We track and report every penny we spend living aboard and cruising on Tickety Boo, our Moody 346 sailboat for a couple of reasons.
1 - It helps us see where our money is going, helps us make informed choices about where to spend our money, which in turn helps us stretch our money further so that we can keep adventuring longer.
2 - We found it really useful to check out other people's cost of cruising when we were starting out, so we figure we can return favor by sharing ours.
You can find details of how much we spent cruising in the Bahamas and Florida during July 2017 below. We spent the majority of the month in the Bahamas, returning to Florida at the end of the month. Keep in mind that this is what works for us. Everyone has their own budget and priorities and everyone tracks and reports things differently.
You can find links to other cost updates from ourselves (on Tickety Boo, camping across the States and our previous boat in New Zealand) and others on this page, as well as on The Monkey's Fist.
Cost of Cruising In The Bahamas & Florida | May & June 2017
Overall, we spent $803.88 during July.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of the details of what we spent, here are a few things to note:
1 - All costs are in US dollars. The Bahamian dollar is on par with the US dollar, so no conversion was required. It's pretty cool that you can use US currency in the Bahamas. No need to worry about exchanging money.
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 costs.
(b) 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.3 - I've included any shipping and taxes we've paid in what we report. Florida has a 6% sales tax. The Bahamas has a 7.5% VAT.
GROCERIES | Total = $404.54
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.
We spent more than I would have liked to over the past month, but the temptations of Maxwell's grocery store in Marsh Harbour were too much to resist. Sure, we could have cooked meals from the canned goods we had left on our boat, but relatively reasonably priced ground beef and chicken were much more appealing. Not to mention a few cans of Lays Stax chips and packets of digestive cream cookies.
When we got back to Florida at the end of July, I remembered why I like American grocery stores so much - the choices! the cheap prices! IPA beer!
PERSONAL & HOUSEHOLD | Total = $10.38
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 bug spray.
ENTERTAINMENT | Total = $42.96
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, DVD rentals and going to the movies in this category, as well as the occasional lottery ticket.
We only went out a few times while we were in the Bahamas - once at a church fair, a beer at the Jib Room at Marsh Harbour and a couple of beers outside the liquor store at Hope Town. And of course, we got a Little Caesar's pizza when we got back to Indiantown Marina.
COMMUNICATIONS | Total = $60
Our cell phone is actually one of our biggest non-boat related expenses. We have a $60 monthly GoPhone plan with AT&T which includes 8GB of data and unlimited calls and texts. We continued with that plan while we were out cruising so that we can keep our US cell phone number.
BOAT FUEL | Total = $201.13
We've bought 35 gallons of diesel in the Bahamas during July. We ended up doing far more motoring and motor-sailing then we would have liked. It seems like wherever we want to go, the wind is pointing the other way or it disappears completely. When we got back to Florida, we topped up our tanks, buying 18.8 gallons at Riveria Beach Marina.
LPG & BUTANE | Total = Nil
We have a LPG (or propane) cooker on our boat. Not long after we left Indiantown Marina, our stove broke while we were cruising in Florida. Fortunately our oven still worked, so between that and our BBQ, we were able to get by cooking-wise until we got back to Indiantown Marina and picked up our butane camping stove. The camping stove worked fine as a temporary solution until we're able to replace the cooker sometime this summer, but butane cartridges are pretty expensive, especially compared to LPG.
MARINA COSTS | Total = Nil
Anchoring out is one of the things we love about cruising. Not only is it nice to relax on the boat in a quiet anchorage and fall asleep to the waves gently lapping against the side of your boat, it's also free. We like free! Of course, anchoring out isn't always all that it's cracked up to be - we've been in our share of roly-poly anchorages and not been able to sleep at night wondering if we're going to drag anchor, but it's still free!
BOAT STUFF | Total = $26.00
This category is for all the stuff we buy for the boat, as well as repairs and maintenance costs. Fortunately, nothing broke during July and the only expenditure we had was for the renewal of our Coast Guard documentation.
TRANSPORT | Total = $21.20
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. We also paid $21.20 last month to store our vehicle at Indiantown Marina while we were off cruising.
MEDICAL EXPENSES | Total = Nil
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.
Although there were a few cuts and bruises while we were cruising, neither of us needed medical attention.
OTHER | Total = $29.67
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 and trash disposal.
Did we spend more or less than you would have expected? Do you track your monthly expenditure? What are your cost saving tips and tricks?
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