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  #41  
Old 01-31-2014
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Re: $3000/mo cruising budget

I'm watching Xort on this subject.
I don't have 3k a month to budget out (about half that) - but I have almost zero medical expenses as I'm retired Navy.
I can maybe last a month or two on the bare minimum life style but then my urges to eat at restaurants and maybe dock a couple nights is going to kick in.

I'm doing the boat upgrade and build out now while I'm working and hoping it will hold up for the years I think I can cruise before my health says it's time to go ashore.
Of course rebuilding and upgrading from what seems like a rusty bolt and couple washers is taking a lot more than I expected.

My serious goal at this point is be part of the 1% that actually make it away from the pier.
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  #42  
Old 01-31-2014
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Re: $3000/mo cruising budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
Last winter, I spent less than $1,200 a month to live at a marina in the Florida Keys, and I had a ball, lived damned well, and ate out at a restaurant at least once a week.

All the best,

Gary
Are you sure about those numbers Gary? I would love to see how, and I do not mean that I am questioning you, but how in the world did you do that? Am I missing something?

City Marina (the cheapest here) is $19.75/ft, plus tax, plus that ridiculous, water tax, plus electricity fee. So if you have a MOI 33, which is what I think you have, your marina bill alone would be $755.86. (19.75x33 + tax + water fee + 45/mo 30amp).

That leaves $444/month left over. How do you eat, eat out, pay for gas, groceries, bottom cleaning ($2.50/ft), booze, diesel, insurance, etc on that amount of money... especially with the cost of groceries down here!?? We have not even factored in a bottom job every other year, sight-seeing, travelling, rent cars, clothes washing ($6/load), and God forbid something breaking.

Wow. I am impressed. If I could get by with twice that number I would be happy!!

Brian
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  #43  
Old 01-31-2014
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Re: $3000/mo cruising budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by outbound View Post
Minnie- flip of that is to pay attention to your assets. If the loan is <5% ( which it is) and return on investments is >5% ( which it is) makes sense to play with other peoples money. Also get tax benefit which I will lose once (and if) we ditch the house. Owning a depreciating asset such as a boat should be looked at as a cash flow exercise. Admittedly rate of depreciation varies but given there is always some rate of inflation the longer you run a loan the more you are paying things off with "cheaper" future dollars. If appropriately positioned your investments reflect this more than the artificially low loan rates of recent years. Would keep boat fully insured regardless as it's now required in so many places and it is a major asset. In short one size does not fit all. Caveat is you always must maintain enough liquidity to pay off all loans should review suggest that's financially prudent.
Well, that is one solution.

In my experience, is a far better idea to simply own your boat and have no recurring financial obligations at all. It is impossible to properly manage investments without constant attention; the kind of attention that is quite impossible in any ordinary yacht at sea. (Mitt Romney may stop reading at this point). Maybe you can do it if you have a large yacht with a full suite of satellite communications with redundant back ups (And a crew) or if you hop from marina to marina each day along the coast where you can always reach your broker or connect to your online account. But what is the point?

If you intend to go voyaging to far shores in an average cruising sailboat, you will be out of touch from time to time, sometimes for quite a while. Personally, I don't want to be concerned that my portfolio did not perform or that a monthly bill might go unpaid. My solution is to have no recurring financial obligations (One exception is our annual property taxes on acreage we own). If we did have something like life insurance or such, I would just pay it forward for a year.

I manage our investments closely while we are in port but when we set sail for an extended cruise or long passage, I put trailing stops on all our holdings and forget about them. The worst thing that can happen is that we will arrive at our destination to find we have a lot of cash and no equities in our brokerage account.

I think, and this just my opinion, that cruising should be free from the cares and anxiety of shore life. Bringing them with you is counter productive. We have met a lot of people out cruising who have to fly home frequently to manage their affairs "Back home". The cost is a drain. The home base a source of stress rather than the security it is supposed to represent and all too often the boat winds up for sale in some distant port because the would be cruisers found they could not sail off into the sunset with one foot still on the dock. For us, it would completely destroy the cruising experience.
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  #44  
Old 01-31-2014
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Re: $3000/mo cruising budget

Well, let's see...

If you come to the keys, get ready for an eye-opener.

THe lowest cost marina here is $19.75/ft. My preferred marina is $21.50/ft. These lengths are OAL NOT LOA. In other words, they measure from the tip of your anchor to the back of your davits. My 40' boat runs right a bit less than $1,000/month.

