Monday, December 19, 2016

The eBook, "Retirement Before the Age of 59", is Now Available on Amazon Worldwide!

eBook: Retirement Before the Age of 59:
Healthy Living in Mexico #2
     My new eBook is now available on Amazon. Click this link to take a Look Inside and purchase it:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NCMWMJL

It is also available to borrow for free on Kindle Unlimited. 

Here is a brief description of the book. I hope you enjoy it!

     Terry and Jon found a way to escape the rat race, retire early, and to make their money go farther. This story will inspire others to quit their jobs, retire earlier rather than later, and begin living a healthier life, while having more fun and doing what they enjoy. Why wait?
     Making the decision to retire early was the easy part. Deciding where to retire took more travel in their motorhome and lots of thought. The process of selling and giving away their excess possessions so they could begin living a simplified, healthier life was a journey in itself.
     Terry and Jon’s adventures while traveling in their motorhome are enough to entice one to go RV shopping immediately. Their decision to move to México may seem radical to some, but others may soon consider doing the same thing! The story of where they settled in México, and why, will make you wonder how soon you, too, will begin planning a similar escape from the chaos in the world to find your own piece of paradise in the sun.

5-Star Reviews are coming in! Here is one from Andrew Hallam, author, posted on Amazon.ca:
A few years ago, I read International Living's Guide To Retiring Overseas On A Budget. I was fascinated. Retirees in low cost locales could live well on a fraction of what the typical stateside American does. Terry Turrell's book breathes life into this decision. She described herself as overworked, stressed, under-exercised and living on a financial precipice in Oregon, despite the fact that she and her husband worked hard and invested diligently in their IRAs and their real estate investments. The financial crisis in 2008/2009 nearly tossed them over the edge. They sold properties at a loss as their equity values plunged. Their dream of early retirement was slipping away....until they decided to think outside the box.

This story is personal. It shows how one couple tossed conventional wisdom to the wind. They de-cluttered their lives, sold what they didn't need and bought a RV to travel the U.S. and Mexico. Their personal account of Mexico is fascinating. Eventually they decided to retire there. Their account of why they chose Sayulita over a series of other popular retirement locations is both personal and fascinating. They retired early and built a far healthier lifestyle. I kept thinking of the great book, Younger Next Year. Well...here's a couple that I think epitomises that message. Terry's story is an inspiration that's also filled with wisdom.
     I invite you to SIGN UP for my "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico Newsletter", published monthly with stories about our latest adventures, my recent blog articles, and news about my books.
Terry L Turrell, Author
View my Amazon.com Author Page at: https://www.amazon.com/Terry-L-Turrell/e/B00R8DRG18

If you enjoy my book, I would greatly appreciate it if you leave a brief review on Amazon. Thank you for reading my books and blogs.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

After Years of Fun Zumba Classes, I'm Going to Be a Zumba Instructor!

Now that I'm Retired, I Have Time to Teach Zumba!
I have written my "Zumba Mexico!" blog since January 2014, almost three years! I can hardly believe it! That's when I fell in love with Zumba as "Exercise in Disguise" and came up with the wild idea of traveling around Mexico in our motorhome, attending Zumba classes in each town we visited. My husband, Jon, being the good sport that he is, agreed to this crazy, fun adventure. 
We met so many great people throughout Mexico, including Zumba Instructors and other Zumba students, as enthusiastic about Zumba as I am. I learned many fun Latin dances, even managing to get my hips to move. That's a real challenge for a gringa!

I continued to attend Zumba classes at the YMCA when we were back in the United States and even helped start a Zumba Gold class at Mountain Meadows Retirement Community in Ashland, Oregon. It was so great to get the seniors moving in a new way and having fun. I knew Zumba would always be my preferred fitness class. But I never thought I would become a Zumba Instructor. I was inspired and motivated by some of my Instructors who are older than I am and still teaching Zumba. I realize now that you are never too old to do Zumba, and never to old to teach it! Now that I'm retired, I have time to teach and attend other Instructor's Zumba classes, as well!
I am Proud to Have Earned by License at the Age of 60!
In September I decided to take the Zumba Instructor Basic Training and received by Official Zumba Instructor License! The class was grueling, and that was just the beginning. I have been working hard to perfect my music playlist and choreography. Next week I will begin teaching Zumba in Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico!

