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Old 01-02-2020, 07:39   #1
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Our cruising costs: month 17 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

We just finished up our 17th month of cruising full-time on our Bristol 29.9.

We arrived in the Bahamas on January 7th and true to form, our spending has started to drop considerably.

There were not too many unusual expenses in January. We picked up a few last minute spare parts before we left Miami, spent a week in a marina in Bimini (which will be our last marina stay for quite some time), and filled up the diesel tank and jerry jugs in Staniel Cay for $5.20/gallon (which will be the last time we need to do that until we leave the Bahamas). The only other outlier was the $300 in entry fees which allows us to stay in the Bahamas for a year. Practically speaking, however, we will anticipate leaving in early May.

Below is our spending in January:

Groceries/Non-food Groceries/Alcohol: $271.63

Diesel/Gasoline: $130.00 (25 gallons at Staniel Cay, Exumas)

Propane/denatured alcohol: $44.80 (2 gallons of denatured alcohol)

Water: $27.85 (51 gallons at Staniel Cay, Exumas)

Medical: $14.34

Cell data, iCloud storage, and Garmin inReach subscription: $77.72

Laundry: $7.50

Restaurants/Entertainment: $122.73

Uber/Bus/Bimini Shuttle: $68.60

Subscriptions: $54.33

Marinas: $167.00 (one week in Bimini, Bahamas)

Life Insurance: $220.75 (quarterly payment)

Boat stuff: $213.72 (Explorer charts for iPad, spare carburetor and gasket for outboard, spare rebuild kit for galley foot pump)

Random: $407.12 (Bahamas entry fees, Turbo Tax, bank fee, marina tips)

Total: $1,828.09


2020 Monthly average: $1,828.09

2019 monthly average: $3,457.97

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

Monthly average since starting to cruise: $3,599.27


I hope this is helpful.
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:19   #2
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Re: Our cruising costs: month 17 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

Great
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Old 01-02-2020, 13:50   #3
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Re: Our cruising costs: month 17 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

We are also in the Bahamas now, the Abaco’s, and need for this year to go like last year, as we bring almost everything with us and don’t do Marina’s our costs are very low too. But this year for us it was $600 for the boat and now we have a little dog so he was $57 more.
However I’ve already damaged my Mainsail by ripping out several feet of the bolt rope that goes in a track, I have affected a crappy repair by hand.
This after leaving the Sailrite sewing machine in storage as I got tired of lugging that monster around and never using it .

We had a lot of expenses related to our kids end of last year and need several months of cheap cruising to recover.

For us the budget busters have usually been Family related, and as such you just can’t really budget for as they come out of the blue, you just have to have a fund set aside to cover emergencies.

It’s actually surprising how cheap you can cruise the Bahamas if you stay out of Marina’s, and still sail around and see pretty much everything.
You can even eat out pretty often if you eat with the locals and again stay away from tourists areas. However even eating with locals it’s about twice as much as in the US., things just cost more here, so bring everything with you that you can.
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Old 01-02-2020, 19:45   #4
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Re: Our cruising costs: month 17 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

CT

I am impressed and am feeling challenged.

But really now, is there not a forgotten rum line item?
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Old 02-02-2020, 10:50   #5
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Re: Our cruising costs: month 17 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

Great information - thanks!

I'm envious at your grocery total - $271 or just under $9 per day! That's amazing. When we're out cruising our grocery total goes way up, simply because we're provisioning at the nearest place to a harbor and boy don't they know it and price accordingly. But then we're usually up in the Inside Passage where there's just not a lot of competition.

Any tips you can throw this way would be greatly appreciated. Enjoy the Bahamas!
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:00   #6
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Re: Our cruising costs: month 17 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
We are also in the Bahamas now, the Abacoís, and need for this year to go like last year, as we bring almost everything with us and donít do Marinaís our costs are very low too. But this year for us it was $600 for the boat and now we have a little dog so he was $57 more.
However Iíve already damaged my Mainsail by ripping out several feet of the bolt rope that goes in a track, I have affected a crappy repair by hand.
This after leaving the Sailrite sewing machine in storage as I got tired of lugging that monster around and never using it .

We had a lot of expenses related to our kids end of last year and need several months of cheap cruising to recover.

For us the budget busters have usually been Family related, and as such you just canít really budget for as they come out of the blue, you just have to have a fund set aside to cover emergencies.

Itís actually surprising how cheap you can cruise the Bahamas if you stay out of Marinaís, and still sail around and see pretty much everything.
You can even eat out pretty often if you eat with the locals and again stay away from tourists areas. However even eating with locals itís about twice as much as in the US., things just cost more here, so bring everything with you that you can.
Yeah, that emergency fund is definitely important to have! We could use a few cheaper months ourselves, so fingers crossed that it works out for both of us!

Let me know if you end up down in the Exumas.
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:07   #7
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Re: Our cruising costs: month 17 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

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CT

I am impressed and am feeling challenged.

But really now, is there not a forgotten rum line item?
It's in the first line: groceries/non-groceries/alcohol. Priorities, you know.

