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.