07 October 2019

Cost Of Living Aboard A Broken Boat | July & August 2019

Oops! I meant to post this in September and never got around to it. Too many distractions with a hurricane headed our way. But better late than sorry.

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've sorted things out with insurance but we're STILL working through logistics of how and when to do the repair. Yes, we're STILL on the hard. It's a long story. Buy us a beer sometime and we'll tell you all about it.

In the meantime, we've basically put everything else on hold. There's no point in spending money on our boat until we're sure the crack can be repaired. 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 | July & August 2019

Overall, we spent >>$4,163<< during July and August. That was up a bit from the previous two months ($3,677). You'll see why below.

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 = $879

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. We didn't exactly pull that off this time around. I think it was in part due to the fact that we had gone through most of the provisions we had bought at the end of last year in anticipation of being out cruising.


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 = $189

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 a little high. I spent more on books than I normally do and we bought tickets to see the Minnesota Twins play in Miami ($22).


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. To be honest, I should probably look at our plan. We've been able to use the WiFi at the marina and haven't had to use much of our cell phone data, so we might be spending more than we need to.

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 = $7

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. But we did get some small propane bottles for our Magma grill in August.

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. You can kind of think of our monthly fees as rent or a mortgage payment.

BOAT STUFF | Total = $194

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 for the most part (there are always a few things you still have to take care of to keep your boat livable). Much of our spend over the past two months was for insurance.

TRANSPORT | Total = $171

This category is for costs related to our vehicle, mostly for gas to drive into the nearby "big city" of Stuart for errands. We typically fill up our vehicle once a month. However, in August, we filled up twice which added to the overall cost. In addition to driving, this category also includes $42 for two round-trip tickets for the train from West Palm to Miami (once to go see the Twins play, once to go biking).


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, as well as doctors visits.

OTHER | Total = $638

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, postage etc.

I ended up buying a new laptop in August ($329) which is one of the major reasons why our expenses were so high. My old computer decided to have a nervous breakdown. Or was that me who had a nervous breakdown when it stopped working? We also had to FedEx some documents to the UK which cost seriously pretty penny. But there wasn't any choice - it needed to get there ASAP. Sometimes, you just have to spend money, even if you don't want to.

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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This prequel novella is set around twelve years before Murder at the Marina and tells the story of Mollie's roller derby days and how she and Scooter met. Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com


  1. I would've had a nervous breakdown if my computer died.

  2. We stay within our budget for the most part. We review our budget a couple of times a year to see if we have spending that doesn't need to be in the mix. It's easy to lose your way if you don't pay attention.

    I'm sorry you're still on the hard and you've not got the repairs done. I hope this works itself out and soon.

    Have a fabulous day and week. ♥

  3. What a comprehensive break down. I don't use my computer for keeping track. I'm old fashioned with having it on a piece of paper I consult with weekly!

  4. I had a nervous breakdown, too, when my last laptop died unexpectedly but I was able to get a cheap replacement and save everything from my hard drive! Phew!

  5. I've been on a really tight budget since my husband died five years ago. I really watch what I spend and add up the cost at the grocery as I put things in my cart. It helps me save on food costs, which can otherwise be too high. I really enjoy the frugal life but am looking forward to having more money in 2020 and being able to be more generous.

  6. A dead computer is a horrible expense. Let's hope the new one lasts a good while.

    It's a shame you couldn't fax the documents, i know sometimes that's just not going to cut it.

  7. The boat situation must be very frustrating. Glad the finances coped with the unexpected cost of a new laptop. Being without a computer would be hard for me and I'm sure you too.

  8. Ugh. It's horrible when the computer breaks down. Here's wishing all the best for the next one!

  9. With four kids, I've been hesitant to even do a budget. All I know is we always have things on hold just waiting for the weeks where there is extra cash. LOL

  10. Considering how much you spend on the boat yard "storage" each month, your overall for July and august isn't that bad at about $2,000 a month. Too bad about the new computer - not only the expense, but all the headaches involved before ordering it and when setting it up. Maybe it's an investment for the future... And, I sure hope you didn't lose any work or photos in the process.

    We spend most of our money on camper projects these years. Groceries are second in the list. I'm hoping to put my monthly expense report out today at some point.

  11. I always think your costs are great considering how much you spend to be on the hard each month.

    I've liked tracking our expenses. I'm not sure it helps us save any money but it is nice to see where it goes and helps with planning. If it wasn't for tracking our expenses I might not have realized that we could really stop working to make money like we just did.

    I love our Google Fi phone plan. It was super cheap over the summer when we were in houses using wifi - $30ish every month. We are on the $70 plan now - this includes phone, text and up to 22 gigs of high speed data and unlimited slower data after that. If you switch you may have to buy a new phone. I just got a new Google Fi capable phone for around $200 and I love it.


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