You will now find my class schedule and information on www.Zumba.com when you search for Instructors or classes in Sayulita.  My Zumba website is www.TerryTurrell.Zumba.com. I am excited to be part of the ZIN Network, working hard to improve my Zumba knowledge and skill. 

Don't forget to check out my eEook on Amazon.com. It describes our travels around Mexico and most of the Zumba classes we attended. You can take a look at my eBook "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" by clicking HERE 
"Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" eBook

Sunday, October 23, 2016

“WINTER BLUES”, SAD, CLINICAL DEPRESSION, BI-POLAR? Another Reason to Retire Early...

...and Go Find Sunshine!

Sunshine at Mar Rosa RV Park, Mazatlan

EDITED JANUARY 23, 2017:
     It has been over two years now since we sold everything in the U.S. and moved to the casita we purchased in México. We are convinced that we made the right decision by moving south of the border. Our new lifestyle and the change of climate has greatly improved our mental health, as well as our physical health. The most significant change is that this is the first winter that Jon has not experienced depression, an annual nearly debilitating illness he suffers from. It is late enough in January that I am confident his improved mental outlook will continue through the winter. November is the month that he would typically start to become melancholy, then slowly become entangled with negative feelings of hopelessness, lethargy, and be stuck on the couch unable to summon the energy to accomplish anything but escape into western novels.
     Living in México has been a positive change for us in so many ways. This has been the first winter in almost twenty years that my husband has remained his “normal” self, not sinking into depression. He is interested in building things, like recycle bins for our barrio’s new recycle program. Without me prodding him, he is able to repair leaky faucets, install mosquito screens, hang the Christmas lights, prune old, brown fronds from our palm trees, rake the leaves in the yard, repair our golf cart, and work on other projects that he has an interest in. That’s a significant change in his life, which means we are both happier.
Jon Building Recycle Bins for Our Neighborhood

     Leaving behind the dreary winter weather and the stressful life in the United States has been a major reason for this improved mental outlook. We know we made the right decision by moving to México.
     Over two years ago, I wrote about “WINTER BLUES”, SAD, CLINICAL DEPRESSION, BI-POLAR, and our early thoughts of moving to somewhere south of the border. Below is the original article. As you will see, we’ve come a long way from those sad winters. I believe others with mental health issues can benefit by moving out of the hectic rat race and to a warmer, sunnier climate. 

      “Winter Blues”, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is “a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in winter”, according to Wikipedia. SAD is an accepted medical diagnosis, with symptoms of depression and anxiety that recur annually, usually during the short, dark winter months. The prevalence increases in more northerly areas with Florida having an incidence of about 2% and Alaska having an incidence of about 10%. A major contributing factor is low sunlight exposure due to dark winter skies, shortened daylight hours, and too much time spent indoors. My conclusion is that living south of Florida may likely decrease the incidence of SAD to near zero.
Preparing to Leave Those Gray Days of Oregon

     When the gray skies and cold, rainy weather in Oregon start in October each year, I feel the stirrings of dread. As the dark days continue day after day into November, I begin feeling down. The number of hours of daylight decreases bit by bit each day, until the Winter Solstice in December marks the shortest day of the year, with only nine hours of daylight in Oregon, which contributes to my mental doldrums. I crave sunshine, warmth, and more daylight hours. I have found, as have others, that spending time in sunny, warm climates with longer daylight hours helps battle the lethargy and mild depression that can occur during the winter.
A Recent Healthy Dose of Sunshine in Tranquil Lo de Marcos, Mexico
     The December days are significantly longer south of the border than in the United States, with over 11 hours from sunrise to sunset in much of México. In contrast, Oregon has about 9 hours of daylight from sunrise to sunset in December. Farther north than Oregon, the winter days get even shorter. In Calgary, Alberta there are 8 hours of daylight in December. In Fairbanks, Alaska, there are only 4 hours of daylight in December, with the sun setting before 3:00 in the afternoon! No wonder people get the winter blues! The longer hours of daylight and the blue skies in México lift our spirits. We long to escape the dreary gray skies of Oregon and the short winter days with fewer hours of daylight!
     Jon also experiences depression during the winter months, a more severe form that sometimes begins in early November and lasts into May. For six months of every year, beginning in the year 1999, he has battled the depression curse. By utilizing all of the medical recommendations, including sufficient Vitamin D levels from sunshine providing ultraviolet light through the skin and by taking Vitamin D supplements, increased fish in the diet and higher doses of fish oil supplements (9600 mg per day of fish oil), and increased physical activity, he is usually able to decrease the length and severity of his recurring depression. Increased full-spectrum light exposure has been shown to improve the symptoms of depression for many people. Jon used a special full-spectrum lightbox at this office desk for years as part of his treatment plan. But, we began to think, why not go where the sun shines most of the year, spend more time outdoors, and get the sunlight naturally? Retiring in México began to sound better all the time.
A Recent Dose of Sunshine at the Sayulita Trailer Park, Mexico
     This was one of the main reasons that Jon and I first began traveling in our motorhome to México each winter. We started with a three-week trip to San Felipe in Baja, California just to get a feel for crossing the Mexican border. Each winter we spent a week more in México, exploring more of Baja, and then discovered we preferred mainland México. The year we spent six weeks in México, we discovered that Mazatlán was a wonderful place to be in the winter, the sunshine and warmth giving us a real mental lift. The next winter we spent three healthy months in México and began to think about how we could live there during the six winter months each year. Once we started spending six months each year in México, we didn’t want to go back to the U.S.
     What started out as our treatment plan for the “Winter Blues” turned into thoughts of retiring early. My retirement before the age of 59 would allow us to move to México and become residents there. We could stay as long as we wanted, soaking up the ultraviolet rays and enjoying the longer days of sunshine year around, along with living a much less stressful life, which really helps our mental health!


