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Old 04-01-2020, 11:09   #1
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Our cruising costs: Month 16 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

We just finished up our 16th month of cruising full-time on our Bristol 29.9.

We knew going into December that it was going to be an expensive month. We decided to buy a whisker pole so we could actually sail downwind efficiently, and we bought a flotation collar for the Walker Bay dinghy which had proven to be entirely too tippy without it. Those two items represent almost 40% of this month's costs. We also stocked up on groceries and supplies for our Bahamas trip, and paid for our chart plotter to cover the Caribbean. All of those items add up but they needed to be purchased.

Supposedly if you want to cruise less expensively you need to get out of the United States. Our three months in the Bahamas last year were definitely our least expensive months, lending credence to that theory. This time when we leave for the Bahamas we won't be returning to the states on the boat for at least a year, maybe as many as two or three years, so it will be interesting to see what our expenses end up looking like in 2020.

Either way, 2019 proved to be less expensive on a monthly basis than 2018 (although we were only cruising for four months that year), so we are trending in the right direction as we continue to settle in to this lifestyle.

Below is our spending in December:

Groceries/Non-food Groceries/Alcohol: $839.16

Diesel/Gasoline: $18.00

Propane/denatured alcohol: $46.31

Medical: $272.34

Cell data, iCloud storage, and Garmin inReach subscription: $222.72 (this included the first month of Myislandwifi in preparation for the Bahamas, with the $50 deposit and shipping)

Laundry: $14.00

Restaurants/Entertainment: $131.57

Uber: $8.10

New York Times subscription: $40.66 (this gets billed every four weeks, so twice this month)

Marinas: $278.20 (2 weeks and 2 days on a mooring at Vero)

Clothing: $98.03

Boat stuff: $2,844.55 (whisker pole and chocks, flotation collar for dinghy, chart plotter chip for Caribbean/Central/South America, two 12 volt fans, two tubes of 5200, step down connectors, heat shrink tubing, carburetor cleaner and fuel stabilizer, primary fuel filters, oil diapers, 12 volt pump/fuel hose/clamps/wiring, cleaners, hull professionally cleaned, magnetic base for dinghy light)

Subscriptions: $53.42

Random: $294.45 (AA and AAA batteries, box of rags, disposable gloves, snorkel lenses, 2 tarps, ukulele book, haircuts, etc.)

Total: $5,161.51

2019 monthly average: $3,457.97

2018 monthly average (September – December): $4,465.95.

Monthly average since starting to cruise: $3,709.97

I hope this is helpful.
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Old 09-01-2020, 19:28   #2
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Re: Our cruising costs: Month 16 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

Catch me a lobster
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Old 10-01-2020, 05:44   #3
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Re: Our cruising costs: Month 16 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

Just a note based on the last 16 months. Cruising on the OP’s smaller 30’ boat hasn't been less expensive than my 44’ boat.
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Old 10-01-2020, 07:44   #4
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Re: Our cruising costs: Month 16 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

I believe a better representation would be to leave out the optional stuff and what may be unnecessary upgrades for others. I cruise alone except for my small dog on a Cape Dory 28 and while I haven't felt it was important to keep close track I easily stay within my Social Security monthly check which I can assure you isn't anywhere near $4-5000.00.
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Old 10-01-2020, 08:53   #5
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Re: Our cruising costs: Month 16 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
Just a note based on the last 16 months. Cruising on the OP’s smaller 30’ boat hasn't been less expensive than my 44’ boat.
That's interesting. Did you do a rough compare on the boat costs?
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Old 10-01-2020, 11:14   #6
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Re: Our cruising costs: Month 16 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

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That's interesting. Did you do a rough compare on the boat costs?
It might be closer than you would think.

The OP didn't skimp on the refit of their Bristol.

It seems some of us have little control when it comes to spending on upgrades and maintenance for our boats
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Old 10-01-2020, 11:20   #7
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Re: Our cruising costs: Month 16 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

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Originally Posted by fish53 View Post
I believe a better representation would be to leave out the optional stuff and what may be unnecessary upgrades for others. I cruise alone except for my small dog on a Cape Dory 28 and while I haven't felt it was important to keep close track I easily stay within my Social Security monthly check which I can assure you isn't anywhere near $4-5000.00.
You might give a short explanation of your methods. (and include boat cost if possible)

This guy seems to have cruised the cheapest and crossed a couple oceans. See link below.

https://towndock.net/shippingnews/se...-and-alexandra

Also Matt Rutherford rounded the Americas in about 300 days on a donated boat and maybe $7,000.

https://www.soundingsonline.com/voic...about-the-boat
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Old 10-01-2020, 11:33   #8
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Re: Our cruising costs: Month 16 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

Thank you for keeping track, I always enjoy these for reference and know no two situations are the same.
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Old 10-01-2020, 11:39   #9
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Re: Our cruising costs: Month 16 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

Thanks for posting and sharing. It helps those of us that are about to be in your wake.
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Old 10-01-2020, 12:27   #10
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Re: Our cruising costs: Month 16 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

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I believe a better representation would be to leave out the optional stuff and what may be unnecessary upgrades for others.
It's the "leaving out" posts that made me decide to be all-inclusive. What is optional and unnecessary for one person is mandatory or important for another.

