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Old 18-12-2009, 11:29   #121
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Faith,
You know who I am talking about cruising on a small amount of money. Yes they are having the time of their life.

I have two couples that are my closest friends that are out cruising. Here's the difference.

Couple # one will throw the laundry over their shoulder and walk to the laundry mat.
Couple # two will rent a car to take the laundry to the laundry mat.

So it all depends on what you think you have to do to make yourself comfortable.

If the OPer feels they can make it and have fun on $500 per month then they'll make it.

I am jealous of couple # one. They have the good life an a beautiful small boat. When we leave in April I would no longer be jealous because we will be living our dream in our small beautiful boat and having a blast.
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Old 18-12-2009, 11:30   #122
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Orissail, that was an interesting post, makes me glad I'm not a US citizen, though we are slowly heading that way. I read somewhere that the whole credit check thing is about to happn here. I'll try and get away before it does.
My idea of full time cruising means I don't care about my credit rating and I use public transport whenever possible, yes I'll keep two cards, one a credit card, one for pulling money out of the wall, but only for my convenience.
The only place I think you might be wrong is the medical stuff. The system you live with in the US is a shocker, so you think the rest of the world must be the same I guess,most other places it better/easier/cheaper. Enough so that I am comfortable without health ins, have been all my life, even cruising Central and South America with two small kids
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Old 18-12-2009, 12:00   #123
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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
.

- - You will "have to" have a credit card to purchase an airline to anywhere involving the USA. Trying to pay in cash will get you arrested as a "potential terrorist." Same with car rentals, hotels and dozens of other activities. Inactivity in using credit or other financial activity lowers your score.
I'm already a "potential terrorist" why because I am ex military. VNV Never had a CC and my drivers license doesn't have my SS # on it. I don't give it out to anyone but my bank, the SS office period and Dept of Veterans Affairs. I don't care who you are you have no right or need to know my SS#.

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- - By the way back in the Jimmy Carter regime, your Social Security Number was transformed by Federal Law into your USA Official Identificaton Number. After a phasing in time period every person born in the USA is issued the number automatically, no legal exceptions. Failure to provide the number upon authorized request is a Federal Crime and any financial transaction can request the number or legally refuse you the service if you fail to produce the number. The rest of the world has had national identity numbers for many more years and is used to showing their "papers" when requested.
Like I said a tracking number.
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Old 18-12-2009, 12:56   #124
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Orissail, that was an interesting post, makes me glad I'm not a US citizen, . . . .
The only place I think you might be wrong is the medical stuff. The system you live with in the US is a shocker, so you think the rest of the world must be the same I guess,most other places it better/easier/cheaper. Enough so that I am comfortable without health ins, have been all my life, even cruising Central and South America with two small kids
One of the trade-offs necessary to be able to life on $500 per month is to not require advanced medical care. In the Caribbean, for sure in the small islands, there just is not the need for advanced medical as the populations are too small. In my 8 years down here I have seen numerous cruisers and couples have to fly home on short notice because the local medical facilities cannot handle the problem. It is a matter of priorities and the locals do not feel like investing in facilities and equipment that few if any will ever use. That is why international medical insurance, especially with children is so important and must include "repatriation" or med-evac.
- - The medical system in the USA is rated 17th in the world, but for USA citizens it is the only access we have to advanced medical technology or care. The locals just do not have the mentality to value the advanced medical procedures as worthwhile and certainly cannot afford them on wages of a few dollars per day. For Europeans cruisers, they are also prepared to have to fly to their home countries for advanced medical care.
- - More advance diagnostic equipment is becoming present in the islands but unfortunately the personnel and doctors do not know how to read or make use of the information. Mis-diagnosis is becoming a very big problem down here. They like collecting the fees for use of the equipment but then, if lucky and or smart, the cruiser will fly home anyway to get a real qualified diagnosis from a system that sees hundreds and thousands of similar cases yearly versus the one or two per year in the islands.
- - A couple of years ago a good friend fell inside her boat and broke a vertebrate bone. The locals tried to fuse it but screwed up and she had to be med-evaced to the USA. They fixed the spine quick and easy in the Florida hospital but they gave her the -super-bug- that is rampant in the USA and she almost died of that. So she -almost- died in both places however the island medical care was simply not up to doing that type of medical procedure.
- - NZ and maybe Australia are still in the far frontier of established civilizations and have not been invaded yet by massive amounts of bureaucrats which nothing useful to do except think up stupid regulations and laws. I visited NZ twice years ago and vowed if I could not live on the seas I would like to live in NZ - which maybe be the last sane place of earth - but that was 20 years ago. How is it now?
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Old 18-12-2009, 19:06   #125
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Couple # one will throw the laundry over their shoulder and walk to the laundry mat.
Couple # two will rent a car to take the laundry to the laundry mat.
What about couple #3, who wash their laundry in a bucket on the boat and hang it up to dry over the lifelines?

