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Currency and Cost of Living

Brazil - Currency and Cost of Living

The Brazilian unit of currency is the Real (R$ or BRL), made of 100 centavos. Notes are issued in denominations of R$100, R$50, R$10, R$5 and R$1, while coins come in denominations of R$1, and 50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 centavos. As at October 2006, 1R$ was equal to US$0.46, GBGBP0.25 and EUR0.37.

The cost of living in Brazil is low for those who have an overseas income or earn foreign currency. However, local salaries are very low, so if you are employed by a Brazilian company and earn Reals, you may find your living costs to be fairly high. In 2005 the minimum wage was R$300, and most workers are paid less than double this.

Restaurant meals are usually good value, and the service and food are generally good, whether you opt for local or international cuisine. Maids and other domestic help are also available at very low cost. The cost of real estate is low compared with many western countries.

Typical prices include:

Litre of petrol R$3.10
Loaf of bread R$1.50
5kg rice R$17.00
1kg potatoes R$2.48
12 eggs R$5.89
1.5 litre of bottled water R$2.50
Glass of local draft beer R$2.70
Restaurant meal from $5 to R$50

A service charge of 10% is usually included in a restaurant bill. It is normal practice to leave a tip of around 10% in hair salons, but taxi drivers don't normally expect a tip, while petrol pump attendants do.

US dollars are widely accepted in larger hotels, restaurants and stores in the main cities and towns. It may be helpful to carry currency in small denominations in Brazil, as it is reportedly sometimes difficult to get change from large notes.

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