Portugal is, without doubt, one of the best places in Europe to find a low cost of living. However, example costs are only part of the true picture. It’s quite possible to pay 80 cents or €3.50 for the same bottle of beer, depending on where you order it. The first price would be in a small locals’ snack bar, while the second would be a glitzy beach-front restaurant. So, exactly how far your money will go is really down to how and indeed where you plan to spend it!
The same goes for food, where the cost of eating out will often differ more based on location and décor than the quality of the food and the service. You will generally find the least expensive food at markets – and it’s a good idea to buy fresh produce and seasonal fruit and vegetables at these, and you are likely to find that these are much cheaper here than in the supermarkets.
Supermarket prices can be surprisingly variable too, and when you live in the country you come to learn which supermarkets to go to for which things. You can, of course, go to a huge hypermarket for everything, but people living on a budget would do better to familiarise themselves with price variations to get the best value.
As is the case in many small countries, many products are imported, which results in some interesting price disparities. Cosmetics, for example, are often more expensive than they are in Spain, because they’re imported from there. In addition, anyone who insists on having lots of UK products on hand will pay a heavy price, as these imported products don’t come cheap. Many people actually use shipping services to bring these items over in bulk from UK supermarkets.
The costs provided here for items in Portugal are, however, good averages, and the grocery item prices are taken from the Continente supermarket, which can be found all over the country. With a bit of careful shopping, life in Portugal can be very inexpensive indeed.
|Item||Portugal cost||Portugal cost||UK cost**||UK cost**||Comparison Portugal vs. UK|
|British style loaf of bread||€1.49||£1.07||€0.77||£0.55||HIGHER|
|2 pints of milk||€0.74||£0.53||€1.10||£0.79||LOWER|
|500g cheese||€4.00||£2.87||€4.66||£3.00 for 450g – £3.33 for 500g||LOWER|
|200g jar instant coffee||€6.50||£4.66||€3.91||£2.80||HIGHER|
|1kg banana||€1.09||£0.78||€ 0.95||£0.68||HIGHER|
|2 medium chicken breasts||€3.50||£2.51||€4.19||£3.00||LOWER|
|500g fresh fish (e.g. salmon)||€4.00||£2.86||€5.59||£4.00||LOWER|
|400g cornflakes||€2.75||£1.97||€1.68||£1.50 for 500g – £1.20 for 400g||HIGHER|
|Laundry detergent (40 washes)||€4.99||£3.57||€ 8.39||£6.00||LOWER|
|Washing up liquid 433ml||€0.99||£0.71||€||£0.75 for 450ml – £0.72 for 433ml||LOWER|
|Tube of toothpaste 75ml||€1.99||£1.43||€ 1.33||£0.95||HIGHER|
|2l Coca-Cola||€1.65||£1.18||€ 3.90||£1.85 for 1.75l – £2.79 for 2l||LOWER|
|40g chocolate bar||€0.99||£0.71||€0.78||£0.60 for 43g – £0.56 for 40g||HIGHER|
|1 400g can of dog food||€0.79||£0.57||€0.63||£0.45||HIGHER|
|1 litre petrol||€1.56||£1.12||€1.58||£1.13||LOWER|
|1 litre diesel||€1.31||£0.94||€1.66||£1.19||LOWER|
|Monthly water cost for three bedroom property||€60.00||£42.96||€45.36||£32.50||HIGHER|
|Monthly electricity cost for three bedroom property||€150.00||£107.40||€51.80||£37.08||HIGHER|
|Monthly interent cost||€30.00||£21.48||€27.94||£20.00||HIGHER|
|Mothly satellite TV||€30.00||£21.48||€20.95||£15.00||HIGHER|
|Monthly housing taxes||€100.00||£71.58||€212.47||£1825.36 per annum council tax – £152.11 per month||LOWER|
|Glass of house white wine in a restaurant||€1.50||£1.07||€4.19||£3.00||LOWER|
|Bottle of beer in a restaurant||€1.50||£1.07||€4.33||£3.10||LOWER|
|Main course in local restaurant||€8.00||£5.73||€14.84||£10.62||LOWER|
*Based on GBP/EUR rate of 1.398, 20/05/2015
**UK food cost compared to Tesco.com 20/05/2015, fiel and eating out costs are an average on 20/05/2015.