So what is the cost of quality of life? Pretty damn expensive in Rio de Janeiro. This proud little beach city has jumped from number 141 to 19 on the ECA International list of the most expensive urban centers.
I have to say, I can see it! Just the other night some friends and I were talking about rising beer prices. Yes, that is where we noticed it first. Hello, we're in Brazil.
Anyway, when I got here some years back I could buy a 900ml bottle of beer for R$2.30 (US$1.46). Now it costs around R$4.50 (US$2.85). Not much of a difference but a definite increase. Let's not forget milk going up from R$1.70 to R$2.85, bus fare from R$1.70 to R$2.80, cigarettes from R$2.30 to R$4.50, and Coconut water from R$1.50 to R$3.50.
And these are little things that are from here. Let's look at Revista Globo's examples of the cost of things that are in both Brazil and abroad.
Cupcakes, those tasty fancy little bastards that kill everyone's attempt at a diet: In the US they are US$2.75 (R$4.43) and in Rio de Janeiro they are US$4.14 (R$6.50)
Another diet killer, the chocolate croissant: The best in France costs 1.50 euros (R$3.44) and in Rio de Janeiro it's 2.20 euros (R$5.00). In the R$5 Croissant's defense, it's supposed to be just like the French version. I figure it's worth the dough because if you go cheap on a chocolate croissant in Rio you'll basically get bread with a piece of sticky Hersey's chocolate in the middle.
Onsies, that great little baby basic: In the US it's like 35 cents for a pack of 6 and in Brazil R$20 for a super crappy version that you'll put on your child once. Ok, I'm exaggerating a little bit, but seriously the difference in kids stuff is AMAZING! It costs a small fortune to own anything we consider basic in the US. I brought all my stuff from the home. For those interested in actual numbers, in the US for a Gerber Newborn girly pack of 6 onsies costs US$9.99 (R$15.76) and in Brazil for one onsie from Babe Basico $20.30 (R$32). It's hard to believe that one good quality onsie would cost that much...
I could continue this comparison forever. The article goes on to cover gym memberships, concert tickets, beauty salons, Moleskine notebooks, and chino pants.
We get it, things cost more here.
Now look at the minimum wage. It's something like R$545 (US$345.64) a month. It comes as no surprise that rice and beans stay the staple food down here. At R$2.89 (US$1.83) for 1 kilo of a good brand of rice and R$2.79 (US$1.77) a kilo for a good brand of black beans, it's affordable.
That and they are damn tasty! Talk about making something so simple so good. It's just like what the Cariocas did with the butt.
Anyway, why do you think Rio de Janeiro's cost of living is so high in comparison to the rest of the world?