     I invite you to SIGN UP for my "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico Newsletter", published monthly with stories about our latest adventures, my recent blog articles, and news about my books.

     To read more about our move to Mexico, take a look at my eBook "Retirement Before the Age of 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2". Available on Amazon worldwide, FREE with Kindle Unlimited,
RETIREMENT Before the Age of 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2

     Now, all 3 books in the "Healthy Living in Mexico" series are available on Amazon.com for $11.97 or FREE with Kindle Unlimited.


    To those of you who have already read my books, I thank you and hope you have enjoyed them. If you did, please take a moment to leave a review on Amazon so others may find my books, also. 
Terry L Turrell, Author

Saturday, September 17, 2016

7 REASONS TO RETIRE EARLY, EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY

1. Do You Ever Have Enough Money to Retire?

Will We Ever have Enough Money to Retire? 
     No, I don’t believe most people ever really have enough money. I have Googled “How much money do I need to retire?” and find all kinds of formulas for calculating the amount of money a person should have saved in a combination of IRA accounts, 401(k) accounts, bank accounts, and other assets, factoring in the amount of Social Security and other income you will have, to be self-supporting in the lifestyle you have become accustomed until you die. Every time I worked one of these calculations in the past few years, the dollar figure was always a scary, high amount that seemed unreachable.
     When I was 58 years old, I decided a better approach was to look at the amount of money I had saved and adjust my lifestyle downward to stretch my funds. Living simply, my savings would last until I could begin drawing from my IRA at age 59 ½ without penalty. Then I could begin drawing on my Social Security at age 62. Simplifying life and feeling okay with a lower standard of living in order to make it on less money was well worth it. I was able to retire from pharmacy before the age of 59! I am thankful that I realized I would never have enough money, according to the retirement formulas, and decided to find a way to retire early with the money I had at the age of 58.

2. Get out of the rat race before resentment and anger become irreversible! 

Escaping the Rat Race

     The “Rat Race”, according to Dictionary.com is “an exhausting, unremitting, and usually competitive activity or routine, especially a pressured urban working life spent trying to get ahead with little time left for leisure, contemplation, etc.” Sound familiar? That describes my career exactly. I began to resent my job each morning I had to go to work.
     The last ten years of the thirty-five years I worked as a pharmacist had left me bitter about the current state of retail pharmacy practice: daily dealings with mean, rude customers, playing “the cop” with drug abusers fishing for more narcotic pain pills, and trying to satisfy corporate America’s demands for ever more productivity. Gone were the days of feeling appreciated by patients, doctors, and nurses for my knowledge and skills. I was ready to escape the madness, and I’m glad I did!     

