Cost of Living in Mexico: A Comprehensive Guide for Students

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Dreaming of studying in Mexico? The sunshine and culture are a big draw, but what about affordability? Mexico offers an attractive destination for international students like you due to its affordable education and lower cost of living compared to many Western countries like the USA and Canada. 

This comprehensive guide on the cost of living in Mexico will introduce you to overall living expenses that you will incur besides just the tuition fees – costs that go towards   accommodation, food, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment

On average, the cumulative monthly cost of living in Mexico for an Indian student is around INR 60k (MXN 13k), excluding the university tuition fees. So, it is fair to say that you will need a total minimum bank balance of around INR 27L (MXN 58k) at least to last your entire study stay in Mexico.

To cover most of these living expenses in Mexico, you can enrol in scholarship programs that cover tuition fees and living expenses up to a maximum of INR 16L (MXN 360k).

Ready to understand the breakdown of the cost of living in Mexico? Then, continue reading this guide. It will also introduce you to some of the best budgeting tips that will further lower your living expenses as an Indian student in Mexico. 

Key Highlights

Here is a table outlining all the important aspects that will be discussed at length later on in this comprehensive blog post on the cost of living in Mexico for International students.

TopicDescription
Accepted Payment Methods Used In MexicoCash
Credit & Debit Cards
Mobile Payments
Bank Transfers
Average Cost of Living in Mexico that Goes Towards AccommodationINR 19k (MXN 4k) to INR 41k (MXN 9k) per month
Top 3 Mexican UniversitiesNational Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)
Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM)
Universidad Iberoamericana (IBERO)
Average Annual Tuition Fees at Top Universities in  MexicoPublic universities – INR 32k (MXN 7k) to INR 67k (MXN 15k)
Private universities – INR 1.3L (MXN 29k) to INR 13L (MXN 290k)
Scholarships that can Reduce the Cost of Living in MexicoMexican Government Scholarships (AMEXCID)CONACYT Scholarships
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) Scholarships
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Currency Value & Payment Methods in Mexico

Cost of Living in Mexico: A Comprehensive Guide for Students

The Mexican Peso (MXN) is Mexico’s official currency. As of June 2024, 1 Mexican Peso (MXN) is equivalent to INR 4.6. 

Since Mexico is a popular destination among international students and tourists, the country has introduced various payment methods for convenience, both traditional and digital.

Here are some payment methods currently being used in Mexico:

  • Cash: Widely accepted for small transactions, especially in local markets, small shops, and public transportation.
  • Credit and Debit Cards: Major credit and debit cards, such as Visa, American Express, and MasterCard,  are widely accepted in cities, larger towns, and tourist areas. Make sure your card has the international transactions option enabled.
  • Mobile Payments: Increasingly popular apps like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, as well as local services like Mercado Pago, are available.
  • Bank Transfers: These are commonly used to pay larger expenses like tuition fees or rent. Ensure your bank supports international transfers.

Cost of Living in Mexico that Goes Towards Accommodation 

Accommodation costs in Mexico are relatively affordable compared to many Western countries, making it an attractive destination for international students like you. 

For instance, the cost of living in Mexico is around 96% less expensive than living in the USA, an astonishing 108% cheaper than in Canada, and interestingly 52% more affordable than in the UK. 

You must also remember that the cost of living varies significantly depending on the city and type of housing you choose.

In major cities like Mexico City, Monterrey, or Guadalajara, the rent of a 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre usually costs around INR 41k (MXN 9k) per month.

Shared accommodations or student dorm rooms offer even more budget-friendly options, typically costing INR 19k (MXN 4k) per month.

Here’s a table highlighting the cost of living that goes towards accommodation in some notable Mexican cities.

