Cost of Cruising: Our January 2017 Budget

It is halfway through February, but I am finally finishing this post on how our budget fared in January. In January we decidedly changed one thing about our budget: we would stop docking at marinas! We spent too much on marina fees in December, and we knew we could not keep that up. Since January 1st, we have not stayed at one marina or even a mooring field. We have been very happy with this decision and we know it has saved us money and caused us to learn how to live on a boat more sustainably.

Our beautiful view at anchor

Our month of January was mostly spent anchored in St. Augustine, Florida. It was the longest we had stayed in one place, and we also had the ability to pick up packages from a friend’s marina, so we were taking advantage of that and ordering things we needed while we were there. We were also in St. Augustine recertifying our life raft, so January was a “big” month for expenses, unfortunately. Three things to keep in mind for our budget: 1) We put aside about $10,000 to spend on major expenses, like the life raft, to get us started in this lifestyle. We finished spending that amount in January. 2) We jumped into living aboard and traveling right away instead of working and outfitting the boat while on land, as many do, so our budget reflects that, and 3) We are a family of five with growing children!

Ready to explore downtown St. Augustine

We are hoping that we can learn how to live off of less than what we are right now. I’ll be honest, I’m sure we’ve spent more than we sometimes needed to, just because this is all so new for us! We are learning what we need and what we don’t need, and how to get by without things that we were used to.

Here’s how we did:

All amounts are in US dollars.

Dock fees $10.00 – This was for one day to tie up our dinghy at the municipal dinghy dock in St. Augustine. This fee also allowed us access to showers and laundry facilities. (We still had to pay for the laundry machines).

The art district

Groceries $1,085.31 – We had access to a car in St. Augustine, so we made a trip and spent a few hundred dollars more on extra provisions.

Laundry $44.25 – Laundry was a little more expensive there.

Cell phone $84.72 – This is for one phone plus unlimited data.

Eating out/Entertainment $105.47 – This is slightly higher than what we normally spend, but still good in my book. We did not pay for one museum in St. Augustine (and there are many!) so we were pleased with the fun things we did that didn’t cost anything. It would have been easy to spend a lot of money there, but we are glad we didn’t.

Couldn’t pass up Cousteau’s Waffle and Milkshake Bar!

Gas/Diesel $319.09 – We have motored on the same tank of gas since North Carolina, and finally refilled our tank in Florida. The gas is for our generator and dinghy engine.

Hosting service for our websites $12.74

Medical insurance $0 – Right now we are in between and are deciding what to do for insurance coverage.

Boat parts and maintenance $516.63 – We worked on a few boat projects and maintenance issues.

Misc items $173.75 – pillows, water jugs, cleaning products, matches and lighters, extra dental care items, a couple of clothing items and a present for a friend plus a few other random items falls into this category.

Total = $2,351.96


*Not included in this total is the recertification of our life raft which cost about $930 (still cheaper than buying a new one). And roughly $1,000 on items we felt would be necessary and fun for our lifestyle on a boat! This includes a stand-up paddle board, stinger suits and a climbing harness for the girls, flippers, a wet suit and snorkel gear for Mike, more natural sunscreen, spare parts for the boat, and an amazing wagon for walking with the girls and carrying provisions back to the boat.

We love our wagon!

Stayed tuned for our February budget soon!




11 thoughts on “Cost of Cruising: Our January 2017 Budget”

  1. Sharing all these details really puss the whole experience in perspective for your readers. It makes your adventure seen not so far out of reach for the rest of us.

  2. Hi I am Ellie mom.I beleve you are the family she told me about.I will put you on my prayer list.She said what a nice family you wereally and howe beautiful your girls are.Question what made you to decide to sell everything and sail.It certainly cannot be easy with 3 small children. Lynne Jeddry

    1. So nice to hear from you! We have enjoyed Ellie and Allan so much and we keep getting to meet up with them! Thank you for praying for us. This time last year we really felt like God was putting something new on our hearts. We wanted to follow God and not be attached to anything. We both felt the desire to move somewhere else, travel even and we had this idea of a sailboat. It came together so smoothly and quickly for us we felt that God was blessing that path! We sold our house to a wonderful family, which was a huge blessing for them too. We don’t know exactly what God has for us on this journey yet, but we are learning and growing so much, especially learning more about Him!

  3. Thank you for sharing. It’s interesting to see how much this life style costs for a family of five. With no rent or mortgage and maintenance, no childcare (baby sitting, after school, extra curricular activities, trips… for 3 kids), I would think that this could cost a lot less. However, the larger items such as fitting the boat, insurances (boat and health), and even communication [internet (in some places), cellular/satellite/weather services] could add up quickly. Your dollar will go further the sooner you reached the less expensive destinations. Fair winds.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Justin. Without the big boat expenses, February is shaping up to be a much cheaper month, we are looking forward to posting the results.

  4. It looks like the girls are really enjoying the wagon, it looks like a whole bunch of fun for them. Big hello to Michael, everyone misses him @Proserv

  5. Hi There,
    I’m reaaaaallly enjoying and appreciating your cruising budget blog. We are a family of 5, kids a couple of years older than yours, looking to begin our cruising life in 2020. Seeing your experiences and expenditures is a big help giving us a better idea of what to expect. Please keep it up! 😉

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