     I was able to quit the practice of pharmacy while I still felt proud of my strong work ethic and the years I had served in health care, teaching people about proper use and potential side effects of their medications. I know in my heart that I have helped thousands of people with their health and wellness over the years, answered many questions about how medication and nutritional supplements can benefit their health, and I know that thousands of people have appreciated my help over the year. Then, about fifteen years ago, I began to see distressing changes in the people I served and in drug use and abuse. I was saddened by changes in the customers, with their lack of manners as they complained, even yelled at me or other associates at times about how long it took to get their prescription filled rather than thanking me for the helpful information I gave them during their counseling session with me. When monitoring narcotic pain pill use and abuse became the major focus of my day as a pharmacist, when customer rudeness left me wanting to wear a button that said “Mean People Suck!”, when the corporations pushed for the production of more prescriptions per pharmacist per day, without adequate regard to accuracy and quality of information relayed to the patient, I knew it was time to leave this profession. What a relief it was to quit my pharmacy career and begin my next phase of self-employment: writing books and blogs to help people discover healthy living in Mexico! And, maybe I would even have time to get my Zumba® instructor certification and begin teaching Zumba® classes! I am thankful that I quit my career as a pharmacist, got out of the rat race, and began doing work I enjoy, within my own time-frame!


3. No more rushing around and hurrying through the day. Then, incorporate a "siesta". 
A Siesta, Mexican-style, is a Mid-Day Rest

     Pre-retirement work routine: I started my day as a retail pharmacist for a small chain of stores with a bang, jumping out of bed at the sound of my annoying alarm ringtone, hopping into the shower still half asleep, guzzling my high-octane coffee while throwing together a sandwich, apple slices, and a diet Coke for lunch that day, and then gulping my breakfast of granola, yogurt, and banana. A quick brush of my teeth before swallowing a handful of vitamins and nutritional supplements to help my body fight off the bacteria, viruses, and spittle that would be coughed, sneezed, and spewed on me during the course of my day at the pharmacy. Hurriedly, I would grab my pharmacist smock, purse, lunch, water bottle, and fly out the door to unplug my electric hybrid Prius from its charger. After silently backing the battery-powered car out of the driveway, I would push it into gasoline-burning mode in a rush to make it to the pharmacy in time to punch the clock exactly at my scheduled shift start time, not one minute before or after. (Whew, my blood pressure just went up 20 points while reliving that in my mind!) Then the pharmacy phone started ringing and the pace increased. I had come to dread the hurry, hurry, hurry of my workdays.
     The pace of my life slowed down significantly after I retired and we moved to Mexico. I feel healthier because of it. What a wonderful feeling to wake in the morning when my body is rested, open my office door to the garden and settle at my desk to drink my caffeine-free coffee at a leisurely pace while catching up on emails and writing a page in my book. I would often fix a fruit smoothie to enjoy while Jon and I sat in our colorful flower garden, sipping the mixture of fresh tropical fruits, yogurt, and pineapple juice while listening to the birds sing. We would discuss how we planned to get our exercise that day, whether we would reach our 10,000 steps by attending a Zumba class, doing yoga, hiking the length of the beach, walking to town to have fish tacos for lunch and shop for groceries, or a combination of these healthy activities. Mornings became a time to look forward to.
     One lesson we were slow to learn during our retirement in Mexico was respecting and utilizing the tradition of siesta. During the first few months, we inevitably finished lunch and decided about 2:00 in the afternoon to run errands such as taking two loads of laundry to the lavandería or driving the golf cart to the welder to have a surfboard rack installed. Often, we would interrupt someone’s siesta or find the business closed from 2:00PM to 4:00PM, the traditional time when Mexicans have their main meal of the day and then rest. Once we fell into the pattern of eating lunch at 2:00PM like the Mexicans do, and then reading, gardening, resting on the porch swing, or doing other relaxing activities until 4:00PM, we understood the health benefit of siesta. We began planning our errands in town for 4:00PM or later. We often found that boogie-boarding afterward was a refreshing way to end our calm but eventful afternoon, and then we were ready to shower and dress in preparation for a walk to town for dinner. I am very thankful for this healthy, calm life change, including incorporating a siesta into the day!

