Teach English in Brazil: Financial Snapshot
ESL teachers in Brazil typically earn between R$800 and R$3,000 per month and enjoy a low cost of living. The low cost of living, dining, and travelling expenses allow for a moderate lifestyle.
Apartment costs are higher in Rio De Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Brasilia, but more affordable in city centres like Santos, Salvador (Bahia), Recife (Pernambuco), or Fortaleza (Ceara). The same modest apartment in Rio De Janeiro, Sao Paulo or Brasilia costing R$1,500/month or higher may only cost R$800/month in Salvador. R$2,500/month in Sao Paulo would provide a high-end apartment. A fully furnished one-bedroom hotel flat with access to a swimming pool in Santos, for example, could be found for approximately R$1,500. Finding an adequate apartment in one of the less expensive city centres for R$500 - 700 is realistic. Sometimes student housing near universities is available and more affordable.
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 and Citibank.
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)
- 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)
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.
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 food costs in Brazil.
- 1/2 Gallon Whole Milk - R$1.80
- 1 lb. Whole Chicken - R$6.75
- 1 lb. Dry Pasta - R$.70
- 1 lb. Baking Potatoes - R$1.
- 1 lb. Rice - R$1.35
- 1 lb. Coffee Beans - R$3.75
- 1 lb. Bananas - R$.45
- Loaf of White Bread - R$2.10
- 1 Dozen Eggs - R$1.50
- Head of Leaf Lettuce - R$.80
- Giant pizza - $R20-30
- Can of Coke - $R2.07
- Bottled Water (1.5L) - $R1.50