Portugal is not cheap! What am I doing wrong?

Portugal is not cheap! This is how a message on a Facebook group started and it really caught my attention making me respond to it, because this is exactly how I feel!

The expectations moving to Portugal

So I never respond or talk to people on social media because I am really an introvert and don’t really interreact with people that much, in virtual life or real life. I don’t know how this and a career on YouTube will go hand in hand, really!

But this message from a very nice lady who  moved from UK in Portugal caught my attention. She said she was disappointed because she is not saving any money, with this move. She expected that her cost of living to drop, comparing to UK, but in fact the cost is the same and for some things, it’s really higher. Where are the savings?

She said that she made her homework, accounted for all the big expenses like buying a car, insurance, she owned her house so she doesn’t have mortgage or rent to pay, she knew that electricity is expensive. She made a budget upfront, but nevertheless the calculations she made based on research are not remotely the same as the reality.

Reading the article, I really thought that a video on this subject is a must because until  this message I never really saw anyone saying this bluntly and publicly that Portugal is not cheap.

If you dare to say anything bad about Portugal you will be crucified online!

So everybody talks only about the good, posts on Instagram only the fabulous pictures, and so it happens, the reality behind the photos is swept under the rug.

Even on my YouTube channel, if I don’t praise Portugal, the comments are somehow disturbing, aggressive.

Is Portugal still a good place to live?

Let’s me start by saying that “the reality” of the actual cost of living in Portugal is something very subjective. It depends mainly on what is important for you in life.

I personally feel that Portugal is not that cheap. Does that mean that is not a very good place to live? NO, it means that a lot of people took their information’s from mainstream media and made life changing decision based on the glossy covers of the magazines. It means that there is a shortage of real information about the real life here in Portugal. But it doesn’t mean the real life is bad, it’s just different from the picture is painted.

And the main problem is not that food is more expensive, is that we expected to be cheaper. Our expectations are the real problem here, not Portugal.

What are the people saying?

Someone in that discussion said: it’s our responsibility to ensure that we can afford it; Yes, 100% agree to that.

Others seem to think that the problem is the location. Meaning, life in the south of Portugal is very expensive, life in the North and the Center of Portugal is way cheaper.

Another opinion is that you have to live like a local, embrace the Portuguese way because you cannot have you cake and eat it too! As much as this is true, I think it’s not doable, not at the beginning, not in the first few months. You have to learn about the ways of the locals and even then, your 30-40-50 years customs cannot change overnight.

There are also people agreeing the cost of life in Portugal has risen, and somebody said: “I agree that the prices have shot up in the last 10 years (sardines were 1 euro a kilo, now 12 euros a kilo!

Someone’s said: everything is more expensive in Portugal except wine and council tax. At least everybody seems to agree that council tax is way cheaper in Portugal and in the UK.

What to do?

The conclusion? We have to take the rough with the good. We use to watch our parents and think they are Gods until we realize they are just humans. Portugal is the same, just a country with problems, with a lot of problems, a poor country with an amazing geographical position on the continent, with amazing landscape and amazing culture preserved, but just a country, not a miracle.

You cannot move to Portugal just to save money. You will be disappointed.

There are other measures in life than economic ones. You have to move to Portugal for Portugal. For the landscape, the culture, for the fact that you can live outside 360 days a year, for the lack of stress that is prolonging your life with 5-10 years, for the ocean and the mountains, and for the people.  Move to Portugal for the castles, and the vineyards and the wine, for the oranges, for the customs.

And if you can get all that at price that you can afford, without thinking if it’s cheaper or more expensive than your old life – you should be content that you can afford to get so much out of life.

That is my opinion and my take on Portugal until now. For more articles about the lifestyle in Algarve Portugal, visit the dedicated section.