CityCost of 1 Room Apartment  Per Month
Mexico CityINR 46k MXN 10k 
GuadalajaraINR 28k MXN 6k 
CancunINR 41k MXN 9k 
Los CabosINR 83k (MXN 18k)
CuernavacaINR 42k (MXN 9k)

Also Read: IELTS Academic Reading: Format, Band Score & Tips

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Cost of Living in Mexico: A Comprehensive Guide for Students

Cost of Studying at Top Universities In Mexico 

Studying at top universities in Mexico is an excellent option for international students like you who are seeking affordable quality education. 

It is worth noting that the average tuition fee varies greatly depending on the institution and program you choose.

  • Public universities generally offer lower tuition rates for master’s programs from INR 3L (MXN 72k) per year onwards.
  • Private universities typically charge higher tuition fees for master’s programs, averaging INR 12L (MXN 270k) per year. 

Prestigious institutions like the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM) provide excellent academic programs at reasonably affordable fees, making Mexico an attractive destination for higher education.

Top 5 Mexican Universities & Their Tuition Fees

Mexico is home to several prestigious universities known for their high academic standards, research contributions, and diverse academic programs. 

Studying at top Mexican universities, such as the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) or the Universidad Iberoamericana (IBERO), will cost you around INR 82k (MXN 18k) to INR 4.4L (MXN 90k) in tuition fees, every year.

Here are some of the top Mexican universities.

University QS World Rankings 2025 
National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)94
Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM)185
Universidad Iberoamericana (IBERO)801 – 850
Autonomous University of Nuevo León (UANL)1001 – 1200
University of Guadalajara (UDG)1201 – 1400

1. National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

UNAM is the largest and one of the most renowned universities in Latin America. It offers you a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs across various fields.

The university is located in Mexico City, and the tuition fees range between INR 82k (MXN 18k) to INR 2L (MXN 45k) per year.

2. Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM)

Known for its strong emphasis on technology and business education, ITESM is a leading private university in Mexico. It has multiple campuses, with the main campus in Monterrey.

The tuition fees at this university is higher than the fees at public universities. It averages between INR 69k (MXN 15k) and INR 74k (MXN 16k) per year.

3. Universidad Iberoamericana (IBERO)

This is a prestigious private university known for its humanities, social sciences, and business programs. It is located in Mexico City.

You will have to shell out around INR 4.4L (MXN 90k) per year on tuition fees at IBERO.

4. Autonomous University of Nuevo León (UANL)

UANL is one of the largest public universities in Mexico. It offers you a variety of programs and has a strong research focus. The university is located in Monterrey.

From high school students to post-graduates, the tuition fee ranges from INR 18k (MXN 4k) to INR 36k (MXN 8k) per year.

5. University of Guadalajara (UDG)

UDG is a major public university in Mexico known for its extensive range of programs and significant cultural contributions. It is located in Guadalajara. The tuition fee at this university starts at INR 83k (MXN 18k) per year.

Cost of Living in Mexico that Goes Towards Utility, Transportation, Insurance & Food

Did you know? The cost of groceries in Mexico is approximately 35% cheaper than in the USA, 30 – 50% cheaper than in Canada, and around 23% cheaper than in the UK.

Public transportation, on the other hand, is also inexpensive, around INR 3k (MXN 720) per month. Healthcare costs are relatively low, too, around INR 4.6k (MXN 1k) per month for 1 person. This affordability will allow you to maintain a comfortable lifestyle while focusing on your studies.

Take a look at this table to learn about the various types of expenses you will incur while living as a student in any city in Mexico.

Types of ExpensesApproximate Monthly Cost
MiscellaneousElectricity, Water, Garbage – INR 4k (MXN 850) 
Mobile Calls and Data – INR 2k (MXN 430)
WiFi Internet – INR 2k (MXN 430)
FoodGroceries & Restaurants – INR 18k (MXN 4k)
TransportationPrivate Vehicle (Maintenance & Fuel) – INR 14k (MXN 3k) 
Public Transport – INR 3k (MXN 720) 
EntertainmentINR 14k (MXN 3k)
InsuranceINR 4.6k (MXN 1k)

Also Read: IELTS Writing Practice Test

Cost of Living in Mexico vs the USA, UK, and Canada

Mexico offers an exciting alternative to popular study destinations like the USA, UK, and Canada. But how do the costs of living compare? 

