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Old 22-09-2015, 16:24   #1186
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Re: Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

I agree that people bring their former economic expectations with them when they move aboard. When we moved aboard we both had debts from college loans, all we owned could be carried on our backs and we had completed two months of employment. This is probably why we currently cruise on about half of our income.

We have a nephew that has moved aboard a Sovereign 26' at age 24 and our daughter, with her husband and our grandson, have been living aboard a 36' trawler for over a year now.

There is an economic freedom in non-ownership of a great volume of material goods and the gain is increased with an early start in life aboard.
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Old 22-09-2015, 17:35   #1187
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Re: Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

+1 to all the above (recent) comments

I was raised being told that 'a penny saved is a penny earned' but ended up living a "champagne lifestyle on a beer income" for far too many years, which is now coming back to haunt me.

Forced to discover 'frugality' for the first time in my adult life, I have slashed and burned, changed habits, given up bad habits, changed diet etc etc etc....

And am now able to live *reasonably* comfortably on about a quarter of my former 'never enough' income.

But $500/month? That's my grocery budget, rates and telcos right there. Fuel and entertainment on top.

So if I perform no ongoing maintenance, save nothing for the eventual 'rainy days' (and major failures like sails, engines etc) then maybe, just maybe, I could manage on that.

I reckon $1000 is do-able, but as mausgraus says, even in low overhead countries, $1500 is better, and $2K would be ideal.

As he stated, the AUS pension is about $1600/mth, so you can survive, and get around, and pay a car rego, boat rego and so on. Just.

But marina berths are horrendously expensive, mainly due to lack of supply, which in turn is due to the high cost of establishing a marina in the first place, with all the local govt and State costs as well as the physical cost of building it. Labour cost is huge in Oz.

And haiqu in Brisbane is one of a very few who are still able to live on the hook permanently in Oz, primarily due to historical circumstances that have been maintained, as a group in Southport recently found, having to fight like hell not to be kicked out of their mooring field.

Most marinas you can't live in either, they are for boat storage only - legally. we don't have anything like Marina del Ray or other 'liveaboard-type' marinas like exist in the USA.

And even if we did, they'd be for wealthy individuals and corporations only, not for the 'shoestring sailor'.

So like the RV 'sailors' (known here as Grey Nomads) we can become 'grey nomads of the sea', and just move on every week or two.

And the 'move on' laws here are not like parking your car, where 'moving on' can mean round the corner, or a few spaces away, here it means several miles away, to a 'new anchorage'. Not just up the hook and motor 100yds and drop it again.

They woke up to that trick years ago!

So most people either do it illegally, and very 'quietly', or they keep on the move.

Which of course, costs in fuel, wear and tear, and so on.

But I guess part of the whole 'freedom' thing, of being on the boat and untied form land-based hassles, is the corresponding need to be self-reliant, and with that frugality comes pretty much naturally.

But as with most things, the way to make a small fortune, is to start with a large one, and then buy a boat!

So even if you set out with every system double-banked, backed up, and every tick ticked, and every cross crossed, somehting will still catch you out, somewhere.

So it defintely pays to have a 'kitty' - or 'nest egg' - into which you can dip when something major fails.

And the size of that kitty should of course be based on the degree of self reliance you can maintain.

For example, somoene who is fine with pulling apart engines, might allow for a 'repair' kitty rather than a 'full replacement' kitty, in case of engine failure. Ditto, if oyu set out with a sewing machine and the abilty to use it, and some spare Dacron aboard, repairing and even replacing sails may not be as expensive as it might be.

But I think we should get back to *practical* advice on what to do to keep costs to a minimum.....
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Old 22-09-2015, 17:47   #1188
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Re: Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

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..........................
......................... But $500/month? That's my grocery budget, rates and telcos right there. Fuel and entertainment on top.
............................
I should admit that, though we cruise on less than half of our income, we are living on far more than $500/month. Still, our ability to live on half of our income comes with never owning a house ashore and not owning things such as cars, real estate and the associated fees/taxes.
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Old 22-09-2015, 18:22   #1189
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Re: Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

HF - that might work for you, but it won't work for most people - especially those of the female persuasion - who are least likely to want to 'burn the bridges' by giving up all the 'home comforts' [never mind the home itself] before setting off on a sailing adventure.

