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06 June 2016

Cost Of Living Aboard Our Boat | April & May 2016


It’s time for our regular cost of living update, which I do every two months. We've been tracking how much it costs to live aboard our Moody 346 sailboat, S/V Tickety Boo, at Indiantown Marina in southern Florida, where we were initially laid up during last hurricane season and where I'm now living while Scott is working overseas. While Scott has been in Scotland, I've been staying on our boat and slowly ticking things off of our project list. So, our live aboard costs are pretty much just that - cost of my daily living aboard our boat and occasionally buying stuff for Tickety Boo to keep her happy.

You can find links to other cost updates from ourselves and others on this page, as well as on The Monkey's Fist. If you want to know how much we spent over the past two months, have a look below.

Cost of Living Aboard | April & May 2016

Overall, we spent $3,672 during April and May which is up around $1,222 from the previous two months, primarily due to boat insurance renewal and the purchase of a new laptop.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of what we spent, here are a few things to note:

1 - All costs are in US dollars.

2 - Not all expenses are included - here's what we've left out:
(a) We don't report how much we spend on alcohol. I remember reading some horrible, judgy comments in a blog post a few years back about how much someone spent on booze, so I left it out when we first started tracking our cruising costs back in New Zealand. For consistency's sake, I've continued to leave it out when tracking our cruising and RV costs.
(b) We haven't included costs related to storing our Scamp travel trailer ($21 per month) because we track the cost of our RV and cruising adventures separately.
(c) We've also left out our costs for medical insurance. We didn't think it made sense to include insurance costs as they can vary so widely depending upon your nationality, where you cruise, what level of coverage you want and can afford etc. In case you are curious, while we're back in the States, we do have insurance through the health insurance marketplace (aka ACA/Obamacare), primarily to protect our assets and cover us in case of a catastrophic medical condition. After spending a pretty big chunk of change for health insurance during 2015, we were in a bit of a quandary about whether we should go ahead and get coverage for 2016 or take the risk and pay the tax penalty for being uninsured. In the end, after weighing up the potential tax penalty, possible tax credits and risk of being uninsured, we ended up getting insurance for 2016. If you want to know more about our health insurance options and quandary for 2016, check this post out.
3 - Scott has been in Scotland taking care of some work projects and tending to some other matters, so grocery and entertainment costs are less than they would be normally.

4 - I've included any shipping and taxes we've paid in what we report. Florida has a 6% sales tax. Boo.

GROCERIES | Total = $384.38

This category includes everything we put in our bodies in terms of food and drink (excluding booze) that we prepare ourselves. It doesn't include things like paper towels and ziploc bags, which I know some people would classify as groceries. Sure, you could probably eat them, but they wouldn't taste very good.

PERSONAL & HOUSEHOLD | Total = $33.21

This is the category where we include household things (like paper towels and ziploc bags) and personal hygiene items (like soap and shampoo). We also capture items for the "home" here - like ant traps.

ENTERTAINMENT | Total = $138.47

One of the great things about hanging out in Indiantown is that there really isn't all that much to spend your entertainment dollars on. It's a pretty small town and things are really quiet at the marina, so there's not a lot of temptation.

In terms of drinks and eating out, this includes everything we don't prepare ourselves, even if we get something to go and eat it back on the boat. We also track how much we spend on books, magazines, movies etc. in this category, as well as the occasional Powerball lottery ticket ($2).

COMMUNICATIONS | Total = $160

Our cell phone is actually one of our biggest non-boat related expenses. I have a $60 monthly GoPhone plan with AT&T which includes 5GB of data and unlimited calls and texts. Normally, 5GB of data isn't enough for us, but we have a WiFi adapter/antenna gizmo which helps us get the marina Wi-Fi at our boat and minimizes the use of our cellular data. Lately though it's been hard to access the marina Wi-Fi as there are so many people here, so sometimes I end up buying additional data. While Scott is away, I've also added on a $10 monthly international call plan so that we do our daily phone call.

BOAT FUEL | Total = Nil

Because our boat hasn't left the slip, we haven't needed to spend anything on diesel or gas.

LPG | Total = Nil

I've been primarily using our microwave and crock pot for cooking, so haven't needed to top up the LPG tanks.

MARINA COSTS | Total = $1,166.00

Keeping Tickety Boo in a slip is one of our biggest expenses. The monthly cost of a slip with electricity at Indiantown Marina for a 34.5' boat is $572.40. The guys at the marina will also come pump out our holding tank on demand - $5.30 for each visit.

BOAT STUFF | Total = $712.09

This category is for all the stuff we've been buying for the boat. We've got a long list of stuff we need to get for Tickety Boo - some upgrades, some maintenance related items, equipment etc. I'm trying to spread the costs out because I simply find it too painful to spend so much money all at once.

Boat insurance was our big expense here during April. We opted to get liability only insurance this year, along with tow insurance. You can read about our insurance dilemma here. I also bought a new fuel filter and strap wrench in the hopes that changing the fuel filter would sort out our engine.

TRANSPORT | Total = $27.77

This category is for costs related to our vehicle, mostly for gas to keep it going and drive into the nearby "big city" of Stuart for errands. Gas is so cheap these days that I've really been able to keep these costs down.

