With the San Diego region's high cost of living, many are making their move south of the border to save money.
For Marilyn Widd, every moment with her granddaughter Gracie is special when she visits her at a home in Vista.
"The area is beautiful. I love it," said Widd.
Four years ago, Widd and her husband briefly thought about retiring in San Diego County. She is a retired teacher and her husband Les worked as an IT specialist.
"Just couldn't afford it. Didn't want a big mortgage in retirement." Instead they headed south, just south of Rosarito, where they bought a two-bedroom, 1,800-square-foot oceanfront home for $140,000. "It's very tranquil. You hear the waves. I watch the sunset every night," said Widd.
As for household expenses, including food, she's saving plenty. "About half as expensive ... We also have two Costcos ... a lot of the same products," said Widd.
When it comes to health care costs, the Widds have options. The two have Medicare and get some of their medical treatments in San Diego. They also pay $22 per month for a membership at a private hospital in Rosarito, a popular option with U.S. citizens.
"The doctors treat me very well ... state-of-the-art diagnostics and all the same medication," said Widd. For Widd, the numbers add up. "We have enough money to make ends meet and have a good lifestyle. We do get to travel," said Widd. She's not alone. Various estimates put the number of Americans living in Rosarito between 12,000 and 15,000. In the past few years, U.S. citizens have reported that number is increasing, especially among those under the age of 50 who commute to San Diego. Widd has seen it firsthand. She heads a foundation that provides supplies to orphanages and families in need. “This year, about nine of 27 volunteers are under 50. Usually the number is closer to one volunteer. You have to think it's about the cost of living for them," said Widd.
Like those commuters, Widd is a part-time San Diegan. Twice a month, Marilyn and her husband get in the car and make the 2-hour drive to visit their family. The trips are a priceless part of a life she now calls her dream retirement.
"At the end of the day, we made the best choice for us. I expect to live in Rosarito forever," said Widd.