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Old 28-02-2014, 10:38   #106
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Re: $500 v $5000 a month budget - which is best?

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That's a good way to take all the enjoyment out of it. I never factor depreciation into anything. You would never buy anything if that bothered you at all. If I buy something, that money is gone. I figure that anything I get back for it when I have finished with it, is bonus money. May not be totally rational, but it is surely better than worrying about if it is worth less today than it was yesterday.
I think you should always plan as if you will lose your boat at least once too. That should not be financially crippling. Best to either buy a boat you can afford to loose or keep it insured at replacement value. Otherwise you will be too stressed about loosing your primary asset. That is one of the reasons I prefer a 20yo small boat vs. a nearly new larger one.
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Old 28-02-2014, 10:50   #107
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Re: $500 v $5000 a month budget - which is best?

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Perhaps that's the difference between the successful frugal cruiser vs. our straw-man $5,000/monther. Just like few people can quit smoking or drinking cold-turkey, so too with the expectation that one can easily shift from an expensive life to one of frugality. It's been said many times before, but if you live like Richie Rich on land, then it's likely you'll also do so on a boat. The opposite is also true.


This sure was my experience. I was planning to walk away from my 6 figure corporate life and live on $2K a month. That was 5 years ago. Over the first 3 years i was still spending $10K a month. That is when I finally admitted I had a problem. Over the next few years we slowly brought it down to $5K a month. On our last sabbatical we managed $3K a month. I have now had to admit our budget needs to be $3K a month when cruising, and closer to $4K when working. That took some re-planning.

Just like the drinking, the first step was admitting I had a problem, and then next step was spending years dealing with it. I am finally to the point where I think we need to be, but it was a PITA retraining myself and getting there. It also turned our first "2-year" sabbatical into a 1 year, arrive on fumes sabbatical.
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Old 28-02-2014, 11:13   #108
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Re: $500 v $5000 a month budget - which is best?

Maybe it was easier for me (and most people fifty and up) because when we were kids most people were poor, they just didn't realize it because most people were grateful for what little they had. I can remember getting an orange in my Christmas stocking and a few simple toys and thinking Wow! My father was an engineer, but with five kids our vacations were often camping (as in tent camping, on the ground.) Fast food was dropping the Vista Cruiser station wagon tailgate and cooking something at a road side rest on one of those green camp stoves. When McDonald's came around, it was a once a month "treat."

Compared to tent camping in the woods, living at a nice marina is "living the dream!" If someone thinks they really need all the "stuff" Americans (and $5000 per month cruisers) are addicted to, they should go on a week long sea kayak camping expedition. Compared to most of the world, even the $500 per month cruiser is living a pretty luxurious life. Most scientific studies show that as long as a person's basic needs/expenses are met, doubling their income will have an almost negligible effect on their happiness, just as doubling the tonnage of their boat. On land this amounts to about $75K per year for a couple. It is relatively easy to meet basic needs on a spartan liveaboard budget with the proper attitude, thinking more like Thoreau than Trump.

For every story someone can conjure up about some poor budget cruiser guy that hanged himself because he couldn't fix his diesel in a distant port I can point to fifty unhappy/suicidal/spiritually impoverished celebrities on the Entertainment Channel.

In case some of you are thinking my attitude is from sour grapes rationalization, having been at both ends of the disposable income spectrum (my six figure income was actually per month, I had 13 years of training after high school) I can say that beer from a paper cup is just as fine as champagne from a goblet. And not worth the extra work! I was never more stressed than when I was supporting a vast array of expensive stuff that was just going to disintegrate into dust eventually.
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Old 28-02-2014, 12:49   #109
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Re: $500 v $5000 a month budget - which is best?

found another actual cruiser cost blog

Expenses
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Old 28-02-2014, 13:37   #110
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Re: $500 v $5000 a month budget - which is best?

Seems like a lot of the $5000/mo. cruisers on this thread are saying to their $500/mo. brethren "whatever you want to do is cool with us", how come a lot of the $500/mo. crowd doesn't return the same?
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Old 28-02-2014, 13:38   #111
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Re: $500 v $5000 a month budget - which is best?

