I live real close to the Mexican border. While that usually elicits questions about the dangers of the drug cartels coming over the border, that’s not something I worry a whole lot about. The cartels are smart enough to know that Texans believe in concealed carry, so chances are that if they tried to start a firefight here, they’d get more than they bargained for.
But living so close to Mexico has its benefits — like giving me another source for my survival supplies. While there is little you can buy in Mexico that isn’t available in the United States, there are a number of things that are more readily available. Not only that, but some things are considerably cheaper in Mexico than they are in the United States. So with some careful buying in Mexico, I can make my prepping budget go considerably farther than buying here at home.
I would say that the number one reason to go to Mexico for your supplies is to stock up on antibiotics. Here in the U.S., you have to have a prescription to buy them. But most antibiotics are available over the counter in Mexico. Not only that, but you can buy them in bottles of 100, and the price will be much lower than it is here at home.
As best I know, there is only one antibiotic that there is any restriction on bringing back to the United States, and that is ciprofloxacin. The reason why that can’t be brought across the border is that ciprofloxacin is the antibiotic of choice for treatment of anthrax. As such, its importation has been outlawed so that terrorists can’t bring it in for their own use.
While you’re at it, don’t forget other emergency medicines, such as the EpiPen, used for the emergency treatment of anaphylactic shock. While expensive in the United States, the Mexican equivalent sells for about $12. Now, it isn’t in an automatic injector, like the EpiPen here is, but rather a syringe, needle and small vial of epinephrine. So, it’s a bit harder to use, but you don’t need a prescription or have to shell out hundreds of dollars.
2. Prescription medicine
If you have any family members with chronic diseases, like high blood pressure, they are probably taking medicines daily. That creates a serious problem when it comes to prepping. Most doctors won’t write a prescription for extra medicines.
But you can buy many of them in Mexico. Every winter, the states bordering on Mexico are inundated with retired people who escape the cold months back home. Here in Texas, we call them “winter Texans.” Besides escaping the cold, coming to Texas allows them to go into Mexico and buy their prescription medicines for the entire year. Not only are most of those medicines much cheaper in Mexico, but you don’t need a prescription to buy them.
In my personal experience, Mexican pharmaceuticals are excellent. I’ve been buying mine over there for more than 15 years, and have never had a problem. The quality has always been excellent.
Mexico is also a good source for medicines that have not been approved by the FDA. Some “orphan drugs” haven’t passed FDA approval yet because of the high cost of testing and approval. For people with rare diseases, that causes problems. They either have to use veterinary versions of the medicine or go without. But they may very well be able to buy them in Mexico.
3. Dental services
While visiting Mexico to buy your medicines, make sure to take care of your teeth. Dental services are expensive in the U.S., but not so in Mexico. At the time of this writing, a filling is going for about $35, the same for an extraction. My wife recently needed a root canal, post and crown. The entire package was $410, rather than the $2,000 or more it would have been here at home.
4. Veterinary supplies
If you raise animals for food, you had better count on having medicines on hand. Farmers do this so that they can care for their animals rather than having to call a vet all the time.
There are veterinary pharmacies in Mexico that specialize in the medicines you would need for livestock and for pets. As with the human medicines, prices are much better in Mexico.
5. Homesteading tools & implements
Speaking of raising animals, you’ve probably noticed that here in the U.S., everything is done electronically. If we could invent an electronic shovel to dig a hole in the ground, we’d do it. But if the power is out, all of our electronic wizardry will be nothing more than expensive paperweights.
I have found that it is hard to find many manual tools and farm implements here in the U.S. Mostly, that’s because other than the Amish, we don’t use them. But in Mexico, many farms don’t have dependable electricity, and so they still use the manual methods. That makes it much easier to find those tools and implements there, and it makes them much less expensive, too.
This really doesn’t apply to just tools. Other related things, like saddles and tack for horses, are readily available at reasonable prices.
6. Water tanks
Water tanks are actually rather easy to find in the U.S. That is, if you either want used plastic barrels (which have chemical residue in them), used bulk liquid containers (same problem), or want to pay a fortune for shipping.
I got frustrated looking for a couple of water tanks for my home. Considering that I intended to use them for drinking water, I didn’t want anything that had been used for chemicals. But buying a new water tank online means paying more for the shipping than the tank costs.
In Mexico, pretty much everyone has a water tank on the roof of their home, except the poorest of the poor. That’s so that they’ll have water, even when the local utility is experiencing difficulties pumping the water. As an emerging country, that’s rather common. These water tanks are made there in Mexico, are designed for drinking water and are cheaper than they are here in the U.S.
I bought two 750 liter water tanks (200 gallons each). One is on the back porch and the other is in my garage. Rather than having to pay shipping on them, I simply loaded them in the back of my pickup truck (I could only carry one at a time) and brought them home.
7. The local blacksmith
How many times have you wished that the old village blacksmith was still around? I know I have. There are times when you need something made, and a blacksmith would be just the person to have around. Well, you can’t buy a blacksmith in Mexico, but you can find them. So, if you need something made, you might be better off taking your design to Mexico and looking up a blacksmith rather than taking it to a machine shop here.
It’s amazing what these blacksmiths can make. I know a man who had a leaf spring break on his car. There were no springs like he needed, where he was, but there was a blacksmith in Mexico. The blacksmith made him a spring, just like he needed. It was so perfect that the car sat level once it was installed.
I had the axle shaft break on my motorhome, inside the axle housing. When it did, it overheated and literally welded itself into place. I had to drill out the messed up axle shaft and then look for a new one. However, I couldn’t find exactly what I needed. So I took what I did find to a blacksmith, and he modified it to be what I needed.