THEY could cruise on $500/mo (most months, anyway)!
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Old 18-12-2009, 19:38   #126
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Just a friendly nudge to this thread...

While medical care is certainly a prime consideration for cruising far from home, the "politics" of health care comes perilously close to "political debate" which we don't encourage here.

If we stick to the available health care options and not the "why" or "why not" those options exist or don't exist we'll be fine.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 18-12-2009, 20:38   #127
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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
NZ and maybe Australia are still in the far frontier of established civilizations and have not been invaded yet by massive amounts of bureaucrats which nothing useful to do except think up stupid regulations and laws. I visited NZ twice years ago and vowed if I could not live on the seas I would like to live in NZ - which maybe be the last sane place of earth - but that was 20 years ago. How is it now?
Caught up a little with the rest of the world in those 20 years, so a bit more bureaucracy and red tape. But still a fine almost-free medical system, particularly when it comes to emergency care. Waiting lists are too long for many routine operations in the public healthcare system, but you'll get immediate care if it's urgent. We have a great Accident Compensation system too which largely removes the ability or need to sue the pants off each other anytime someone trips over.
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Old 18-12-2009, 21:25   #128
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Regarding insurance: Liability insurance is fairly reasonable in price, but is the insurance still in effect outside US waters? Or would you need another policy and of course more money to pay for it.

