Cruising Costs

It can be hard to get real numbers for what people actually spend cruising full-time.  Sometimes items are left out like a monthly boat payment or a mortgage on the house.  Maybe annual boat maintenance doesn’t get included.  Incomplete lists aren’t very helpful when you’re trying to figure out how much it costs to cruise.  That’s why, before we cut the dock lines, we decided that we would have a page dedicated to our monthly costs down to the last penny.

Hopefully this will be helpful for any readers who are wondering whether they can afford to go cruising, but obviously you’ll want to make adjustments for your own personal circumstances.  In other words, YMMV (your mileage may vary).  For example, our costs for eating out are very low and we spend very little money on alcohol.  That wouldn’t be the case for most people, but Jeff’s congestive heart failure means that he needs to limit his salt and alcohol intake.  Eating out is challenging with a low-sodium diet, so we don’t do it too often.

Now that the caveats have been dispensed with, here we go:

SEPTEMBER, 2018

Groceries: $297.98
Diesel/Gasoline: $14.00
Health Care: $4,726.23 – this amount is a one-time Cobra payment covering October – December.  We will sign up for the Health Exchange so the cost will go down dramatically beginning in January.
Cell phone and internet (2 phones, one iPad data plan, iCloud storage, and a
Garmin inReach subscription): $110.99
Last pro-rated internet bill from the apartment: $9.99
Mail Service: $121.75 – this includes a $100 deposit to the UPS Store which they will draw from when we have mail forwarded to us.
Laundry: $26.00
Ice: $13.00
Showers: $9.50
Netflix: $11.10
Boat Insurance: $90 – this is a flat amount to account for the increase in our premium when we added a rider for the Bahamas and increased Pegu Club’s declared value.
Boat stuff: $318.19 – this amount is for 2 handheld VHF radios, supplies for our water catch, a 12v plug inverter to recharge the computer, carabiners and lines to make a dinghy hoist, ten oil diapers, a 5 gallon collapsible water jug, a chain hook, two velcro wraps, electric cable anti-chafe, two fuses, and a 9v battery for the multimeter.
Restaurants/Entertainment: $79.60
Uber/Bus: $30.83
New York Times subscription: $20.20
Marinas: $58.49
Auto Insurance: $51.36 – this is the difference between the refund for cancelling our policy when we sold our car and the premium for our non-owner policy which will keep us out of the high-risk pool should we purchase another car in the future.
Annual subscriptions: $82.79 – This is a one-time annual payment to upgrade our PredictWind app and a one month upgrade for our SailFlow app.
Random: $17.08 – this amount includes dominoes game, a tea kettle to replace the one that broke, and other miscellaneous amounts

Total: $6,089.08

OCTOBER, 2018

Groceries: $415.65
Diesel/Gasoline: $151.79.  This includes a can of TruFuel (non-ethanol gas) for the dinghy which is $20 a can.  Moving into states that sell non-ethanol gasoline at the pumps will help a lot with this.
Propane/Denatured Alcohol: $24.81.  Two propane canisters for heat and the grill, and one gallon of denatured alcohol for the stove.
Health Care: $84.47
Cell phone and internet (2 phones, one iPad data plan, iCloud storage, and a
Garmin inReach subscription): $165.61
Mail Service: $10.60.  The UPS Store charges $5.00 to have mail delivered and held.
Laundry: $31.75
Ice: $9.00
Showers: $2.00
Netflix: $11.10
Shenny annual dues: $550.  We decided to maintain our membership for another year to keep our options open for returning to our slip in Groton next summer.
Boat stuff: $2,445.09.  The repairs and a power wash to Pegu Club’s bottom cost $2,188.36.  The rest is for a ditch bag, zincs, extra cotter pins, spare bolts for the windlass, a 5 gallon diesel jerry jug, disposable gloves, 2 hanging dehumidifier bags, and some hose to make oil changes easier.
Restaurants/Entertainment: $181.84
Uber/Bus: $16.00
New York Times subscription: $40.40 (gets billed every four weeks)
Marinas: $301.  This is for one night on a mooring in Port Washington, two nights at a slip in Delaware City, and four nights on a mooring in Annapolis.
Life Insurance: $220.75.
Random: $153.88 – this amount includes new v-berth sheets (the cotton ones always felt damp), a Kindle book and a real life book, a write on/wipe off board, a collapsible push cart for groceries, two Mega Millions tickets, AAA batteries, anti-skid for the galley cupboard, two DVD’s, and tips for marina staff.