4. Do what you want, when you want! No more schedules!

We Take Walks on the Sayulita Beach When We Want

And Hikes Where We Want: Susan Cr. Falls, OR
     Pre-retirement exercise routine: I rushed from work to the YMCA for a work-out or Zumba class. Since we have retired early and moved to Mexico, we have so many exercise options in Sayulita, we can go to Zumba at 9:00AM or Yoga at 10:00AM or Pilates at 10:30AM or take a morning walk on the beach and go to Salsa lessons at 7:00PM, and those are just a few of the options. Now, we exercise the way we want, when we want.
     Pre-retirement travel: I requested time off months in advance and hoped it would be granted by my boss. Of course, my vacations had to be juggled around other pharmacists’ vacations and the company’s “No Vacation Black-out” periods such as Thanksgiving through New Year’s. A short two-week trip to Mazatlán in February had to suffice for years. When I became frustrated with these restrictions, I changed my status to “On Call Pharmacist” and took a leave of absence once a year so we could pack up the motorhome and travel to Mexico for six months at a stretch. I called that “semi-retirement” and we enjoyed it very much. But the culture shock of returning to the United States after six to seven months away was incredibly difficult. The people in the U.S. seemed meaner, ruder, more in a hurry, and even more focused on making a dollar than they had been before our travels. It was time to retire and escape this rat race. I am so thankful that I was able to retire even though we hadn't saved enough money, according to those formulas. I am thankful that we figured out a way to change our lifestyle to manage with the amount of money I had saved “before the age of 59”. Now we can fly or drive between Mexico and the United States when we want to. No more company schedules dictating when we can travel and how long we can be away!
     Pre-retirement grocery shopping and dining out: I would get off work in Oregon at 6:00PM or 7:00PM, drive to the closest supermarket and grab a basketful of groceries to hold us over for the week—$200! By the time I got home after work and grocery shopping and then put the food away, I was too tired to cook. We would go out for dinner—$75! Now, in Sayulita, we walk a half mile to town every two or three days, shop for fresh produce, fish or meat, and staples for a few days—400 pesos ($24US). I actually looked forward to preparing stir-fried vegetables to accompany the steak Jon would grill on the barbecue at home. The next day we would go to a restaurant for a nice dinner of a fresh vegetables salad, grilled red snapper, wine, flan for dessert, and tip—$500 pesos ($30US)! I am so thankful that we retired even though we didn’t have enough money saved, by U.S. standards, and found a wonderful lifestyle in Mexico that is simple, unhurried and unscheduled, inexpensive, and healthy, where I can do what I want, when I want.

5. Retire while you’re still young and healthy enough to have the time and energy to participate in sports, exercise, and traveling. Forget that procrastination phrase: "When I retire, I'm going to ...."

Fun Zumba Class at Bahia Fitness in Bucerias, Nayarit

Zumba with Efren at Shanti Studio in Puerto Vallarta

     At 58 years old, before retirement, I loved to boogie-board, Stand-Up Paddleboard, ride bikes, take five mile hikes in the forest, walk Bella, our dachshund, three miles on the beach, garden, read fiction novels, play Frisbee and paddle ball on the beach, go to Zumba® and Yoga classes, and so many other healthy activities, but there was never enough time when I was working as a pharmacist. No more procrastinating--it was time to focus on a healthy lifestyle! Now that I've retired before the age of 59, I have the time and energy to do some of these activities every day, and still have time to write a bit on my books and blogs each morning and to read for hours at the end of the day. When I was working as a pharmacist, I rarely had the time or energy for these activities to improve my physical fitness and mental health. Working full-time left little time for a healthy lifestyle. Often I would say, as many do, "when I retire, I will exercise more, garden more, read more, write more…". It was time to stop procrastinating, retire from pharmacy, and begin doing the things I love.
     I am so thankful that I made the decision to retire “before the age of 59”, while I was young enough and healthy enough to really enjoy life and all of the activities I love. I am thankful that I feel healthier because I get more physical activity now that I am retired than I did when I worked as a pharmacist.

6. Have time to leisurely shop for groceries and cook healthy meals. 
Fresh-Picked Pineapples for 18 pesos each! ($1 U.S.)