You seldom see single female sailors whose husbands have abandoned them and swallowed the anchor....

Frankly, I think renting the house out to provide an income (or meet mortgage commitments, and thus avoid 'selling up') is far preferable to the 'what if' scenario of the totally indigent sailor, who has no 'back-up plan' readily available should the cruising life palll, or whose health deteroirates to the point that living aboard is no longer viable.

At some point, every old salt has to swallow the hook. What then?

Hmmm.... buy an RV, maybe? lol

I don't mean to 'criticise' in any way. For you, and for many others, being totally 'land independent', with no rates, taxes, registrations or fees (other than the boat itself presumably) works fine.

It's not that I am 'risk averse' (quite the opposite if the truth be told) but that each of us has a different level of personal and financial 'risk' we are willing to accept.

But......having said that......if I could make it work, I'd live aboard like a shot.

Should have done it years ago. Sigh.
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Old 22-09-2015, 18:28   #1190
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Re: Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

As someone who lhas lived at the $500-$600 level for five years now, the key is adjusting grocery shopping to whats on sale or whats less expensive. For example, if I shopped at one grocery store in the delta, it would cost $350 or more a month for food.

But I have several stores I shop at that brings my cost down to about $200 a month including a few sundries. Mind you lots O things are off the menu, But I do well enough with basic ingredients and very little pre-packaged food. Yes rice and pasta are on the menu. But that's with chicken pasta Alfredo, or curry or home made pizza.

The Cat (furry kind) costs $60-$70 a month in food and cat litter. He's pushed me up to $600 a month. That and autocad at $45 a month push me to a higher bracket. Of course autocad is what I use and need to make the money to buy the food, etc.

What I don't have is any utility bills. well other then $25 for phone and $50-$60 for internet. (I work from the boat so internet is very important). I've not had a electric bill for well over 10 years, nor water or sewer or trash, etc.

I've no car, car insurance, etc and no monthly slip. Though in winter I have a cheap slip I stay at, but my costs are still below $700 even with a slip. That's gone up $40 a month in 5 years too. Not to bad yet.

Of course with inflation being what it is, it's costing more and more to live each year. 5 years ago, $500/month was pretty doable. Now I'm seeing it lean more toward $600, due mainly to cost of food. Many things I buy has risen 50-75 percent or more. Butter use to cost $2/lb. Now it's $3.50/lb and that's the cheap price. Some places are changing $4-$5/lb... crazy.

So it's doable, but not easy to get down to $500. I'm finding that for 2015 $600/month is about as low as I can comfortably get. $1000 or $1500 would be pretty each living.
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Old 22-09-2015, 18:46   #1191
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Re: Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

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HF - that might work for you, but it won't work for most people - especially those of the female persuasion - who are least likely to want to 'burn the bridges' by giving up all the 'home comforts' [never mind the home itself] before setting off on a sailing adventure.

You seldom see single female sailors whose husbands have abandoned them and swallowed the anchor....

Frankly, I think renting the house out to provide an income (or meet mortgage commitments, and thus avoid 'selling up') is far preferable to the 'what if' scenario of the totally indigent sailor, who has no 'back-up plan' readily available should the cruising life palll, or whose health deteroirates to the point that living aboard is no longer viable.
Cough, Hi, Female single handed sailor here. There are many single females living aboard boats. Most are older and generally after the first devorce.

No at the $500-$600 level there isn't a rainy day fund. I usually keep enough parts on hand to handle most boat issues. As money comes available, I add bits and pieces to keep the boat healthy. Personal health issues will be a problem one day. If I'm lucky, I'll have a heart attack on the boat while sailing. That would be perfect!

Mind you I use to drive around all the time without a spare tire too. I just don't worry about what might happen. I live each day as it comes. Today is a cold and windy day on the hook. Brrr.
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Old 22-09-2015, 18:58   #1192
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Re: Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

LOL....see what market capacity/size can get you?

Butter is around AUS$5/lb here (AUS$2.50/500g pat), and at US70c/AUS$1 conversion, so equivalent to (I dunno, you do the math)....

Even hunting down specials and buying 'Home Brand' the savings are only in the order of 10-25%.

