Teach English in Brazil: Financial Snapshot

Teach English in Brazil: Financial Snapshot

ESL teachers in Brazil typically earn between R$1,000 and R$4,000 per month and enjoy a low cost of living. The low cost of living, dining, and travelling expenses allow for a moderate lifestyle.

Living and Teaching in Brazil
Brazil: At a Glance
Brazil: Living in Brazil
Brazil: Teaching ESL in Brazil
Brazil: Financial Snapshot

Expected Apartment Costs in Brazil
Banking in Brazil
Food Costs in Brazil 




Expected Apartment Costs in Brazil

Apartment costs are higher in Rio De Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia, but more affordable in cities like Porto Alegre and Florianopolis. The same modest apartment in Rio De Janeiro, Sao Paulo or Brasilia costing R$2,000/month or higher may only cost R$1,500/month in Porto Alegre. Apartment costs also decline significantly outside of the city centres, often by as much as 40%. Sometimes student housing near universities is available and more affordable. 

Banking in Brazil

Brazil's once cash-only economy is moving to a more modern debit and credit card system. ATMs are readily accessible and many accept foreign cards, allowing withdrawals of the local currency from an account in one's home country.

Most banks in Brazil are open Monday through Friday, 10:00 - 16:00, and have at least one English speaking employee. There are many private and state-owned banks throughout Brazil, and a few international banks, including, HSBC, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, and Deutsche Bank.

Even though online banking is available, many Brazilians choose to go to the bank in person, making lengthy queues something to anticipate.

The following documentation is required in order to open a bank account in Brazil:

  • A valid foreigner's identity card (Cëdula de Identidade para Estrangeiro - CIE) which contains the Registro Nacional De Estrangeiro (RNE). The temporary RNE document may also be accepted.
  • Individual Taxpayer's number (Cadastro de Pessoa Física - CPF, also referred to as Cadastro Individual de Contribuintes - CIC)
  • Proof of domicile (e.g. utility bill in the name of the person opening the account)
  • In some cases, proof of income (i.e. pay slips or a letter from your employer)

A couple of tips:

  • ESL teachers should take start up money to cover initial set-up costs, apartment costs, and other living expenses prior to receiving their first paycheque.
  • Credit card companies in one's home country should be made aware of one's relocation so that they don't freeze accounts when they see charges in another country (unusual pattern).
  • Caution should be exercised when using ATM machines by covering the keypad when entering the PIN. Also, be alert to devices placed over the ATM's card reader by third parties.

Food Costs in Brazil

The cost of living in Brazil is quite low; however, the purchase of imported goods is generally higher than one would pay in North America. The following table provides ESL teachers examples of average food costs in Brazil.

  • 1 Liter Milk -  BRL$5.20
  • 1 kg. Chicken Breast - BRL$20.32
  • 1 kg. Rice - BRL$5.80
  • 1 kg. Potatoes - BRL$5.16
  • 1 kg. Bananas - BRL$5.45
  • Loaf of White Bread - BRL$7.12
  • 1 Dozen Eggs - BRL$9.65
  • Head of Leaf Lettuce - BRL$3.40
  • Bottled Water (1.5L) - BRL$3.25

Other Latin America Countries:

Argentina ~ Brazil ~ Chile ~ Colombia ~ Costa Rica ~ Ecuador ~ Guatemala ~ Honduras ~ Mexico ~ Panama ~ Peru