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.
While we had hoped to be in the Bahamas by now for the season, we're currently at Indiantown Marina in south Florida on the hard in the workyard due to a crack in our hull. We hauled out mid-December, discovered the issue, and then spent the next couple of months going through the insurance process, finally coming to a resolution at the end of February.
While we were sorting everything out with insurance, we basically put everything else on hold, so this cost report is going to be a bit dull as there was very little spending on anything besides workyard fees and food.
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.
Living Aboard Costs | January & February 2019
Overall, we spent >>$3,539<< 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).
3 - I've included any shipping and taxes we've paid in what we report - Florida has a 6% sales tax.
All right, now that we've got that out of the way, let's dive into the numbers.
GROCERIES | Total = $651
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.
PERSONAL & HOUSEHOLD | Total = $23
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 = $205
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.
When I looked back at our numbers, I noticed that we only spent $34 eating out during January, but a whopping $143 during February. We got really lazy last month and hit the "easy button" a few too many times, opting for fast food when we should have cooked something healthier and cheaper back on the boat. Let's see if we can do better in this department over the next couple of months.
COMMUNICATIONS | Total = $110
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 the workyard so we haven't needed to get any diesel or gas.
PROPANE | Total = $6
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.
However, we did buy two 1-gallon propane tanks for use with a BBQ grill. Not for our boat mind you, but for a friend's boat which Scott is helping bring down to the Bahamas.
MARINA COSTS | Total = $1,810
The workyard isn't cheap -- $30 a day which includes water an electric. If you pay for a month in advance, you get a small discount.
BOAT STUFF | Total = $312
This category is for all the stuff we buy for the boat, as well as repair and maintenance costs. Since we've put boat projects on hold for now, the expenditure in this category has been on necessary things only, like freon to get our fridge back in working order, plus a boat insurance payment.
TRANSPORT | Total = $66
This category is for costs related to our vehicle, mostly for gas to drive into the nearby "big city" of Stuart for errands. We filled up the tank once and had the local garage fix a squeaky belt.
MEDICAL EXPENSES | Total = $256
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.
A medical issue arose in February for me which has resulted in some co-pays for doctor's appointments and tests.
OTHER | Total = $99
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.
Over the past couple of months, I bought some reef shoes on sale at West Marine, new earbuds for both of us, food for the adorable marina cats, a sieve (essential for making butter chicken curry), and an impulse buy of Star Wars stickers.
Any money saving tips to share? What do you spend the most on each month? Are there any areas you're trying to cut back on?
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