Maybe we need to define cruising again.
I have read this thread and the 500USD/month thread quite thoroughly. On this one the rule seems to be find an expensive spot (whether it is a mooring or a slip) stay a month and pay for expensive bar tabs, restaurant food, perhaps pay for the dinghy dock, pump out, pay through the nose for gas for your 2kw gensets, for their plasma tv's Then whine about it.
I think you are well off the mark.
First, I don't understand the competition from the $500 per month people. Yes, you can live on $500 per month on a sailboat. I did it on $800 per month for several months. Does this make you a hero? A saint? Special in some way? Reading the responses to my posts on the $500 per month thread I would have to conclude that spending more than $500 per month is evil. You seem to agree based on the above quote. That is why i stopped posting on that thread.
Second, I think for most people the question is: "what is a realistic planning number for full time cruising?" I find this thread much more enlightening then the $500 per month thread. When I started out I had no real idea of how much I was going to spend. My insurance cost $800 per year. I could handle that. As soon as I wanted to leave the US it jumped to $2,000 per year. And I had to pay for a survey on top of that.
Third, in the short term what one includes in one's "cruising budget" has a lot of variation. One can divide between "getting ready for cruising" and "the cost of cruising." So bottom paint, decent sails, life jackets, life raft, EPIRB, solar panels, wind generators, water makers, etc. can go into "getting ready for cruising." This accounting decision makes the "cruising budget" seem smaller. Over a five year period these things break and need to be repaired or replaced. For most people in my experience selecting the cruising lifestyle is a post career 5 to 10 year evolution. At that point for a variety of reasons they move on to land. So I think a 5 year or 10 year budget is much more realistic.
To my fourth and final point. Over the course of 5 years of world cruising I have found that $800 per month did not make it. Some people can live their entire lives on less. I had a crew member who build a home and lived off the grid for 10 years. He grew his own food, made his own electricity, etc. I guess his biggest expense was property taxes. There is an old saying "amputation with a dull spoon is possible, it just takes a long time and is very messy."
I think (and therefore I am
) that the average
cruising couple would not want to try and sustain themselves on $500 per month. Could they? Yes. But for those coming here for an assessment of the average costs for most people to sustain a lifestyle that does not include ...
expensive bar tabs, restaurant food, perhaps pay for the dinghy dock, pump out, pay through the nose for gas for your 2kw gensets, for their plasma tv's ...
... are more likely to find the answer here than on the $500 per month thread.
In the real world things cost money - country clearances, repairs, food, fuel, water in many places. When I raised the issue that clearing into the Bahamas was a $400 evolution I was told on the $500 thread "well, stay 10 months and it is only $40 per month." Why go at all? You can save $400.
A final note. At some point one should take into account the loss of value to a boat. Presuming that at some point one is going to stop cruising and sell the boat what is the residual value? A boat with blown out sails, non-functional equipment, dead bottom paint etc. is going to be worth a lot less, just as a car with bald tires. This too is a "cost of cruising."
Fair winds and following seas.