Bought a bottle of rum last week. It won't last as long as I had hoped if the weather doesn't settle down soon.
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:09   #8
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Re: Our cruising costs: month 17 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

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Great information - thanks!

I'm envious at your grocery total - $271 or just under $9 per day! That's amazing. When we're out cruising our grocery total goes way up, simply because we're provisioning at the nearest place to a harbor and boy don't they know it and price accordingly. But then we're usually up in the Inside Passage where there's just not a lot of competition.

Any tips you can throw this way would be greatly appreciated. Enjoy the Bahamas!
Nah, don't be envious. It's only because we loaded up on groceries before we left Florida. We actually weren't as diligent about provisioning as we were last year, so I suspect that number is going to go up quite a bit before we get back to the states.
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:19   #9
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Re: Our cruising costs: month 17 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

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Originally Posted by Cthoops View Post
Nah, don't be envious. It's only because we loaded up on groceries before we left Florida. We actually weren't as diligent about provisioning as we were last year, so I suspect that number is going to go up quite a bit before we get back to the states.
That is the secret to cruising the Bahamas on a budget, bring everything with you, especially any paper products. I saw toilet paper for sale here at Green turtle for $2.50 a roll.
Tough to do on a smaller boat, but our IP is spacious and itís packed to the hilt.
This year we are trying a Soda Stream, and so far itís been a good purchase.
If you stock up at Maxwellís and Spanish Wells, it helps some, but expect to pay in average 300% for anything over what it costs in the US., and good quality meat I never found last year, at any price. Chicken is available, but not good beef, and pork is unlabeled, just wrapped in clear plastic. Pretty sure itís pork, chicken is obvious, but what kind of pork I have no idea.
Now I know itís here somewhere, I assume in the higher priced resort areas that I donít frequent.
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Old 02-02-2020, 15:16   #10
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Re: Our cruising costs: month 17 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

Its not 300% more, if it was Bahamians wouldn't survive. I didn't find it much more than prices in the Keys except for certain things and where you decide to get it.
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Old 02-02-2020, 15:56   #11
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Re: Our cruising costs: month 17 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

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Its not 300% more, if it was Bahamians wouldn't survive. I didn't find it much more than prices in the Keys except for certain things and where you decide to get it.
I agree. Granted, some items were super expensive ($5.00 for brownie mix? Corn Flakes for $8.00? No, thank you.) but after all of the horror stories we heard we were surprised to find that the prices for the vast majority of the things we regularly eat weren't THAT terrible. Some things were even the same (or less) than the Bahamas (hello, Kerrygold butter and block cheddar cheese).

Last year we loaded our boat down so much that she sailed like a pig for the first six weeks. We didn't want to make that mistake again, so we stocked up on items that we need that would be impossible or very difficult to find (typically low sodium canned goods) and brought normal amounts of everything else. So far, so good.
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Old 02-02-2020, 16:01   #12
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Re: Our cruising costs: month 17 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

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Its not 300% more, if it was Bahamians wouldn't survive. I didn't find it much more than prices in the Keys except for certain things and where you decide to get it.
It’s at least double what I’m used to paying, $7.50 for a bag of chips or off brand name cookies, even the fuel at $5.20 a gl is an example.

Either way, if you bring it with you, you can save a lot of money.
My Engel is full of vacuum packed T-bone steaks for instance, 50 to be exact. For a 6 month stay that gives us two steaks a week on average.
Only steaks I found last year were at Georgetown, looked to be NY strip. I bought all they had and they were tough.

Average price of a chicken meal at a take away shack that the locals eat at is $10 and $2.50 for a drink.
A hamburger at a touristy place is $25 ea.
$23.50 for 6 rolls of paper towels, and I have another photo of almost $7 for a can of Spam, now I’m not sure what Spam or even paper towels cost in the States, but I bet that is high.
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Old 02-02-2020, 16:15   #13
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Re: Our cruising costs: month 17 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

We have found that the majority of grocery items are really no worse than the Whole Foods in West Hartford Ct. But if you eat lots of processed foods, instead of buying staples, it certainly can be expensive. Frankly, $8.00 for cereal is after all only eight bucks, one just needs to take that into consideration. If one was to shop at the market on Block Island in New England, one would find similar costs, ‘tis the Nature of Island life when everything has to be put on a boat and shipped to a remote location, it is to be expected.

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Old 02-02-2020, 19:06   #14
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Re: Our cruising costs: month 17 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

Thank you for posting! I see your expenses seem to be dropping over the past year. I assume that is because your boat is nearly fully restored?
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Old 02-02-2020, 19:58   #15
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Re: Our cruising costs: month 17 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

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I saw toilet paper for sale here ...for $2.50 a roll.
.
.
A rolls last a week.

A box of Kleenex tissue doing the same job last 3-4 months.
Saves space and $$.


Your mileage may vary. Mine certainly does when my wife joins me aboard. Still, the point remains the same.


Rolls of TP are a marketing idea that ha$ really taken hold.
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