09 October 2017

Cost Of Boat Projects & Liveaboard Life | August & September 2017

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.

We're currently at Indiantown Marina in Florida waiting out hurricane season and working on boat projects/upgrades to get Tickety Boo ready to head to the Western Caribbean this coming season. You can find details of how much we spent during August and September 2017 below.

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 Boat Projects & Liveaboard Life  | August & September 2017

Okay, so here's the headline for our spending over the last two months - we spent a fortune! Maybe not a fortune compared to what other folks spend each month, but it was kind of shocking to add things up and realize that we spent >> $4,805 during August and September <<.

But, if I'm looking at things glass half full, then I guess it's good we spent that much because it will have mentally prepared us for what are likely to be some really high expenses over the next several months as we tackle a number of boat projects and buy a bunch of expensive stuff for the boat.

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.

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.

GROCERIES | Total = $749

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.

I'm actually okay with what we spent in this category. It averages out to less than $400 a month, which is kind of what I like to aim for.


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 = $516

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 spent far more than we normally do in this category in September. But we have a good reason - fun. Yep, we had tons of fun when we were in Atlanta staying with friends during our Hurricane Irma evacuation. Lots of that fun involved going out to eat and having drinks out. So, although it's more than we would of liked to have spent, it was totally worth it.


Our cell phone is actually one of our biggest non-boat related expenses. We have a $60 monthly prepaid plan with AT&T which includes 8GB of data and unlimited calls and texts. During August, we ended up having to buy extra cellular data to satiate our internet needs. Fortunately, our friends came back to Indiantown Marina because of Hurricane Irma and they've been letting us piggy-back off of their Wirie Wi-Fi extender which means we can get marina Wi-Fi on our boat now and not have to rely on ultra-expensive cellular data.

BOAT FUEL | Total = $34

As part of our Hurricane Irma prep, we got extra gas for our jerry cans. We took them with us on our evacuation to Atlanta, thinking we might need it for the car or generator given the fuel shortages. Fortunately, we were able to find gas on the road, so we'll end up using the gas in the generator for our outboard motor and generator when we're out cruising next season.

PROPANE  | Total =Nil

We have a propane/LPG cooker on our boat, which we need to replace as the stove no longer works and replacement parts aren't available. While we're at Indiantown Marina, we use an electric hotplate and a crockpot for cooking, so we haven't had to spend any money on filling our propane tanks.

MARINA COSTS | Total = $1,166

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' boat is $572.40. The guys at the marina will also come pump out our holding tank on demand - $5.30 for each visit - which we tend to do two or three times a month.

BOAT STUFF | Total = $505

This category is for all the stuff we buy for the boat, as well as repairs and maintenance costs. One of our big purchases over the past two months was a stack pack kit for a 16' boom from Sailrite. Normally, they go for $264, but we bought it during a sale and got $20 off. Sometimes, it pays to wait and keep an eye out for sales. We also bought some other miscellaneous sewing supplies for repairs to our bimini, dodger and sun shade from Sailrite.

The other big expenses in this category are related to some of our boat projects - materials to build a folding table in the galley (more counter space - yeah!) and replace and rebed the portlights in our saloon.

TRANSPORT | Total = $190

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 track other transport costs, like the Uber we took in Atlanta.

We ended up spending a lot on gas during September due to evacuating to Atlanta as a result of Hurricane Irma, far more than we normally spend each month. We also bought new windshield wipers ($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.

It's always nice to report nil spending in this category.

OTHER | Total = $1,461

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.

Yep, this was the budget breaking category over the past couple of months. Scott's laptop once and for all stopped working (he nursed it for a long time), so we got him a new one. Cha-ching. The other electronic gadget we bought was another Kindle. No more having to share.

One of the other big ticket items was Scott's ticket back to Scotland. He'll be heading back there this month to tend to work and other matters.

We also bought Scott some new clothes. Those of you who know Scott will be amazed that he agreed to buy new clothes. He got some new Keen sandals (his old ones literally fell apart) and some new t-shirts from places we visited in Atlanta (most of his other t-shirts are "official boat project t-shirts" because they have holes or stains on them).

