These days Portugal is on many travel wish lists, and for some, it’s considered an ideal place to relocate or retire permanently. But many also people assume that Portugal will be too expensive to live in, similar to many of its European counterparts.
But that’s simply not the case! Enjoying a high quality of life in this beautiful country doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, it’s possible to live in Portugal for just $24 a day or less. Before you start reading this guide on inexpensive living in Portugal, here are some ground rules.
These costs are calculated based on a single person's expenses.
These numbers are based on the assumption that you won’t be living in one of the major cities, such as Lisbon or Porto, which are more expensive (but don’t let that worry you - there are countless beautiful cities and towns around the country!).
This is also based on a moderate lifestyle. If you like to live extravagantly, these costs may not work for you.
The criteria covered below will include housing, food, transportation, utilities, entertainment, clothing, healthcare, and cellphone. Let’s get started!
First, housing. This tends to be the most expensive part of any person's budget. But if you’re looking outside of Porto, Lisbon, and other touristy areas, it’s easy to find accommodation at an affordable price in Portugal. For example, if you were looking to stay in Coimbra you could find a studio apartment for just 275 euros per month, or $325 USD. You can find comparable units for a similar price around the country, depending on the area.
But what about utilities like water, gas, and electricity? For utilities, you should expect to pay $20 a month for water and $50 for gas and electricity. That leaves the grand total for affordable housing for a single person at $395 a month.
Everyone’s gotta eat, right? Food is a tricky one since spending can be all over the place depending on your preferences. Based on an average diet, it’s reasonable to spend around $20 to $25 per week for a single individual - $80-$100 a month - though this number can definitely fluctuate depending on what you eat and how much you eat. This is also based on a typical grocery shopping bill - it doesn’t take into account dining out, so if you like to go to restaurants and cafes regularly, your monthly costs will be much higher.
By far the most affordable way to get around in Portugal is via public transport. Regardless of where you live in this country, you can get a monthly public transport pass for just $45 a month. Of course, the best way to get effective use out of this pass is to live in the center of whatever city you decide to live in. This way all of your amenities are nearby and you won’t need a car, since you’ll get consistent use out of public transportation.
In Portugal, you have access to both private and public healthcare, but there is a catch. When you go through the process of getting a visa, you need to prove that you already have private healthcare secured. Once your visa application is approved and you get a temporary residence card, you can submit for private healthcare. Depending on your circumstances you may want to use one, or both.
Public healthcare is free, for the most part, but private healthcare is very affordable. For adults between 25 and 45, it will be around $51 per month, but it will likely be more expensive if you are older.
Cellphone and Internet
One of the best ways to pay for your cellphone and internet in Portugal is by purchasing them in a bundle. You can pay for your cellphone, internet, and cable all in one package through a single provider. You can buy these packages for as little as $35 a month. If you just want to pay for your cellphone, you can purchase a monthly $16 plan.
This is another cost that will fluctuate depending on your preferences, so expect to raise this number if you like to buy new clothes regularly. Thankfully, you can find amazing deals on clothing at many stores here.
Let’s take a look at two of the most affordable and well-known clothing stores in Portugal:
Lefties: you can buy an entire outfit here for less than $10. That’s just $10 per month if you choose to purchase a new outfit every month.
Decathlon: this is a popular chain store in Portugal where you can purchase affordable activewear.
If you’re trying to keep a strict clothing budget, a budget as low as $15 a month is reasonable to expect. Again, this all depends on your preferences.
If you like to go out and engage in recreational activities semi-regularly, $100 a month is a generous amount for entertainment in Portugal. It will allow you to explore the best of what the country has to offer, without breaking the bank by doing extravagant things and going out every other day. It will even allow you to take a train or bus to Spain or fly to one of Portugal’s major cities for a weekend.
Based on the above information, you can fulfill all of your living requirements in Portugal for just $731 a month, which comes to approximately $24 per day.
Keep in mind that this is just a calculation for a general budget lifestyle - there are people who can happily live on less than this, and many more who prefer to spend more, which is still relatively “budget” compared to their income.
Many people are becoming interested in potentially relocating or retiring in Portugal, but they don’t necessarily have the savings to do it just yet. However, if you have enough savings to move here for a year or two and experience the Portuguese lifestyle, you can do so for just $24 a day.
There are so many opportunities in this country, regardless of your budget. If you’re seriously considering moving to Portugal, be sure to explore the Our Rich Journey blog and YouTube channel, for more articles and videos on Portuguese housing, healthcare, taxes, visas, and more!