COST OF LIVING IN PORTUGAL – MONTHLY BUDGET
I have had quite a few people message me to ask me what is an estimated average monthly expenditure budget for Portugal. Most of these people are from the UK or Ireland but a couple are from the USA. As I’ve had so many people ask the same question I thought I would share our monthly outgoings. I have listed quite a few of our utility costs under my Utilities post but below I will list all our outgoings.
When people ask me what amount is a reasonable monthly budget for Portugal I always say it really depends on your lifestyle and if you are renting or buying a house. It also depends on where you live as nearer the coast or a city will be more expensive and during summer months rent will be more expensive than winter months. Other questions to ask yourself: Do you go out and eat/drink out a lot? Do you visit theatres and cinemas frequently or do you live more frugally like us and enjoy the simple pleasure of life e.g. nature hikes, free beaches and river beaches. If you have no rent or mortgage like us then I would estimate a minimum budget of 600 euros per month for a couple which I feel is a realistic budget. Others would say you need 1000 euros or more but as I said it all depends on your lifestyle choices. Do you only drink cocktails or are you happy with a local beer or wine? Do you get your nails done every week or do you live in the garden like me and don’t care about your appearance that much. I spend many an evening trying to get the soil out from under my nails.
We live in a rural village and can go days without leaving the house as hubby works from home so our petrol budget is modest as we only take rare longer journeys. We have spent a small fortune on DIY and renovating rooms (Leeroy Merlin should give me shares in their company!). I have not included DIY here as these are one off purchases that might not relate to you. Just be sure to factor some DIY and house maintenance into your budget if your buying an old house as I can guarantee you it will need work. Don’t forget second hand cars are ridiculously expensive compared to the UK and petrol is expensive too. The most affordable bill here has to be IMI which is the equivalent of council tax and is 67.26 euros per year for us! Electricity is very expensive here (similar to UK cost) and ranges between 50-60 euros per month, so I have used the figure of 60 as during summer the air con may be turned on more. Houses in Portugal are built and designed to make them a very cool temperature inside which is great as we don’t use the air con very much at all and it is now June. Gas bottles are affordable. The hot water gas bottle lasts us 6-8 weeks (so I took the figure of 6 weeks), the gas cooker bottle lasts 3 months and each bottle costs 27 euros. Logs are 40 euros (first batch was 50 but now only 40) and only used in the winter months and last a good 4 months so I have only estimated buying logs to cover Nov, Dec, Jan & Feb. You may require more but our T.V lives in the bedroom and we are happy to retreat to our bedroom on some winter evenings with a hot water bottle to watch Netlix so the log fire is not lit every night during the winter months.
We also grow our own organic fruit and veg which reduces food bills and are soon to keep hens for fresh daily eggs. Some fresh foods are very affordable e.g. fresh bread rolls and the weekly markets are great. Toiletries are pretty expensive here especially the branded ones so best to change to local brands. Eating out is very reasonable and alcohol is very cheap compared to the UK. Cafes are also cheap compared to UK Costa and Starbucks. My repeat prescription every 6 months includes one doctor’s visit at 4.50 euros. My meds are so cheap at 2.34 euros for 6 months supply. Make sure you sign up for SNS healthcare (equivalent to NHS) if you are entitled as each doctor’s visit is only 4.50 euros. Private will be a lot more. Dentist costs are 30 euro for a check up, 35 euro for a filling and 35 euro for a clean and polish. So far I have had 1 check up, 1 filling and 1 clean and polish and will return for a check up in six months time. So I have estimated us both having 2 check ups, 2 clean and polish and 1 filling each per year. Hairdressers cost me 68 euros every 12 weeks and hubby 10 euros. I have had to estimate the following: Car tax, most likely to be around 60 euros per year or less, IPO (MOT), most likely to be around 30 euros, both are not due until Jan/Feb 2021. Update: Car tax is 57.73 euros per year and IPO (MOT) is 31.49 euros so I guessed about right.
I haven’t included any house (DIY) maintenance or family birthdays so you may wish to do this. We don’t have a clothes budget as we have enough to last us a while and haven’t purchased any clothing in months. We have no children living with us so have no school tuition fees. You may want to also factor in a budget for language lessons. You will save money if you can function without a car but don’t forget to include public transport costs. If you do buy a car you may want to budget in a one off payment for a Via Verde – there is more info on this in my post/guide to buying a second hand car. If you are working don’t forget to apply for NHR – I also have a separate post/guide about this. You will be taxed at a flat rate. Check with your Portuguese bank account regarding fees. Here our bank charges us 5 euros a month just to have the account! Also 18 euros per year to have a cash card so we have a joint account but share 1 card. The cash card is fantastic as you can pay many bills via the Multibanco (cash machine). We have just opened a bank account with no fees and a card each so will close the bank account that charges us fees in due course once all direct debits have swapped over to new account. Bare in mind that I only know of 2 bank accounts who do not charge fees. Make sure you have the option of paying for bills at the multibanco (cash machine) as this is a great service.
Monthly budget (In Euros):
Rent/mortgage: 0 (Purchased in cash).
IMI (Equivalent of council tax): 6
Gas (hot water & gas cooker top hob): 28.50
Petrol and the rare toll and parking: 30 (this may increase after Covid 19 when we take more day trips).
IPO (Equivalent of MOT): 2.50
Car: 0 (Purchased in cash).
House insurance: 17
Car insurance & breakdown: 16
Car tax: 5
Car maintenance: 50
Food and alcohol (ha ha) incl toiletries, cleaning stuff & occasional cafe trip: 250
Internet: 35 (Meo fibre optic fast speed internet, landline and one TV box).
Mobile phone: 10
Opticians check/Contact lenses (online) & cleaner: 25
Logs: 3 (2022 Update: We don’t buy logs anymore, I have explained why in my “Utilities” blog post)
Repeat prescription under active thyroid meds: 1.14
Bunny vaccines and food: 10
Charity donation: 1
Banking fees: 6.50 Soon to be 0 as we have opened a bank account with no fees (hooray)
iCloud storage: 1
Miscellaneous e.g. rare lunch out/treats: 40
Bollinger3 years ago
Prolific writer! Great stuff.
I heard Portugal has very good healthcare systems and those prescription costs are unreal! UK prescription prices go up by that amount every year it seems.
Considering that the sum of the monthly expenses is below the value of the full UK state pension, I can see why people want to retire to Portugal. Very reasonable indeed.
Helen3 years ago
The healthcare system here is great. It was a bit stressful signing up for SNS but if your persistant like me you get there in the end. I could not believe the prescription cost for my under active throid meds. Back in UK I did receive free Uk prescriptions as the under active throid is classed as a medical excepmtion. I estimated that the meds may cost 30 euros+ per month but I was in total shock when I booked a doctors appointment and the appointment only cost 4.50 euros. I was also given 6 months supply on the prescription, back in the UK my doctor would only give 2 months per prescription which was a pain having to keep renew it and go to pharmacy. When you receive a prescription here you also don’t have to buy all the meds up front, I could of bought 2 months at 76 cents and purchased the rest later but I didn’t see the point so purchased whole 6 months for 2.34 euros. I still can’t believe they only cost 39 cents per month! Amazing. I think the main importantance is to sign up for SNS ASAP as I have friends who have gone privately to a doctors and have paid 30-40 euros per visit and a further 30 euros for a months supply of meds so SNS is the way to go! Although I haven’t been assigned a family doctor I can visit a friendly female English speaking doctor here which helps with the language barrier.
Bollinger3 years ago
Incredible and very reassuring for expats
Martijn3 years ago
thanks a lot!!