Monday, January 31, 2011

How much does it cost to go cruising?

We’ve had lots of questions about how much money it costs to go cruising and the standard answer is “it depends.”  It really is different for everyone and in my experience, it costs as much as you have.  But I realize those kinds of answers don’t give future cruisers any clue as to what to expect out here, so I’m joining in with a few of my fellow cruisers and posting expenses.  I’m not going to post details (mainly because I don’t want anyone gasping at how much we spend on food – we like to eat), but I will post the totals for our first year and give you a few opinions.  In full disclosure, these are general figures…I don’t keep exact books but they’ll give you an idea give or take a few dollars.  If you want to see other cruiser expenses, you can check out Third Day’s blog or Hotspur on my links…they both post details.

Our total expenses for 2010 from May-December (we left at the end of April) were $19,875.  $3875 over our budget.  I mostly attribute this to two trips back to the states where we made some pretty large purchases for the boat – a new SSB Radio and antennae – and we rented a car.  In order to have full disclosure here, I will also say this total does not include our mail expenses as those go on my credit card and I’m just too lazy to look it up.  I’m guessing those were about $300.

Some insights to help breakdown the total…
  • We spent most of our budget on food and drinks, both eating out and on groceries.  This matches perfectly with how we spent our money on land…no surprises there.
  • The next highest item was boat parts.  As I’ve already pointed out, we made a few major purchases so that’s not surprising either.
  • Other categories that were more than a few hundred dollars… marina/mooring fees, transportation (we rented a car more than a few times), gas/fuel for the boat/dinghy, gifts and souvenirs, fishing licenses and lures, home schooling materials.
  • Categories that really didn’t make a dent in anything…internet, ice cream (yes, I track this separately out of sheer curiosity), laundry, entertainment, dinghy dock fees, clothes.

Overall, I’m not very surprised.  You hear a lot about expenses being high in the first year and then the more you get the hang of it, the less you spend.  We’re not off to a very good start for January but that’s because we’re getting ready to cross a big ocean and we’re probably going overboard in preparation.  But the way I figure it, we have a full 20 days out there were we spend nothing!

I hope this helps some future cruisers and if nothing else, satisfies any curiosities out there as to how we do this.  If anyone has specific questions, I’m always happy to answer those – just shoot me an email or leave a comment with your email address and I’ll get back to you.

By the way, I apologize for the lack of pictures.  I was going to take some pictures of our pesos...but we're all out :)  

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