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American Peanut Butter

A 12oz (350 grams) of Skippy Peanut Butter cost 19.98 reais. At the Real vs US$ exchange rate today, that is US$11.41.

UPDATE: 14 Nov 08 – US$ = 2.30 Reais, which now means the above will cost you US$8.68.  This illustrates the importance of the exchange rate if your income while living in Brazil is based on the US$.

UPDATE: 12 Nov 09 – US$ = 1.73 Reais.  The price of the Skippy’s Peanut butter now R$12.98, in US$ that is $7.50

Brazilian Peanut Butter

This is the Brazilian brand. It is 250 grams (8.8 oz). It cost 5,13 reais or US$2.13

UPDATE: 12 Nov 09 – US$ = 1.73 Reais.  The price of the Amendocrem Peanut butter is R$4.89, in US$ that is $2.87.

At this point, you are probably saying to yourself “Who cares?”. But stick with me. This will all make sense in a bit.

Money Index:
If you are an American who has been eating peanut butter sandwiches since you were a kid and still eat them, you will have to factor this into your cost of living in Brazil if you insist on American peanut butter.

The point is we are individuals and give priority to specific services and products. To have a more perfect “cost of living index”, you need a “Price-Weighted Index”. Common term used in stock portfolio indexes. But here, your “stock” is the product or service you will be paying for in Brazil.

If you are Pierre from France, you could careless about peanut butter. Thus, it isn’t a part of your cost of living index in Brazil. Your concern will most likely be wine.

A Korean moving to Brazil will want to know how much Kimchi cost.

It is the importance you give to a specific product or service that will influence your “Cost of Living Index in Brazil”.

Happy Index:
Instead of money, let’s look at “happiness”. Cultural stuff. This can be much more important than the Money Index. You understand money, but you don’t understand living in Brazil. This place can bug the hell out of you until you get acclimatized. :-)

So what is the Happy Index? It is giving a numeric value to those things you value. Is driving on safe streets a high priority (weighted index)? Give it a 10 out of a 100. Sleeping at night without noisy? 20 out of 100. Great Internet service? 5 out of 100. Good health care? 30 out of 100. So you can do the same as the money index but on a cultural basis.

By the way, make up the Happy Index for your present situation then compare to your Brazilian Happy Index. Could help you make the right decision….go or no go to Brazil.

Old Days Stories:

I was teaching a Business English class in the US. I asked the students which is the best country in the world? After the initial “my country”, there was silence and they started thinking. Everyone was suspicious of the question – say the wrong thing and the teacher nails me?. They pondered, frowned, wiggled in their seats. Remember, this is a class of international students studying English in the USA. The silence of the students contributed to the difficulty of the situation. Finally, an Arab student said “Depends on what is important to you.” Bingo! The discussion moved forward at a quick clip after that. It was a mini-United Nations. In the end, hopefully, they smoothed out their nationalistic sharp, edges and understood that we have individual likes and dislikes, which determine our attitudes towards other cultures and thus our ability to adjust – or not.

That is the Happy Index.



Unless you are being sent to Brazil by your company, leave your “Home Country Lifestyle” behind. In other words, forget American peanut butter, Kimchee, (wine no problem). Too many gringos want to bring their whole lifestyle with them to Brazil.  Bad idea.