     The strangest change for me after early retirement was that I began to enjoy shopping for groceries. The big difference was that I began to shop locally, saving money (and my sanity) by shopping for healthy foods at the many tiendas, small stores all over Sayulita, and at the wonderful Sayulita Friday Market that provide fresh produce, fresh fish or meat, and all kinds of specialty items. “Shopping local” has taken on a whole new meaning for me, allowing me to look forward to walking to the community stores and vendors each week, shopping at a leisurely pace, enjoying the experience of browsing and choosing vegetables and fruit fresh from the farm, and beef or chicken from a family-run meat market.
     My hatred of grocery shopping had become clinical when I lived in the United States. If you haven't experience this, it sounds crazy, I know, but it was real! I googled “grocery shopping phobia”, wondering if there is an actual condition that describes my aversion toward grocery shopping, and found many posts about “Supermarket Phobia” and “Grocery Store Anxiety”. Wow! I’m not alone in this loathing for walking through the doors of a large store, but my anxiety developed from too many years of practicing pharmacy in stores owned by monstrous corporations. In my position as a Traveling Pharmacist, I worked at many “Big-Box” store pharmacies including Wal-Mart, Costco, Bi-Mart, and K-Mart. I had also worked for many prescription-crunching chain supermarket drugstores, some of which were Rite-Aid, Safeway, Ray’s, and Albertsons. When I retired, I avoided these stores unless I had no other option for finding a product, or their deep-discount prices drew me in during our once a year stock-up shopping when we visit the United States. For years after I quit practicing pharmacy, I could not walk into one of these corporate giants—the very idea brought on flashbacks of stressful experiences. I had been traumatized by the supermarkets! Jon would gladly take my shopping list and go in to buy what we needed while I sat in the motorhome or took Bella for a walk. In Mexico, I find that the atmosphere in supermarkets is more mellow, with the people shopping calmly, speaking politely to each other and the cashiers, and the experience is not stressful or overwhelming like it is in the U.S. So I do occasionally shop at supermarkets in the Riviera Nayarit area such as Mega or Soriana, even Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Costco, when we need some specialty items. But, now, I “shop local” for almost everything we need, right in Sayulita, and enjoy it.
     I am thankful that I now enjoy leisurely grocery shopping in Sayulita, Mexico and the surrounding area. Our diet is so much healthier now that we are retired and have the time and the desire to shop for fresh groceries and to prepare flavorful, good-quality meals.
I Enjoy More Time Cooking: Pork Carnitas on the Barbecue


7. More time to spend with children, grandchildren, and other family and friends.
Camping with Family at Farewell Bend Campground, OR

     Sure, everyone who is retired has more time to spend with family and friends. But, if I had waited until I was 66 years old to retire, another eight years of working in pharmacy, our oldest granddaughter would have graduated from high school and been on to college—we would have missed so much more of her childhood. Since we retired when she was only ten years old , we were able to begin visiting more often and staying longer, sharing in her first experiences with her new tree-house, buying her first hover-board, going on weekend camping and fishing trips, taking leisurely nature trail walks with her and her mom and dog, Jack, and preparing for a huge life change, her first day of middle school. We are thankful that we retired early so we can spend more time with our son, daughter-in-law, and oldest granddaughter, being with her during her preteen years, through high school, and whatever her future holds.
     Our daughter and son-in-law have two young daughters that we look forward to seeing when we travel to Oregon. When our daughter was pregnant, I was retired and was able to travel to her home to be with her for the last two weeks of her pregnancies and for her deliveries. We spent many enjoyable hours together while we waited for each baby to decide to join the world, taking walks, talking about her future with one, and then two children. I was able to be there to help her with the babies’ deliveries—what a precious gift that I will never forget! I am thankful that early retirement allows me the flexibility to take as much time to visit our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters as we want, when we want. We now have the time and we still have the energy to play with the little ones as they grow up. I can’t wait to get back there and play on the trampoline with the two-year-old!
     When our fourth granddaughter was born, our son and his partner lived across the country in North Carolina. At the time, we were living in our motorhome full-time, traveling around Mexico. We were able to plan our trip to exit Mexico by way of Texas and head to North Carolina, getting our first look at some of the southern states. We are thankful that we were able to drive to their home and spend several days with them when our granddaughter was only three months old. Such a sweet time in life!
     We enjoy spending precious time with my mom whenever we travel to Oregon. We miss her terribly now that we live in Mexico ten months per year and I know she misses us, too. We are thankful that we are retired now and have the time to drive our motorhome or make the short flight back and forth from Mexico to Oregon to visit Mom. 
     We really enjoy making our annual trip around Oregon in our motorhome, spending time with each of our family members, sometimes two or three times in the two months that we are in Oregon. We feel so fortunate to have been able to retire before I had reached the age of 59 and before we had saved “enough” money to retire. Life is short, so we have decided to enjoy each day to the max, living a healthy lifestyle in a Mexican city we love, and then visiting our family as much as possible on our vacations to Oregon. I am thankful for “Retirement Before the Age of 59”.

