My advice...stay out of big cities and places Americans go.....
I live in centeral Mexico and I pay.....
Less than 150 a month rent and I live in a middle class neighborhood
Maid 5 days a week house cleaned and clothes washed and ironed less than 35
Water bill 10 a month
Elect 10 a month
My son lived in Honduras for a couple of years and he said the cost of living there is about half of what it costs in Mexico
You cand spend as little or as much as you like
Safety......dress down but don't look too much like a bum
You can find a lot of posts where people claim to be living on a fraction of the cost of life in the US. Glaringly absent from most of these posts is any description of the quality
of life they have in Central Mexico or anywhere else.
A lonely gringo stumbling over the language and holed up in his cheap apartment -- even one with maid service, water and electricity -- is not a happy sight.
For the record I also lived in central Mexico (Zacatecas) for about two years just after I got out of the Army. But I was riding my motorcycle all over -- twice to the Yucatan -- and having some pretty colorful adventures with Mexican friends. To be there primarily because it's cheap seems a pretty lame motive.
And it's amazingly easy to distinguish between those expatriates who actually have a lively interest in local culture and the growth opportunity that lifestyle represents and those who are only there for the cheap booze or inability to function usefully in the US. All you have to do is exchange a few words with them to determine whether or not they speak the local language or at least are attempting to get beyond "otra cerveza, por favor
." If they don't speak the local lingo it's a sign that the life they accept is essentially bounded by the four walls of their bargain apartment. That's sad.