11 May 2018

Cost Of Cruising & Living Aboard A Sailboat | March & April 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.

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Cost of Cruising & Living Aboard | March & April 2018

Overall, we spent >>$2,236<< during March & April.

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 the past two months, so our expenses are a lot 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.

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GROCERIES | Total = $364

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. So that means a spend of $364 for the past couple of months for just me made me very happy.


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 = $107

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.

My entertainment over the past few months included eating out with friends (including one really disastrous meal where someone found saran wrap in the middle of their lasagna), a naughty trip to a fast food joint one day when I was too lazy to cook, and buying some books for my Kindle.


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 = $1,355

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 = $36

This category is for all the stuff we buy for the boat, as well as  repair and maintenance costs.The only expenses I had were for joker valves for our marine toilet.

TRANSPORT | Total = $26

This category is for costs related to our vehicle, mostly for gas to drive into the nearby "big city" of Stuart for errands. I rarely use our car, preferring to walk into town to run errands (provided it isn't too hot), so the only expense over the past couple of months was for an oil change.


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 over-the counter medicine.

OTHER | Total = $206

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. Sounds like some low expenses for those two months.
    Saran wrap in the lasagna? I hope that was a free meal.

    1. It was a free meal, but sometimes free doesn't really compensate for something as gross as that.

  2. I never thought about sharing to help others. How nice! I'm not too helpful on tips, sad to say. I'm frugal in some areas and wasteful in others. Happy Sailing!

    1. I'm the same way - frugal in some ways and not so much in others.

  3. You're doing it right. If you don't know where your money is going then you don't have a good view of where your money is going. The only other thing I do is look at expenses that aren't necessary anymore. That can eat away at your money too.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ♥

    1. Tracking it really helps us out in keeping an eye on our money and making it last longer.

  4. You are very thorough and put me to shame. We do check our finances, especially credit card and bank statements to make sure nothing slips through that shouldn't (like the purchase of computers one year that we hadn't bought!) but apart from that we are pretty useless.

    1. I don't think tracking your spending is for everyone, or necessary for everyone.

  5. You are very thorough! We keep track, too, since we just get by month to month.

    1. It definitely helps to track your spend if you're living month by month. Helps your money go farther.

  6. These are pretty good months, Ellen. Especially the boat stuff. I’m still amazed at how little you spend on groceries. Well done. Now, if only that marina cost could go, right? :-)

    1. I think I'll keep an eye on what I eat over the next two months and try to figure out why my food costs are relatively low. I'm thinking that having oatmeal for breakfast most mornings is one of the reason and I'm a big fan of PB&J for lunch :-)

  7. Great job! I must admit that we wasted a lot of money on restaurants our first 6 months on tbe boat. We didn't have a stove & I hate cooking! We're set up now & our expenses have dropped a lot! Oatmeal & peanut butter n jelly sandwiches would work for me & save us more .. if only I coyld get Ken to live off that. LOL!


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