Accommodation and transport are the budget breakers for the traveler in Brazil. In the Northern half of the country you’ll find rooms in guesthouses for around $7-10 a night and up. In Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo you’ll get a dorm bed for $12-15 .
If you’re planning on staying for a while then in the North East you should be able to find houses for around $100 a month depending on the size and season. The only problems are the cockroaches and the neighbours threatening to kill their children in loud voices every morning. There are better ways to wake up.
As far as apartments In Rio de Janeiro go, a studio might be around $250-400 in a nice area, $150-250 somewhere a bit more colourful. Even in the nice areas you might find yourself quite close to a favela which are often situated precariously on the hills behind the good neighbourhoods. You’ll get used to the sounds of gunshots at night – it’s all part of living in an apartment in Rio de Janeiro.
All accommodation prices in Brazil increase by a factor of ten around New Year and Carnival . If you’re going to be around at this time you’re definitely advised to book your accommodation well ahead. The hostels in Rio de Janiero for Carnival fill up months in advance and many landlords make as much in a week as they do the rest of the year.