Portugal is still the most affordable place in Western Europe to buy a property and has low taxes too. But the savings don’t even stop there. Read our guide to making your euros go a lot further when you move in.
Even if you’re not living life on a tight budget, you won’t want to pay more for you daily living costs than you have to in your new home. Some things that are cheap in the UK cost the earth in Portugal and vice versa, so it’s important to learn how to be savvy with your money. Here are my five top tips that helped save me a considerable sum when I purchased my home here.
Shop and eat as the locals do and you will save a lot of money.
1. Avoid imported products
Anyone who stubbornly insists on buying their favourite brand of British food and drink, such as Marmite and PG Tips, will have a huge grocery bill. These items can be hard to come by and will set you back a considerable sum compared to prices on the shelves of Britain’s supermarkets. If you can adjust to shopping and eating (both in and out) as the locals do, you will save a lot of money and immerse yourself far more in the local culture.
2. Stay off the tourist trail
Delightful though it is to enjoy a cocktail or two at a swanky beach bar, try to keep this as a treat for entertaining guests – ideally when they’re paying because they want to thank you for your hospitality! You really do pay a premium for location in Portugal, and can easily be charged an astronomical price if you choose the wrong restaurant or bar just because it looks a bit plush. Places slightly off the beaten track that the locals frequent will be far cheaper and far more authentic, which is great for integration.
3. Don’t only shop in supermarkets
It’s as easy to get stuck in the trap of always shopping at the supermarket when you make the move to Portugal, just as you probably did back in the UK. To do so, however, is a terrible waste of the country’s fabulous markets and roadside stalls. Shopping at markets will both save you money and give you access to foods that aren’t so easy to find elsewhere. If you want the very best strawberries, figs, baby melons and olives, visiting your local market is a must.
If you want the very best strawberries, figs, baby melons and olives, visiting your local market is a must.
4. Make use of trips home
Some items in Portugal are ludicrously expensive. Much of the time this is because they are imported, but in other cases it’s merely a quirk of the country. Once you have identified these overpriced goods, make a point of grabbing them when you take trips to other countries, including those back to the UK. Some pricey items worth buying elsewhere include sun cream and other cosmetics, prescription glasses and some electrical goods.
One way you can save a few euros is buy negotiating for a lower price on your property. Read our guide, How to Negotiate Abroad, for essential tips on how get a better house for your money.
5. Shop carefully for phone, internet and TV packages
Much like in the UK, Portugal’s TV and internet providers tend to offer their very best deals to new customers, somewhat neglecting their more established clientele. While trawling websites detailing phone plans and bandwidth caps isn’t as fun as a dip in the pool or a stroll along the beach, it’s well worth hunting down the most cost-effective contracts.