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Old 30-09-2018, 16:41   #1
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Our cruising costs - month one for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

As we were getting ready to cut the dock lines, I found Sailorboy's monthly posts listing his cruising expenses were very helpful as a real world example of the costs of cruising. In the interest of paying it forward, I thought I'd list our monthly expenses for those who are dreaming and planning as we once were.

As background, we are a middle-aged couple (I'm 49, Mr. cthoops is 59) and we are cruising full-time on our 1977 Bristol 29.9. This is our second boat and we've spent the last few years sailing her in the summer and refitting during the winter.

We left our home port of Groton, CT on Monday, September 3rd and went to Block Island, then Narragansett Bay while we waited to see what Hurricane Florence would do. We were also waiting for a weather window to hop offshore to Cape May, but after a few weeks when that didn't appear we decided to go inside down Long Island Sound. We are currently anchored in Oyster Bay, NY.

Here's what we spent in September, keeping in mind that Mr. cthoops has congestive heart failure so we don't drink alcohol (his cardiologist says no) and we rarely eat out (because of his sodium restrictions):

Groceries: $297.98

Diesel/Gasoline: $14.00

Health Care: $4,726.23 - this amount includes the cost to Cobra my health insurance plan from October - December. We will be signing up for Connecticut's health exchange so the cost will go down dramatically beginning in January.

Cell phone and internet (2 phones, one iPad data plan, iCloud storage, and a Garmin inReach subscription): $110.99

Last pro-rated internet bill from our apartment: $9.99

Mail Service: $121.75 - this includes a $100 deposit to the UPS Store which they will draw from when we have mail forwarded to us.

Laundry: $26.00

Ice: $13.00

Showers: $9.50

Netflix: $11.10

Boat Insurance: $90 - this is a flat amount to account for the increase in our premium when we added a rider for the Bahamas and increased our boat's declared value.

Boat stuff: $318.19 - this amount is for 2 handheld VHF radios (the old ones died a week after leaving), supplies for our water catch, a 12v plug inverter to recharge the computer, carabiners and lines to make a dinghy hoist, ten oil diapers, a 5 gallon collapsible water jug, a chain hook, two velcro wraps, electric cable anti-chafe, two fuses, and a 9v battery for the multimeter.

Restaurants/Entertainment: $79.60

Uber/Bus: $30.83

New York Times subscription: $20.20

Marinas: $58.49

Auto Insurance: $51.36 - this is the difference between the refund for cancelling our policy when we sold our car and the premium for our non-owner policy which will keep us out of the high-risk pool should we purchase another car in the future.

Annual subscriptions: $82.79 - This is a one-time annual payment to upgrade our PredictWind app and a one month upgrade for our SailFlow app.

Random: $17.08 - this amount includes dominoes game, a tea kettle to replace the one that broke, and other miscellaneous amounts

Total: $6,089.08


I hope this is helpful.
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Old 30-09-2018, 17:40   #2
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Re: Our cruising costs - month one for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

Hope you get a better decal on the health care costs.
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Old 30-09-2018, 18:16   #3
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Re: Our cruising costs - month one for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

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Hope you get a better decal on the health care costs.
Thanks. We definitely will. We didn't qualify for subsidies for the rest of the year so with the cost being the same as Cobra, we decided to stick with what we have. With next year's projected income being so much lower, the expense will drop like a rock in January. I sure hated writing that check though, even though I knew it was a one-time deal!
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Old 01-10-2018, 04:29   #4
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Re: Our cruising costs - month one for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

Good to hear. You should have reached out as I spent 3-4 days in New london beginning of month. I could have told all the things you didn't want to hear
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Old 01-10-2018, 05:32   #5
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Re: Our cruising costs - month one for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

Thanks for sharing your expenses with everyone. We'll be following this to see how your expenses in January shape up.
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Old 01-10-2018, 05:54   #6
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Re: Our cruising costs - month one for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

We have been averaging US $1900 for the past 5 years. We don't have health insurance, boat 3rd party only, go into marinas every 12 month to anti faul, the rest of the time we are at anchor or cruising. we live comfortable, eating out 2 -3 times a week and I have my daily ration of beer. In the past 5 years we have been cruising from Asia to Africa, South America, Caribbean, the Med and now we are back in the Caribbean. I do my own repairs and maintenance where possible.
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Old 01-10-2018, 05:56   #7
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Re: Our cruising costs - month one for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

