Alot has been made of the Mercer list of 10 top most expensive cities for expats. Sao Paulo has made the top 10, and not surprisingly, for those of us who live here. I would argue for Sao Paulo to be even more expensive than Hong Kong and Singapore, but we did live in those cities in another life time.
I think it's also important not to compare how the locals afford to live - they benefit from public medical care, public schooling, public transport, family / government housing. Ok yes, they are not the best in the world but they are available to a certain extent. As expats we have to consider housing (at an expat rate), earning in US dollars, private schooling (eek!), cars (for the record we walk, take buses and taxis alot too but with number 2 on the way a car seemed more cost efficient over the next couple of years).
It's hard not to focus on the cost of things here; on a daily basis I will be shocked by the cost of something but at the same time, I am slowly getting use to it. We live here in Brazil on our (well, Tim's) savings (USD) and came here off our own back (no company expenses here unfortunately) so with a combination of us getting use to it, the real weakening with the dollar strengthening hopefully our lives will become more affordable!
2. Huffington Post