Also on the original purpose of this thread can you cruise on $500/month? I believe you it is possible. Maybe not a world cruise, but coastal cruising is a good choice. Also might want to choose your boat with that budget in mind, and throw the engine overboard and save a ton!
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Old 18-12-2009, 21:43   #129
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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Back to the original concept - living on $500/mo - It all seems to boil down to apples and pears - what are you talking about as "living on"? Forget all your fixed costs of medical and boat insurance, taxes, etc., etc., and you are left with food/drink and fuel. Then sure $500/month is fine. I spent 8 months anchored in Luperon, D.R. and could not spend $2000 for the whole period ($250/mo). That was food, beer, and harbor charges.
- - Very old boats are not insurable so that eliminates a serious expense. If the boat and you can "sail" and only use diesel to get far enough out of harbor to sail - and - you are "off the wind" that cost goes drastically down. I don't think Columbus has many expenses beyond food and musket balls and powder.
- - For those still connected to the modern world and have boat bank loans, etc., etc. that $500/month multiplies by 4 to 6 times.
- - Living down here in the eastern islands, locals can live on a few dollars per day - but they don't live as long. Medical facilities are minimal and centered around fixing ordinary health problems. Get a serious or complicated problem and they just start taking measurements for your casket. What North Americans consider "ordinary" medical equipment and care is non-existent down here or the local medical personnel have no idea of how to use it or interpert the results. That means "med-evac" insurance and/or the ability to buy airline tickets on short notice.
- - Which brings up "credit reports". It is supposedly illegal for the Governments to "track you" in the USA at least. But it is okay for private entitities to track you. So the "big-3" credit reporting agencies have total records on anything and everything you have ever done from birth, schooling and grades, to all criminal/civil and also all your financial transactions - everything that you have done that has a "paper trail." That information along with your current record of financial transactions is used to determine your "credit score." Used to be as a business entity you could purchase from the credit reporting agencies anything from the total dossier to just what interested you. Now, they use the "credit score" as a simple indicator of financial and social risk.
- - You will "have to" have a credit card to purchase an airline to anywhere involving the USA. Trying to pay in cash will get you arrested as a "potential terrorist." Same with car rentals, hotels and dozens of other activities. Inactivity in using credit or other financial activity lowers your score.
- - By the way back in the Jimmy Carter regime, your Social Security Number was transformed by Federal Law into your USA Official Identificaton Number. After a phasing in time period every person born in the USA is issued the number automatically, no legal exceptions. Failure to provide the number upon authorized request is a Federal Crime and any financial transaction can request the number or legally refuse you the service if you fail to produce the number. The rest of the world has had national identity numbers for many more years and is used to showing their "papers" when requested.
- - So living onboard a sailing boat for $500/month is possible if you stay out of all first world countries, their financial, medical and transportation facilities, and never get sick or have a medical condition requiring modern medical techniques.
- - Actually, that is a major factor in a lot of full-time live-aboard cruisers or what could be called "waterborne" ex-pats. Of course, you will find thousands of "ex-pats" living in 3rd-world type countries just because they cannot deal with the total lack of freedom and privacy in the major 1st world countries especially the USA.
Good post! Clear, factual, with an informative pov. I aspire to join the waterborne ex-pats within a year. Society seems destined toward ever more centralization, homogenization of thought, and destruction of diversity (of species and non-conforming behavior) as the world becomes more crowded. But, with the likely increasing scarcity and cost of fossil fuels over the next several decades, these big entities will become more and more irrelevant and inefficient me thinks. Which has also trimmed my small interest in "motor sailors" toward primarily good sailing boats.

Lostmt, don't you find that the things you saw and learned as a soldier about the way things work, are harbingers or essences that are difficult for civilians to understand and accept?

Cruising on $500 mo. I would think possible but not advisable. I think a cushion planned in of at least another $500 mo would be advisable for what appears to be the inevitable surprises, accidents and/or breakdowns in equipment. The law of the sea, it appears to this student, is to always have a plan B, and when one can, a plan C.

As for medical, I found the discussion in Lat 38 a while back quite illuminating and surprising re the quality and cost of medical care for ex-pats in Mexico. Excerpt & link follows:

