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We moved to Mexico from Texas and have never been happier.

- November 8, 2023

We’re saving $2,000 a month and can even afford to go to the dentist.

  • Braelyn and Spencer Stone moved from Houston, Texas, to Mérida, Mexico, in 2022.
  • The couple chose the city for its cheaper cost of living, safety, and healthcare.
  • They’ve reduced their debt by living in Mexico but miss their family and friends.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with social-media managers Braelyn, 31, and Spencer Stone, 27, about moving to Mérida, Mexico, in 2022 after becoming unable to afford life in Houston, Texas. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Spencer: In Houston, we basically moved apartment to apartment due to pricing.

Braelyn: Before leaving the city, we were in a 1,015-square-foot apartment that was about seven minutes from downtown. Our rent was $1,740.

Spencer: At the end of that lease, they raised the renewal rate by $400 a month. There was no way we could do that. We looked around Houston and saw that a lot of the apartments that we would be comfortable living in were just completely financially out of reach.

At the time, we were also going through some personal things. We decided we really wanted to live and experience a different lifestyle.

My wife had the idea of moving to Mexico.

Braelyn: I no longer felt safe in Houston. Our car had been vandalized three times, credit cards skimmed, and expensive cameras stolen.

The increase of shootings was also overwhelming for us. The fear of being in the wrong place at the wrong time was just getting worse.

Our crippling debt furthered our decision to move to Mexico

Braelyn: Living in Houston was just becoming financially ridiculous. The city is huge, so it feels like your gas gets stolen just getting around. Groceries also started going up.

Spencer: Healthcare was also another huge reason. We don’t have medical insurance.

Braelyn: Spencer and I are both contract workers. So trying to pay for insurance on top of everything else in Houston wasn’t really doable.

Braelyn: When combined, we also owe over $200,000 in debt. Student loans are by far the largest portion of our debt.

I went to Baylor for one year and realized I was spending a lot of money on a degree I wasn’t happy about. So I transferred to the University of Houston and finished my degree with a BS in digital media. I have $68,000 in student loan debt, and it’s rising due to interest. Spencer’s education has been on and off since 2014. He estimates he will have over $100,000 in student loan debt.

Without student loans, we’d be looking at about $17,000 in credit card debt. COVID hit us hard and we both struggled for work. We also got married in October 2022. Our wedding was close to $10,000. We paid half while our family chipped in for the rest.

Braelyn: Mexico just made more sense financially than moving anywhere else locally.

We found a better home at a lower price in Mexico

Braelyn: We arrived in Mexico in November 2022. We are renting a luxury condo from a landlord. It has three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. Our building is gated and has a private park.

Our rent comes out to about $1,230 a month.

We call Mérida paradise. Even the locals that live here call it “tranquillo” which means peaceful. That’s one of the reasons we moved to the city — it feels so safe and you feel at peace.

The crime rate in Mérida is crazy low. I feel safe walking around at night here. Gun laws are stricter, and you don’t hear of people shooting up schools or stores.

Spencer: I have yet to have a negative interaction with anyone in the city. Everyone’s so polite. They’re very accommodating and very friendly.

We’re saving more money and improving our finances

Spencer: Life is definitely a lot cheaper in Mexico, and we have found some alternative ways to save money.

We take a bus to the market and buy local produce and meat. It typically comes out to about 1,000 pesos, which translates to about 60 bucks in the US. That would be comparable to a $130 grocery store run in the States.

Braelyn: Living in Mexico has made it tremendously easier for us to pay down debt. I would say we are saving a little over $2,000 each month — depending on how much we want to splurge.

So far, we’ve paid off about $5,000 of our debt. We’ve only really started focusing on it in the past six months.

Spencer: If we were still in the States, we probably would not have made as big a dent in our debt.

Braelyn: This year, we were also finally able to go to the hospital and get checkups. We’re addressing stuff that we’ve been needing to get checked, but just never had the finances to do in the US.

Spencer: I was also able to go to the dentist for a checkup and it was only $20.

We love Mexico but miss our family and friends

Braelyn: The biggest con about living in Mexico is not having your community — I really miss my friends and family. That’s probably the hardest thing for me because I’m an extrovert. I’m literally on Bumble for friends because I need to meet more people.

Spencer: There’s always an adjustment or growing pain whenever you move to new places, but now it feels like normal life.

Braelyn: We’re trying to convert everyone we know to move to Mexico. We are thinking of living in Mérida for a few years, but are also open to other cities in the country.

Spencer: We’ve also been taking our mental and physical health into account. We go on plenty of walks, and I also got back into playing sports. Overall, we feel more present here, whereas in Houston we never got to slow down and relax.

Source: Business Insider

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