I'm surprised no one's mentioned this yet; but from my experience living on both ends of the spectrum (on land not on water), if those on the $500/month end put as much time into a part-time job as into trying to live on $500/month, they'd fast be living on at least $900/month (10 hrs/work a week at $10/hour).

Living cheap is time consuming. I lived in a van for a time, not by choice, and between taking showers in a gym vs. an apartment, slower meal prep/cook times, and all the general inefficiencies that come with being poor I easily 'wasted' ten hours per week I could have been working.

Translate that into what it takes to live at anchor on $500/month: dinghy trips to shore, having to up anchor and move every so often, time spent worrying about weather patterns, scavenging for parts, inventing repairs when parts can't be found, etc, there's probably more than 10 hours per week being 'wasted.' Whether or not working those ten hours could pay for a marina slip, and whether that comfort's worth the trade off probably depends on the personality and the area. Obviously that's not cruising but rather living aboard, but it's probably generalizable.

Even though I'm making far more money now, those habits don't die. For instance, I just spent 6 hours over the past couple of days getting the absolute best deal on air tickets - about a $50 savings, which was by no means worth it given my current salary!
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Old 28-02-2014, 13:44   #112
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Re: $500 v $5000 a month budget - which is best?

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Seems like a lot of the $5000/mo. cruisers on this thread are saying to their $500/mo. brethren "whatever you want to do is cool with us", how come a lot of the $500/mo. crowd doesn't return the same?
I was not aware that any $500 were bad mouthing anyone else. Every one has a level of comfort they desire.

Its all good.
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Old 28-02-2014, 13:53   #113
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Re: $500 v $5000 a month budget - which is best?

Seems like most of the badmouthing I have seen on these threads is aimed at the $500 crowd, not originating from them.

Which is how it is in real life too in my experience.
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Old 28-02-2014, 14:05   #114
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Re: $500 v $5000 a month budget - which is best?

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I'm surprised no one's mentioned this yet; but from my experience living on both ends of the spectrum (on land not on water), if those on the $500/month end put as much time into a part-time job as into trying to live on $500/month, they'd fast be living on at least $900/month (10 hrs/work a week at $10/hour).

Living cheap is time consuming. I lived in a van for a time, not by choice, and between taking showers in a gym vs. an apartment, slower meal prep/cook times, and all the general inefficiencies that come with being poor I easily 'wasted' ten hours per week I could have been working.
Hum, 10 hours a week at $10 is $100 a week or $430 dollars pre-tax a month. To take home $900, I would need to make $1100 for taxes and what not That's 25 hours at $10. Plus then I would need transportation to work, work clothes, shoes, etc. Plus at least an hour to commute both ways, maybe two. The sad truth is it takes lots O money to work. Now your paying taxes, insurance, car payment, apartment costs, utilities. gas and wear and tear on a car, car insurance, tags, tires. The list goes on and on.

Last job I worked was $90K+ a year and 50 hours a week or more. Myself, I am far happier "wasting" my time cooking, cleaning, etc. Which are things I'd have to do anyway.

I don't consider time not worked as wasted. Gee think of all the years I wasted not making $300/hr.

I don't really consider myself poor either as I have everything I need to be happy and plenty of time to shop or do dishes / cook.

Life is not a race to the finish. Its far better to experience the world at a slower pace, watching the sun sets or the tide change. Feeling the dance of the world around oneself. That is being rich.

Not being stuck in commute traffic- Priceless.
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Old 28-02-2014, 14:06   #115
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Re: $500 v $5000 a month budget - which is best?

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found another actual cruiser cost blog

Expenses
Thanks Don. Interesting. An overall monthly average of $2,767, with a low of $957 and a high of $8,893. Looks like they a healthy middle-aged couple who cruised the Caribbean for about seven years on an older, fairly traditional, 44 foot boat. Good to know.

Of course, this is just one data point. To make this truly useful (statistically significant) you need to know how many similar cruisers with similar boat size and type, similar crew compliment, similar cruising grounds, similar lifestyles, etc... were cruising at that time. You'd then need to collect similar datasets. Only then can you start to draw any general conclusions.