For context, the USA is 73% more expensive than Mexico without including rent and 98% more costly with rent included. A cold drink bottle in the UK is 43% cheaper than one found in Mexico, and indulging in a meal at an inexpensive restaurant in Canada is 89% more expensive than having one in Mexico.

To answer this question, this section of the post will break down the estimated living expenses incurred by students in all four countries, covering common costs such as rent, food, transportation, and more. By the end, you’ll have a great idea to decide which location best suits your budget and dreams of studying abroad!

Take a look at this table and compare all the key expenses that you must incur while studying in Mexico.

CountryTotal Cost of Living (Without Tuition Fees)
USAINR 20L (USD 25k) Per Year
UK (London)INR 2L (GBP 2k) Per Month
CanadaINR 85k (CAD 1.4k) Per Month
MexicoINR 42k (MXN 10k) Per Month

Top 6 Budgeting Tips to Manage Your Cost of Living in Mexico

Managing your finances effectively is crucial for a comfortable and stress-free study experience in Mexico. Conquering college in Mexico sounds amazing, but managing your money can feel like a whole other adventure. 

Fear not, because this section of the article will equip you with budgeting tips to make sure your pesos don’t stretch south of the border. We’ll cover some smart spending strategies for accommodation, food, transportation, and more so you can focus on mastering your studies and soaking up the Mexican experience without needing to break the bank.

Cost of Living in Mexico: A Comprehensive Guide for Students

Here are some budgeting tips to help you manage your monthly expenses without any hassle:

1. Create a Budget Plan

  • Start by listing all sources of income (scholarships, part-time jobs, allowances) and anticipated expenses.
  • Set aside specific amounts for different expenses such as rent, food, transportation, entertainment, and emergencies.

2. Accommodation

  • Opt for shared accommodations or student residences, which are typically cheaper than renting an entire apartment. The monthly cost is typically around INR 19k (MXN 4k).
  • Living closer to campus can save you a lot of money on transportation.

3. Food and Groceries

  • Prepare meals at home instead of eating out frequently. This can significantly reduce your food expenses.
  • Buy groceries in bulk from local markets or discount stores to save money.
  • Shop at local supermarkets, such as Puerta Roma Norte in Mexico City and Super Aki Xel-Ha in Cancun that sell cheaper groceries 

4. Transportation

  • Utilise buses, metro, and other forms of public transportation, which are inexpensive and efficient.
  • Take advantage of student discounts on transportation passes.

5. Utilities and Internet

  • If you live with roommates, share the costs of utilities and internet.
  • Be mindful of energy consumption to keep utility bills low.
  • Check for cheaper internet plans from popular Mexican internet providers such as EarthLink 5G and HughesNet.

6. Books and Supplies

  • Purchase second-hand textbooks or borrow them from the library whenever possible.
  • Use free or low-cost digital resources, such as your smartphone or internet cafes, and online materials, such as E-books and downloadable PDF files, for study.

Scholarships to Reduce Your Cost of Living in Mexico

Various scholarships, such as the Organisation of American States (OAS) Academic Scholarships, are available for you to enrol in Mexico. These scholarships will help you significantly reduce the cost of education. By using these financial aids, you can focus on your academic and personal growth without worrying about the burden of high expenses.

The scholarships cover tuition fees, health insurance, research funding, living expenses, and travel expenses, among other aspects. They also provide monthly payments for your convenience.

The average monthly scholarship amount you can expect to receive is MXN 13k (INR 60k), whereas, for the CONACYT Scholarships, you can expect a total scholarship coverage amount of MXN 360k (INR 16L) for the total duration of the course.