     Look for my upcoming eBook on Amazon, "Retirement Before the Age of 59".
My Upcoming eBook Available Soon on Amazon.com

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

INEXPENSIVE TO LIVE IN SAYULITA, MEXICO? TAKE A LOOK AT OUR BUDGET...

Living Simply, Life is Inexpensive & Healthy in Sayulita

A Simple Mexican House & a Comfy Porch Swing: Contentment
     We have found that significantly simplifying our lives and moving to Mexico has increased our personal happiness. We gave up working in the rat race in the United States and life slowed down. We gave up the focus on owning a nicer, newer home every three years, a new high-tech car, our handsome Stickley furniture, and most of our stuff. We sold all but a few necessities and mementos. What a release! What a relief to let it all go! Then we moved to Sayulita, Mexico!
We Don't Need a 4X4 Pick-up Truck in Sayulita!
     It was time to find out if we could really live off of our meager savings. I retired before the age of 59, before I could collect Social Security or access my IRA funds without having to pay high amounts of taxes and penalties. Jon opted to start drawing Social Security early at the age of 62 at the lowest rate and quit working completely at 65. The economic downturn of 2008 had hit us hard financially. We had sold all of our investment real estate to pay the bills, banked the small amount that was left, and began to look forward to our new life. We envisioned a life in Mexico where life is slow and peaceful, the sun is always shining, flowers are always blooming, the ocean is three blocks away, and we were pretty sure it would be cheaper to live there. We were happily surprised to discover how much cheaper!
A Year Round Flowering Garden Brings Tranquility
     But, would we really be able to stretch our savings and retirement funds far enough to live the quality of life we wanted? Would we have to scrimp while living in Sayulita, giving up life’s little luxuries? We were thankful that we had found a relatively inexpensive little home, since Sayulita real estate is high for Mexico. Purchasing it for cash eliminated mortgage interest. But what other monthly expenses would we have? It was time to develop a budget for living in Sayulita 10 months per year and the United States for the other two months!
Relaxation While Dining on the Beach & Watching the Ocean

Our Monthly Budget for Two
     If you’ve read my previous blog articles, you guessed what our highest expense is—dining in restaurants! These budget figures are listed in United States Dollars (USD) for ease of reading, though all of our spending is done in cash, using the Mexican peso. A big part of the reason we can afford to live so inexpensively in Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico is that the U.S. Dollar to Peso exchange is very good at this time, about 18.5 pesos per dollar. This makes our dollar stretch about twice as far as it did when we were traveling in Mexico 10 years ago and more than twice as far as it does in the United States at this time. Some people are more frugal than we are and live on less than we do; others have larger homes and more extravagant lifestyles with expenses much higher than ours. 
We Look Forward to Dining at Calypso & Other Fine Restaurants

This monthly budget is for the two of us:


  • Restaurants:                                      $550 USD


  • Allows for dinner in nice restaurants about 14 times per month, including a shared salad or appetizer, a shared high quality entree, wine, and, occasionally, dessert, plus a minimum of 15% tip, and lunch at cafes or taco stands about 8 times per month. We share meals to decrease the cost and the calories.  


  • Groceries, Wine, Purified Water:      $290
  • Personal Care:                                     $ 90
  • Health & Fitness:                                $300
    • Includes exercise classes, health insurance premiums, vitamins, prescription and over the counter medication, doctor visits, dental visits with twice yearly teeth cleaning, and eye exams and glasses. All are less expensive in Mexico except the vitamins and some prescription medications that we bring with us when we return from the U.S. Our simplified life in Mexico revolves around living outdoors: daily walks to the beach and town, gardening, throwing the ball for Bella, home-improvement projects, talking to our Mexican neighbors, and lots of boogie-boarding and Stand Up Paddleboarding, all free, healthy activities.
  • Laundry Service:                                $ 40

    • One of my favorite perks of living in Sayulita—we drop our laundry off at the lavandería one day and pick it up washed, dried, and neatly folded the next day, for less than $3 USD per load!