Fresh food here is horrendously expensive. Rump steak is seldom less than $17/kg, fish is usually more like $30/kg (for the big pelagic fish) and around $20/kg for imported freshwater fish from Asia.

Prawns/shrimps around $24/kg.

I bought two cauliflower heads the other day, on special, almost $3/kg. And that's cheap!

Rice is only cheap on Oz in the big cities or regional areas where large groups of Asian migrants live, and then only if you buy it from an Asian specialty grocer and in a large qty, like 10kg or more. Maybe as low as $1/kg, normally over $2/kg.

Home brand pasta is around $3/kg. Brand name stuff double that.

But yeah, as sailorchic says, shop around.

Buying just from one supermarket is a good way to get ripped off. What's on special at one is often not at the other, but might be next week.

One local supermarket chain has a 'specials bin' where they chuck marked down stuff that is about to go past its nominal/arbitrary 'use by' date, and so not able to be sold. Often this is processed foods, so not stuff I buy anyway, but occasionally there is good stuff that they just want to clear.

Asian grocers are a boon I miss living in the boondocks, but at which I shopped regularly when I lived in the big smoke.

And you can rest assured you'll be 'buying green' as buying in bulk; not buying unecessary items; and living frugally, are all part of the 'living green' philosophy.

Too often what's forgotten is the first word in the 'green mantra' - REDUCE, Re-use, Recycle.

So reduce consumption - of everything - and you live WAY cheaper than those who just go with 'easy and convenient'.

Convenience costs.

If I was King Of The World I'd mandate container deposit legislation and packaging deposit legislation so that containers and packaging would not end up in landfill, and so people would get a 'price signal' whenever they bought something packaged, and provide incentive for stores to get creative with non-packaging, rather than the ubiquitous, single-use, 'for shop display purposes only' bubble packs that virtually everything seems to be packed in these days.

There are alternatives, but they aren't as 'cheap' up front as the bubble packs.

And don't get me started on plastic shopping bags.......will get seriously OT very quickly..!! lol

So....summing up....go light, go cheap, and shop around.....
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Old 22-09-2015, 19:01   #1193
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Re: Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

Maybe it's easier/cheaper in the States, but we don't see too many single female sailors over here.

And I hope you noticed I did say 'seldom'....not 'never'....only too well aware some of the most successfully solo sailors on here are 'chics' (pun intended)
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Old 22-09-2015, 19:47   #1194
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Re: Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

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Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
As someone who lhas lived at the $500-$600 level for five years now, the key is adjusting grocery shopping to whats on sale or whats less expensive. For example, if I shopped at one grocery store in the delta, it would cost $350 or more a month for food.

But I have several stores I shop at that brings my cost down to about $200 a month including a few sundries. Mind you lots O things are off the menu, But I do well enough with basic ingredients and very little pre-packaged food. Yes rice and pasta are on the menu. But that's with chicken pasta Alfredo, or curry or home made pizza.

The Cat (furry kind) costs $60-$70 a month in food and cat litter. He's pushed me up to $600 a month. That and autocad at $45 a month push me to a higher bracket. Of course autocad is what I use and need to make the money to buy the food, etc.

What I don't have is any utility bills. well other then $25 for phone and $50-$60 for internet. (I work from the boat so internet is very important). I've not had a electric bill for well over 10 years, nor water or sewer or trash, etc.

I've no car, car insurance, etc and no monthly slip. Though in winter I have a cheap slip I stay at, but my costs are still below $700 even with a slip. That's gone up $40 a month in 5 years too. Not to bad yet.

Of course with inflation being what it is, it's costing more and more to live each year. 5 years ago, $500/month was pretty doable. Now I'm seeing it lean more toward $600, due mainly to cost of food. Many things I buy has risen 50-75 percent or more. Butter use to cost $2/lb. Now it's $3.50/lb and that's the cheap price. Some places are changing $4-$5/lb... crazy.

