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 | June & July 2016
Overall, we spent $3,159.78 during June and July which is down a little over $500 from the previous two months.
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 = $410.33
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.
One of the interesting things I bought during the past two months were some freeze dried bell peppers from Harmony House. We eat a lot of bell peppers in things like scrambled eggs, chili, spaghetti sauce etc. Finding fresh vegetables can be challenging in the Bahamas (we'll be heading back there next season), so I thought I would see if adding freeze dried vegies to our food stores might be worthwhile. I haven't tried them yet, but you can find a review of their soup mixes on the RV blog, Interstellar Orchard. If any of you have tried freeze dried food, I'd love to hear what you think.
PERSONAL & HOUSEHOLD | Total = $60.33
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 = $51.81
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 Amazon Prime (for streaming video), books, magazines, movies, colored pencils and coloring books etc. in this category, as well as the occasional lottery ticket.
My spending is down $87 from the previous two months, mainly because I haven't gone out to eat as much with friends.
COMMUNICATIONS | Total = $140.00
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 6GB of data and unlimited calls and texts. While Scott is away, I've also added on a $10 monthly international call plan so that we can have 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, an electric burner and crock pot for cooking, so haven't needed to top up the LPG tanks. Electricity is included in the slip fee so it makes sense to use that for cooking.
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 = $257.37
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.
The major boat expenses over the past two months have been for supplies for a water filter and a multimeter. We also renewed our Coast Guard documentation ($26).
TRANSPORT | Total = $37.54
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. Beside filling up the tank with gas, I spent $9.96 on electrical cleaner during July to fix the headlight switch on our vehicle.
MEDICAL EXPENSES | Total = $401.14
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've been expecting some rather large medical bills to come due for the past several months, but it looks like insurance companies take their time processing claims, rejecting claims and dealing with appeals. I'm guessing this will be a painful update at some point.
OTHER | Total = $634.26
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).
I ended up going a teensy bit crazy during the Amazon Prime Day buying a few things that were on my list of stuff to get like a dry bag, batteries and a solar powered lamp. I also spent some money getting pictures framed to hang on the walls and make our boat a bit more homey, storage baskets for our aft cabin and materials for several sewing projects (lee cloths, harnesses, mosquito screens etc.)
Do you budget and/or track your expenses? If so, do you find it helps you manage your money better?
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