It is often said that the cost of living in Portugal is cheaper than in countries like the United Kingdom and the United States of America, but is that really the case?
People from many countries want to spend their retirement years in Portugal for many reasons like the weather, beaches, cultural and natural richness, etc.
However, one that is really important is the ten-year IRS exemption (if you already pay in another country) or a 20 % deduction if your income originates in Portugal. This tax exemption or deduction only applies for people living in Portugal at least 183 days per year.
Next, I’ll show you if the cost of living in Portugal is really that different in comparison to other countries, specifically the UK and the USA.
Cost of living in Portugal, United Kingdom and United States
The comparison has been made in August 2017 using the Portuguese sites continente.pt and jumbo.pt, the UK site tesco.com and the American site wholefoodsmarket.com – some of the biggest grocery stores in the respective countries.
The comparison “Internet + Tv + Phone” was made in August 2019, between the Portuguese telecommunication provider MEO, the British Virgin and the American Xfinity.
The iPhone XR, Samsung Galaxy S10 and iPad prices were based on the information provided by the Portuguese site Fnac.pt and the British and American sites of Amazon.
Information: the prices for square metre are average prices in Portugal, in the United Kingdom and in the United States. The prices in the “real market” can be much higher than those in the above chart. It will all depend on the region, city and even the borough you chose to live in.
*Prices in 2019
Metro Lisbon/London/New York*
Essence SP95 1 L*
Diesel 1 L*
Toyota RAV 4
1.40 € (-47 % UK) (-34 % USA)
1.46 € (+15 % UK) (+120 % USA)
1.23 € (+/- the same UK) (+150 % USA)
From 33 910 € (+20 % UK) (+50 % USA)
UK / USA
2.40 £ / 2.50 $
1.16 £ / 0.70 $
1.17 £ / 0.67 $
24 765 £ / 24 410 $
*Prices in August 2016
Zara Woman Leather Jacket
Paco Rabanne Invictus
11 € (-47 % UK) (-20 % USA)
149 € (-25 % UK) (-30 % USA)
56 € (-7 % UK) (+20 % USA)
4.80 € (-52 % UK) (-16 % USA)
UK / USA
19 £ / 16 $
179 £ / 249 $
54.95 £ / 55 $
9 £ / 6.70 $
National Minimum Wage*
Minimum wage per hour (net)*
National Average Wage (net)*
557 € (-60.5 % UK)
2.95 € (-62.4 % UK) (-83 % USA)
846 € (-78.7 % UK) (-72.2 % USA)
UK / USA
1299.75 £ / (**)
7.20 £ / 20.40 $
3632 £ / 3577 $
** In the USA, there isn’t just a national minimum wage (each state has its own values). The earnings are calculated by hour – the average gross national minimum wage per hour is 22.10 $.
Summing-up, the cost of living in Portugal is lower than in the United Kingdom and United States of America. If you’re thinking of moving into Portugal before or after your retirement, know that you won’t regret it!
It is true that, if you work for a Portuguese company, you won’t earn that much, but if you’re already retired or can work remotely for your home country company, than it is a fact that it’ll pay off!
Apart from the fact that the cost of living in Portugal is lower than in many countries, you can enjoy all the other things: the great weather, the wonderful gastronomy, the amazing monuments, the breathtaking landscapes and, of course, warm people.