Total: $4,815.74

NOVEMBER, 2018

Groceries: $426.57
Diesel/Gasoline: $133.28.  This includes five gallons of ethanol-free gasoline in a jerry can for the dinghy.
Propane/Denatured Alcohol: $37.08.  Eight cans of propane which we use for heat and the grill.
Health Care: $140.37
Cell phone and internet (2 phones, one iPad data plan, iCloud storage, and a
Garmin inReach subscription): $164.39
Mail Service: $100.  This covers future mailing expenses when we have the UPS Store forward our mail.
Laundry: $6.00.  We did laundry on our trip to Connecticut (thanks, Rebecca!) and Belhaven Marina had free laundry which helped keep this monthly expense low.
Ice: $9.00
Showers: $2.00
Netflix: $11.10
Boat stuff: $114.27.  This included tea tree oil, antifreeze, a heat diffuser for the stove, a box of latex gloves, replacement short-fingered gloves, and anchor gloves for Jeff.
Restaurants/Entertainment: $303.64
Uber/Bus: $30.32
New York Times subscription: $20.20
Marinas/moorings: $502.  This is for two nights in Hampton after we returned from Connecticut (the other five nights are included under Connecticut expenses); five nights in Belhaven where we were delayed by weather; five nights on a mooring in Carolina Beach where we were again delayed by weather; and one night in Georgetown, SC.
Clothing: $263.52
Connecticut-related expenses: $1,096.23
Random: $1,192.09.  This amount includes the iPad and case, iPhone, a magnifying glass so I can read the charts more easily, hand and foot warmers, boat cards, and tips for marina staff.

Total: $4,552.06

DECEMBER, 2018

Groceries/Non-food Groceries: $544.07
Diesel/Gasoline: $94.95
Propane/Denatured Alcohol: $44.50.  Four cans of propane which we use for heat and the grill, and one gallon of denatured alcohol for the stove.
Health Care: $258.24.  This includes paying for our full year’s 2019 premium in advance on the health exchange.
Cell phone and internet (2 phones, one iPad data plan, iCloud storage, and a Garmin inReach subscription): $216.41.  This went up as we were experimenting with the right combination of hot spot data and inReach plan.  It will decrease quite a bit beginning next month.
Laundry: $12.00.
Ice: $8.00
Netflix: $11.10
Boat stuff: $437.91.  The majority of this was for an ATN Mastclimber so I can climb the mast when needed.  Hauling me up in the bosun’s chair is beyond Jeff’s stamina given his CHF, so some research turned up the Mastclimber.  We also bought an extra snubber hook for the chain, 2 packages of step-down connectors, a gallon of oil, 5 oil diapers, a dinghy light so we would be compliant in Florida, a small amount of chain and line for our dinghy anchor and a bag to hold it all in, some rubber gasket, and a strip of teak to replace the one that broke on our slider.
Restaurants/Entertainment: $226.57
Uber/Bus: $30.53
New York Times subscription: $20.20
Marinas/moorings: $401.78.  This is for four nights on a mooring in Beaufort, SC (a storm kept us there for two extra nights), three nights at the Isle of Hope Marina near Savannah so we could visit my aunt and uncle, and seven nights on a mooring in St. Augustine, FL (we were going to stay for five nights but were having fun so decided to stay for two extra nights).
Clothing: $25
Random: $75.67.  This includes a haircut for Jeff, hand warmer packets, a Kindle book, a $1.99 game for the iPad (I was going stir crazy with the weather), hangers, a box of cloth rags, AAA batteries, and marina tips.

Total: $2,406.93

JANUARY, 2019
Groceries/Non-food Groceries: $956.28
Diesel/Gasoline: $64.91
Propane/Denatured Alcohol: $44.00.  Two gallons of denatured alcohol for the stove. 
Health Care: $176.55.
Life Insurance premium: $220.75
Cell phone and internet (2 phones, one iPad data plan, iCloud storage, and a
Garmin inReach subscription): $142.66.
Mail: $19.57
Laundry: $8.00.
Ice: $8.50
Netflix: $11.10
Amazon Prime: $12.99
Miscellaneous annual subscriptions: $123.47
U.S. Coast Guard Documentation Renewal: $26.00
Boat stuff: $5,465.60.  The majority of this – $4,433.40 – was for the furler, its installation, converting the headsail, and related costs.  We also bought an SSB receiver, spare engine parts (i.e. filters, belts, zincs), Fluid Film, Loctite, diagonal wire cutters, an oil filter wrench, Far Bahamas Explorer Chart, extra cotter pins, 2 Luci lights for anchorages, a propeller shaft zinc, reflective mast tape, a spotlight, a diesel fuel funnel filter, two squeeze bottles for diesel, an extra 5 gallon diesel jerry jug, and an extra 1 gallon gas jerry jug. 
Restaurants/Entertainment: $90.03
Uber/Bus: $29.34
New York Times subscription: $20.20
Marinas/moorings: $312.98.  This is for 23 nights at Vero Beach City Marina. 
Sarasota/Bradenton trip expenses: $415.66
Random: $316.50.  This includes a haircut for Kimberly, fishing gloves and a small mirror for Jeff, navigation lights app, batteries, a cable and lock for the dinghy, two plastic cutting boards, a bag for our hatch boards, water repellant spray, an extra 5 gallon collapsible water jug, and a marina tip.  