Here are some notable scholarships available in Mexico for you.

ScholarshipsOffered ByCoverage Amount
Mexican Government Scholarships (AMEXCID)Mexican Agency for International Development CooperationMXN 13k (INR 60k) Per Month
CONACYT ScholarshipsNational Council of Science and TechnologyMXN 360k (INR 16L) Total
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) ScholarshipsUNAMMXN 40k (INR 2L) Per Year
Organisation of American States (OAS) Academic ScholarshipsOrganisation of American States & Various Mexican UniversitiesMXN 180k (INR 8L) Per Year

Also Read: IELTS Speaking Practice Test with Sample Answers

Eligibility Criteria For Scholarships In Mexico

Meeting the criteria for scholarships in Mexico involves demonstrating academic excellence, language proficiency, financial need, and securing admission to a recognised institution. By fulfilling these requirements, you can enhance your chances of obtaining scholarships to support your studies in Mexico.

As an International student, you generally need to meet the following criteria to be eligible for scholarships in Mexico.

1. Academic Excellence

  • Achieve a high GPA or equivalent academic performance in previous studies. The minimum GPA required to get admission to a university like the College of Mexico is 2.
  • Demonstrate outstanding academic achievements, often supported by transcripts and 2 letters of recommendation.

2. Language Proficiency

  • English Proficiency: For programs taught in English, provide proof of English language proficiency by enrolling in tests like TOEFL or IELTS.

Here is a table highlighting the minimum language proficiency score you must attain to get a scholarship in Mexico.

TestsScore Required
IELTSA band score of 5.5+
TOEFL iBT90
  • Spanish Proficiency: For programs taught in Spanish, provide proof of Spanish language proficiency, such as DELE or equivalent. The minimum DELE required is B2.

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3. Admission to a Mexican Institution

  • Obtain an acceptance letter from an accredited Mexican university or educational institution.
  • Ensure confirmed enrolment in the intended program of study.

4. Financial Need

  • Demonstrate financial need through financial statements or other relevant documentation. The minimum overall bank balance you will require to support yourself while studying in Mexico is around INR 27L (MXN 58k).
  • Provide a compelling personal statement explaining the financial situation and the need for scholarship support.

5. Field of Study

  • Some scholarships may be available for selected subjects only, such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), or social sciences.
  • For research-based programs, submit a detailed research proposal or study plan.

6. Nationality

Ensure eligibility based on nationality, as some scholarships are limited to students from specific countries or regions. For the scholarships mentioned in this post, you must be an international student (including those of you from India) studying in Mexico.

7. Application Documents

  • Fill out the scholarship application form accurately.
  • Submit all required supporting documents, such as academic transcripts, recommendation letters, proof of language proficiency, and financial statements.

8. Interview

Some scholarships may require an interview as part of the selection process to assess your suitability and commitment.

Conclusion

So, there you have it! This comprehensive guide has unpacked the breakdown of the cost of living in Mexico for an Indian student l. From budgeting for rent and groceries to transportation and entertainment expenses, you’re now well-equipped to make informed financial decisions throughout your studies. 

The average cost of living in Mexico for you will be around INR 27L (MXN 60k), out of which –

  • INR 19k (MXN 4k) per month will be allocated towards accommodation
  • INR 32k (MXN 7k) to INR 67k (MXN 15k) per year towards education if studying at a public university.

The cost of living in Mexico is 95% cheaper compared to many other study destinations like the USA and Canada. With smart budgeting and a little local know-how, you can experience all that Mexico has to offer while keeping your finances in check.

If you ever feel the living expenses in Mexico are getting a little out of hand, rest assured that you can enrol in various scholarship programs offering comprehensive coverage amounts in the region of MXN 13k (INR 60k) to MXN 360k (INR 16L).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Q. What are some of the top Mexican universities for Indian students?

