuition from both schools was $215.  Silver and semi-precious stone purchases were up to $193, but this was offset by selling her first piece for ~$25.  Winnie is selling pieces for close to the cost of materials these days.  If you like something, let us know

    After making 4 pies for Thanksgiving, Winnie went for a 90 minute massage for $50 with tip.  Who ever said making food at home cost less? 😉

    I continued with guitar at ~$23/lesson.  We also went to a concert during the Jazz Festival for $11.50/person

  • Miscellaneous – I had a tear in my jeans repaired ($2.30), Winnie got some new shoes ($20), we handed out a bunch of tips to guitar players at various restaurants, and gave some flowers as a gift ($1.50.)

    I got some new toys for the guitar, including an Apogee Jam for connecting the guitar to our MacBook Air or iPad.  The practice amp I purchased last month is now up for sale

  • Other – there were no out of the ordinary expenses this month
DetailsNovember 2013Notes
LocationMexicoSan Miguel de Allende
Housing$930We rented a 3 bedroom palace for 13,000 pesos/month, an easy 5 minute walk to everything. We are now renting out 1 bedroom
Healthcare$233Monthly HDHP Premium: $233
Next month this goes to $0
Transportation$186 taxi rides
Mostly we walk
Groceries$259Pies: $40
~$4.32/person/day
Dining Out$482$8/person/day
We ate at least 1 meal out 28 days this month
Alcohol$119
Entertainment$618Jewelry class: $215
Silver & stones: $193 (-$25 for selling one piece)
Guitar lessons: $92
Massage: $50
Blues concert: $23
Misc$235Cell phone credit: $15
Apogee Jam: $84
Headphones: $30
9V battery: $4.50
Pie pans, frosting tubes, plastic spatula: $8
Mexican cook book: $21 (We will meet the author in Dec!)
Total$2,893~$96/day

Spending in many categories should go down in December.  We will continue to rent out a bedroom, we will have no health insurance costs, and Winnie has a working stock of silver and semi-precious stones.  We also have no plans to acquire more toys for ourselves (famous last words)

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Winnie’s Latest Creations

Necklace with Gemstone

Necklace with Gemstone

Crystal Pendant

Crystal Pendant

Interlock Bracelet

Interlock Bracelet

Necklace with Lapis Lazuli

Necklace with Lapis Lazuli

Retire Early.

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