13 May 2019

Cost Of Living Aboard A Broken Boat | March & April 2019

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 this season on our boat, we're currently at Indiantown Marina in south Florida on the hard in the workyard due to a crack in our hull. We're still working through our options with the insurance company on how to deal with our broken boat.

While we were sorting everything out, 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.

On a more positive note, we did get to the Bahamas on someone else's boat. Scott helped a friend take his boat to Marsh Harbour in March. He then flew back to Florida and then the two of us returned at the beginning of April to help him bring the boat back. Our friend paid for our plane tickets to/from West Palm and our food while on his boat, so you won't see costs related to that in the report 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.

Living Aboard Costs | March & April 2019

Overall, we spent >>$3,156<< during March and 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).

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 = $411

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. As you can see from the total above, we more than achieved that, but that was mainly due to our food being paid for while we were in the Bahamas.


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 = $184

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.

Our spend in this category was quite high for us, especially considering that we were in the Bahamas for a good chunk of time. We spent a lot of money going out to eat during March, plus we had an outing to a Minnesota spring training game in Ft. Myers, which accounts for the relatively high spend in this category over the past two months.

As many people have wrapped up their cruising season and put their boats in storage, things are quieter in Indiantown which should translate into less eating out over the next few months.


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 = 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 = $1,810

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 = $192

This category is for all the stuff we buy for the boat, as well as  repair and maintenance costs. Since our boat is broken, we've put boat projects on hold for now. The only expense we had was for insurance.

TRANSPORT | Total = $139

This category is for costs related to our vehicle, mostly for gas to drive into the nearby "big city" of Stuart for errands. Driving to Ft Myers to see the Minnesota Twins took a lot of gas which is a big factor in the number you see above.


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 and prescriptions.

Ongoing appointments for a medical issue which arose in February meant more spending in this category than I would have liked.
OTHER | Total = $67

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.

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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  1. At least it was a fairly cheap couple of months. Plus you did get to go out on a boat. Hope yours if fixed soon.

  2. Less people cruise during the summer? Is it because of the heat?

    1. Hurricane season in many parts that are attractive cruising grounds other times of the year. :-)

  3. We spend the most on our weekend cruises. They just never seem to be cheap. It's worth it though.

    I hope you can get your boat fixed and off the hard soon. That would be terrible.

    Have a fabulous day and week, Ellen. ♥

  4. I used to track my expenses much better, but since my kids are in college and so many of the expenses are totally out of my control, it just depresses me to watch the money fly out of the account. I've always thought congress should examine colleges for gouging like they do oil companies, LOL.

  5. It would seem like cruising season would start about now, not end, but i don't know much about boats and ships and things except that i enjoy being on them.

    Hope your boat gets fixed soon, it's got to get boring being on land all this time.

  6. Those are a couple of cheap months, but for the wrong reasons! I can imagine how frustrating it is to not know what the future will bring and to put your (boat)life on hold for now!

    Our most expensive category is our van. Like it was our boat before that. I’m seriously contemplating a backpacker’s nomad life in the future. Imagine all that money that goes to sailboats or camper parts or fuel going to public transportation and lodging in SE Asia. Yep,... we could stretch that $1300 month “budget” for two quite a while... And, no maintenance, cleaning, camping stress!

  7. Hope you get to hit the water again soon...on your own boat!

  8. Fingers crossed that your boat gets back in the water soon. I'm curious if over the years of sailing, you factor in that the boat will need certain repairs at certain times. Not just general maintenance, but a fund for times like this. We have one for the house, because you never know!

  9. You did so good - especially considering the marina costs! That's part of what kills me about boats, they costs soooo much even when they aren't even going anywhere!

    And what a low food bill! I hope you start feeding Scott again soon!

  10. Totally random - but - we have AT&T and get unlimited data on a month to month payment for $100. It's worked flawlessly for the past 9 months. It's never throttled, even though we can use 100GB a month! Just in case you don't like missing out on cat videos (I mean, 8GB - I could use that in a day!) https://www.unlimitedtogo.com/shop/unlimitedtogo-blue/

  11. I can't believe the insurance company is still dragging its proverbial feet! That's absurd. We got our totaled car situation resolved in well under a month. Best wishes and virtual hugs back!


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