We also spent a whopping 79 cents on a can of dog food for a dog we found wandering the streets of Indiantown all on his own. Fortunately, his owner came and rescued him. The dog was so cute so the 79 cents was a totally justifiable expenditure.

Did we spend more or less than you would have expected? Do you track your expenses? Any frugal living tips to share?

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  1. And to think I grumble when I have to buy Weed and Feed. That's nothing compared to what you spend for upkeep.
    Hey, you needed to have fun in Atlanta.
    I also hate buying new clothes.

    1. Weed and Feed is nothing compared to a boat :-)

      What is it with guys and not wanting to buy new clothes?

  2. If this makes you feel any better about boat repairs...hubby and I spent $14,085.81 for all new electronics. Why include the 81 cents? Because when I said $14,085, hubby said, don't forget the 81 cents. It's now a running joke.

    Have a fabulous day and week. ☺

    1. Sadly, that does make me feel better. I know it shouldn't, but it kind of does. Not sure what that says about me :-)

  3. Another pair of Keens? I had a pair of Keens that I loved until they lost their traction one year in and really scared me by skating me right to the lifelines. I had a pair of Tevas that I loved until they fell apart 10 months in (they've been glued back together). So.....did you just realize that shoes are going to fall apart? I feel like $60-$100 should get me a decade. (My Dr Martens are still going strong 18 yrs later, granted I don't wear them everyday!) I'm thinking about trying a different brand (Merrell or Chacos)

    1. I'm happier with my Keens than with my Tevas, Lucy. Just a warning: Mark had Merrell shoes and they fell apart easily and quickly in the tropics. Few shoes survive in heat and humidity. Their soles just fall off... :-( Don't know about Merrell sandals.

    2. Humm....maybe it's just a fact of life that everything falls apart rather quickly in salt water!

    3. I think shoes should last a decade too. My favorite light-weight hiking shoes just starting falling apart, but it's probably been almost a decade since I've had them, so I feel like they gave it their all. :-)

      I used to have a pair of Tevas I really liked, but they bit the dust after a few years. Chacos look nice. I wonder how long they last.

    4. I bought a pair of Merrell's. They look nicer than my old keens and fit really well. I'll let you know in a year or so if they are still alive!

  4. Having fun is fun and oh so needed once in a while. We find that we spend more money in this category when there are friends around as well, especially when it involves going out to dinner. So worth it, though.

    Scott sounds like Mark (and me) when it comes to buying clothes. But, while Mark had multiple boat project t-shirts, he now only has for one for camper work. Full of holes and stains. Recently, he collected some coolant and diesel on it.

    Reading your comment about The Wirie caught me off guard. And, made me smile. :-)

    Your "other" category is pretty big, but that's what happens when new computers and flights are involved. While these things in itself can be exciting, I hate it when it is our turn to spend so much money on them.

    Buying things on sale is always beneficial. We did something like that last month as well...

    1. They really like their Wirie and so do we :-)

      PS Got the cards in the mail and have put them up.

  5. Your earlier posts about costs led me to expect numbers along the lines of what you presented this time. Having NO first-hand knowledge of the costs of cruising for months at a time, your costs seem maybe a little on the low side, but very pragmatic. We've always tracked our spending and kept a budge, which is why we're able to enjoy a comfortable retirement now.

    As per sandals, have you tried any of the rubber ones made from recycled tires? My hubby got a pair when he was in Nam in the sixties, and those things are virtually indestructible and well-suited to both high temperatures and lots of wetness.

    1. I'll have to check out the sandals made from tires. Great idea to reuse something and if they last a long time, even better. Thanks for the tip!

  6. I'm glad you kept records and now know what to expect. I wish I could do that. But I'm a compulsive spender trying to teach myself to be conservative.

    1. I used to spend without thinking about it too much. But when we decided we wanted to be able to travel more, then by tracking what we spend, we found we were able to save a lot more.


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