Frugal Living Abroad – A Better Life For Half The Price

A Better Life For Half The Price

It was confusing as hell when I was at TBEX a few weeks back, because there happen to be two of us named Tim who live in Mexico. Myself, obviously, but for those of you weren’t aware of it, renowned travel writer Tim Leffel also happens to be based out of Mexico, although he’s far more north and west of where we are in Palenque. He currently lives in Guanajuato with his family.

Along with being in the industry for well over a decade and authoring the World’s Cheapest Destinations book as well as running the associated blog, he also heads Perceptive Travel. Earlier in 2013, he and I got to talking in emails and Skype about a few things related to living in Mexico and the whole “cutting your cost of living into a fraction of what it was in the U.S.”. 

Our own best-selling publication, The Expat Guidebook, was founded on the principles of a life of indefinite travel, anywhere you want in the world, using an online income and spending only pennies in comparison to what you pay in the U.S. or other developed countries. It used to be one of the primary focuses of this blog (living on the cheap abroad) before I moved into other content.

When Tim first approached me regarding his latest publication, A Better Life for Half The Price, he wanted to talk to me about one of the segments in my book: specifically, the section on negotiation and how to get the best prices while living abroad in countries where negotiation is expected from the locals, and where you’ll pay the jacked-up foreigner price if you don’t attempt to negotiate.

Pretty much every country in the world outside of the United States, by the way. Negotiation is an art form to these cultures, especially in Latin America, Japan, Asia and most of Europe and the Mediterranean, Russia, and beyond. They start learning it as children, and by the time they are teenagers they are already masters of the craft, whittling down prices on everything from candies to food at the market to t-shirts and clothing to rental property, real estate and auto purchases.

We caught up with each other while at TBEX Cancun in September of 2014 and not only did we share a few drinks, meals and overall fun together, but we also sat down to talk about negotiation tactics in greater detail, as well as the cost of living here in Mexico and what it’s really like living here as a foreigner…and what you can expect if you decide to head down here yourself.

Tips on Living in Mexico as an Expatriate from Tim Leffel on Vimeo.

Leffel’s latest publication focuses on one thing and one thing only: how to have a better life living in countries abroad. One of the most powerful components of this book is that it’s not just him talking about it: he went out and gathered data from others living abroad and got their take on it as well, with sections including:

He’s been working on the book since 2013, so it’s been over a year in the making. While the paperback version won’t be out until the end of the year, if you are someone like me who thrives on digital publications and hasn’t touched a paperback in years (because they are a pain in the ass to travel with and take up precious backpack space, not to mention storage space), you can get your hands on his latest publication now.

Typically, I don’t promote much here at the website. In fact, one of the reasons I charge so much for sponsored posts and advertising is because I’m notorious for wanting to keep Marginal Boundaries about myself and what can benefit my readers. So when I recommend something (like we did recently for themidgame), it’s because I whole-heartedly believe in it.

Tim’s book is akin to my own, and he’s one of the most respected travel authors in the industry. If you are an armchair reader who is on the fence about moving abroad, this is a publication that will push you over the edge and into the life that we live on a daily basis. And even if you are someone who has been traveling on your own as a nomad of some type, you’ll still be able to glean some wisdom from its pages; if not from myself or Tim, than from one of the other experts who have authored segments within.

There’s currently three packages available depending on if you are Curious, Committed, or All-In. Each level comes with a copy of the book plus a varying array of extras, such as a private Facebook group, access to the newsletter, access to special webinars with other travel experts, conference calls and even a couple of one-on-one coaching sessions with Tim himself. You can check out the packages here (or click on the book cover below) and decide for yourself which version suits your needs.


For the sake of transparency: yes, I receive a commission for recommending Tim’s book to my readers. But knowing how rarely I recommend other people’s products or services via sponsored posts, I know you can appreciate just how valuable I think what he has to say is. 

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About T.W. Anderson

T.W. Anderson is the founder of the Marginal Boundaries brand. He is the writer, editor, videographer, photographer, and social media guru alongside Cristina Barrios, the other half of the brand. In his spare time, he is the creative director of the Saga of Lucimia, a forthcoming MMORPG from Stormhaven Studios, LLC.


  • Hi T.W.,

    This is right up my alley.

    I chat about absolute wealth versus relative wealth quite a bit. You guys are mastering how to acquire relative wealth. This means, you’re free, you’re engineering a freeing lifestyle, like me, and anybody who lives in a ridiculously cool place, for a fraction of the cost, versus living in other spots on earth.

    I’m blogging from paradise – and started the same named blog – because I want to inspire folks to retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging. It’s all about generating cash flow while moving abroad, to nations where you can both negotiate AND receive a sweet deal on the exchange side of things.

    Here in Savusavu, Fiji, we’re a bit north of a 2:1 Fijian dollar to USD ration. Not bad. Some doctor in the States may make a pretty penny but he’s tied to the hospital and office for many hours each day, some 6 days week….barring Saturday. Even if he enjoys his work, he’s still bound. I’m a nomad, a digital lifestyle junkie, able to earn from anywhere on earth, many spots of which I get much more bang for my buck, AND I can negotiate, and price shop, and bargain, to become even more relatively wealthy.

    The doctor has series absolute wealth. Makes big bucks, but he’s bound. I have serious relative wealth. Making more and more money, and I’m free. I still work, quite a bit, mind you, but it’s when I want to, in places where my net worth sometimes doubles or triples, due to the awesome USD strength I get versus the local currency, and the price shopping I can do.

    I’d be here forever, commenting, T.W., because I love this point of view. Just so smart, to me, and it makes so much more sense, to have a more freeing, enjoyable, fun life, to save boatloads of dough, and to inspire others to do the same.

    Awesome review, super share and hey, great karma too.

    Thanks much!

    Tweeting soon.


  • I know, Mary! It was just too ironic to pass up :)

  • Funny how there are two Tims in Mexico doing similar things! The book looks great though! Thanks for sharing it!

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