So it's doable, but not easy to get down to $500. I'm finding that for 2015 $600/month is about as low as I can comfortably get. $1000 or $1500 would be pretty each living.
Do you ever shop in stores that cater to orientals or the Spanish community for many of your staples? Here in Washington I can get the same food at albertsons or Walmart but the price is about half of them at a store that mostly carries foods for specific nationalities. For instance cup noodles at Walmart about a buck a cup. In china town its 2 for a buck. And rice is about 30% lower per pound as well meats are also cheaper YMMV
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Old 22-09-2015, 20:48   #1195
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Re: Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

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Do you ever shop in stores that cater to orientals or the Spanish community for many of your staples? Here in Washington I can get the same food at albertsons or Walmart but the price is about half of them at a store that mostly carries foods for specific nationalities. For instance cup noodles at Walmart about a buck a cup. In china town its 2 for a buck. And rice is about 30% lower per pound as well meats are also cheaper YMMV
If you have an Aldi's in the neighborhood, go there. They make Walmart seem high priced. Most of their packaged goods are their own brands, and they are remarkably healthy as compared to similar regular brand names. Less salt, often GMO free, and less fat. I happen to like their woven whole wheat crackers, which in Florida cost me $1.25/ box.

Their veggies are cheap and good quality. Often I can get a pound of strawberries for .99 cents. Lemons sometimes are as low as .19 cents each.

Here is one of my bills earlier this year:
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Old 22-09-2015, 21:12   #1196
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Re: Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

Aldi stores have started to pop up here over the past few years. My initial impression was that their quality was marginally lower, in proportion with the amount saved. I plan to try them again soon to see if this is still true. But both Coles and Woolworths (the major chains here) have their own brands that equal their savings anyhow. As SailorChic says, just pick and choose the bargains. I think my favourite is to buy Camembert that's almost to its use-by date. Like cheese "goes off" with age ... haha!

Good tips above about using specialist grocers too. Another is to eat where the local Chinese community eat, if going out for a meal. Always the best value. Not that I ever eat out any more ...
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Old 22-09-2015, 21:43   #1197
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Re: Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

For fresh vegies and fruit its local farmers markets.
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Old 22-09-2015, 22:30   #1198
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Re: Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

Let's not forget that the $500/month was done by sailors back in the '70's. Things have changed a bit since then.

To ask somebody to live on $500/month today is like asking somebody back in the '70's to live on $50/month. Could you do it? Sure. Would you want to? No, not really.

Look at where we are. In the '70's, you could work anywhere. Nowadays, people and governments have been taught to protect anything even remotely resembling a job or subsiduary (thanks to the a'holes that flash money like crazy. He's paying $200 to fix that engine, why would I let you fix it for less? I need to feed my family, I don't care about yours. Why,.... it's the American dream. Isn't that what we do every day?).

Over fishing by sportsman and canneries has decimated the fish population so even the necessities of life on an island close to the US have become ridiculously expensive. Difference being that the tourist can go back to Krogers or Walmart on the mainland and replenish, the island folk can't, so that's why food is expensive on the islands. Don't even start about imported foods.

They know mainland folks have money, why wouldn't they ask for money to anchor or dock? How many of you park for free in the downtown areas where you live?

We have created this. This is what we have to live with. There's no putting the genie back into the bottle.

$1000 -3000 a month is more like it today. You can thank the lawyer, banker, industrialist, self made millionaire or even a successful landscape business owner who tosses around $50's like water (about half a day's wages) for this. Just imagine what you would do if someone was tossing $1000 bills at you. Would you do the same work for someone throwing $1 bills at you? Be honest. You may see the same sunsets as the guy on the million yacht but you are nowhere near the same comfort zone.

Accept this and you may start to be happy.

Slocum, the Pardeys, and the rest may have started the beer budget cruising, but even they aren't in the $500 bracket anymore. It's basically became a rich man's sport again. Those still living on $500/month are to be commended, not ridiculed. They would, however, be living in a cardboard box if they were still on land and not on a boat.

Sorry folks, just saying.
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Old 22-09-2015, 23:41   #1199
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Re: Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

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Be honest. You may see the same sunsets as the guy on the million yacht but you are nowhere near the same comfort zone.

Accept this and you may start to be happy.
Just two days ago I shared an anchorage with one other boat, a 120+ foot yacht worth probably $10 million or more. I was there first. We both had the same sunset, but they had to run a 100kw genny to make the boat, scuse me, yacht, liveable. Myself I had to suffer with solar powered lighting and an oil lamp and non-vibrating decks. I get by.

