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Old 09-03-2016, 23:00   #1
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Mexico cruising $1k/mo

$1k for a couple and $1200 for them - 40' mono, two adults, two teenagers, one small dog. That's a conversation I had not too long ago, theyve been back two years.
They don't drink and Id say they seem pretty frugal but not destitute. Boat, I'd wager is worth between $40-$65k, some solar, not sure if theres wind or a watermaker.

She said stay in the SOC and out of the gringo shopping areas (Sam's club type places). Obviously on the hook most of the time.

Okay, so recent or current cruisers,would you please share, is she right, is it possible?
If so what does the avg week look like?
Also any details on medical costs, from visits to surgery or alt therapy would really be appreciated.

Muchos Gracias,
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Old 10-03-2016, 00:32   #2
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Re: Mexico cruising $1k/mo

It depends. You really have to break up what you want vs what you need. My wife and I live very comfortably on much less, around 350 per month, and were still in the States.(NOLA). Having an income of 1200$ a month to us would seem like Oprah rich. For some background, she(25) and me (30) still go out, eat, drink well, but weve learned to ask every un-boat related purchase the question " will we die without this?" Were both alive. Check out Wade's website Vagabond Journey. He's a fascinating study of living frugally, but well, and he's been a land traveller for close to 2 decades. Cheers!+
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Old 10-03-2016, 01:06   #3
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Re: Mexico cruising $1k/mo

The answer really depends on a couple items. My wife and I cruised in Mexico for three years and spent less than $1,00/month if we didn't count the following annual items:

- $3,200 boat insurance, which was expensive because we spent summers cruising in the Sea of Cortez and the boat was insured for $200,000 but with a 5% deductible

- $4,000 two trips a year to Seattle and Ft. Meyers Florida to visit elderly parents. We had to rent cars at each location.

- $2,000 to upgrade the boat as we gained more experience living in tropical waters (e.g. full awning/boat cover, much bigger anchor, better refrigerator compressor)

And then there are the unexpected expenses due to cruising. These are "one time" things that seem to occurr over and over.

- $1,000 every three years for a new bottom job

- $1,000 to haulout and repair a grounding ding

- $500 for new house batteries to replace 8-year old ones

Maybe you see the trend here - IF everything goes perfectly and you have no unexpected expenses then $1,000/month is easy. We spent less than that on "living" expenses but those other items really add up.

We seldom went out for dinner and did very few touristy things and still had a great time. But, those "other" expenses can really hit hard
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Old 10-03-2016, 09:20   #4
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Re: Mexico cruising $1k/mo

I'm currently in Mx and have been on and off since 2013. I would agree that you can do it for $1000@ month but only in Mx (not flying to the US every 6 months). To me fuel might be your biggest cost if you're not a drinker. There's not always wind in the Sea of Cortez.
I you look at a typical cruiser in Mx. though, say 70% of them, it's much much more. There is a crowd of "heavier" drinkers and I imagine that bill itself is up around $250+ a month. Those types like to be in marinas with their partier counterparts and pay $700 a month for a slip on a 40+ ft. boat. So you can see it adds up. Over the years, Mx. have been eliminating anchorages in lieu $30 a nigh moorings. All you get for that is a fuel dock and gringo prices at 1 restaurant.
My boat is 35ft. Comfortable for 2 and not a lot of money for boat repair. Start getting up into a 45ft. boat and it quickly doubles. Thats why I always stress to would be cruisers to stay small. I see these first timers by a fairly new 47.5 XL-2 latest bar of soap in the water and dump tons of money into them, only to go cruising for a few years then pack it in. It's just not necessary and many of them claim it will never happen to them. A couple which use to be on this forum, happened to them, exactly like that. They bought a Han Christian, parked it in La Paz, partied hardy, argued constantly and a year later, sold the boat.
I'm in a yard now adding a watermaker and changing a few thru-huls around. I see a lot of the smaller boats here being hauled out, that I have met in anchorages and marinas. Cruising season ends here around June and they go back "home" and work a little before coming back in November. Usually a younger and mature crowd.

