Another year (2017) bites the dust!! A challenging and changing one for sure!
So, as we begin the New Year of 2018, a brief explanation for any new folks that might be reading this blog. Mike & I decided to call Puerto Vallarta, MX our home after living in 5 other Latin American countries and 11 towns/villages. (You can read all about our journey by going to the Archives listed on the bottom right of the blog page.) It's now been 4 full years, as of December 15, 2017.
The posted budget/expenditures are for 2 people and are reflected in US Dollars, since that's the method we get paid in. I did change some of the line items around this year. I moved our health insurance coverage up into the Living Expenses. If you won't need this line item in your budget, just deduct it.
Our rent until September, 2017, is actually a reduced amount from the original $1,000/month we initially began paying. Over time, we had been doing some of the property management and coordination with our mozo (property caretaker), so our landlord's were gracious enough to reduce our rent to $800/month to show their appreciation for our efforts.
As of September 1, 2017, we moved since our condo had sold. We moved up the hill in Amapas into a condo complex with 11 units and larger pool. We more than doubled our space and our view increased 1000%. It's a 2 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, fully furnished, with a very large outdoor terrace. We now pay rent in pesos, so our rent fluctuates monthly based on the bank exchange rate with the US Dollar. Our rent includes internet, cable TV, water, and gas. We continue to pay our own electric.
January, 2017 was a busy month with theater openings (I was asked to continue doing some marketing for both Act II & The Palm), so I receive free tickets in return. We continue to meet with people who want to consider PV as a place to retire. Linda Ellerbee (yes, the well renown journalist) and I organized a Women's Gathering (no march) here in PV in only 4 days. We had 500+ people in attendance and we were thrilled!
February, 2017 saw high season hit with a vengeance! Several friends in from out of town, which of course means, we get to be on vacation with them. So more times out for meals & drinks, entertainment, & visits all over the Bay to show off our beautiful piece of heaven.
March, 2017 was spent with family & friends who visited; meaning a few extra shows/excursions/meals out than normal for us. We also addressed some nagging aches & pains that come along with walking daily on cobblestone streets in Old Town. Our refrigerator ice maker was repaired & we purchased a new all-in-one scanner/copier/printer. This was also the month that the pesos gained on the US dollar, so we lost a bit of purchasing power. All in all, a very good month!
April, 2017 was a month of saying goodbyes to those headed back north for the summer. Our weather continued to stay absolutely beautiful but warmed up enough to get back into our pool. 3 units in our building have sold & are due to close in May/June. This only leaves our unit unsold. Our lease continues for another year. We'll see how this goes.
May, 2017 brought Restaurants Weeks & Pride Week to PV. We again took advantage of a few dinners out with friends. Mike & I both have been having a few growing older pain issues that we addressed causing a rise in our medical expenses. The $218 covered orthodics for Mike's shoes for planter faciatus, 2 doctor appointments, 3 chiropractor appointments & 2 appointments with an acupuncturist. Try that in the US! And, we couldn't be more pleased with the excellent modern care!!
June, 2017 saw the rainy season begin. If you've never experienced our summer storms, you should! We also took a 3 day trip up to Chacala, a small village north about 2 hours with friends. A most wonderful get away! As our annual trip to the states approaches, we found ourselves eating at home much more trying to use our food stock up.
July, 2017 was our month to take our annual trip NOTB (north of the border). This year we only visited WA for 18 days. We had a wonderful time with family and friends, a couple of Blues Festivals. We also made the decision to change our health insurance carrier, which begins August 1st.
August, 2017 was very interesting busy month with many anxious moments & a time of big change for us! We changed health insurance companies from WEA to VUMI, our monthly premium is now $365. We switched because reimbursement was getting very difficult through WEA.
We also got the call from our landlord that our condo had sold. We knew this day was coming, it was just a matter of when. As a result, we had been somewhat looking since May, however had not found the perfect fit for us. Amazingly, only 2 days after the call, an ad popped up on one of the Facebook groups I follow. I immediately sent a message to the agent with a few questions getting all the right answers back. Within an hour, we were touring the condo. It was perfect & we signed the lease that afternoon. Moved only a week later and are now comfortably ensconced in our new home!
