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Old 09-14-2023, 11:41 AM   #1
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7 Years of Costs of Cruising and Living on a Boat

I am a blow boater on a 41' mono, but the below is still maybe useful. reviewing and adjusting for a power boat using 2gpm I estimate would add about $1500-2000/yr to costs once sail specific things are removed and extra fuel added.

Just finished 7 years of cruising and living on the boat and am sharing the results. I provide this as info for planners/wannabes and entertainment. The following is how and what my wife and I spent OUR MONEY on, and you can look through and change as you feel to make whatever number YOU want it to be. Plus remember it is cruising and living on a boat and I would bet it is within $100-200 of the total amount we spent during the year, and everything is included.

Like the last 3 years things didn’t really work out as I hoped for before I started 7 years ago. Turns out as you get older so does your family and that makes demands on your time (assuming you care, which is a different story). So, this year like last, we have spent a lot of time in an inexpensive marina in Jacksonville Fl. But did manage to do a 5-month trip down coast of Florida and to Bahamas and back (most of it in Bahamas). It works out that we actually spend less when cruising over being in the marina.

So here goes:
General Living - Food, soda, alcohol, clothing, sundries, other - $14,546 ($/1,213.75 mo. avg.)
This is our “living” category and would be pretty much the same living on land as on the boat. If something doesn’t fall into another category it goes in here. Inflation adjusted it has been pretty consistent over 7 years. It feels like when we go to the grocery store it is a LOT more than in past, but it isn’t really even considering the Bahamas time/prices. This category accounted for 26% of the year’s total costs and was down $968 from last year.

Boat costs - upgrades, repairs, maintenance - $7,583.61 ($631.97 /mo. avg.)
Had to replace the dinghy this year, AGAIN for the second time in 7 years that was a $1806 cost. Had to also replace my batteries AGAIN as the expensive $1953 FireFly carbon foam batteries only lasted 2.5 years. Went “cheap” drop in lithium batteries for $1320 and will see how that goes. Had to repair head sail webbing in the Bahamas and the mainsail webbing in the US and those were around $900. The rest is mostly just everyday maintenance and small repairs that add up. This category accounted for 13.6% of the year’s total costs and was up $776 from last year.

Fuel (diesel, gas, propane) - $1,637.77 ($136.48/mo. avg.)
We are sailboat and try to sail as much as possible. But the ugly truth of cruising on a sailboat is that you motor more than you planned because you want to get there when the weather and conditions allow. This category accounted for 2.9% of the year’s total costs and was down $968 from last year.

Dining and drinking out - $9,111.28 ($759.27/mo. avg.)
Yes, we dine and drink out a fair amount. It is our money remember. Most of our dining out is less than $100 and we consider it just part of traveling etc. This category accounted for 16.3% of the year’s total costs and was down $89 from last year.

Entertainment - $2,633.67 ($219.47/mo. avg.)
Lots of times it is hard to decide if an entertainment cost should be called something else. Sometimes I decide car gas and a motel stay while on a road trip is entertainment or travel. But this is how I accounted for it this year. This category accounted for 4.7% of the year’s total costs and was down $169 from last year.

Communication, storage, shipping - $4,066.57 ($338.88/mo. avg.)
We got a Starlink this year so had the equipment costs plus $125-150/month for the service. This was offset some by changing our cell phones to a cheap prepaid plan. Also had to replace a couple cell phones this period as my wife’s phones like to go swimming. We also decided to get a small storage locker to offload some stuff from the boat that we had just because we had nowhere else to put it. This category accounted for 7.3% of the year’s total costs and was up $2,555 from last year, which is the third highest increase from last year.

Fees - $(174.34) ($(14.36)/mo.)
This includes country check in costs, money exchange costs, and money we get back from using our credit card. Overall since we use our credit cards for 99.5% of everything, we spent money on, pay the card off each month, and collect the cash back it saves us money each month. This category accounted for -0.3% of the year’s total costs and was up $618 from last year.

Marina - $3,380.31 ($281.69/mo. avg)
We spent 7 months this year in a marina slip. The other 5 months we spent only 1 day in a slip, some dinghy docking marina fees, and paid $100/mo. at our home marina that held us a slip and got us a place to store our car in a covered and lock parking garage. This category accounted for 6% of the year’s total costs and was down $671 from last year.

Electric - $183.75 ($15.31/mo. avg.)
I started this category in year 1 when we stayed in a marina that had metered electric that included a fee, But the last few years when in Jacksonville Fl I have had a flat monthly low-cost electric charge. It is a great deal for us, and you may as well just consider it the cost to run the air conditioning. This category accounted for 0.3% of the year’s total costs and was up $34 from last year.

Medical and dental - $3,116.96 ($259.67/mo. avg.)
Medical and dental were up a lot this year. We are on an ACA (Obama Care) US plan and it went up $150/mo. and this year and we are paying $218/mo. Yet our coverage is less and deductible more. There is an emergency room visit that isn’t even in the books yet as I am waiting for the bill that I expect to be $1600-2000. At least this year our plan included dental and we currently have clean teeth! This category accounted for 5.6% of the year’s total costs and was up $2.590 from last year. This was the second highest category change from last year.

Transportation and travel - $6,625.35 ($552.11/mo. avg.)
We got a car last year and it needed a few repairs this year. Plus, we drove up to Canada from Florida to visit friends and did many weeklong vacation trips. Not all the cost in this category is about the car as there are motels, condos etc., from land travel also in it. Overall, we have determined the cost of having a car is not a whole not more than getting rentals and using other forms of transportation and the convivence is worth it. This category accounted for 11.8% of the year’s total costs and was down $7.427 from last year. This was highest category change of the year.

Gifts and presents - $ 1,748.41 ($145.70 mo. avg.)
We still buy birthday and Christmas presents. This category accounted for 3.1% of the year’s total costs and was up $270 from last year.

Boat and dinghy registration - $ 196.50
No words needed I feel.

Boat insurance - $ 1,240.16 ($103.35 mo. avg.)
Our boat is under value insured. But is a balancing act of what we are comfortable risking verse paying a lot more. This category accounted for 2.2% of the year’s total costs and was up $487 from last year.

There it is. We spent $55,917.14 ($4,659.76 mo. avg.) last year all in with no “not counting”.

Spreadsheet attached with monthly spending, year comparisons, big cost items tracking and an attempt to have a “not counting” page for those that want to have a basic cost basis because they feel they wouldn’t do “stuff”. (spreadsheet not supported, if you want it email me at svrubberducky "at" gmail.com)
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Old 09-14-2023, 01:12 PM   #2
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wow. thanks for sharing!!

definitely enlightening. i also found that i spend a lot less while away from the marina.
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Old 09-14-2023, 01:22 PM   #3
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Thanks for this. Remains the best accounting I've seen anywhere.

How is your conversion to power going?

Peter
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Old 09-14-2023, 02:45 PM   #4
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How is your conversion to power going?

Peter
I haven't been working on it
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Old 09-14-2023, 04:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Don L View Post
.

There it is. We spent $55,917.14 ($4,659.76 mo. avg.) last year all in with no “not counting”.
= $86,867.28 Australian Dollar
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Old 09-15-2023, 06:46 AM   #6
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Nice that you've posted it here too, Don. I know sailors, especially new folks and wannabees, on the other forum are very appreciative...

Many of your categories -- general living, dining out, entertainment, etc. -- would just be "business as usual" for us, without regard to boat life or not. I know it's useful for many to track everything, though...

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Old 09-15-2023, 09:41 AM   #7
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Thank you for sharing!
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Old 09-15-2023, 09:57 AM   #8
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Yes, thank you for sharing.

We have a theoretical budget I have worked on for years and it aligns with what you are actually doing.

Many expenses are going to location dependent, and what one chooses to spend money on might vary, but the bottom line number we have is close to yours.

Your numbers are a good sanity check.

Thanks,
Dan
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Old 09-15-2023, 10:39 AM   #9
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Yes, thank you for sharing.

We have a theoretical budget I have worked on for years and it aligns with what you are actually doing.

Many expenses are going to location dependent, and what one chooses to spend money on might vary, but the bottom line number we have is close to yours.

Your numbers are a good sanity check.

Thanks,
Dan

Always a plus when someone else's delusions support your own

Just busting on you
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Old 09-15-2023, 12:06 PM   #10
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Hi Don
You might remember me from Barington and again Blue Water when we shared a finger and I had the Outbound. You do great work and it gives a true number for your boat. I’m always struck how you can’t account for and predict bad luck like you had with your engine in Barrington. However you (unlike many) are an active cruiser and hold on to your boat(s) for well above an average time. In your case bad luck averages out. Some years with little need for service, replacement or other big expenses. Other years not so much. I’m lead to believe the average length of boat ownership is 5-7 years but skewed by most people being near the 5 and fewer holding on to boat for decades. For the long term owners COO overtime evens out. But for the short term owners COO maybe skewed toward the high end. Add in as the years go by you figure out how to do things yourself, where to buy stuff, who to use to get god work at a far price.
I know you well enough to know you’re a smart guy and know your Hunter well so would suggest those just getting into cruising keep that in mind.
There’s a downside to long term term ownership. During ownership of blue water sail you will need to replace standing rigging at about 8 years. Sails don’t last forever if used and you want a level of performance. Same with the need to rebed things and replace anchor chain. But again with long term ownership things average out.
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Old 09-15-2023, 12:30 PM   #11
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Not sure I am who you think - I haven't had any engine problems. In 3600 engine hours the only thing other than routine maintenance I have had to do was replace a heat exchanger flange. I haven't replaced my anchor chain in 10 years, but have been cutting sections off.

Boat stuff breaks. The only work I have paid for that I couldn't have done is some rigging work. I will say I paid the yard to do the bottom paint last year so I could do other work.

Anyway here is the thing for a planner to know - if you really want to understand my cost reporting you need the spreadsheet. On it there are notes about large costs items, upgrades, repairs and maintenance etc. There is even a section that removes a lot of things for "not counting"

I started out out 7 years ago with a target spend of $3000/mo and never was able to stay below. But a lot of that is a factor of not having to.

Anyone really interested in using my numbers for planning should get the spreadsheet. Email for a copy at svrubberducky "at" gmail.com
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Old 09-15-2023, 12:53 PM   #12
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My bad I thought you were someone else I knew in the past. Apologizes.
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Old 09-15-2023, 01:46 PM   #13
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Always a plus when someone else's delusions support your own

Just busting on you
There is strength in numbers. Either the number of us deluded people or the bottom line.

Later,
Dan
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Old 09-15-2023, 02:49 PM   #14
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wow. thanks for sharing!!

definitely enlightening. i also found that i spend a lot less while away from the marina.
From the list provided above there is about $30,000 USD in costs that don't apply to us.
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Old 09-15-2023, 03:04 PM   #15
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From the list provided above there is about $30,000 USD in costs that don't apply to us.
Not very helpful without explaining now is it?

Taking $30k off my number puts you only $5k above the Federal poverty level for 2 in the US
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Old 09-15-2023, 03:14 PM   #16
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Not very helpful without explaining now is it?

We have more than enough money

But when cruising full time away from marinas, cars, shops and restaurants we can't spend it.
Plus we have free heath care in Australia, thankfully.

And, because the boat is big with plenty of freezer and storage space, we buy in bulk - why buy fillet steak by the slice @ $45/Kg when I can buy the whole fillet for $15/kg


Quote:
Taking $30k off my number puts you only $5k above the Federal poverty level for 2 in the US
And if they have to pay rent/mortgage, run a car, have shops and advertising in their face 24/7 that'd be tough for sure.

We have none of that so it's pretty much just food and running the boat.
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Old 09-15-2023, 03:38 PM   #17
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I see you as an example of the person who blasts into every one of these threads I have done the last 7 years with some low cost claim. If I take off transportation and medical it is nowhere near $30k.

Only way you are taking $30k off my number is to go nowhere and do pretty much nothing.

Do you have actual tracked numbers or are you in the club that feels it is a badge of honor to win the low cost battle. I certainly am NOT interested in that life.
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Old 09-15-2023, 03:54 PM   #18
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I see you as an example of the person who blasts into every one of these threads I have done the last 7 years with some low cost claim. If I take off transportation and medical it is nowhere near $30k..
And marinas and eating out at restaurants, drinking at pubs etc

Add:
Quote:
Dining and drinking out - $9,111.28 ($759.27/mo. avg.)
Entertainment - $2,633.67 ($219.47/mo. avg.)
Communication, storage, shipping - $4,066.57 ($338.88/mo. avg.)
Marina - $3,380.31 ($281.69/mo. avg)
Medical and dental - $3,116.96 ($259.67/mo. avg.)
Transportation and travel - $6,625.35 ($552.11/mo. avg.)
Gifts and presents - $ 1,748.41 ($145.70 mo. avg
The above is what we don't spend
Comms cost $1400 USD but no storage/shipping



Quote:
Only way you are taking $30k off my number is to go nowhere and do pretty much nothing.
We do several thousand miles a year through exotic locations
No shops, just dolphins and whales, coral, booby birds and sandy beaches
Peace and quiet, plenty of it
No road noise, people arguing, crime or dramas

If that's doing nothing then I guess you are correct.

Quote:
Do you have actual tracked numbers or are you in the club that feels it is a badge of honor to win the low cost battle
Tracked numbers are that we know our yearly income
And at years end we see what's left
Simple maths tells us the spend

Though these days, the banking apps show the result.
They even split and show what was spent on groceries, fuel, etc.
Quote:
I certainly am NOT interested in that life
That's fine
We are not interested in a land based life
It's why we live and cruise full time on a boat.
Quote:
The following is how and what my wife and I spent OUR MONEY on, and you can look through and change as you feel to make whatever number YOU want it to be. Plus remember it is cruising and living on a boat and I would bet it is within $100-200 of the total amount we spent during the year, and everything is included.
Considering your opening statement, you sure seem to be getting worked up when I did what you mentioned.
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Old 09-15-2023, 04:39 PM   #19
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Not interested in debating anymore. If you want to be helpful to others put into a full break down. I have tossed out the challenge lots of times, including to you on other forums, and am still waiting. In 7 years on 2 forums where I used to post the costs every month there was always the "I can do for a lot less" and in all that time only 1 ever took up the challenge of doing the same and they stopped once their talk was broken.

I checked my spreadsheet and the lowest year ever is nowhere near your number. You truly are amazing and living a full fun life!
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Old 09-15-2023, 04:54 PM   #20
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Not interested in debating anymore. If you want to be helpful to others put into a full break down. I have tossed out the challenge lots of times, including to you on other forums, and am still waiting. In 7 years on 2 forums where I used to post the costs every month there was always the "I can do for a lot less" and in all that time only 1 ever took up the challenge of doing the same and they stopped once their talk was broken.
I have more important things to worry about than count every cent and run a spreadsheet for your benefit
I have nothing to prove.

As I said, income in minus expenses shows spend - simple.
And these days, the banking app does that - it even breaks down groceries vs fuel vs whatever.
Quote:
I checked my spreadsheet and the lowest year ever is nowhere near your number.
That's ok, you spend more than us on stuff we don't

Quote:
You truly are amazing and living a full fun life!
Thanks
We are enjoying it while we can.


As stated before


Considering your opening statement of.....
Quote:
The following is how and what my wife and I spent OUR MONEY on, and you can look through and change as you feel to make whatever number YOU want it to be. Plus remember it is cruising and living on a boat and I would bet it is within $100-200 of the total amount we spent during the year, and everything is included.
.....you sure seem to be getting worked up when I did what you mentioned
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