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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been reading through cruising budgets here and elsewhere and am shocked by how much money people are spending on their cruising budgets. I'm setting off again in a few months with a reasonably well stocked boat and hoping to live quite well on $1,200.00 for a the full six months I plan to cruise this year. When I started my voyage last year I was penniless with a half stocked boat and found finding work here and there to be quite easy although I am sailing in US waters as my dog refuses to go to sea.

My end goal once I'm free to head offshore is a $6,000.00 per year budget. I haven't suffered at all with my limited income and actually have gained weight since setting out. My 22' boat is small and simple but safe and easy to maintain to a very high standard.

I know there will be naysayers but what I'm really looking for is positive experiences of voyaging on a budget.

Art Of Hookie | Will work for food or money.
 

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The Pardee's have a chapter on this in their book. Their formula is to figure you will spend about the same on the water as off once adjusted for the obvious things that are going to change like a car and business cloths etc.

Their main lesson was that people that spend a lot on land will spend a lot cruising and those who spend a little on land will spend a little cruising.

IE people don't change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Right now I'm living off $350 per month average but I have to say I'm living quite extravagantly. No car, phone, debt ect. I am however still refitting the boat as I will be for some time so whenever I get a windfall payday it all goes into the boat. I only add the highest quality when doing upgrades so I'm paying now but expect a very reliable boat for years to come. I also do 99% of my own maintenance so that really keeps costs down.
 

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sunfish?junior?
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Keep posting you have my interest. I am not sure what dollar amount is needed. This subject gets beat upon and I have not seen a clear picture just a lot of it all depends on variables. I want the one doing it to outline it so I can decide.
I am still in the learning stage. I am day sailing and a camping out. I have been reading many books. One was about your location ! One you might want to look at (Simply Sailing) This book goes after the style of low cost live aboard. Lin and Larry Pardee touch it in a book they did with three levels of cost.
The $500 seems like the magic number that comes up all the time. My opinion is it will take more. You might go for a month on less but then you will go above later. I do not think I can live on land for $500 a month unless forced to do so. It would not be fun for me to urban style "sleep under the bridge and dumpster dive for food" county style "sleep in fields and woods poaching food. Each style is a very gray legality.
Each person must look at what the comfort needs and level of skill challenge needs to be balanced to make sailing fun,safe and legal.
Good day, Lou
 

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You can let your kitty control your cruise, or your cruise control your kitty. I like the idea of low-budget cruising, going small and going now, living the low-wake life, and I like the fact that you are willing to follow the adventure with little in your pocket. But, let's not overstate the virtue here and risk getting reverse-elitist. Logically, if you set to sea with X number of dollars and, as you imply, will work as necessary to supplement your budget, then aren't you simply pointing out that you CAN'T cruise on the budget you set? if you could, you wouldn't be commenting on the ease of finding work.

I like the dinghy you bought, but I'm curious- if your budget is tight, why spend $600 on a dinghy when you could build a D4 for half of that? Money not spend is money you don't have to work to earn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I guess the simple answer is that I prefer not to work anymore than I have to. I've done the whole work, mortgage, debt thing,no thank you. I have an aging dog who is the center of my world so I wont be crossing any oceans till she goes to that big field in the sky. As far as the dingy I don't have the knowledge tools or space to build but more importantly I've wanted a Hess dingy for 25 years and just couldn't turn it down or didn't want to. I did work two months last year and intent to do the same this year. My post is because like many the plain truth is that this can be very scary and I'm seeking positive reinforcement that I'm not insane or at least seeking other with the same mental capacity who can give me examples of what they have done abroad. To take it a step further its cold and dark out and I have nothing better to do and I love learning. This is a great place to share and learn so here I am :)
 

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Dude, you're not insane. Just do what the budget allows and don't live like a monk. just live. money may not buy happiness, but it does buy off a crapload of stress, worry and unhappiness.
You don't have to have it all, but don't live with a self-generated constraint that may turn out to be unrealistic, simply because your ego won't let you exceed your budget...

...Because, make no mistake about it, under $500/month is TIGHT- there is no margin and no cushion. I've done it, on a boat, with a dog, and there were times when it wasn't really fun. Like pawning some of your tools to be able to buy groceries and hoping you didn't pawn ones you might need to do the job that will get you the money to get your tools back from the pawn shop- it can get a little stressing, but it is really great when it all works...and it all works most of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I haven't pawned any tools but I sure have lost my fair share over board. The dog eats really good dog chow, I buy 250 lbs at a time and get a discount, its all natural and she loves it. I tend to shop for things on sale so if I find my favorite peanut butter on sale for example I buy half a dozen jars. We eat really well but do fish and forage for some of our food. I love being at the dock from time to time but prefer to anchor out most of my time. During July August September and October this year I think we spent $200.00 total but like I said the boat was fairly well stocked. I'm not super rigid on the budget but I really like the challenge of living simply. I'm always looking for people with the same mindset. I recently came across a couple living very well on $2,000.00 per year, Very impressive. I'm always trying to learn to be more resourceful. My days left on this earth are extremely limited and I prefer to spend them in nature not a cubicle :)
 

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My dear departed father had a saying that always come to mind in these matters "The only thing money can't buy is POVERTY! You can rent all the other stuff." Now, when I traveled down the ICW, $500 would have barely covered two weeks of gasoline cost. However, with favorable winds offshore and the ability to inlet hop down the coast, you COULD make it on $500 a month for food and a smattering of booze.