We have a much bigger unit with a beautiful view of the Bay. We did give up our excellent location, so our walk up the hill to our new home is a bit more challenging. It looks like walk down (a quick 10 minutes into Old Town) with a taxi or Uber back home. As in any move, there are items necessary to set up for your comfort. This condo was extremely well equipped but there were a few items necessary, so those expenditures were made this month.
September, 2017 brought more discretionary expenditures for settling into our new home. Instead of having a house warming party, we decided to have small groups of people over for drinks, snacks & dinner or drinks/snacks here & then dinner out so higher grocery & meals out expenditures. And, of course, an increase in our rent from $800/month to 18,000 pesos/month. This means the exchange rate will affect what we pay each month. The exchange rate was 17.25 when we made our first payment. Today, the rate is 17.79. Also, as we knew would happen, our taxi/Uber costs increased. We have been having to take more taxis down into town because of the evening rains.
October, 2017 was a month for continuing to invite small groups of friends to enjoy our new home, but it also brought a few unexpected health issues for both Mike and me. Mike had a knee flare up with considerable pain. He was diagnosed with "old knees". LOL After a doctor's visit & X-Rays, he was given an injection of Cortisone. Grand total for him $184.
Two weeks later, right after my birthday, I broke out with a red rash all over my body, headaches, and severe joint pain but no fever. After me visiting the doctor, lab test for Dengue (which was negative), I was diagnosed with Zika. Total cost for me $96. We're both fine now and feel good.
I also was having a bit of tooth pain and was concerned about one of my 22 year old implants. Turns out it was not an issue with an implant, fortunately. After my regularly scheduled cleaning, it was determined that I needed to have a deep cleaning of the tooth that's infected but before they would do it, I needed to have a root canal. So after 2 visits, 2.5 hours in the chair, a dozen x-rays, medication inserted into the canal, all is good! Total cost of the root canal was $187 and antibiotics were $52.
So, weve now been in our new home for 2 months. Increases in our daily expenditures have been a $200/mo increase in our rent. However, because we are paying in pesos, the continuing strength of the US dollar against the Peso, is benefiting us. Our grocery budget has increased because we've been entertaining small groups of friends for dinner, which we had not been doing before, but we expect that to go back down. Our Uber/taxi/bus costs have only doubled from about $45/mo to $94 for this last month. All in all, we're very pleased with our decision to move to this condo.
November, 2017 was a month of celebrating the return of many friends for the winter or for their vacation. And, it was the beginning of the theater season. As a result, our Meals Out & Drinks budget increased including Thanksgiving at our wonderful Botanical Gardens! We're very pleased to see that our Bus/Taxi/Uber budget continues to be steady. Since our rent is based on the Peso, we saw a decrease in our rent this month as the US dollar strengthened. Also, since we did not entertain as much in our home, our grocery bill declined back into normal expenditure.
December, 2017 brought many celebrations in Vallarta. Pilgrimages, Posadas, Christmas & New Year's Eve. Many home party's and our wonderful Amapas Neighborhood Association 3rd annual dinner/dance at a beautiful location in the Center of Vallarta.
ANALYSIS: A comparison of year to year overall expenditures. We again, continue to live within our income, which is our goal. Our focus is on the best quality of life within that income.
