Last updated on 16-Apr-2023
Hello everyone! My hubby and I relocated from Toronto, Canada to Lisbon, Portugal in mid-December, 2019. Since we started doing our research for the move a couple of years before that, we have been accessing and sharing information on online forums and groups, connecting with some expats who lived or live in Portugal + others who are in the process of (or interested in) making the move as well.
People often ask about the cost of living in Portugal, and this is something we can shed some light on. We’ve been tracking our expenses and thought the numbers may be of interest to others, as budgeting for the new life is a very important part of the planning process. Another question we get asked a lot is about how to find a property to rent, so I’ve written a post on this topic as well.
EDIT: The rental/lease market is very hot in many areas, and the process may be much more competitive and difficult in some cities.
So, here are our basic monthly expenses for 2021, by category (for more info, visit the 2022 and 2023 Trackers)
Note 1: We are a couple over 45 with no kids, so these numbers are for two adults. ALL costs in EUROS €.
Note 2: Rental costs can vary a lot according to the location, size, condition, and amenities of the property. We prefer newer construction.
Initially, we chose to stay in Lisbon (city proper). The apartment we were renting until September 2021 was a furnished 1 bedroom + 1 bathroom condo with a very large terrace, in a modern building with 2 elevators, central heating, and underground parking spot + great access to restaurants, shops, services and subway (Laranjeiras station).
At the end of September 2021, we moved to a neighbourhood just above Lisbon (Colinas do Cruzeiro), but already in another city (Odivelas). This apartment is larger, also furnished, with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, terrace + balcony, in a modern building with 2 elevators, heating and air conditioning + great access to restaurants, shops, services.
Note 3: As residents, we qualify for public healthcare in Portugal, and so far it has worked well. We haven’t purchased private health insurance here, although we have signed up for this FREE plan.
Note 4: We are listing only the basic expenses because other categories (e.g. clothing, cosmetics, entertainment, travel, etc.), are discretionary and subject to personal preferences, shopping habits, and the income available. In that sense, however much you spend on these items now (converted to €) can be your baseline, if you want to keep a comparable standard.
Note 5: For reference regarding transportation, a monthly pass for unlimited travel in Lisbon (city) by subway/tram/bus costs €30 per person. The pass for unlimited access to the system in the larger metropolitan area costs €40.
We’ll update this page monthly, so you can see the numbers in the longer run. If you have any questions or feedback, drop them in the comments below. Thanks for visiting!
These are for general reference only. Other people may choose to spend more or less on these items.
Expenses 2021 = in euros €
|Two Cellphones + Home Internet + Cable||70.95||68.99||69.25||69.91||69.60||68.99||69.75||69.65||93.59||63.78||82.53||67.78|
|Electricity + Gas||120.55||119.94||90.72||69.51||61.71||61.15||67.77||71.55||50.73||99.80||101.57||86.83|
|Groceries (includes wine and beer)||230.82||274.31||279.71||294.21||259.56||292.39||216.00||236.82||236.52||275.03||192.79||410.02|
|Dining out/Take away/Food delivery||153.85||80.94||99.45||246.90||349.37||308.09||508.84||503.01||557.74||228.95||261.42||342.87|
|House cleaning (per visit)||25.00||25.00||25.00||25.00||25.00||25.00||25.00||25.00||40.00||30.00||30.00||30.00|
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January 2021 – We had a number of Covid-19 restrictions in place when the year started, and then went into a more strict lockdown on January 15, so our expenses with eating out/entertainment were low, and the only transportation expense was the car insurance.
February 2021 – We were in lockdown for the entire month, so our expenses with eating out/entertainment were quite low (with more spent on groceries to cook at home), and the only transportation expense was the car insurance.
March 2021 – The weather warmed up and our electricity + gas bill was lower, due to not using the heating as much. Lockdown measures started to ease on March 15, but not much has changed as far as eating out, so our expenses in that category were still low. We took short drives for errands but didn’t need to fill the tank yet and the only transportation expense was the car insurance.
April 2021 – We went out more often due to the pandemic restrictions easing up as well as retail/hospitality and services reopening. As a result, spending on eating out/restaurants has increased, and we needed fuel for the car.
May 2021 – We were eating out more often and spending more time out and about – the weather has been beautiful! As a result, spending on eating out/restaurants has increased, and we needed fuel for the car as well.
June 2021 – Summer arrived in Lisbon! The weather is usually quite warm during the day but cools down at night. Our spending was pretty similar to May. One change was on our car insurance, as we switched companies to get a lower rate.
July 2021 – With warm and sunny days this month, and after getting fully vaccinated against covid-19, we are feeling more comfortable getting around, so our expenses with eating out and fuel for the car went up.
August 2021 – It’s the warmest month of the year! Many people take vacation time in August and a number of businesses close for the month or part of the month. We enjoyed going to a few favourite beaches in the Lisbon area and went on a short road trip to São Martinho do Porto and Figueira da Foz, near Coimbra. Expenses with eating out and groceries were similar to July, but this month we spent more on gas.
September 2021 – We still had great weather, but stayed around the Lisbon area only. Costs with groceries and eating out were similar to August but we spent a bit less on gas. We are moving to a larger apartment, so we had to sort out a few things for that, and the higher cleaning cost was for a good pre-move scrub at the new place (€8/h for 5h).
October 2021 – We moved to a larger apartment and our rent cost has gone up. Our new place is a furnished 2 bed/2 bath condo with large terrace + balcony, in a modern building with 2 elevators, heating/AC, etc., great access to restaurants, shops, services, in a more recent subdivision just outside Lisbon called Colinas do Cruzeiro. With the move, we also changed our utility providers: from MEO to Vodafone (for cellphones, internet and cable), from EDP to Galp (for gas and electricity) and from EPAL to SIMAR (for water). Our utility costs for October were a bit off the average, due to final bills from the previous place + new bills for the new place. We also travelled back to Canada for 12 days, and our expenses in Portugal with gas and eating out were lower.
November 2021 – This month, our utility bills still had some extra charges due to final adjustments for the cancellations of the previous contracts and inspection costs. We also spent a week in Spain, and our expenses with groceries and eating out at home were a bit lower.
December 2021 – For the final month of 2021, our utility bills seem to have settled for the new apartment. Our insurance cost went up a bit because we got a newer car. We didn’t travel, so our local eating out expenses were higher than the previous 2 months. Our grocery expenses were also higher due to the holiday season.