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Old 09-08-2020, 10:24   #1
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Our cruising costs - month 23 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

I've decided to get caught up with my posts of our monthly costs.

July was our 23rd month of cruising full-time on our Bristol 29.9.

July saw us wrapping up our 2019-2020 cruising season with a short few weeks of travel from the Dismal Swamp Canal, VA to Cambridge, MD. Weíll be staying in Cambridge for two months taking care of some boat projects and making a few trips to Connecticut for medical appointments.

Financially it was also a quiet month which is good given that Iím still trying to psychologically recover from the watermaker purchase!

Here we go:

Groceries/Non-food Groceries/Alcohol: $537.28

Gasoline/Diesel: $35.87

Medical: $20.34

Cell data, iCloud storage, and Garmin inReach subscription: $112.34

Life insurance: $220.75

Laundry: $4.75

Restaurants/Entertainment: $0.00 (Covid is really putting a crimp in our style)

Maintenance: $21.51 (painters tape, tack rags, tins for varnish)

Subscriptions and Random Items: $384.58 (Netflix, Amazon Prime, New York Times, annual WordPress payment, marina tips, donations, pillows, flyswatters, dinghy parking, box fans, cargo net, spatula, DVD, water bottles, Bees Wrap, etc.).

Total: $1,337.42

2020 Monthly average: $2,785.57

2019 monthly average: $3,457.97

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

Monthly average since starting to cruise: $3,428.63

I hope this is helpful.
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Old 09-08-2020, 12:14   #2
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Re: Our cruising costs - month 23 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

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Originally Posted by Cthoops View Post

Financially it was also a quiet month which is good given that Iím still trying to psychologically recover from the watermaker purchase!



pillows, flyswatters, dinghy parking, box fans, cargo net, spatula, DVD, water bottles, Bees Wrap, etc.).

.
But the wm never counted and in cruiser budget planning is free. You could have been less than $1,000 this month if you hadn't gotten the fancy stuff.
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Old 09-08-2020, 12:59   #3
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Re: Our cruising costs - month 23 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

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But the wm never counted and in cruiser budget planning is free. You could have been less than $1,000 this month if you hadn't gotten the fancy stuff.
Ahh, if only it didnít count in my bank account. By the way, it was the gold plated flyswatter that pushed us over the $1,000.
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Old 10-08-2020, 08:57   #4
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Re: Our cruising costs - month 23 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

Thank you for posting those costs.
I am making a plan to live and work aboard and these numbers are very useful.
Thanks again!
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Old 10-08-2020, 13:46   #5
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Re: Our cruising costs - month 23 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

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Thank you for posting those costs.
I am making a plan to live and work aboard and these numbers are very useful.
Thanks again!
Iím glad itís helpful. Best of luck with your plans!
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Old 10-08-2020, 13:49   #6
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Re: Our cruising costs - month 23 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

People need to post on Cthoops budget threads or all you are going to have are mine, and I am thinking of stopping mine in 2 months at the 4 year mark.
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Old 10-08-2020, 15:40   #7
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Re: Our cruising costs - month 23 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

First , thank you to CT for posting these , amd second , SB1 please don't stop yours - it's great to see the differences month to month.
These are great planning tools , you just have to apply what was spent to yourself , so far I'm thinking we are between the two as far as where we will land ...
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Old 10-08-2020, 15:59   #8
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Re: Our cruising costs - month 23 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

I appreciate everyone that shares real life experience. That said I do not blame someone for stopping the posts. These posts are work that add no value to the original poster directly, at best it is a way to "pay it forward". I have tracked my land based expenses for many years and will continue for a while longer to prevent lifestyle creep, but I would probably notice even if I didn't keep detailed records. Most of my spending/saving is and ingrained habit at this point.

And yes I have way more accuracy than is advisable on how much our sailboat has cost so far even though we are mostly weekend users.
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Old 11-08-2020, 14:46   #9
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Re: Our cruising costs - month 23 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthoops View Post
Total: $1,337.42

2020 Monthly average: $2,785.57

2019 monthly average: $3,457.97

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

Monthly average since starting to cruise: $3,428.63

I hope this is helpful.
I am surprised no is asking questions on the numbers. This is cruising on a small "simple" (less simple than it started so there is a lesson there also, ask her) boat. I know the why's behind the numbers, but if I were a cruiser wannabe reading this for use in planning for myself I sure would be questioning just what is going on.

Get with it people, she has LOTS of empty time right now to answer silly questions (word them fun like)
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Old 11-08-2020, 15:42   #10
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Re: Our cruising costs - month 23 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

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I am surprised no is asking questions on the numbers. This is cruising on a small "simple" (less simple than it started so there is a lesson there also, ask her) boat. I know the why's behind the numbers, but if I were a cruiser wannabe reading this for use in planning for myself I sure would be questioning just what is going on.

Get with it people, she has LOTS of empty time right now to answer silly questions (word them fun like)
That oneís easy. Every year weíve had some LARGE expenditures that have impacted the averages.

Our first month cruising we paid for four months of COBRA health insurance. In 2019 we bought a furler, had it installed, and converted the jib to a furling jib. In 2020 we bought a watermaker.

Take those 3 expenditures out and we would have averaged $3,284.39 in 2018 (instead of $4,465.95), $3,088.52 in 2019 (instead of $3,457.97), and $1,876.32 to date in 2020 (vs. $2,785.57). Average monthly since we started cruising would have been $2,753.65 - almost $675/month less than reality.