... but interesting none the less. Thanks .

Actually, since you're so driven for hard data, why don't you make this your mission? I, for one, would value a statistically valid analysis.
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Old 28-02-2014, 14:16   #116
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Re: $500 v $5000 a month budget - which is best?

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Seems like most of the badmouthing I have seen on these threads is aimed at the $500 crowd, not originating from them.

Which is how it is in real life too in my experience.

Anyone that is, is a Jackass. personally the only people without large incomes I have issues with are the bums and freeloaders, the French couple that the thread about Pirates is about is an example.
The ones though that really chap my Butt are the self important ones, you know the ones that expect me to know who the are, more often than not they came by their wealth as an accident of birth, not through anything that they did.

I'd be out there in a heart beat, really as I have a Military Retirement that I think would allow it, based on what you guys have been telling me, but I have two kids to get into secondary education first, I fell that I owe them that. Once that's done, I'm off.
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Old 28-02-2014, 14:18   #117
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Re: $500 v $5000 a month budget - which is best?

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
found another actual cruiser cost blog

Expenses
I was entertained by the boat insurance over 6 1/2 years totaling around $22,000. That's a good chunk of change for a "just in case".

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Originally Posted by brownoarsman View Post
I'm surprised no one's mentioned this yet; but from my experience living on both ends of the spectrum (on land not on water), if those on the $500/month end put as much time into a part-time job as into trying to live on $500/month, they'd fast be living on at least $900/month (10 hrs/work a week at $10/hour).

Living cheap is time consuming. I lived in a van for a time, not by choice, and between taking showers in a gym vs. an apartment, slower meal prep/cook times, and all the general inefficiencies that come with being poor I easily 'wasted' ten hours per week I could have been working.

Translate that into what it takes to live at anchor on $500/month: dinghy trips to shore, having to up anchor and move every so often, time spent worrying about weather patterns, scavenging for parts, inventing repairs when parts can't be found, etc, there's probably more than 10 hours per week being 'wasted.' Whether or not working those ten hours could pay for a marina slip, and whether that comfort's worth the trade off probably depends on the personality and the area. Obviously that's not cruising but rather living aboard, but it's probably generalizable.

Even though I'm making far more money now, those habits don't die. For instance, I just spent 6 hours over the past couple of days getting the absolute best deal on air tickets - about a $50 savings, which was by no means worth it given my current salary!
I think you're comparing apples to oranges. I have not met one cruiser who had to live on a boat or had to live on $500. It's a choice. Sure there are derelicts in any city you go to but the boats are usually not capable of voyaging.
Cruisers, don't have to go to a gym to shower. They do that onboard or sneak into a marina or hotel. You're right though, living cheaply can be time consuming. But what else do you have to do while voyaging.
Your experience living in a van is a good lesson for you. I had to do it also in the 70's and not by choice. I have learned to live on little and when I do treat myself to something, it is totally appreciated.
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Old 28-02-2014, 14:30   #118
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Re: $500 v $5000 a month budget - which is best?

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I was not aware that any $500 were bad mouthing anyone else. Every one has a level of comfort they desire.

Its all good.
Actually it's not that the comments have been so much harsh, although a few have actually been harsh toward $5000 and especially greater than $5000 spenders. It's rather taking a bit of a holier than thou type attitude. Reality is what we spend on boating doesn't make us better or worse than the next guy. It's our choice of how to live our lives. We're power boaters, so in the minority here. That's our choice, not at all anything against sailboaters. In fact, we admit we're just too lazy to do all the work. We love to sail occasionally when someone else is doing it. We spend significantly more than $5000 per month but we make no apologies for that nor do we feel that makes us better than anyone else. But a few of the comments have made us feel like some were really denigrating our lifestyle.

Boating or cruising also isn't who we are. It's just part of what we do, a lot. But it's the other things that are truly important in life. Again, that can be the $500 per month cruiser who still takes time to help another cruiser and is kind to the person who they purchase fruit from. Or it can be someone else working to help those who need it.

