05 March 2018

Cost Of Cruising & Living Aboard A Sailboat | January & February 2018

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. Scott is working overseas and I'm allegedly working on boat projects while he's gone (there's a lot of procrastination happening).

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 & Living Aboard | January & February 2018

Overall, we spent >>$3,692<< during January and February.

When you look at the nitty-gritty details of what we spent below, here are a few things to keep in mind:

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, whether you get subsidies etc. In case you are curious, while we're back in the States, we do have a high deductible/high out-of-pocket expenses insurance through the health insurance marketplace (aka the Affordable Care Act), primarily to protect our assets and cover us in case of a catastrophic medical condition.
(c) I haven't included any expenses related to my writing projects (e.g., editor, book cover design, publishing expenses, author website).
(d) Scott was in Scotland during January and February, so our expenses are less than they would be if he was here.

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


GROCERIES | Total = $379

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.

Although we don't budget (you can read more about that here), I'm happiest when we keep our monthly grocery spend per person under $200.


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 = $104

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.

I ate out a few times with friends over the past two month ($57), bought some books, and tried out Kindle Unlimited for a month (I've since ended up canceling it).


Our cell phone is actually one of our biggest non-boat related expenses. We have a monthly prepaid plan with AT&T which includes 8GB of data and unlimited calls and texts.

BOAT FUEL | Total = Nil

Tickety Boo has been sitting in her slip so we haven't needed to get any fuel.

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 = $1,346

Keeping Tickety Boo in a slip is one of our biggest expenses, and the rates went up in January. The new monthly cost of a slip with electricity at Indiantown Marina for a 34' boat is $657. The guys at the marina will also come pump out our holding tank on demand - $10 for each visit.

BOAT STUFF | Total = $1,099

This category is for all the stuff we buy for the boat, as well as  repair and maintenance costs. The other big thing in this category is insurance, which is where most of our spend was in February. We renewed our policy with Geico, seeing a big increase like everyone else due to last year's hurricane activity ($937). We also renewed our Boat US towing insurance ($135). We belong to the Moody Owners Association and renewed our annual membership ($27).

TRANSPORT | Total = $33

This category is for costs related to our vehicle, mostly for gas to drive into the nearby "big city" of Stuart for errands. I filled up the tank once over the past two months, which shows you how little I use our car.


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. The only expense over the past two months was for allergy pills.

OTHER | Total = $596

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, Amazon Prime, presents, computer parts, postage etc.

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

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  1. We do track our expenses. You have to or you'll never really know where your money goes. I think eating out is the biggest expense that folks get caught up in. It's really expensive. It's fun too, but it's expensive.

    We have work done on our boat and that's pricey. Hubby is not one to fix things so we have a great mechanic that does that for us. That's a huge expense for us each year.

    Have a fabulous day, Ellen. ♥

    1. It's good that you've round a reliable mechanic. It makes all the difference to know you have someone you trust who can do a good job.

  2. I'm amazed how little you spend on food. Leaving out what can't be eaten, we are over a hundred a week.

    1. That's about what we aim for - $100 per person a week. Keep in mind Scott wasn't here during the past two months, so costs were a lot less.

  3. I don't know your age, so this may not work, but if/when you hit 55+, check out tmobile's 55+ plan, $60/month for 2 phones. if nothing else, check out their video because it is hilarious. No, I don't use tmobile, I don't use data on my phone, I have the basic at&t $25/3months plan they don't tell you about, no data, 10 cents/min from your balance. I don't phone/text much and the balance rolls over if you pay on time, mines over $100 currently, it would be higher but I forgot to pay on time last year... Free wifi is everywhere these days.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Neal. We're on the other (the right?) side of 55, but I'll look into it once we get there :-)

  4. It's good you keep track of your expenses. I suspected running a boat was costly. But you do really well on food bills. My family spends way more on groceries!

    1. With my husband away, I think I tend to eat more simply (and cheaper) which helps.

  5. Interesting breakdown on expenses. I've never tackled that chore, but--like you--I'd have to leave out the booze category. My wine consumption has grown along with each book I've written. There's definitely a correlation and I'm calling the Hemingway Syndrome.

    1. I know what you mean about the Hemingway Syndrome :-)

  6. We probably spend more on food than the average old fart retired couple, but if it were just me? After all these years of cooking, I'd probably be happy eating cereal, sandwiches and soup. For a while, anyway. Then I might opt for a TV dinner or two...

    1. Your meal plan sounds great to me - cereal, sandwich and soup. I could do that. Plus a lot fewer dishes to wash.

  7. Staying under $2000 per month, including marina costs is pretty good! The grocery cost is extremely low! I have no idea how you keep pulling that off. I assume Scott is not back yet? :-)


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