If you intend to retire to Brazil, some lifestyle habits will need to change. Sometimes we have to rethink what makes life enjoyable. And in fact this is easy when you move to a foreign country. You’ll be so busy exploring and learning the basics that you may not even think of the high-end diversions that you’re missing…at least not often.

Brazil has a wealth of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables available all year. The meats are great and the seafood and shellfish are mouth-watering and inexpensive. Brazil also manufactures good quality clothes, shoes, and appliances. By buying Brazilian, you’re saving hefty import duties and taxes. If you eat what the locals eat, wear what they wear, and buy what they buy, you’ll be saving significantly.

In terms of entertainment, Brazilians tend to spend lots of time in the homes of friends. Sunday barbecues are a tradition across the country, and you’ll inevitably be invited. Likewise, you’ll probably have frequent visitors in your own home. This is low-cost—but very satisfying—entertainment. Inexpensive neighborhood bars and restaurants can also be found in every city. And if you live near a beach, you’ll find that your cost of entertainment drops further. All you need is a beach umbrella, a couple of chairs, and maybe even a paddleball set. Avoid the tourist destinations and you’ll find that you can truly enjoy yourself for surprisingly little.

In Brazil—as in most countries—the public transportation is much better than in the U.S., and depending on where you settle, you may find that being without a car is not really an inconvenience. For city living, not having a car is a blessing. When you want to tour the country, you can rent a car and let the rental company worry about insurance, maintenance, and keeping the tags up to date.

Here’s a sample monthly budget for two people renting a house in Brazil:

UtilityU.S. $Remarks
Rent (depending on size and location)$740High for Itamaracá, low for João Pessoa
Condominium fees$89 Landlords normally pay condo fees on short-term lease
Property taxes$0
Transportation (public)$64
Gas$7Used for cooking; costs about $15 per tank
Water$10
Electricity$80Assumes only occasional air conditioning, which can increase consumption substantially.
Telephone$22Basic landline service
Internet$51For broadband; Dial-up starts at about $26 reals per month
Cable TV$111For satellite, with all movies and sports; normal cable average is $45
Household help, full time$0Allow $650 reals if a full-time maid is required
Food$424
Entertainment$369
Homeowner’s insurance$0
Total:$1,971
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