The cost of living in Portugal is relatively low compared to most other Western European countries. Total living costs for a single person are likely to be around €500-600 (US$635-760) per month, so one can easily get by on a monthly salary of €1,000. Of course, this will depend where you live, the way you shop and how often you eat out.
It should be quite possible get by on €150 (US$190) per month for groceries. A room in a shared apartment, in a good neighborhood, will cost around €200 (US$254) per month, while €300-500 (US$380-635) would land you a decent apartment. Rental space at the higher end of the scale will likely include utilities such as water, electricity and gas.
Public transportation is in Portugal is quite cheap. Bus trips across town cost €1.50 (US$1.90) while a single ticket on the metro costs just €0.85 (US$1.08). One-day passes that can be used on train, metro and bus services can be bought €4 (US$5.00, and three-day passes are available for €9 (US11.50). Express buses are a good way to travel between major cities. A one-way trip from Lisbon to Oporto costs €16.50 (US$21).
For those living in Lisbon, the ‘Lisboa Card’ allows you to use all public transportation within the city and also offers free entrance or discounts at most monuments, museums and tourism circuits. The prices are €15 (US$19) for 24 hours, €26 (US$33) for 48 hours and €32 (US$41) for 36 hours. In Oporto, you can purchase a similar ‘Porto Card’ which also includes free or discounted entrance to performance venues, cruises on the River Douro, traditional shops and restaurants. This pass costs €7.50 (US$9.50) for one day, €11.50 (US$14.60) for two days and €15.50 (US$19.70) for three days.
The cost of eating out depends on the restaurant. There are many small snack bars that where the locals that offer meals for around €8-11 (US$10-14) per person. In restaurants, dinner with two or three courses and a bottle of wine costs in the region of €13-20 (US$16.50-25). In up-market restaurants you will pay anything from €30-50 (US$38-64) per person. Generally speaking, dining-out is much cheaper in Portugal than most other western European countries.
For lunch, a cheese or ham sandwich costs roughly €1.50-2 (US1.90-2.50) and a slice of cake will be less than €2. An espresso, known as ‘bica’ in Portugal costs €0.60 (US$0.76) in a traditional café while a galão, which is regular coffee with milk, costs around €0.70-1.20 (US$0.90-1.50). A cup of tea is a little more expensive, at €1-1.50 (US$1.30-1.90). A beer in a bar is similarly priced, but a glass of fresh orange juice will cost around €2.50 (US$3.20).
A general overview of what to expect teaching English in Portugal
Information on visa requirements to teach English in Portugal