The best answer one could give here is to do as I will do starting next week..Go there and see for yourself..I too read the article, but cost of living is only one factor in my decision..the people, climate, atmosphere/living, are others..But, my standard maybe different than yours..But, If you go there thinking you can do all you do Stateside, you maybe in for a surprise..continue your research, but go there again and again..then it will become clearer..I did see many rentals for $600/month, but for all costs to be @ that level would be suspicious
Yes, after visiting several places in Mexico, we decided that Mazatlan would be the best place for us to spend our retirement. But we took the advice of many who went before us and rented a home here for a year in order to be sure that we had made the correct choice. It also gave us plenty of time to look for our perfect home - I think my wife and I looked at every house that was for sale within a 50 mile radius - we finally found a 3 bedroom, 2-1/2 bath home on a private dead-end street in an upscale neighborhood for US $75,000 and were able to find a 30 year US mortgage for less than US $500 per month. We manage quite well on our US $1,500 per month income.
There is a good website, www.chapala.com, on the lake Chapala area, which is where many of the retirees live in Mexico. In fact it has been said that the biggest community of Americans outside the US is in the Lake Chapala/Guadalajara area. This website has a number of interesting topics, including a list of prices for food and other items. I would suggest you check this out. I am presently living in GErmany, but am getting ready to go back to Mexico because there is a significant difference in the cost, i.e. beef filet is less than $6 USD a kilo. Here in the German stores it is about 22 Euros per kilo and it is almost $19 USD a pound (about 460 gm) at the military commissary, which is more expensive than the German stores on many items. Maids are inexpensivein Mexico, as are most personal services. I paid mine about $7 USD a day for all the cleaning, laundry and ironing and she stayed about 3 1/2 hours. Here I pay 10 Euros per hour just for cleaning. I have to pay extra for ironing and do my own wash. Before I came over here, I was saving $700 USD a month from my VA disability and Social Security disability and without my German government widow's pension. The dollar is high against the peso and is in toilet in respect to the Euro and this is the main reason I am going back. I enjoy living where I do not look like a foreigner (German father, Norwegian mother), but I can't take the cost of living anymore, so I'm going back to Mexico within the next month or two. Going there to check it out first is a good idea.
Well, Folks, I'm almost on my way. On May 1 I will be flying to Guadalajara for a week of looking around. A group from a local church is going to meet me, and I willl be looking around the Lake Chapala area with them. I'll let everyone know what happens.
Folks, remember that AARP article on living in Mexicp for $600/month? The gringoes around Lake Chapala hate that article. However, IF you own your own house, and IF your health is good enough to get onto the Mexican national healthcare plan, you can do it.
If you want the best weather, Chapala is the only real choice. Homes there don't have furnaces or air conditioning. That tells you something. The coastal locations are OK for a winter 'getaway', which we do for a week in December, but living through the long, hot & humid season is unbearable for most expats. Those who can, have a second home somewhere cooler. On the other hand, there are other wonderful towns at even higher elevations, up to over 8000 feet, where the winters are too cold. Chapala is a microclimate and is 'just right'.