    A. Some of the top Mexican universities for Indian students are –
    National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)
    Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM)
    Universidad Iberoamericana (IBERO)
    Autonomous University of Nuevo León (UANL)
    University of Guadalajara (UDG)

  • Q. What are the eligibility criteria that you must comply with to get a scholarship in Mexico?

    A. The key scholarship eligibility criteria for you in Mexico are –
    Get a minimum GPA of 2
    Accumulate IELTS and TOEFL scores of 5.5 bands and 90, respectively.
    Admission to a Mexican Institution
    Have a bank balance of INR 27L (MXN 58k) to support yourself while studying in Mexico.
    Submit required documents like academic transcripts, recommendation letters, proof of language proficiency, and financial statements.

  • Q. What are some top scholarships available for Indian students like you who are looking to study in Mexico?

    Some of the popular scholarship programs Indian students can enrol in Mexico are – 
    Mexican Government Scholarships (AMEXCID)
    CONACYT Scholarships
    Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) Scholarships
    Organisation of American States (OAS) Academic Scholarships

  • Q. What are the various types of payment methods accepted in Mexico?

    A. The payment methods accepted in Mexico are as follows – 
    Cash
    Credit and Debit Cards
    Mobile Payments
    Bank Transfers

  • Q. Can You Live in Mexico for USD 1000 a Month?

    A. Yes, it is possible to live in Mexico for USD 1000 a month, especially in smaller cities or rural areas. This budget can comfortably cover basic expenses such as rent, food, transportation, and utilities; however, lifestyle choices and location will significantly impact costs. Larger cities like Mexico City are more expensive, so careful budgeting is essential to live in such cities on such a modest budget.

  • Q. How much money do you need to live comfortably in Mexico?

    A. Being a student studying in Mexico, you must have the necessary bank balance to support your lifestyle. On average, an overall bank balance of INR 27L (MXN 58k) is quite sufficient to last the entire duration of your course. On the other hand, if you are with a family, then the cost of living in Mexico will rise considerably, and you will need a minimum bank balance of INR 2L (MXN 39k) per month to support your stay in Mexico.

  • Q. Which is Cheaper, India or Mexico?

    A. The cost of living in India is generally cheaper than the cost of living in Mexico in terms of daily expenses. For reference, Mexico is 68% more expensive than India. Expenses such as accommodation, food, transportation, and utilities are typically lower in India compared to Mexico. However, the difference in cost can vary a lot depending on the specific city or region within each country that you eventually choose. 

  • Q. Can I Move to Mexico from India to Study?

    A. Yes, you can move to Mexico from India to study, but you’ll first need to secure admission to a recognised Mexican educational institution and obtain a student visa. Moreover, you will also have to ensure that you meet the visa requirements, including providing proof of financial resources, health insurance, and academic credentials. Once approved, you can pursue your studies in Mexico without any issues.

  • Q. Why is Mexico so cheap for Indian students?

    A. The cost of living in Mexico is affordable for Indian students due to its weaker economic status compared to many Western countries like the USA and Canada. Expenses such as housing, food, transportation, and healthcare are relatively inexpensive. Additionally, affordable tuition fees at public universities and the availability of scholarships further reduce the financial burden, making Mexico an attractive destination for Indian students.

  • Q. How long can Indians stay in Mexico?

    A. Indian students and citizens can stay in Mexico for up to 180 days if they are on a tourist visa. For longer stays, such as study or work, they must apply for and obtain the correct visa type, like the student study visa or a temporary resident visa, that will enable them to stay in Mexico for the entire duration of their academic program or course. 

  • Q. What are some budgeting tips that you can utilise to handle the cost of living in Mexico as an Indian student?

    A. Some excellent budgeting tips that you can implement in your daily routines to help you handle the various costs are –
    Create a Budget Plan
    Opt for shared accommodations or student residences
    Prepare meals at home instead of eating out frequently
    Utilise buses, metro, and other forms of public transportation
    Purchase pre-owned books and study materials instead of buying brand new ones

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