Years In Puerto Vallarta:
|Rent w/util||$ 800||$ 800||$ 800||$ 800||$ 800||$ 800||$ 800||$ 800||$ 1,028||$ 1,000||$ 965||$ 985|
|Electric||$ 10||$ 8||$ 12||$ 19||$ 11||$ 20||$ 20||$ 44||$ 17||$ 30||$ 36||$ 12|
|Cell Phone||$ 22||$ 22||$ 22||$ 22||$ 22||$ 22||$ 22||$ 24||$ 24||$ 22||$ 22||$ 20|
|Groceries||$ 187||$ 182||$ 128||$ 341||$ 209||$ 65||$ 260||$ 317||$ 590||$ 386||$ 267||$ 382|
|Meals Out||$ 288||$ 490||$ 521||$ 358||$ 234||$ 255||$ 198||$ 303||$ 378||$ 380||$ 438||$ 359|
|Drinks Only||$ 112||$ 243||$ 217||$ 113||$ 95||$ 143||$ 123||$ 102||$ 56||$ 140||$ 251||$ 214|
|Entertainment||$ 178||$ 167||$ 52||$ 26||$ 80||$ 42||$ 32||$ 15||$ 13|
|Massages||$ 37||$ 25||$ 49||$ 35||$ 83||$ 31||$ 37||$ 52||$ 60|
|Bus/Taxi||$ 47||$ 45||$ 16||$ 5||$ 24||$ 33||$ 9||$ 41||$ 105||$ 94||$ 98||$ 61|
|Dental Cleaning||$ 43||$ 40|
|Incidentals||$ 48||$ 100||$ 50||$ 111||$ 89||$ 79||$ 151||$ 94||$ 131||$ 297||$ 31||$ 103|
|Medical Insurance||$ 328||$ 328||$ 328||$ 328||$ 328||$ 328||$ 328||$ 365||$ 365||$ 365||$ 365||$ 365|
|TOTAL||$ 1,879||$ 2,396||$ 2,286||$ 2,146||$ 1,890||$ 1,797||$ 2,020||$ 2,170||$ 2,767||$ 2,823||$ 2,540||$ 2,574||$ 27,288|
|TOTAL W/O RENT||$ 1,079||$ 1,596||$ 1,486||$ 1,346||$ 1,090||$ 997||$ 1,220||$ 1,370||$ 1,739||$ 1,823||$ 1,575||$ 1,589||$ 16,910|
|Clothes/Shoes/Gifts||$ 24||$ 12||$ 51||$ 65||$ 24||$ 55||$ 1,390|
|Home Improve||$ 104||$ 39||$ 255||$ 1,006||$ 701|
|Medical||$ 100||$ 139||$ 176||$ 25||$ 218||$ 32||$ 27||$ 342||$ 26|
|Trips/Vacations||$ 80||$ 429||$ 4,247||$ 200|
|TOTAL Discr.||$ 438||$ 190||$ 431||$ 156||$ 712||$ -||$ 4,429||$ 1,030||$ 728||$ 342||$ 81||$ 1,590||$ 10,127|
|TOTAL ALL||$ 2,317||$ 2,586||$ 2,717||$ 2,302||$ 2,602||$ 1,797||$ 6,449||$ 3,200||$ 3,495||$ 3,165||$ 2,882||$ 4,164||$ 37,676|
* Meals Out: Jan 13x; Feb 19x; Mar 25x; April 16x; May 6x; June 9x; July 6x; Aug 12x; Sept 14x; Oct 13x; Nov 16x; Dec 15x
* Drinks Only: Jan 10x; Feb 16x; Mar 14x; April 10x; May 6x; June 7x; July 7x; Aug 6x; Sept 6x; 10x; Nov 15x; Dec 13x
* Taxis/Bus/Uber: Sept 29x; Oct 36x; Nov 32x; Dec 29x
* Trips/Tours & General Rationale for some additional expenditures:
January: We took a whale watching/Mariettas Hidden Beach boat trip with friends on the Bruna, owned by Ada Sailing.
April: We took a photography outing with 12 other friends up to San Sebastian del Oeste in the Sierra mountains and had a fabulous day!
May: This month we house/pet sat for a friend up in Ajijic, MX in the mountains. We enjoyed a week with a car at our disposal. We definitely took advantage of it. The amount spent includes our bus fare, gas, meals & drinks out, etc.
June: A 3 day trip up to Chacala. All expenses for this trip are included in our normal monthly expenses rather than split out.
July: The expenses shown for our trip to WA includes all expenses: air, hotels, meals, drinks, groceries, car, liability insurance, gas, clothes & misc buying, traveler's insurance, & festival entrance fees.
August: Home Improvement expenses include our moving cost of $370 & items needed at the new condo.
September: Home Improvement expenses include the purchase of 2 hutches for the living room & entry, sheets since we now have a king size bed, towels, bedspread, etc. All discretionary.
December: Christmas dinner/dance, Christmas gifts for the grandchildren; and new iPads for each of us.