Egil Fujikawa Nes

Egil Fujikawa Nes

The Brazil Business


Cost of living in São Paulo

Egil Fujikawa Nes

Egil Fujikawa Nes

The Brazil Business


This article is trying to outline what are the costs that a professional which plans to relocate from Europe to São Paulo should expect in order to maintain the same standard of living as he was used to from Europe.

Most people know that São Paulo is the business capital of Latin America and therefore the cost of living is also the highest in Latin America, but it can vary much depending on the living standard you expect to maintain.


São Paulo is currently a melting pot of cultures and classes; you will find everything from very rich people with private helicopters to extremely poor ones. If you are planning to relocate to Brazil you should be aware of the fact that the Brazilian society is structured much like the American one so you will have to calculate costs for services like health incurrence and consider private retirement saving.

The purpose of this article is to look at the cost of keeping a middle-class Western European life standard in São Paulo.


The Number One complain that foreigners (and most locals) have about São Paulo is commuting to and from work. Traffic and public transportation is reaching its breaking point and rush-hour is more or less no-stop from 6 AM to 11 PM. People in São Paulo use in average 3 hours each day just to commute and a short drive of 5 km can easily take 2 hours or more.

It's highly recommended to get an accommodation within walking distance to your office. To get the most European like standard of living you will have to look for an accommodation in the Jardins area of São Paulo. It's considered the safest, but also one of the most expensive area of São Paulo.

Item Price
Renting Furnished Flat in Jardins (35 m2) BRL 2500 (per month)
Renting Furnished Apartment in Jardins (50 m2) BRL 4000 (per month)
Renting Unfurnished Apartment in Jardins (50 m2) BRL 3000 (per month)

Flats have housekeeping services included

Food and Beverages

Food and beverages are something on which Brazilians in general spend a lot of money even though food and beverages are relatively cheap in Brazil. If you are looking for imported food or beverages you will normally find about the same prices as in Europe, but if you can settle with the alternative of locally produced products you will easily save more money.

Another aspect when it comes to the cost of living is the lunch habit that you wish to follow. Most Brazilians employees eat a major lunch out everyday and easily spend as much as 50% of their daily food budget on lunch.

Item Price
Large whole grain bread BRL 5
500 gram Turkey BRL 6
150 gram Philadelphia cream cheese BRL 4
240 gram Strawberry jam BRL 12
600 ml Coca Cola BRL 2
2.5 l Coca Cola BRL 3
300 ml Mainstream local Beer BRL 2
500 ml Imported Beer BRL 15
Big Mac Menu BRL 14
European style lunch (double sandwich + coffee ) BRL 7
Simple Brazilian style lunch (buffet + juice) BRL 15
Nice Brazilian style lunch (selection of beef + desert) BRL 25
Tall Starbucks Cappuccino BRL 6.5
Generic Cafe Americano BRL 2

Keep in mind that fruit and pastry cost a fraction of the European prices, but prices and access to these products vary depending on the season. Also note that it's almost impossible to get fresh whole grain bread in the bakeries and also spicy sauces / gravy are almost unheard of in most supermarkets.

Other Services

Item Price
Electricity BRL 0.3 per kWh
Basic Cable TV BRL 75 (per month)
HD Cable TV BRL 159 (per month)
ADSL 512 Kbit/s BRL 55 (per month)
ADSL 8 Mbit/s BRL 200 (per month)
Laundry Service (pick-up and deliver) BRL 250 (per month)
Mobile Phone Subscription (40 min included + unlimited 3G) BRL 99 (per month)
Cinema Ticket BRL 22
Simple Health Incurrence (under 30 years old) BRL 79 (per month)
Health Incurrence with dental plan (under 30 years old) BRL 220 (per month)


As mentioned before, commuting can be a time consuming task in São Paulo, and it's not necessarily cheap. Notice that public transport doesn't offer discounted traveller cards for specified periods; everybody has to pay single faire tickets, but students and seniors do get some discounts.

Item Price
Underground single faire BRL 2.55
Buss single faire BRL 2.70
Garage Jardins area BRL 300 (per month)
Garage Jardins area BRL 10 (per hour)
1 liter of fuel BRL 2.50

Other Resources

It's impossible to cover all products in this short article, that's why we provide some useful links to obtain prices on common products: