How much does it cost to go cruising? How much does it cost to live on a boat? These are questions we’ve wondered about many times. It was so helpful to find other cruisers who were willing to share, what some might call private information, openly and willingly. We loved finding bloggers who posted their monthly budget while cruising so much that we told ourselves, when the time came, we wanted to do the same. So for anyone dreaming of cruising and interested in the costs of cruising, this is for you.
However, one thing I must mention first is this: you can go cruising on any budget. I read this from other cruisers over and over again. It’s just a matter of what is important to you, and what you are willing to live with and perhaps even compromise on. Some cruisers wouldn’t dream of setting sail without certain things that other cruisers wouldn’t miss at all. It’s just a matter of preference, lifestyle and budget.
This monthly look at our expenses doesn’t include the cost of the boat – that’s something my husband can easily (and eagerly) write an entire post about. So we’ll save that for another time. What we wanted to share here is just what we spent this month living on our boat.
To give you an idea, we estimated spending about $2,000 US dollars a month. This is a very general average. We hope that many times we will spend less than this. As you’ll about to see, this month was an above average month, but we expected that with the initial boat repairs and boat items we needed. Also we do not expect to pay for marina fees very often. Marina fees/dock fees can add up fast and take a big chunk out of the cruising kitty (savings). Our plan instead is to stay in anchorages, which are free.
This budget begins when we arrived at the marina November 7th, so this doesn’t include things like the hotel we paid for on the road trip here, but just know there were additional costs of moving across the country to get here.
All amounts are in US dollars.
Marina monthly fee $503.01
Electricity — From the house we left- this was for the previous month while we were living there. This will not be a recurring expense. $134.21
Cell phone bill $83.25
Medical co-sharing payment — Our current form of medical insurance while we are in the US (See Samaritan Ministries for more information) $470.25
Groceries $929.04 — This is about $300 more than we would normally spend on land, but we bought extra food a) while we had a car b) to stock up on specific items that I knew I couldn’t get at just any grocery store c) to have extra after we leave the dock. We don’t plan on spending this much each month.
Eating out $80.14 — This includes when we went out for our anniversary dinner.
Diesel fuel for the boat $93.96
FCC operating license for the SSB radio $70.00 — A one time expense.
Portable generator $869 — To charge our batteries when we are away from power. We have a wind generator and solar panels that came with the boat so we were pretty lucky not to have any other large expenses for power.
Boat supplies and hardware $479.36 — This includes many, many things. Anything from parts to repair the head (toilet), eye bolts, plunger, ditch kit supplies, zip-ties, to fishing supplies, a haircutting kit, a small vacuum, small kitchen items and much more. Just anything we needed to fix, repair, improve or have on board. We do not anticipate spending nearly this much every month on supplies and boat projects. We think of it as our “starting up costs.”
Boat insurance $166.67 — We paid an entire year’s worth of insurance up front, but this is the amount it would be if we could have paid the amount per month for one year.
Small heater for the boat $16.90
Laundry facilities $30.00 — This is what we spent for a total of three times (once a week) going to the laundromat. During the week we washed by hand as many clothes as we could.
Gas for the car $40.00 plus a little
Things we’ve received for free- a car to borrow (from a friend back on land), sailing books, work gloves, bimini cloth, a pump second hand for super cheap and a bottle of wine. Other cruisers have certainly lived up to the cruising community’s reputation of being helpful in any way they can!
Total for November = $3,973.74
We hope this is helpful!