When we were making plans to cruise I preferred to have all of the information and mentally subtract what wasn't applicable to my situation. Instead generally all I could find, with the exception of Sailorboy1's posts, were posts along the lines of "I cruised for $1,000 a month." Sounds great until you realize that it didn't include boat insurance, maintenance costs, trips home, hauling out, you name it. For me, that wasn't a very good representation. YMMV.
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Old 11-01-2020, 09:03   #11
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Re: Our cruising costs: Month 16 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
You might give a short explanation of your methods. (and include boat cost if possible)

This guy seems to have cruised the cheapest and crossed a couple oceans. See link below.

https://towndock.net/shippingnews/se...-and-alexandra

Also Matt Rutherford rounded the Americas in about 300 days on a donated boat and maybe $7,000.

https://www.soundingsonline.com/voic...about-the-boat
Well I bought the boat for $2500.00 as it needed a new engine, replaced the engine with a Universal M25XP that I got for $200.00 and rebuilt myself for $1800.00, installation costs for new shaft, exhaust hose and such another $1000.00. The sails and rigging were all very recent and in good shape. My insurance runs $575.00 annually, haul out at home in Maine costs $400.00 and I keep a mooring which costs another $400.00 annually.The real issue here though is costs while cruising I believe and as I stated I don't keep track but I cruise on my SSA check and still put money in savings so I don't believe I spend more than $800.00 monthly which is still $9600.00 a year. I cruise from south Florida to Nova Scotia, never stay in marinas or eat in restaurants, don't drink and I do all my own work on the boat. Many may not chose to or are capable of operating as frugally as me which I certainly understand, we all have different needs and wants. My message is not intended to berate anyone but simply to make it known that you needn't be part of the 1% to go cruising if you're willing to acquire some skills and go without a few of what I consider luxuries.
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Old 11-01-2020, 09:33   #12
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Re: Our cruising costs: Month 16 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

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Well I bought the boat for $2500.00 as it needed a new engine, replaced the engine with a Universal M25XP that I got for $200.00 and rebuilt myself for $1800.00, installation costs for new shaft, exhaust hose and such another $1000.00. The sails and rigging were all very recent and in good shape. My insurance runs $575.00 annually, haul out at home in Maine costs $400.00 and I keep a mooring which costs another $400.00 annually.The real issue here though is costs while cruising I believe and as I stated I don't keep track but I cruise on my SSA check and still put money in savings so I don't believe I spend more than $800.00 monthly which is still $9600.00 a year. I cruise from south Florida to Nova Scotia, never stay in marinas or eat in restaurants, don't drink and I do all my own work on the boat. Many may not chose to or are capable of operating as frugally as me which I certainly understand, we all have different needs and wants. My message is not intended to berate anyone but simply to make it known that you needn't be part of the 1% to go cruising if you're willing to acquire some skills and go without a few of what I consider luxuries.
Thanks for the info.

And I know the deal on the boat as I paid $2,000 for mine in 2011, but have maybe put another $10,000 into it over the years with upgrades, repairs, and maintenance

Many believe they can cruise on less than some that post but without having actually done it, it's hard to argue the point.

I'm thinking a marina every now and then would be nice though so I'm thinking maybe as a singlehander $1500/month with $500 splurges here and there when I just have to get off the boat or something breaks

And less engine use because I just don't want too much gas onboard
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Old 11-01-2020, 09:47   #13
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Re: Our cruising costs: Month 16 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

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Thanks for the info.

And I know the deal on the boat as I paid $2,000 for mine in 2011, but have maybe put another $10,000 into it over the years with upgrades, repairs, and maintenance

Many believe they can cruise on less than some that post but without having actually done it, it's hard to argue the point.

I'm thinking a marina every now and then would be nice though so I'm thinking maybe as a singlehander $1500/month with $500 splurges here and there when I just have to get off the boat or something breaks

And less engine use because I just don't want too much gas onboard
Certainly not everyone can find a good deal on a decent boat and regardless it's never going to be cheap or free. That I've owned numerous boats over the last fifty years and am a competent diesel mechanic saves a lot. I also try to keep plenty of cash in the bank for that unexpected disaster that can befall anyone is perhaps difficult for many. When I compare my cruising expense to living ashore is where the best comparison is, you'd be hard pressed to live on $10,00.00 a year on land in our new America. I realize that my situation is unique in many ways and represents no panacea for others but for me it works, at least until my health fails.
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Old 11-01-2020, 11:58   #14
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Re: Our cruising costs: Month 16 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

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Certainly not everyone can find a good deal on a decent boat and regardless it's never going to be cheap or free. That I've owned numerous boats over the last fifty years and am a competent diesel mechanic saves a lot. I also try to keep plenty of cash in the bank for that unexpected disaster that can befall anyone is perhaps difficult for many. When I compare my cruising expense to living ashore is where the best comparison is, you'd be hard pressed to live on $10,00.00 a year on land in our new America. I realize that my situation is unique in many ways and represents no panacea for others but for me it works, at least until my health fails.
Pretty much the same here boats since around 1972. Maybe 12 so far.

As far as cost to cruise, I'm hoping $1500/month with $500 splurges here and there as I said, but at the same time, I'll still have the house and vehicles to keep up for family and extended family members which includes my ex

I'll still need figure out how to get my 10 speed 58cm or 59cm bike (which ever one I take) back and forth to the boat without using a marina and keeping it out of salt water
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Old 12-01-2020, 06:50   #15
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Re: Our cruising costs: Month 16 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

Lots of people get too focused on the “I can do it for less”. Budget and costs are of course an issue to be aware of, but most cruisers (as opposed to people basically living on a boat) don’t have the goal of living low cost.
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