My insurance is very low for what I have. The reason is it so low is I have fifteen years with them and zero claims and a lot of experience. My insurance costs for gulf coast, Fl, East coast and bahamas are right under $3,000/year for a $225k policy. Before you say, "I will not have a $225k boat..." let me tell you that a very good friend of mine, with equal experience, got a quote not long ago for the same policy, $125,000-$150,000 replacement, and he was quoted $5000. He did find it cheaper, but I would love to hear what others have to say about this.

We are a family of four. Our eating costs run about $1200/month down here.

We do not eat out much. Our eat-out budget is roughly $100/month. That basically is one good eatout.

My gas and diesel bills run about $150/month if we do not move much. That is 5g/week for outboard and 10g/month diesel.

My maintenance costs have been tough. I do all of my own maintenance and repairs. I feel I am a very knowledgeable boater and the tech editor for these boats. I also bought my boat new and she is only 10 years old this year (technically not that old as I did not splash her in 04). My average maintenacnce, not including major refits (bottom jobs, sat phone purchase, life raft or repack, etc) runs me about $225/month averaged out. This includes all things boat related but not major purchases.

My bottom job on my boat, which we do about every 24-30 months, is about $1600.

I dive my own boat except in some areas where the water sucks. I am a certified scuba diver and I generally do it once a month. If you do not want to invest in that gear or do it yourself, the costs down here run $2.50/ft.

It costs us $6/load down here to wash clothes. We average about $120/month. We bought a WonderWash to reduce those costs some, but that may not be for everyone.

Just adding those costs up, we are about $3,245. That is no boat payment, no plane tickets, not much eatout, don't smoke cigars, no rent cars, no sight seeing, no major purchases, no major problems, and ZERO health insurance costs. However, we are feeding four, not one or two, which adds to our costs (we only carry a catastrophic policy which runs us $500ish/month I think... note that I did not add that into the numbers). That is also being at a marina, which we do not always do. We are on a ball in Boot Key right now, and loving it. That is not an option in the summer though (way too hot).

When we were further north, our costs were less. We were running about $1000 for the same groceries, slip was closer to $650/month, and laundry was much cheaper ($2/load in many places). However, when we went to Key West, we stayed at the cheapest marina in the basin (I hate the balls there), and that marina cost $34.50/ft/month PLUS about $60/week in electricity! Just our marina bill was pushing close to $2000!!!

Many of the comments and prices you will see from people vary because of the area. For example, my parents do not spend anywhere near that in the PNW. Insurance is much less and marinas are a lot less. Food is also cheaper. However, that is not 12 month cruising (at least not for me!!).

So, the morale: can you do it on $3000? Sure. However, you will have to budget yourself. The keys and other places will be on a short schedule or you will have to 'vacation' there. Also, one major system malfunction and you can blow those numbers out the roof. My mom and dad lost the engine on their Tayana last season. The cost to replace? $25,000. How does that factor into your equations!???

Anyways, those are my real world numbers. The reality is that we spend much more than that, but we are a family of four. Others will see lower costs depending on the boat, the location, how many people, and your risk tolerance (and luck).

Brian
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  #45  
Old 01-31-2014
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Re: $3000/mo cruising budget

Don0190 wrote "the only real asset is cash in hand (not invested in stocks, just cash)".

I got some bad news for you, bub.
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  #46  
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Re: $3000/mo cruising budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by outbound View Post
Minnie- flip of that is to pay attention to your assets. If the loan is <5% ( which it is) and return on investments is >5% ( which it is) makes sense to play with other peoples money......
An arbitrage makes perfect sense for those with the ability to take more risk, which is usually the result of having an income that can replace a loss in this strategy. When its all you have, those asset values can decline temporarily and leave you without the ability to meet short term obligations. It would be very risky.
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  #47  
Old 01-31-2014
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Re: $3000/mo cruising budget

Brian, the marina cost was $750 a month, but every day when the weather cooperated, I would motor through Sister Creek and sail offshore to the outer edge of the reef and catch a bunch of snapper, grunt, Spanish and king mackerel, and an occasional Mahi, all of which were quickly filleted and frozen in zip-loc bags filled with a small amount of water. That makes a huge difference in the cost of food. Now, I don't have a diesel engine - just an old A4 that is pretty economical at lower speeds.

I borrowed an old bicycle from a fellow cruiser at the marina and used it the entire time I was there for transportation to and from the grocery stores and the cheapest booze store in the keys, which turned out to be the drug store at the north end of the island. Most of the time I made my own Margaretta mix, which is pretty easy and inexpensive - about $4 per gallon. Melon liquor, which normally sells for about $29 at the local liquor store, was only $3.99 a bottle at the drug store. I bought the least expensive coconut rum I could find, and it was about $12 for a half-gallon. That's a lot of booze. Coors Light when purchased by the 30 can case, I found for about $20, which translated into a two week supply.