On my blog I covered the topic of going small and going now. scroll down about 1/2 way to find ...
What you really need to go cruising Or Is this love or boat envy


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Old 10-03-2016, 09:37   #5
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Re: Mexico cruising $1k/mo

Whoa, $350/mo?!!! How is that possible? You are on the hook in, and in New Orleans right? Food, drinks, cell phone/internet, public transportation, "rent" or on the hook costs, how do you do it do $350, for two? That is amazing, if you ask me, good for you two.
Thanks for the rec, I'll check it out, for sure.
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Originally Posted by jamesbondmustdi View Post
It depends. You really have to break up what you want vs what you need. My wife and I live very comfortably on much less, around 350 per month, and were still in the States.(NOLA). Having an income of 1200$ a month to us would seem like Oprah rich. For some background, she(25) and me (30) still go out, eat, drink well, but weve learned to ask every un-boat related purchase the question " will we die without this?" Were both alive. Check out Wade's website Vagabond Journey. He's a fascinating study of living frugally, but well, and he's been a land traveller for close to 2 decades. Cheers!+
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Old 10-03-2016, 09:41   #6
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Re: Mexico cruising $1k/mo

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$1k for a couple and $1200 for them - 40' mono, two adults, two teenagers, one small dog.
Am I the only one who's not understanding this? $1k for the couple and $1,200 for kids and dog? Or $1k for all living creatures and $1200 for the boat?

My math may be off but no matter which money goes where, $1k + $1200 does not equal "$1k/month" but $2,200?

Where does the extra $1200 come from and where does it go?
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Old 10-03-2016, 09:53   #7
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Re: Mexico cruising $1k/mo

I read it as $1,000 for a couple and $1,200 for four and a dog?

But as has been said over and over, these kinds of budgets are do-able as long as there is an ah crap fund available for when the inevitable happens
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Old 10-03-2016, 09:58   #8
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Re: Mexico cruising $1k/mo

Tacoma, thanks for sharing your observation of others and your personal stats. Seems like once you add in your extras you are about double at 2k/mo. That is why I just can't believe $1k, at least two of those things are bound to happen. And the $500 shoestring, yeah right. Some friends of friends out there with a big blog and such are finding out how they are currently closer to triple that and it looks like they may need to quit for jobs or already have. And they went small too, under 35' that is, doing things right, at anchor, fishing, local tiendas...


Celestial, ive read your comments before and have found them inspirational. Love, love, love that Hayden quote. Good for you and the choices you made. And yes, you did get lucky. What are these jobs from june-november? I mean, really, what are they doing for work that pays well enough to be able to rent a place for a few months in the states or canada and after taxes enough to fund 8 months in mx? We only know ppl who have saved and taken off and when the money runs out, come back, not successful commuter cruisers.
Ps- if you are on the cheap would you buy someone's old pur35 watermaker (1-2gph)?
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:36   #9
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Re: Mexico cruising $1k/mo

We leave in a little over a year, there are a couple of us on the forum that have sort of beaten the how much does it cost to death, I'm one of them.
First, there really are people out there doing it at the $1,000 a month and less, there really are. But they are very independent, DIY is a way of life, they know no other way, and they learn to do without when necessary, and they have very simple boats, I mean Kerosene lantern simple, so it can be done, it is being done.

Then there is the younger crowd that want to cruise till the money runs out or some limited time, and then return to work, well obviously they can put the boat in relatively good shape before they begin and sort of defer maintenance until they return, but they will return and go back to work.

Then there are some like my Wife and I, when we quit work, we're done or certainly hope to be. We intend to do this until it's no longer fun, but realize that there will be life after cruising and our budget is based on unlimited sustainment, meaning that I intend to keep the boat in a high state of repair, for as long as we can cruise, and that will cost much more of course. I'm figuring on taking the complete refit cost, dividing that by ten and having that much available for maintenance under the assumption that everything will be replaced in ten years, somethings that a low number, other it a high number, I hope it will average out.

I've heard it will cost you the same to live cruising that it does to live on land now. I hope not.

But, I have actually come to a conclusion and that is if you have $1k a month available, and really want to do this, then you will figure out a way to make it work, if you have 3, 4 or 5K available, then it''s likely you will spend it.
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:42   #10
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Re: Mexico cruising $1k/mo

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That is why I just can't believe $1k,
You keep saying $1k, but your OP says $1k + $1,200 which is over $2k ...

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Some friends of friends out there with a big blog and such are finding out how they are currently closer to triple that
Friends of mine sailed for 6 yrs, young couple on 34' boat. On average, they spent around $1000 a month - some months / areas way over, sometimes way under.
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:49   #11
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Re: Mexico cruising $1k/mo

I read every budget type thread, but always wonder why they become so contentious.