MEDICAL EXPENSES | Total = $157.02

This category includes medical expenses outside of our monthly insurance premium (which aren't included here - see section on exclusions above), like over the counter medications, prescriptions and things for our medical kit. It also includes the costs of doctors visits and medical tests which aren't covered by our insurance. I had been expecting some rather large medical bills to come due during the past two months, but it looks like insurance companies take their time processing claims. I'm guessing this will be a painful update next time.

OTHER | Total = $878.33

In this category, we break out how much we spend on clothes and travel expenses. We also include a catch-all miscellaneous group for stuff that doesn't fit neatly anywhere else - things like laundry ($3.25 for a wash and dry at Indiantown Marina). The costs in this category sky rocketed from the previous two months due to the purchase of a new laptop computer. After trying to revive my old one several times, it finally decided it had had enough and died once and for all. Hopefully, this new one lasts longer.


Do you budget and/or track your expenses? If so, do you find it helps you manage your money better?

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22 comments:

  1. You must be very organised to keep track of it all. We haven't always been as methodical but since I stopped working and now that hubby has cut his working week down we keep a much closer eye on things.

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    1. Once I had the spreadsheet set up and got into the practice of entering my receipts right away it became really simple to keep track of everything. Doing it helps me really think carefully about what we spend out money on.

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    2. Say Ellen, would you consider sharing said spreadsheet? If its Excel... I'd love to see how you set it up. With our new challenges here, we REALLY need to get serious about tracking expenses better...

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    3. No problem - I'll send you a copy.

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  2. My goodness...I need your organizational skills in helping me make a personal budget! :)

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  3. We track our expenses too. I think people need to know what they are spending their money on. I like how you do that.

    Have a fabulous day Ellen. ☺

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    1. I think for a lot of people tracking their expenses is really helpful to figure out what they spend their money on, where they can cut back etc. so that they can reduce their debt and spend their money on stuff that's really important to them.

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  4. Really, that's about the same as a house, you're just spreading the expenses to different items.
    Sorry about the judgemental people.

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    1. That's very true - the marina fees are like rent or a mortgage for land based people.

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  5. What laptop did you buy? Matt bought me a new laptop last year (I was just using my work PC before) and it's a dream to have a computer that loads webpages and downloads, and doesn't crash every 30 seconds! Who knew life could be so good. Now if only I could get wifi every once in a while. We've just been using phone data to survive since we left our home marina- and even though we are at a dock today, their wifi doesn't reach our boat. Boo.

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    1. I went with a mid-range Dell laptop (Intel I5 & 8GB RAM) - around $600. It seems to work okay, but I'm not doing anything intensive on it like gaming or video editing. It's actually overwhelming to try to figure out what computer to buy. Way too many choices!

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    2. It is overwhelming! And who knew video editing was such an ordeal? I've been shooting video, but haven't had the time, energy and expertise and patience to put it together.

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  6. Believe it or not, we're still using a laptop from 2007. The latest repair was a new mother board because the graphics card went out. I can't decide whether it's a good thing or not that David's so handy because I'd love to switch back to a Mac for photos and graphics.

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    1. David should do a post on DIY computer repair. It would be kind of fun to play around with the one that crashed on me and see if I can monkey around with it and bring it back to life.

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  7. Your doing extremely well with your grocery bill, Ellen! When we were cruising, our biggest expense was boat-related stuff as well. Your insurance does not seem to be too expensive. I know it is just liability you opted for, which must be a big difference with complete coverage. On Irie, in the Pacific, we paid well over $2500 a year. Ouch! I, unfortunately, have a computer expense coming up as well, from the moment Mark finds a decent one on sale... That will be two new laptops in one year, since he already splurged on one in January.

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    1. I've been dipping a bit into my food stores, so it's probably a false savings :-( The liability isn't too bad, although it's only for Eastern US and Bahamas at this point.

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  8. So what do you do when a storm comes? Do you have somewhere you can take shelter? I've often wondered about that!

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    1. I thought about that yesterday with TS Colin making its way through FL :-) At the marina I'm at, there isn't any safe structures on site, but there is a school nearby where we could evacuate to if a hurricane were to come.

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  9. I am always kind of impressed, if a little alarmed, when people get along with spreadsheets like you and my husband do. And yet, all the data! It's quite interesting when it belongs to someone else. I would be spending much more than that on food. How do you do this? Also, I'm kind of envious of the cost of your marina, which seems low to me as we pay upwards of 800$/month, plus electricity. Of course, our boat is big. I'm looking forward to not having both a house payment and a marina payment. I hope you are staying safe from the hurricane!

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    1. I think I haven't spent as much on food lately as I've been eating some stuff I already have plus not as much meat. In terms of marina rates, it is helpful to have a smaller boat :-) To be honest, I would have thought marina prices would have been higher in the FL area than in the PNW. Curious.

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  10. Groceries must be cheap in Florida! It's a lot more expensive to eat in Canada. ☺ Kudos to you for your efficiency and frugality. I'm neither that well-organized nor thrifty and could do a lot better. You are a good role model.

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