Total: $8.465.09

FEBRUARY, 2019
Groceries/Non-food Groceries: $327.85
Diesel/Gasoline: $120 (we paid $5/gallon in Hope Town for 15 gallons)
Cell phone and internet (2 phones, iCloud storage, Garmin inReach subscription, $10 in Skype credit, and myislandwifi because the T-Mobile service is so slow in the Bahamas): $247.63.  This will go down next month because we had to pay $50 for the myislandwifi router.
Mail: $5.00
Water: $14.10 (approximately .35/gallon in Hope Town for R/O water)
Ice: $4.50
Restaurants/Entertainment: $90.00
Uber/Bus: $40.00
New York Times subscription: $20.20
Clothing: $32.00
DAN Boater Evacuation Insurance: $50
Check-in fee at the Bahamas: $160 (it’s actually $150 but I didn’t have the exact amount and she didn’t have change).
Random: $128.54.  This includes a haircut for Jeff, DVD’s, a book on the Abacos, and a swim noodle to replace the one that was lost.

Total: $1,239.82

MARCH, 2019
Groceries/Non-food Groceries: $175.53
Diesel/Gasoline: $64.00 (15 gallons in Rock Sound, Eleuthera)
Medical: $90.00 (prescriptions)
Cell phone and internet (2 phones, iCloud storage, Garmin inReach subscription, and myislandwifi because the T-Mobile service is so slow in the Bahamas): $219.26.
Ice: $9.00
Restaurants/Entertainment: $118.00
New York Times subscription: $20.20
Mooring ball for one night: $25.00
Non-Owners Auto Insurance policy for six months: $74.80
Random: $22.88.  Trash disposal in Georgetown, one Kindle book, and plastic scrapers.   

Total: $818.64

APRIL, 2019
Groceries/Non-food Groceries: $454.91
Diesel/Gasoline: $98.00 (15 gallons at $6.53/gallon on Great Guana Cay, the Abacos)
Propane/Denatured Alcohol: $4.29
Medical: $8.97 (prescriptions)
Cell phone and internet (2 phones, iCloud storage, Garmin inReach subscription, and myislandwifi because the T-Mobile service is so slow in the Bahamas): $202.63
Water: $20.00
Laundry: $6.00
Ice: $15.72
Boat US Towing annual membership fee: $151.00
Restaurants/Entertainment: $130.00
New York Times subscription: $20.20
Two nights anchored at the Exumas Land & Sea Park: $30.00
Hair cut: $30.00
Life Insurance: $220.75
10 pack of Chris Parker custom weather forecasts: $250.00
Random: $349.22. (Turbo tax plus state tax owed, conch horn, postcards, grocery bagger and fuel dock tips) 

Total: $1,991.69

MAY, 2019
Groceries/Non-food Groceries: $464.66
Diesel/Gasoline: $231.40
Propane/Denatured Alcohol: $16.45
Cell phone and internet (2 phones, iCloud storage, Garmin inReach subscription, and myislandwifi because the T-Mobile service is so slow in the Bahamas): $124.12
Mail: $100 (deposit for future costs to forward packages/mail)
Laundry: $13.00
Ice: $9.75
Amazon Prime: $1.99
Restaurants/Entertainment: $376.36
Uber: $9.36
New York Times subscription: $20.20
Marinas: $441.01
Clothing: $64.05
Life Insurance: $767.50 (annual premium)
Plane, train, and bus tickets: $1,084.29
Random: $167.50. (disposable gloves, box of rags, screen material for port in head, DVD’s, dock tips, flyswatter, spatula, ATM withdrawal fee, shower sprayer, funnel, small strainer)