Good Luck,

Gary :cool:
 

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sunfish?junior?
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As long as you ask you are not insane. I like this thread ;)
You can go!:) $500 for a month go with more or less money and time or maybe it works out just as planed It is good to set a goal just do not let it consume you. Ahab wanted only the white whale.
What I have gained as good advice is ; break it down small enough for your comfort. This could be a week at a time or three years for other folks.
Good day, Lou
 

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it just depends

on our trip it was pb an js and we cruised(2 men) with much less than 500

on another boat I cruised on they were spanish and loved cooking and only ate out when they wanted cold beer

if you cruise islands and hop around and stuff I remember not even opening my wallet for what felt like months...no need. we spear fished, dug clams, hooked octopus...ate potatoes and rice all sorts if way and stuffed ourselves with dry tuna and saltines we made on ocean crossings

money can be seen one of two ways a commodity or a necessity

I see it as a facilitator when you are in areas that require it

fortunately I still traveled to places where it was almost non existant and that brought hope and life into my trip like nothing else.

go NOW and make odd bits of money doing whatever hobby pleases you

I knew plenty of rich cruisers and non rich cruisers who out of fun made jewelry or clothes or bartered cigarettes for bottom work or whatever...just go and be happy

GO NOW!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Gary, our little outboard rarely works so we sail everywhere. I do have a Yuloh I'm working on but the mount still needs perfecting which I'm hoping to do over the next few months. I used 2 gallons of gas last year but here in the Salish sea you can sail everywhere and I often go less than 10 miles between anchorages and stay as long as its new and unique. the currents here really help if you use them to your advantage but I have to say being engine less can suck from time to time. the hardest part about the small budget is I would like to eat out more just because I enjoy that so much but its not a deal breaker and when I do get to eat out I truly appreciate it. We do sacrafice for sure.
 

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if you are ever around central america(el salvador) dinner is on me up here in coffee mountain land...at my restaurant

peace
 

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I suppose one could "live" on $500.00 a month and cruise, but what kind of life would it be? On my circumnavigation in the seventies, $500.00 a month was a pretty healthy cruising budget, but today, it's awfully lean.
Living from the sea is not nearly as easy as it was back then and many island groups do not allow a visiting yacht to spear fish and in some places, fish at all. We might spend EC$20.00 on a pineapple here in Bequia, and only EEC$8.00 in Vieux Fort, St. Lucia, but who wants to hang out in Vieux Fort?
What are you going to do should you have any problems, split a sail, break a halyard or sheet, anything, which will cost money to repair or replace. Not eat for 3 weeks? Most countries will not allow you to work without the proper paperwork, and working for other yachts will probably not net you much cash, unless you are very good at something most of us don't do for ourselves, and build a very good reputation.
I'm not saying it can't be done, only asking if it's not worth it to work a bit more and cruise with a bit bigger budget. It can't be a whole lot of fun, never to be able to go to the local watering hole, when invited by friends for a 5 o'clock drink, or a meal out with them, because your budget just doesn't have a few dollars leeway.
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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it's funny. I got into an argument at work with a girl who insisted you had to be a millionaire to circumnavigate. Anything I tried to say otherwise was met with a "********!" statement from her.. or the famous "Lies!"

I will admit, except for rent and paying for my Disco, I live pretty cheaply. Factor in Electricity, Gas, Cable, and water.. and I bet I could live on a few hundred a month as long as I could get cheap places to drop the hook or pick up a mooring
 

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it's funny. I got into an argument at work with a girl who insisted you had to be a millionaire to circumnavigate. Anything I tried to say otherwise was met with a "********!" statement from her.. or the famous "Lies!"

I will admit, except for rent and paying for my Disco, I live pretty cheaply. Factor in Electricity, Gas, Cable, and water.. and I bet I could live on a few hundred a month as long as I could get cheap places to drop the hook or pick up a mooring
It all depends on what you call a millionaire but it takes money to do that unless it is a non stop circumnavigation: Many thousands of dollars, more than the price of some old cruising boats around.

I do extensive cruising (about 4 months a year) and live in a boat. Living on two pensions (me and my wife) have cut our income a lot but i figured out that I could not have money and time and I choose time but with the kids yet finishing university and having that boat and house to maintain I cruise on a tight budget but you need a budget for cruising otherwise you are surviving on a boat.

Capta had already talked about maintenance costs and I would say that, with the winter parking of the boat would amount at least for about 4000 euros. Only that would amount be near the 500 USD you are talking about.

Regarding cruising, even staying out of marinas, with only rare visits to some inexpensive ports and eating a few sometimes out, spending very few diesel and sailing almost all the time I guess that I spend (me and my wife) between 1000 and 1500 euros a month.

Off course, if we stayed a lot of time on one of those rare places where the shelter is perfect and the life is good, we could make it with less, but that would not be cruising. Cruising for me is to be on the move, discovery new places and enjoying sailing and that is a lot more expensive that staying or living in the boat in one or two places.

Regards

Paulo
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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Yeah, but you can blow a crapload of money buying Gloria Gaynor and Johnson Brothers rarities. Especially on 8 track. Man, that Disco can be an expensive habit.
touché... :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
There are two sides to every coin. I could get a job, spend my waking hours making my boss wealthy and spend my evenings reading sailnet living vicariously through others. OR I could take my little boat that suits me perfectly sail off and explore and live the life I love minus a few extravagances. I certainly don't live up to the expectations of many of the sailors I meet but I will let you in on a little secret. When Monday morning rolls around I'm sitting in my cockpit sipping piping hot coffee in the morning sun while all the guys who pitied me and my little boat over the weekend are fighting Monday morning traffic.

One of the biggest misconceptions of where I am currently sailing is that there is not enough wind to sail in the summer. I sail everywhere. The truth is that most people here simply don't have the time to sail. They get off late Friday night, motor to the islands drink themselves into a stooper and hurriedly motor home in time to be at work Monday morning so they can brag to all their friends of their sailing adventures.

Its not an easy life but it is wonderful most of the time :)
 
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