Kindness is important. Our number one guideline in life is "do what's right." And one has to decide that to themselves in each situation they face. But it's something we try to do by our own moral and ethical codes. We do truly care about people and every day of our lives we seem lucky enough to meet some very special persons from all walks of life. We try to remember those and forget those who were difficult. Perhaps they were going through something that day. We do ask if we are in a situation we can. I guess that started early with us as her first words to me were, "What's wrong?" I had a sad look on my face and this beautiful angelic stranger asked me what was wrong. I knew then how special she was and how lucky I was. But that didn't cost her a penny.

So, please do share your budgets and how you are able to live within them. It's great information. But don't consider yourself better or less than another because of that. Asking which is best of $500 vs. $5000 isn't a sensible question to start with. Neither is. Now asking how people manage at various levels is very helpful.

Also while for some the sooner the better for others that isn't the case. I know people who would be miserable making that change. I know those who truly love aspects of their lives that most of us would find shear torture. I know a couple of 80 or so year old billionaires who still work, one full time, one occasionally, because they love it. They will both work until they just can't. We both loved our jobs but the day we realized we could retire and be happy, we both gave our notices. Two of our best friends won't even step on a boat that's docked, regardless of type or size.

We can all learn by sharing information. Let's just not claim our way is the right or only way. I can tell you from both of us, we see a lot of incredible people here who have found a way to enjoy life and found happiness which is so elusive to so many, regardless of their finances. We appreciate nature like many of you and treasure our friends. We are incredibly happy people but for us it comes from being together and what we've helped each other learn about living. We admire the way so many of you live and your skills in sailing but also in maintaining your boats amazes us. It's a skill we don't have.
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Old 28-02-2014, 14:39   #119
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Re: $500 v $5000 a month budget - which is best?

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Not understanding how one reaches the 'average US income' if they are cruising instead of working or conversely how one works full time while cruising.

Retirement income is much lower for most folks. Planners claim you should plan to have 2/3 of your working income to retire on, but most folks wind up with around 1/3. Most folks get around $US1,500 in SS; maybe a little more. But that is a far cry from $US50k, less yet $US60k.

Maybe my numbers are off some, but I still don't think lots of folks retire at the $US60k level.
You would be suprised how well the internet allows people to work remotely.

If we are going to quote retirement dogma, SS is supposed to be one leg of a 3 leg stool. When you add the other legs to the $1500, that comes out to $4500 or pretty close to the $5000 number that seems so unrealistic.

While there are people who don't plan for retirement, a little planning & effort should easily double the SS number.
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Old 28-02-2014, 14:44   #120
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Re: $500 v $5000 a month budget - which is best?

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Of course, this is just one data point. To make this truly useful (statistically significant) you need to know how many similar cruisers with similar boat size and type, similar crew compliment, similar cruising grounds, similar lifestyles, etc... were cruising at that time.

Actually, since you're so driven for hard data, why don't you make this tour mission? I, for one, would value a statistically valid analysis.

I've posted links to others. I only post them as a courtesy to others that may be looking for something to form a budget on other than guesswork and hopes and dreams (no it depends answers etc). The link in post #109 is pretty typical from what I have found in many many blogs that have cost data. By far based on the many blogs with data I have found I feel the "average" cruiser is spending around $3000/mo over the course of years where there is also long term boat maintenance costs accounted for.

I'm not interested in doing a bunch of data sorting for others. And it would be meaningless and discounted by people if it doesn't fit their "plans" (just look at the various threads postings). The numbers themselves are worthless anyway if you don't read though the cruisers blogs to see what the lifestyle they are living on that go with the costs.

I'm pretty confident that for a couple in their 50s+ looking to cruise for years (say at least 5+) that $3000/mo is a good budget that allows reasonable comfort and enjoyment and maintains the boat (and it isn't a high life). I also believe that for a younger couple say in their 30s that are willing to rough it some for a few years and then move on to something else (so they aren't really maintaining their boat) could manage a few years on $1500/mo (I've only found 2-3 blogs that fit this).

People seem to think the $3000/mo is some grand money spending life. But that would put you well below the median US household income (would put you about 40%). In other words $3000/mo IS budget cruising.
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