  • Weekly Housecleaner:                       $ 60
  • Utilities: Water:                                  $ 12
  • Utilities: Electricity:                           $ 60
    • We don’t have a dishwasher or clothes washer or dryer which are electricity hogs. Our maid won’t use our vacuum cleaner because she says it uses too much electricity (good old fashioned sweeping saves us a little on our electric bill). Jon significantly reduced kilowatts used by switching all light bulbs to LEDs.  We splurge with an air conditioner in our master bedroom, using it at nighttime in late spring. Our electric usage is highest in June and July when daytime temperatures are high and we choose to air condition the entire three rooms of living space in the afternoon, but low usage in the winter offsets this.
  • Utilities: Gas for Cooking & hot water: $ 16
  • Utilities: Internet:                                  $ 18
  • Phone and Miscellaneous:                     $ 80
    • Phone usage is something we have practically eliminated, and what a peaceful change in our lives! We use Skype on our computer and iPad when we want to call our family members. Skype also works for most local calls in Mexico. Jon bought a smart phone by Blu for $49 at Best Buy in the U.S., but we only use the phone option, not data. We buy 100 pesos (about $6 U.S.) worth of minutes through TelCel online which lasts us about 2 months. We use the phone mostly to call for taxis and for peace of mind in case of emergency.
  • Property Taxes:                                   $  8
    • Amazingly low! What a nice surprise!
  • Property Bank Trust Fee:                   $ 32
  • Bus and Taxi:                                       $ 54
  • Entertainment & Netflix Mexico:       $ 40
    • People-watching provides some of the best, free entertainment in Sayulita, whether on the beach or while sitting at a downtown café. Listening to live music in a restaurant or in the central plaza and watching fire jugglers or other street performers costs us a small tip, the equivalent of 50 cents or a dollar, here and there. Once a month or so we splurge by paying to attend an event such as a fiesta in Sayulita, a show at Circo de Los Niños, or Salsa Dancing to a Cuban Band at Don Pedros. We enjoy watching a movie every week or two since Netflix Mexico has recently become available for the equivalent of $5.50 USD per month.
  • Spanish Lessons, Books, Etc.:           $ 50

    • Buying eBooks on our Kindles is one of our biggest luxuries! Reading is one of our passions!

  • Clothing:                                            $100

    • Shorts, bathing suits, and flip-flops are our main wardrobe. A few nice “going-to-dinner” shirts and pants plus a sweatshirt for cool winter evenings complete our simple needs for beach life in Sayulita.

  • Charity:                                              $ 60

    • Most of our donations are to local organizations such as ProSayulita, SayulitAnimals, the Turtle Program, and EntreAmigos, all for the improvement of Sayulita and the surrounding area.

  • Dog Food & Vet. Costs:                     $ 50
  • Home Repair/Maintenance:             $150
    • Hopefully, we are estimating on the high side here. So far, our home has been low-maintenance, but we are still in the first year of ownership of this seven year old home and don’t yet have much history.
  • Home Improvement:                          $ 60
  • Travel in Mexico:                                 $ 80
  • Round Trip Airfare to USA:               $100
  • RV Travel in USA for 2 months:        $100
    •     This is the amount we set aside monthly all year-long to allow for RV Parks and campgrounds, RV Fuel, RV Repairs, RV storage for 10 months per year and higher cost of groceries, dining out, laundry, and other expenses. That is $1200 for our two months of RV travels in Oregon. We keep this expense to a minimum by boondocking (free camping) at American Indian Casinos and camping in Forest Service Campgrounds with Jon’s Senior Pass which gives us a 50% discount, about $12 a night.               
                                                           ______ 
    Our Total Monthly Budget for Two:   $2400
         
         We have no home mortgage, no automobile expenses, and our lifestyle is as good or better in Sayulita than in the United States for about half the cost. We have enough money left over to travel and live in our motorhome, visiting our family and camping in Oregon for two months each year. Our dreams come true!
    Boondocking at Three Rivers Indian Casino in Florence--Free!

         When we live this simplified way, we find that in addition to saving money, we feel healthier and more at peace. We hope that others notice and follow our example. My purposes in writing this are to show that we can get out of the “rat race” in the U.S., escape the endless pursuit to get ahead financially, stop the pointless trap of working more in order to have more, and learn to live on less money. Letting go of the “rat race” routine is the first step to simplifying and living a healthier life. Happiness follows when we leave behind the drive to excel, let go of the need to push ourselves harder every day, and enjoy living.
    Siuslaw/Sutton Forest Service Campground--$12 per night!
         Take a look at my eBook, "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" available on Amazon.com worldwide by clicking HERE (Free with kindleunlimited!)

    "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" eBook