Yes the yacht costs more and they have Tons more money then me, as does pretty much everybody else. That Yacht probably had a walk in closet bigger then my entire living space. It had three decks, Big monster.

But I'm pretty sure they were not happier then me. Having a $1000 or $3000 a month would not make me happier. I use to make over $7000 a month. I can confirm that I am FAR happier now, making $600-$700 a month, then when I was making $7000 a month.

In the 70's you worked in a office, store or plant. Today I work from where ever the boat is anchored, via internet. It is an amazing feeling to earn money, while sitting on a boat at anchor. Could not do that in the 70's or even 90's.

Can you live on $500-$600 a month. I've no idea. But I've been doing it for 5 years now, with a cat. He's expensive, you know. No question most folks will find $1000 or even $3000 much easier to live on.

Funny thing is I could have been doing this 10-15 years ago, but everybody said it was impossible. Oddly I found that not to be the case. YMMV.

Of course in order to do it you already must own a boat outright, and it has to be the right boat too. A 120 foot yacht isn't the boat for me. Looked to be a bitch to single hand.
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Old 23-09-2015, 01:11   #1200
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Re: Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

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But I'm pretty sure they were not happier then me.

Funny thing is I could have been doing this 10-15 years ago, but everybody said it was impossible. Oddly I found that not to be the case. YMMV.

Of course in order to do it you already must own a boat outright, and it has to be the right boat too. A 120 foot yacht isn't the boat for me. Looked to be a bitch to single hand.
"a bitch to single hand." NFOMCL

sc, you have never said a truer word..!

Mind you, it's probably got an autopilot that makes the coffee and provides back rubs as well.....bet your kitty kat can't do that for you....!!

And I do mean 'autopilot', not a euphemism.....with massaging chairs now fitted to high-end autos, it wouldn't sur[prise me to find them on superyachts as well.

But as you say the key thing is to livel well and be happy.

It's long ago been debunked that more money makes you happy. It doesn't.

It might make life 'easier', or more convenient anyway, but not necessarily happier.

But as frank f said, 'we've created this mess'. It might have been people like the Pardeys, and those who showed them the way, but it is the wealthier folks who are spoiling it all.

Locals setting up bars, restaurants and bnb's only works ifd *we* richer folks are willing and able to pay for it,

There's bugger all tourism facilities on Pitcairn Island for example, as it's too far off the beaten track, but even Rapa Nui has an airstrip and tourists these days.

Can't blame the locals for screwing whatever bucks they can out of the farengi. Boot on the other foot, we'd do the same.

What a lot of people don't seem to realise is that turning Pitcairn (for example) into Surfers Paradise, or Miami, would only spoil the very thing most people go there for - the isolation.

And all of us cruising about are adding to the problem, by showing those less well off what they don't have.

Or at least, what they think they don't have.

I admire the locas like the people in the Nicobars for example who don't allow tourists or outsiders even to land.

Or the Amazonian native peoples who continue to live the life of their ancestors, in tune with the forest, but who have got 'media savvy' and use rich tourists and celebs to plead their case with govts and international authorities.

Now *that's* gaming the system....but in a good way, I believe.

And to the poaster who suggested 'nationality-based stores' - go for it! If you can.

Like I said, they only exist in the big cities here, no Chinatown in the bush. Even the so called farmer's markets aren't really that, in my town. They are in a nearby town, but the fuel to get there kinda defeats the purpose.

I was at a 'sustainable house open day'last week, and one of the women there showed me she can now get locally produced butter, as well as milk, cheese, vegies, meat and other produce.

Opened my eyes, for sure, as I'd not been to the farmer's markets in this nearby town for ages - but, again, all the 'organic', locally-produced stuff costs way more than similar produce from the supermarkets.

Pollution and exploitation has always been cheaper than 'sustainable' as the pollution and exploitation of lower-paid workers is not adequately )if at all) factored into the cost of production.

The 'environment' is still an 'externality' in most economic models that don't specifically pander to it.

This is why you can find tons of plastic washing up on beaches on every island, all over the world, but especially in the Pacific, due to the rivers of trash running out of every Asian city into the sea.

Anyway, seriously OT.....my bad.
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