Quote:
What are we missing?
MORE ON MEXICAN MEDICAL COVERAGE
In last month's Changes, you wrote about a USA Today article that reported how Americans who get an FM3 visa in Mexico can become part of the IMSS — sort of Mexico's social security system — health system. As the article pointed out, for a maximum of about $300 a year — not a month! — Americans who signed up can get treatment with no deductible for everything from tests to surgery to medicines to X-rays to dental and eyeglasses.
If I might add, two of the greatest things about the Mexico IMSS Health Plan is that there is no limit on pre-existing conditions and no age limit. So if you are a 75-year-old U.S. citizen who's never paid a cent into the system, you can still sign up for coverage as soon as you get your FM3 visa. I can't think of any other ‘civilized’ country where you can enter, become a legal resident for about $140, and get full medical coverage for about $250 CN/year.
For example, I tried to get a Canadian residency visa about five years ago, but since I was over 55, it was nearly impossible — even though I had sponsors to run a small boatyard and boat restoration program. After 55, you need to have about $1 million U.S. before they even let you apply. They won't even accept doctors or dentists who don't have the million!
The Mexican health insurance system is actually quite amazing, as it takes only a month or so — and lots of paperwork — to get an FM3 visa. If you apply at a Mexican Consulate in the U.S., it can take about a week. But then you have to get registered at Migración in Mexico within 90 days at the location of your choosing. Keep in mind that the FM3 has to be renewed each year at the same place you originally registered. For a cruiser living in Mexico, or staying there for at least a few months every winter, it's not a big issue.
Latitude 38 Letters - November 2009
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Old 18-12-2009, 22:32   #130
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Nice post Speakeasy! Alot of US residents head across the border for lower cost medical services. Alot of excellent caregivers in Mexico, just do research as best you can, same goes for US doctors as well. I`m a nurse and would not hesitate to get medical tx in another country. Anyone that thinks that the US is the only country in the world with excellent MDs just hasn`t been outside the country. Trust me we have our share of crappy doctors/medical staff.
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Old 19-12-2009, 06:47   #131
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Between 1995-2002 we cruised the Caribbean on the above amount which included boat maintenance/food et al. The boat was well equipped ie solar panels, wind charger etc etc. Can this be done today- always on the hook.
Then the ICW and Cheasepeake Bay on this monthly sum. I pan-fished often to supplement the pot. Would fit into the thread "where has the cruising sub-culture gone?", which I see has today again appeared re discussion.
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The original post - I would really like to know how a cruising couple did it, as stated above, on only $500/mo. Even accounting for inflation between 1995-2002 and 2009, that number is not realistic. As stated it includes -boat/food/et.al.- Also it is not indicated that the figure is "per person" so I will assume it covers both people since they use the word "we."
- - I have been tracking every nickel I spend for the last 20 years on computer spreadsheets (started it as a programming exercise back when you had to build your own computer and write your own programs). Assumming you are in the USA, food for one in 2002 cost me $350/month (for two that would be $700/mo). That blows the numbers out the window before you get to "cruising permits, fuel/oil, water, clothing, souvenirs, postage, and sight seeing fees at museums, etc.
- - One person on a small boat might be able to do the $500/mo if they stay in thir home country waters, don't move very often, don't chase women, don't have a car, and don't have any medical bills for check-ups, etc.
- - Over the years since my food bills for one person per month increased (food prices increase) to $360/mo in 2005 (a lot of time in the D.R. where you can eat out for US$3/day); $500/mo in 2007 (mostly in the D.R. and Grenada); and after acquiring a second mouth to feed in 2008 & 2009 - $625/mo. And that's only eating.
- - In 2002, food was 20% of my total living costs. In 2009 we were able to reduce it to 15% of total living costs (actually the other costs increased, lowering the %). Bottom line, if you are in your own country's waters and never leave, and live an "under the bridge homeless" life-style you might be able to do $500/month.
- - There is one gauge of land versus cruising costs that has held pretty constant over the years and that is you can expect to live a comparable lifestyle to your former land lifestyle for 1/3 of the land costs. This works because the major cost items of house(s) and car(s) are removed along with the costs associated with working for a living. I find this more realistic as most folks do not want to "down grade" their standard of living just because they go cruising.
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Old 19-12-2009, 13:17   #132
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In "Voyaging on a Small Income", Annie Hill cites 35 Pounds (UK)/week as their budget as a cruising couple for everything in 1994. (Just the year before they had a budget of 25/week!) If you adjust this to US $ and adjust for inflation, that works out to $363/month for ALL costs for a cruising couple and they've been cruising since '78 and have it pretty much down to a science. That said, they take many measures of frugality that might not suit all cruisers. $500/month is certainly possible if you're smart about it and willing to live without certain things....
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Old 19-12-2009, 13:38   #133
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If you adjust this to US $ and adjust for inflation, that works out to $363/month for ALL costs for a cruising couple and they've been cruising since '78 and have it pretty much down to a science.
Actually, they have since divorced, which may shed a little light on being this frugal!
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Old 19-12-2009, 13:53   #134
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I can totally relate to one third the cost of being on land
and the last thing I want is a divorce....way to expensive
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Old 19-12-2009, 14:09   #135
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Cruising on 500.00 per month........................Baugh-Humbug....

Merry Christmas!
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