Total: $3,891.64

JUNE, 2019
Groceries/Non-food Groceries: $386.09
Diesel/Gasoline: $65.20
Medical: $116.99
Cell phone and internet (2 phones, iPad, iCloud storage, Garmin inReach subscription): $192.74
Mail: $300 (one time annual payment for our mailbox at the UPS Store)
Amazon Prime: $12.99
Netflix: $13.12 (we have since decided to cancel this again because we aren’t using it enough to justify the cost)
Annual State registration for the boat and dinghy: $135
Boat Items: $2,361.68 (Engel fridge, Pelagic autopilot, club burgee, bottom paint for the boat and the dinghy, boot stripe paint, roller frame, paint brushes, rollers, Waterway guide, epoxy, hardener, epoxy pumps, shaft zinc, two shackles, replacement flag halyards, spare dinghy propeller, replacement Origo gasket, anchor ball)
Restaurants/Entertainment: $111.73
Uber: $30
New York Times subscription: $20.20
Clothing: $276.78
Travel-related expenses to visit friends and family: $853.90
Random: $78.57 (haircuts, galley items)

Monthly Total: $4,954.99

JULY, 2019
Groceries/Non-food Groceries: $621.83
Diesel/Gasoline: $31.10
Medical: $842.40
Rental cars, hotel room, and related expenses for medical appointments: $603.35
Cell phone and internet (2 phones, iPad, iCloud storage, Garmin inReach subscription): $162.50
Laundry: $7.00
Amazon Prime: $12.99
Boat US Towing Membership: $131.77 (West Marine was running a sale, so now we are paid up until April, 2021).
Boat Expenses: $790.91 (haul out and four weeks storage for Pegu Club, gear oil, spark plugs, and zinc for the outboard, food hammocks, windlass parts, new flares to replace expired ones, new vent hose for Nature’s Head, extra flare gun for ditch bag, diesel additives, 2 water jerry jugs, bucket, bungee cords, gloves, paint brushes, tools)
Restaurants/Entertainment: $203.64
New York Times subscription: $20.20
Clothing: $123.32
Life Insurance Premium: $220.75
Subscriptions: $130.30
Random: $776.18 (fishing gear, galley items, Burley trailer, guidebooks, etc.)

Monthly Total: $4,678.24

AUGUST, 2019

Groceries/Non-food Groceries/Alcohol: $625.84
Diesel/Gasoline: $56.95
Denatured alcohol for the Origo: $18.00
Medical: $113.24
Cell phone and internet (2 phones, iPad, iCloud storage, Garmin inReach subscription): $354.60. This was particularly high as we fiddled with our plans (and bought a hotspot) to bring the future costs down significantly. One more partial T-Mobile month in September, and after that it will be approximately $100/month total, all-in.
Mail: $28.00
Laundry: $11.00
Amazon Prime: $12.99
Boat Insurance: $472.00 – this is the premium for 12 months.
Boat Expenses: $64.35 (final bill for our transient slip at the club, plus $3 for fuses for the Nature’s Head)
Restaurants/Entertainment: $139.75
New York Times subscription: $20.20
Clothing: $20.86
Subscriptions: $272.29 (most of this was for another year of Chris Parker)
Random: $142.59 (hair clippers, photocopies, cockpit carpet, water bottle, box o’ rags, games, carpet tape)

Monthly Total: $2,352.66

SEPTEMBER, 2019

Groceries/Non-food Groceries/Alcohol: $584.06
Diesel/Gasoline: $30.13
Denatured alcohol for the Origo: $16.95
Medical: $121.00
Cell data, iCloud storage, and Garmin inReach subscription: $87.74
Laundry: $15.50
Showers: $2.00
Amazon Prime: $12.99
Restaurants/Entertainment: $209.36
Uber: $21.84
New York Times subscription: $20.20
Non-owner auto liability insurance: $62.30 (one time payment for six months of coverage)
Marinas: $510 (three weeks in Annapolis, paid in advance)
Boat stuff: $189.29 (Aqua Maps, dinghy nav lights, starboard, tiller extension, dinghy line, stuff sack)
Clothing: $105
Subscriptions: $33.30
Random: $41 (hair cut, marina tips)

** We also bought a new-to-us dinghy for $500, but sold our old dinghy for $600 which covered the $500 plus the rental car and gas to pick up the dinghy.  I decided not to include it in the monthly total since it was a wash.  If we hadn’t bought and sold in the same month, then I would have included it as an expense in the monthly numbers.

Monthly Total: $2,062.66

2019 monthly average to date: $3,383.92

2018 monthly average (September – December): $4,465.95

Monthly average since starting to cruise: $3,451.30