European Portuguese Vocabulary, Expressions, and Cultural Perspectives. 

The Portuguese love to complain about money, or the lack thereof. As a matter of fact, it is an essential component of our lives, no matter our location in the world. But in Portugal especially, after over 40 years of dictatorship, and more recent economic turmoils, money has become synonymous with survival. 

How to talk about money in Portuguese? In this blog post, I put together European Portuguese vocabulary and expressions related to money, as well as the cultural view of money in Portuguese society.

As more and more people are choosing to invest in Portugal, I hope this will help you not only talk about wealth and prosperity, but also better understand them from a local’s perspective. 

Vocabulary and Expressions Related to Money

The Portuguese word for money is o dinheiro. It’s a masculine noun. 

4 Important Verbs Related to Money

When talking about money, there are four verbs you need to know. Good news! All of them are regular verbs, which means their conjugations follow regular patterns. 

You might like: 
The Present Tense in European Portuguese
How to Build a Sentence in Portuguese?

Gastar – to spend

Gastar dinheiro 
Spend money

Gastar tempo
Spend time

Eu gasto muito dinheiro.
I spend a lot of money.

Ganhar – to earn

Ganhar dinheiro
Earn money

Ganhar bem
Earn well

Ganhar mal
Earn little

O presidente do meu país ganha muito.
My country’s president earns a lot.

Teacher tip: ganhar also means to win. For example, to win a prize will be ganhar um prémio

Poupar – to save

Poupar dinheiro
To save money 

Poupar tempo
To save time

Poupar mais
To save more

Teacher tip: In Portuguese, to save in the sense of rescuing is not poupar, but salvar. Salvar vidas, for example, means to save lives. 

É importante poupar dinheiro.
It’s important to save money.

Get The Most COMPLETE Vocabulary List for FREE

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Custar – to cost

    Custar muito 
    To cost a lot

    Custar pouco
    To cost little

    O meu carro custa muito.
    My car costs a lot. 
    You might also like:
    The 50 Most Important Verbs in Portuguese

    Important Vocabulary when Speaking about Money in Portuguese

    Tips to travel to Portugal 

    To effectively communicate about in European Portuguese, you’ll need to know some of these words.

    Money can come in different forms. In Portugal, in most shops and restaurants, you can pay by but if you are there for a short time, it might be better to go to to as many places don’t accept international cards. So if you are travelling to Portugal, it might be better to always have on you.

    There are certain things you must do before coming to Portugal. First, you must go to so you can in Portugal is the Euro, so you will find it very easily. If you are lucky, won’t be too high.

    Finally, if you are living in Portugal or planning to move, one of the first things you must do is . That will be like your local digital . Once that is done, you can easily track your , , and .

    Useful Sentences about Money in Portuguese

    Preciso de dinheiro
    I need money

    Não tenho dinheiro
    I don't have money

    More Vocabulary about Money in Portuguese



    To pay

    A loja

    O preço

    O desconto 

    A promoção

    O recibo

    Sentences you need at the shop in Portuguese

    Posso pagar com cartão de crédito?
    Can I pay with a credit card? 

    Quanto custa?
    How much does it cost? 

    Gostaria de devolver isto.
    I would like to return this. 

    Aceitam dinheiro em espécie?
    Do you accept cash? 

    Portuguese Idioms and slang related to money

    For my advanced learners, here are some money related idioms to impress everyone with your amazing Portuguese!

    A massa

    Quem tem massa vai ao Porto, quem não tem ficou em casa are the lyrics of a famous futebol relate song. 

    A grana

    Estar com a corda no pescoço. 
    To be in a financial bind.

    Esticar o dinheiro. 
    To stretch the money.

    Dar uma mãozinha. 
    To lend a helping hand.

    Estar a nadar em dinheiro. 
    To be swimming in money.

    What do Portuguese people think about money? Portuguese culture and money. 

    (This part is from my own experience as a Portuguese person. Not every person in the country is the same nor values money in the same way. I am simply sharing what I believe is a more generalised truth to hopefully help you better understand Portuguese culture).

    As in a large part of Europe, especially southern Europe, money is viewed very differently in Portugal than it is in the United States or East Asia. 

    It’s difficult (or even impossible) to save. Salaries are very low in comparison to the high expenses and inflation. Combined with a general cultural fatalism, it makes it difficult for the Portuguese to grow financially and many move to other countries in central and northern Europe for a more comfortable lifestyle. 

    The increase in Portuguese people leaving Portugal is also due to the recent economic challenges which have influenced the local perspective on money.Many Portuguese people prioritise financial stability, value frugality, and are cautious about spending. And it’s very common to hear things like “está difícil!” (it’s getting difficult), “a vida está cara” (life is expensive right now). 

    Modesty and humility are highly valued. Those with expensive cars and houses will often get looks and be the centre of gossip as displaying wealth is neither common nor appreciated. It is very rare to see Portuguese people wearing designer clothing (this is also because one piece is worth more than the average Portuguese earns in a year). Ironically, Portuguese culture puts a large emphasis on image. As it is a small country, most people in the same neighbourhood know each other. So being well dressed, having your hair and nails done, etc is not only common but expected, even from those with low income. 

    Finally, family plays a central role in Portuguese society, and there is a strong sense of familial support, including financial assistance when needed. It is common for families to help one another during difficult times. It is also very common for children to stay at their parents’ house until they get married or even return there if needed. 

      Other important cultural aspects to keep in mind

      Use polite language: Politeness is highly valued in Portuguese culture. When discussing money matters, adopt a respectful tone and use formal expressions, especially in professional or formal settings.

      Context matters: Pay attention to the context of the conversation to determine the appropriate level of detail to discuss finances. Portuguese people often prefer to keep personal financial matters private, particularly when meeting someone for the first time.

      Be mindful of cultural sensitivities: While discussing money is necessary in various situations, be sensitive to the cultural perspective on wealth and avoid making others uncomfortable. Focus on shared experiences and mutual interests rather than solely discussing financial matters.


      You’ve expanded your European Portuguese vocabulary and gained insights into discussing money in Portuguese culture. By incorporating these words, expressions, and cultural perspectives, you’ll navigate financial conversations with confidence and respect for local customs. Remember, language and culture go hand in hand, so embrace the nuances of European Portuguese and appreciate the unique view of money within this vibrant society. Boa sorte! (Good luck!)

      If you liked this post, here are a few things you can do to support me:

      * Leave a comment below with the most useful verbs in this list

      * Share this post with a friend or Pin it on Pinterest

      * Sign up to my newsletter below so you don’t miss any discounts or freebies

        * Book a class with me and get $10 off to achieve your Portuguese learning goals (just scroll down a bit to see my profile, if you can’t see it, click in the image below but make sure to sign up with the link above first to get your discount)

        Scroll to Top