Interesting … so removing your (crazy) healthcare costs, your expenditure is right on par with what we’ve been spending this past two years: ~$1400/month.
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Old 01-10-2018, 07:25   #8
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Re: Our cruising costs - month one for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

We run close to 3K, but we have a lot of land based expenditures, like auto Insurence for the kids, storage and the like, and we have been keeping a car so far, and I spend more on the boat than most do.
Probably be less than $2,500 if you backed those things out. Then leave the Marina and we would be closer to Mike’s figure.
However we are leaving this year “fingers crossed” but to the Bahamas first, and I have heard everything is expensive there.

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Old 01-10-2018, 07:27   #9
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Re: Our cruising costs - month one for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

I really appreciate to get realistic expenses and thanks for sharing. I'm glad to see that most of you are living at just about the poverty line, and this is where I am heading as well...

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...In the past 5 years we have been cruising from Asia to Africa, South America, Caribbean, the Med and now we are back in the Caribbean. I do my own repairs and maintenance where possible.
Seman, may I ask which of these regions were the least expensive? and did you use a bank card? and if so, which bank?


Quote:
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Interesting … so removing your (crazy) healthcare costs, your expenditure is right on par with what we’ve been spending this past two years: ~$1400/month.
Mike, is this US or CAD? I ask because I'll need to take the CAD-US conversion rate into account when planning mine.

Thank you all
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Old 01-10-2018, 07:35   #10
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Re: Our cruising costs - month one for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

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I really appreciate to get realistic expenses and thanks for sharing. I'm glad to see that most of you are living at just about the poverty line, and this is where I am heading as well...
Not all of us. In reality, probably more cruisers spending more like $3k/month than those of us on the more frugal side. I strongly recommend you check out sailorboy's thread. He’s been posting details for two years now.

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Mike, is this US or CAD? I ask because I'll need to take the CAD-US conversion rate into account when planning mine.
I converted to USD for this discussion. In CAD it’s around $1800/month.
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Old 01-10-2018, 07:49   #11
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Our cruising costs - month one for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

You can do it for less, but I think that $3K plus is a long term sustainable figure for the majority of cruisers, most of who can’t do all of their own maintenance, Dive the Boat etc.
Plus that gives some good cushion for living it up a little and enjoying life, although after a lifetime of being somewhat frugal, that isn’t easy to do.

Plus you really, really need to build a cushion, or emergency expense fund for when something happens. I think you need to be able to get one years worth of expenses to cover an unexpected repower or similar.

Where you are, and lifestyle are huge.
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Old 01-10-2018, 08:06   #12
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Re: Our cruising costs - month one for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

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...Plus you really, really need to build a cushion, or emergency expense fund for when something happens. I think you need to be able to get one years worth of expenses to cover an unexpected repower or similar.
Yes . Essential, especially if you’re managing on a low income. We keep our regular expenses low (our operating costs), but we have a decent fund (big for us ) to cover emergency expenses or major unexpected costs.
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Old 01-10-2018, 08:28   #13
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Re: Our cruising costs - month one for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

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You can do it for less, but I think that $3K plus is a long term sustainable figure for the majority of cruisers, most of who can’t do all of their own maintenance, Dive the Boat etc.
Majority on this forum anyway

Outrageous unnecessary wealth for many others around the world

Not sure I know any cruisers that don't do almost all their own maintenance.

Each to their own as long as it's fun.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:13   #14
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Re: Our cruising costs - month one for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

I thought my health insurance was high....bout 800 dollars including Medicare!
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:16   #15
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Re: Our cruising costs - month one for a middle-aged couple on a modest boat

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Majority on this forum anyway

Outrageous unnecessary wealth for many others around the world

Not sure I know any cruisers that don't do almost all their own maintenance.

Each to their own as long as it's fun.


Most I don’t think can overhaul and engine or do any in-depth electrical work.
Most will change pumps, maybe a hose or alternator belt etc.
Most it seems contract out Solar and fridge work for example.
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