The takeaway: Make sure you donít have to pay over $4,700 total for your first four months of cruising before being able to switch to the Health Exchange, and get the furler and watermaker before you quit your job.
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Old 11-08-2020, 17:30   #11
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Re: Our cruising costs - month 23 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

I was going to guess... big expenses at the beginning, getting less as you figure out what you need .

CT , can you give an idea of where you left from , went to , and your basic month( i.e.; travel 1000 miles, 3 nights at a marina, anchor out the rest , eat out 5 times a month... whatever)

I think that's where all the naysayers come out on SB's thread , it's about his choices, but it's legit - not all of us want to anchor out every night forever or eat rice and beans on the boat every night
It's supposed to be fun!
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Old 11-08-2020, 17:59   #12
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Re: Our cruising costs - month 23 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

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Originally Posted by Cthoops View Post
That oneís easy. Every year weíve had some LARGE expenditures that have impacted the averages.

Our first month cruising we paid for four months of COBRA health insurance. In 2019 we bought a furler, had it installed, and converted the jib to a furling jib. In 2020 we bought a watermaker.

Take those 3 expenditures out and we would have averaged $3,284.39 in 2018 (instead of $4,465.95), $3,088.52 in 2019 (instead of $3,457.97), and $1,876.32 to date in 2020 (vs. $2,785.57). Average monthly since we started cruising would have been $2,753.65 - almost $675/month less than reality.

The takeaway: Make sure you donít have to pay over $4,700 total for your first four months of cruising before being able to switch to the Health Exchange, and get the furler and watermaker before you quit your job.
It appears that a lot of your expenses were not dependent on boat size. Would you expect a larger boat to be much more expensive to cruise? The furler and head sail would be more but the watermaker, wind vane, health insurance, living expenses, etc wouldn't vary.
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Old 11-08-2020, 18:07   #13
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Re: Our cruising costs - month 23 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

Have you (and SB perhaps ... I stopped following his threads a while ago) considered separating basic operating expenses from these larger, one-off expenses? This is how standard business budgeting is done: operating cost budget, and then a separate capital cost budget.

It all comes out of the same pocket, but this might give a clearer picture of where and how the money flows.
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Old 11-08-2020, 18:13   #14
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Re: Our cruising costs - month 23 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Have you (and SB perhaps ... I stopped following his threads a while ago) considered separating basic operating expenses from these larger, one-off expenses? This is how standard business budgeting is done: operating cost budget, and then a separate capital cost budget.

It all comes out of the same pocket, but this might give a clearer picture of where and how the money flows.
Yes. Good idea. Just think, with a little accounting you can finally answer the question of how much more it costs to cruise a larger boat. Should be able to extract that out of your spreadsheets in no time. No need to be too picky now, we can drill down to the penny later.
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Old 12-08-2020, 07:49   #15
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Re: Our cruising costs - month 23 for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat.

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Originally Posted by Svsumurun View Post
I was going to guess... big expenses at the beginning, getting less as you figure out what you need .

CT , can you give an idea of where you left from , went to , and your basic month( i.e.; travel 1000 miles, 3 nights at a marina, anchor out the rest , eat out 5 times a month... whatever)

I think that's where all the naysayers come out on SB's thread , it's about his choices, but it's legit - not all of us want to anchor out every night forever or eat rice and beans on the boat every night
It's supposed to be fun!
You're exactly right about the expenses getting less as you figure out what you need (except for large repairs, of course). The items that have disproportionally skewed our averages have been purchases we've made as we've realized what we want - the watermaker, the furler, the Engel. What was acceptable for weekends or two week vacations changed once we were doing it 24/7/365. I read somewhere on this forum that the the cost of cruising trends down each year (again, with the exception of big repairs/replacement) and that has definitely proven to be the case for us.

For now we've been focusing on the East Coast and the Bahamas. Our first year we went from southern New England to the Exumas and back again with a combination of ICW and some offshore hops (with the longest being 300 NM). Second year was down to the Exumas and up to the Chesapeake for the summer. We're kicking around going further afield next year (although the Bahamas are so beautiful that it's a tough call) but it will depend on Covid.

It's hard to describe a typical month because it really depends on where we are, but we definitely prefer to anchor vs. being in a marina. That being said, we aren't interested in punishing ourselves so, for example, right now we're in a marina in the Chesapeake with a land friend's borrowed air conditioner - but the marina is only costing us $205/month and we're getting some projects done, so it's well worth it!

Marina stays now tend to be mini-vacations in areas we love (like a week in Beaufort, SC), or a month on a ball in Vero to provision and get ready for the Bahamas (although we did spent two months on a ball this past spring while we waited for Covid restrictions to settle down and for temperatures to rise farther north). A month on a ball in Vero is around $430.

Marina stays due to weather are substantially less than they used to be. At the beginning we didn't have a lot of anchoring experience (and zero anchoring experience in bad weather) so we were more likely to go to a marina for bad weather, but by this point we have 100% faith in our anchor in all kinds of conditions so we're much less likely to let weather dictate a marina stay.

Distance covered in a given month varies. We like to stop and smell the roses so typically it's anywhere from 200-375 nautical miles, sometimes more, sometimes less. We did have one month last year where we covered 1,200 nautical miles to get back to Connecticut.

Eating out is substantially less frequent than most people because Mr. cthoops has sodium restrictions due to his congestive heart failure. It's just easier to control that on the boat vs. in a restaurant. Pre-covid we probably averaged around $100-150 for entertainment expenses which includes restaurants or take out.

I think that covers it, but I'd be happy to answer any other questions.
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