SAN DIEGO (NewsNation) — Amid historic inflation numbers, some Southern California residents are crossing the border into Mexico where the cost of groceries is cheaper.
Many Californians make the 20-minute journey every day from San Diego to the San Ysidro border, which leads directly to Tijuana, to bargain hunt.
“If you are on a budget, you gotta take care of yourself,” said David McCarty, who lives in Chula Vista, California.
He and Maria McCarty walked across the border. Their recent trip to Mexico included street tacos and a routine pet checkup.
Gibran Jimenez drove nearly two hours to get to Tijuana with his wife, two children and a third due next month. He says he needs all the financial help he can get.
“I gotta save as much as I can; every penny counts,” Jimenez said.
For the seventh straight month, food prices in the U.S. have skyrocketed. California bargain hunters are shopping in Tijuana like never before. Shop owners at the popular Mercado Hidalgo have seen a 20 to 30% increase in American tourism during the weekdays.
When you look at the cost it’s easy to see why. A gallon of milk is 50% off compared to the U.S., a four-pack of toilet paper is nearly $4 cheaper and a 24-pack of Tylenol is also $1 less.
Many aren’t worrying about the cost to get there and often fill up on gas because it’s $1.24 cheaper than in California. As of Thursday, the average price for regular gasoline in California is $5.38 per gallon, according to AAA.
“Gas prices are going up like crazy and that’s what kills us, you know, the middle class,” said Jimenez.
While it appears your money may go further in Mexico, be prepared to wait in long lines at checkout and at customs on your way back home.
However, everything can’t be purchased in Mexico and taken back across the border. Most fruits, including apples and oranges, will not be allowed through customs. Anyone breaking the rules or failing to disclose agricultural items could receive a $1,000 fine.