Maceio, Brazil

The white-sand beach and light blue waters of Maceio, Brazil

Living Costs in Maceio, Brazil

Maceio is modern, clean, and elegant…with miles of brilliant, white-sand beaches studded with colorful umbrellas and bordered by tall, swaying palms. Its warm turquoise waters gently lap the shores as beachgoers from all over enjoy the sun and sand.

And what’s even better, you can buy a large, three-bedroom apartment here for less than US$75,000, and live in it for under US$1,400 per month.

The cost of living is moderate in Maceio by Brazilian standards, (and low by North American standards). I’ve seen places in Brazil that were considerably less—and also considerably more—although you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place to live than Maceio.

For a basic retiree’s budget, I’d plan on spending no less than US$1,800 per month if you plan on renting; US$1,350 per month if you plan to buy your own home. Neither of these includes the cost of running a car.

But remember that these numbers will vary for everyone. If you spend most of your time at home (or on the beach), you’ll spend less. And you can certainly spend a lot more…especially if you rely on North American brand names and imported items.

Regardless of what you spend for the household budget, you’ll need to add about US$300 per month if you plan on using a car to get around…more if you were commuting every day to work.

To make the budgeting somewhat less subjective, I’ve broken down my number into specific line items for both household budgets and car ownership.

When calculating your own budget, be sure to add those items you want that are not shown below…things like household help, trips home, country exploration, and medical. And then subtract those items we’ve included that you don’t need.

Also, if you own a car, you can subtract some or all of the public transportation cost. Remember that these costs will change as the exchange rate changes.

This first table is for people who plan on renting an apartment in Maceio:

Renting an apartment

  Reals US dollars  
Rent R$700 US$400 Two-bed, two-bath apartment in Ponta Verde, unfurnished.
Condominium fees R$250 US$143 Average condo fee for Maceió
Property taxes R$0 US$0  
Transportation (public) R$106 US$61  
Gas R$11 US$6 Used for cooking; costs about R$32 per tank
Water R$21 US$12  
Electricity R$125 US$71 Assumes only occasional Air Conditioning
Telephone R$37 US$21 Basic landline service
Internet R$85 US$48 For broadband. Dial-up starts at about R$30 reals per month
Cable TV R$159 US$91 For satellite, with all movies and sports; normal cable average US$32
Household help, full time R$185 US$325 Minimum wage is US$283 per month
Food R$850 US$486  
Entertainment R$750 US$429  
Homeowner’s insurance R$0 US$0  
       
Total R$3,279 US$2,093  

This budget assumes that you own a house in the area. The specific tax and utility rates are from a three-bedroom, two-bath house in the Farol district.

Owning your own house

Item

 Reals

Dollars

Remarks

Rent R$0 US$0  
Condominium fees R$0 US$0  
Property taxes R$76 US$43 Tax rate taken from a three-bed/two-bath home in Farol district
Transportation (public) R$106 US$61  
Gas R$11 US$6 Used for cooking; costs about R$32 per tank
Water R$25 US$14  
Electricity R$138 US$79 Assumes only occasional Air Conditioning
Telephone R$37 US$21 Basic landline service
Internet R$85 US$48 For broadband. Dial-up starts at about R$30 reals per month
Cable TV R$159 US$91 For satellite, with all movies and sports; normal cable averages US$32
Household help, full time R$185 US$325 Minimum wage is US$283 per month for 2010
Food R$850 US$486  
Entertainment R$750 US$429  
Homeowner’s insurance R$88 US$50  
       
Total R$2,510 US$1,653  

And finally, here are the approximate costs of car ownership. Here I’m assuming that you’re using the car to get around town, but not using it for commuting a distance to work every day.

Owning a Car

Item

 Reals

Dollars

Remarks

Car registration R$71 US$40 Based on a US$20,000 car
Insurance R$101 US$58 Full coverage on a US$20,000 car
Maintenance R$80 US$45  
Fuel R$265 US$151 R$2.71 per liter for Gasoline
Car total R$516 US$295  

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