There was a produce stand directly across from the marina next to the gas station where I purchased lots of fresh vegetables and bargain basement prices. I found that if you washed them in bleach water they tended to last forever, V/S not washing them which meant they lasted about a week before turning nasty.

I purchased a fair amount of Chef Boyardee canned, Italian sausage ravioli on sale at the local grocery store, plus canned stews, etc..., all of which are a full meal and kept the food budget fairly low. For lunch, most days I fired up the gas grill and cooked either some Kielbasa, Italian sausage or a fish fillet, the aroma of which seemed to bring guests for lunch from long distances down the dock and inside the marina office. One afternoon I grilled half of a large egg plant that I sliced into half-inch thick pieces, basted with olive oil, sprinkled with garlic powder and then sprinkled Romano cheese on that - Wow! Lunch that day cost under $1 and I had leftover egg plant, so the following day I cut it into chunks, put it in a pot, poured on some spaghetti sauce, added some grilled Italian sausage, and after cooking for 20 minutes, sprinkled on lots of Parmesan cheese - OH YEAH! Another great meal, and only cost about $2.

There was a relatively young couple in Boot Key Harbor, Jim and Lynn, and Lynn just purchased a solar oven. She figured she would try her first bread making attempt with the solar over out on me. That was the best, homemade bread I've tasted in years. That went real well with the Egg Plant Parmesan. I made my own garlic butter by just adding garlic powder to soft margarine and mixing it thoroughly. When I spread that on the fresh, warm bread I thought I died and went to heaven. Wow!

There were a lot of days when I had fresh-grilled hot dogs for lunch. Hot dogs are dirt cheap, and really tasted great with chopped Vidalia onion, sweet pickled relish, a slice of American cheese wrapped around it and some yellow mustard. Hotdog rolls were always on sale at the grocery store. I also used the hotdog rolls for Italian sausage lunches as well.

Most nights I grilled fresh fish fillets for supper, but there were nights when all I wanted was something light. The grocery store had frozen TV dinners on sale all the time, many of which cost just $1 each if you purchased 10 of them. Some were actually very good, which was a pleasant surprise. I created a method of cooking them, which eliminates the need for a micro-wave oven, and does the job equally as well, and maybe better because the frozen dinners don't tend to dry out using my method.

I made a special lifting rack from a length of brazing rod that allows me to lower and life the TV dinner into a 7-quart saucepan that has about an inch of water in the bottom. The water is brought to a boil and in about 10 to 12 minutes that TV dinner is piping hot.



Now, when I needed extra money, such as the funds to have my full enclosure constructed, I plied my trade as a musician/singer/entertainer. Most nights provided sufficient tip money to take care of a week or more of expenses.

My biggest expense, underway, was gasoline. As you know, you cannot sail much of the ICW north of Miami, and gasoline in Florida was outrageously expensive, often more than $5 a gallon at the marina, while right across the street at the gas station it was $3.29. It was a gotcha for sure. The A4 burns about .5 to .75 gallons per hour and provided speeds to 7 MPH on calmer days. When I could, that jib sail went out and really cut fuel expenses a lot. Some days, by as much as 50 percent.

When It got so cold I had to stop at a marina so I could hook up to their electric and run the heat pump, the cost per foot ranged $1 to $2 depending on what the traffic would bear. But when you're freezing and shivering in the cockpit, you didn't really care about the cost - you just needed to get warm.

So, after returning home, I tallied up the expenses, divided them out over the six months I was gone, and my figures are pretty darned accurate. The next trip, though, I'll have a Honda 2000i generator onboard, which will eliminate the need for warming up in the marinas. The generator will run my 14,000 BTU heat pump with power to spare.

Cheers,

Gary
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  #48  
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Re: $3000/mo cruising budget

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  #49  
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Re: $3000/mo cruising budget

Health insurance remains an issue as many policies don't provide coverage when you leave the states. Would greatly appreciate advise on how people have handled this problem.
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  #50  
Old 02-01-2014
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Re: $3000/mo cruising budget

Just read an old (2012) article by Lin Pardey. Excerpt: "I thought about how difficult sailing has become for those who have computers and internet on board their boats. There is always someone you should email, always some potential helpful website you should visit, webinar you should listen to, forum or facebook page you should visit."
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