I've spend a great amount off time researching budget issues of cruising on a sailboat. Except for old stories and young "back packer" types I have not found any budgets really less than $2000/mo once you adjust for all the "not counting" stuff. You can do it for less for 1-2 years maybe because you are putting off the "not counting stuff" or just using voodoo math, but longer than that you are fooling yourself (in my opinion).
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:55   #12
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Re: Mexico cruising $1k/mo

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I have not found any budgets really less than $2000/mo once you adjust for all the "not counting" stuff.
True enough, tho the vast majority also has too big a boat (or just too much bells and whistles) to really go shoestring. And where you spent most of your time also has a lot to do with it.

I think it's easier to say byebye to your cruising kitty in the Caribbean then it is in Patagonia, for instance.
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Old 10-03-2016, 11:13   #13
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Re: Mexico cruising $1k/mo

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I read every budget type thread, but always wonder why they become so contentious.

I've spend a great amount off time researching budget issues of cruising on a sailboat. Except for old stories and young "back packer" types I have not found any budgets really less than $2000/mo once you adjust for all the "not counting" stuff. You can do it for less for 1-2 years maybe because you are putting off the "not counting stuff" or just using voodoo math, but longer than that you are fooling yourself (in my opinion).
Good way to put it. If you only count out of pocket immediate costs like food, water, fuel you can do it very cheaply. Back in the 1970s I lived onboard in the Bahamas for $100/month but I ate a lot of beans and rice, whatever fish and lobster I could catch, never drank and always anchored out. BUT!!!!!!! After a couple of years I needed: a new main (got used for $1500), new standing rigging, batteries, electronics (started with only a VHF). Plus add the costs for insurance and other miscellaneous.

Then how do you account for those rare, unexpected but they could happen expenses like the engine blows up. Doesn't occur often but if it does you could be facing as much as $20,000 if you go new and pay a yard to do it all.

How do you want to amortize other expensive things that have to be replaced periodically? Rigging, depending on where and how much you sail could need replacing in 5-10 years. Figure about $4,000 for a 40-45' boat. Sails, similar useful life if not less. Figure about $3,000 each for main and genoa.
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Old 10-03-2016, 11:13   #14
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Re: Mexico cruising $1k/mo

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True enough, tho the vast majority also has too big a boat (or just too much bells and whistles) to really go shoestring. And where you spent most of your time also has a lot to do with it.
In my research boat size doesn't have as much of a budget impact as it is made out to be. Boat cost has more of an impact because people with expensive boats spend more money in general. (people with small boats always use boat size as the reason for all boat evils)

Yes location plays a big part, but the impact is greatly influenced by cruisers "growing roots". When a cruiser stays in a low cost place for 6 months their spending drops, which is part of the reason many do it. But that isn't really cruising anymore, it's living on a boat in a foreign place (nothing wrong with it).

The only way to come up with a cruising budget is to look through cruisers blogs of people out there on a boat similar to yours. Then if they post real numbers look through it to see what is missing and what type of things they do that you aren't going to do (marina stays, dining out, entertainment and sightseeing, health insurance, boat insurance)
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Old 10-03-2016, 11:21   #15
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Re: Mexico cruising $1k/mo

even with some marinas, 1000 month is a good reasonable living money.
in summer, when the marinas lower prices here, especially hurricane holes, which are truly few in mexico, isla navidad is one, my outflow of moneys in summer is around 1000 usd, yes. in winter, more, as that is high season.
me n cat n boat.
with repairs, i live on less than 1500 usd monthly when i am living large.
engine took repair money ... that was a lil under 4000 usd over 2 years.
no need to stay in soc, when tropical mexico is so very affordable.
marinas in mazatlan are reasonable in summer, also. up the sea, all prices stay same. there is not a high and low season, as there is here. anchoring in tropical mexico is awesome. you have zihuat, acapulco, barra de navidad, manzanillo, and banderas bay. mazatlan is on the northern fringes of tropics and is still much desert. huatulco is also recommended as an anchor out locale even in summer.

mine is a 41 formosa being repaired in exotic locales.
btw, when yer **** breaks, be praying it does so here, as the prices for repair are most reasonable.
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