We track and report every penny we spend living aboard and cruising on Tickety Boo, our Moody 346 sailboat for a couple of reasons.
1 - It helps us see where our money is going, helps us make informed choices about where to spend our money, which in turn helps us stretch our money further so that we can keep adventuring longer.
2 - We found it really useful to check out other people's cost of cruising when we were starting out, so we figure we can return favor by sharing ours.
You can find details of how much we spent cruising in the Bahamas during May and June 2017 below. Keep in mind that this is what works for us. Everyone has their own budget and priorities and everyone tracks and reports things differently.
You can find links to other cost updates from ourselves (on Tickety Boo, camping across the States and our previous boat in New Zealand) and others on this page, as well as on The Monkey's Fist.
Cost of Cruising In The Bahamas & Florida | May & June 2017
Overall, we spent $2,986.23 during May and June, which was almost $1,000 more than we spent in the previous two months.
It's interesting to note that there was a big difference between what we spent in May ($2,619.36) compared to June ($366.87). That's because during May we had to head back to the States to fix things that broke on our boat (dinghy davit and water pump). That meant money being spent on boat parts and marina fees, plus some Little Caesar's pizza and Taco Tuesday. We spent all of June back in the Bahamas. Nothing broke on the boat, we anchored every day (which is free) and we only ate out a couple of times (cheap snack type food).
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of the details of what we spent, here are a few things to note:
1 - All costs are in US dollars. The Bahamian dollar is on par with the US dollar, so no conversion was required. It's pretty cool that you can use US currency in the Bahamas. No need to worry about exchanging money.
2 - Not all expenses are included - here's what we've left out:
(a) We don't report how much we spend on alcohol. I remember reading some horrible, judgy comments in a blog post a few years back about how much someone spent on booze, so I left it out when we first started tracking our cruising costs back in New Zealand. For consistency's sake, I've continued to leave it out when tracking our cruising costs.
(b) We've also left out our costs for medical insurance. We didn't think it made sense to include insurance costs as they can vary so widely depending upon your nationality, where you cruise, what level of coverage you want and can afford etc. In case you are curious, while we're back in the States, we do have insurance through the health insurance marketplace (aka ACA/Obamacare), primarily to protect our assets and cover us in case of a catastrophic medical condition.3 - I've included any shipping and taxes we've paid in what we report. Florida has a 6% sales tax. The Bahamas has a 7.5% VAT.
GROCERIES | Total = $433.20
This category includes everything we put in our bodies in terms of food and drink (excluding booze) that we prepare ourselves. It doesn't include things like paper towels and ziploc bags, which I know some people would classify as groceries. Sure, you could probably eat them, but they wouldn't taste very good.
While we were back in Florida, we took advantage of Walmart and Aldi and restocked the provisions on our boat. We also bought groceries in the Bahamas - mostly dairy, meat and produce.
PERSONAL & HOUSEHOLD | Total = $20.88
This is the category where we include household things (like paper towels and ziploc bags) and personal hygiene items (like soap and shampoo). We also capture items for the "home" here - like bug spray.
ENTERTAINMENT | Total = $96.50
In terms of drinks and eating out, this includes everything we don't prepare ourselves, even if we get something to go and eat it back on the boat. We also track how much we spend on books, magazines, DVD rentals and going to the movies in this category, as well as the occasional lottery ticket.
COMMUNICATIONS | Total = $190
Our cell phone is actually one of our biggest non-boat related expenses. We have a $60 monthly GoPhone plan with AT&T which includes 8GB of data and unlimited calls and texts. We continued with that plan while we were out cruising so that we can keep our US cell phone number.
In the Bahamas, we're on a 30-day data plan ($35). The data plan we bought was billed as "Limitless" which the woman at BTC assured us had no data cap, nor would it choke down our speed after we used a certain amount of data. Turns out that was rather misleading. Once you use 15GB of data, they shut you down without warning. Fortunately, we didn't use up our data allowance, but I know other people who did. To be fair, the cost per GB is actually pretty good compared to our AT&T plan.
BOAT FUEL | Total = $238.52
We've bought 15 gallons of gas (for our generator and outboard motor) and 55 gallons of diesel during the past two months. It's definitely cheaper in the States than in the Bahamas.
LPG & BUTANE | Total = $37.17
We have a LPG (or propane) cooker on our boat. Not long after we left Indiantown Marina, our stove broke while we were cruising in Florida. Fortunately our oven still worked, so between that and our BBQ, we were able to get by cooking-wise until we got back to Indiantown Marina and picked up our butane camping stove. The camping stove works fine as a temporary solution until we're able to replace the cooker sometime this summer, but butane cartridges are pretty expensive, especially compared to LPG.
We refilled one of our propane tanks when we were back in the States, as well as buying six more butane cartridges. To our delight, we found butane cartridges are cheaper in Rock Sound, Eleuthera than they are at Walmart. We bought four more cartridges there.
MARINA COSTS | Total = $519.40
Anchoring out is one of the things we love about cruising. Not only is it nice to relax on the boat in a quiet anchorage and fall asleep to the waves gently lapping against the side of your boat, it's also free. We like free! Of course, anchoring out isn't always all that it's cracked up to be - we've been in our share of roly-poly anchorages and not been able to sleep at night wondering if we're going to drag anchor, but it's still free!
Sadly, because we had to come back to the States to deal with our broken dinghy davit and water pump, we ended up shelling out a pretty penny on a slip and pump-outs while at Indiantown Marina.
BOAT STUFF | Total = $1,031.42
This category is for all the stuff we've been buying for the boat, as well as repairs and maintenance costs. The big expenses were for a replacement Kato dingy davit ($660) and a new water pump ($144).
TRANSPORT | Total = $78.87
This category is for costs related to our vehicle, mostly for gas to keep it going and drive into the nearby "big city" of Stuart for errands. We put $36.47 worth of gas in it while we were back in Indiantown. We also pay $21.20 a month to store our vehicle at Indiantown Marina while we're off cruising.
MEDICAL EXPENSES | Total = Nil
This category includes medical expenses outside of our monthly insurance premium (which aren't included here - see section on exclusions above), like over the counter medications, prescriptions and things for our medical kit. It also includes the costs of doctors visits and medical tests which aren't covered by our insurance.
Although there were a few cuts and bruises while we were cruising, neither of us needed medical attention.
OTHER | Total = $330.37
In this category, we break out how much we spend on clothes and travel expenses. We also include a catch-all miscellaneous group for stuff that doesn't fit neatly anywhere else - things like laundry and trash disposal.
The big expense in this category was a flat screen TV, which we installed in our aft cabin so that we can watch shows from our hard drive at night. I know a lot of cruisers would look down on having a TV on their boat, but we're really enjoying it.
Did we spend more or less than you would have expected? Do you track your monthly expenditure? What are your cost saving tips and tricks?
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