Thursday, May 15, 2014



McKinley doesn't look too happy in this portrait.  

Woooo-hoooo, the final installment.  Feels almost as good as making that last house payment.  NOT!  If you missed any of the previous posts in this series you can find them here:

The final category is DISCRETIONARY EXPENSES…discretionary meaning "non-mandatory", "at your discretion", "you have a choice".  This category, along with the MAINTENANCE category, are probably the two most difficult ones to predict, but, unlike the MAINTENANCE category, you have much more control over this one.  

Within this category we have included:

Health Insurance Costs


This is primarily includes the renting of vehicles when traveling inland to countries we are visiting, and our airline travel back to the States to visit every year or so.  For the first couple of years, this will be a minimal amount as we will be cruising the Bahamas and the east coast of the U.S. and we will not be traveling home via the airlines.  

As we get further down the Caribbean, the airline tickets will factor into the equation.  We plan to keep the trips back to the States to a minimum hoping that family and friends will take us up on our invitation to visit the tropics and stay with us.  If we decide to head to the South Pacific and beyond our travel-to-home expenses will increase; but, our frequency may decrease.  

We will occasionally rent a vehicle for inland travel, but hope to do so with another cruising couple to limit our costs.  I can see us renting scooters or motorcycles in some places in the Caribbean, when available and when needed, just to sight-see.   

We don't plan on much (if any) overnight inland travels, so we aren't budgeting for hotel or other such lodging.

We feel pretty confident, based on our own experiences and the research that we have done, that our budgeted amount for TRAVEL of will average $2625 per year or $219/month over the next 5 years.  We think this is a sufficient amount.


Since we have included eating out as a part of our FOOD expense in the LIVING EXPENSE category, our entertainment costs should be rather low.  

Most of the things that we enjoy doing (while cruising) don't require a lot of money.  We both like to snorkel, scuba dive, beach comb, explore, hike, read, etc.  (Well, the scuba diving initial investment is anything but cheap, but we have had our gear for a few years already and it is in excellent condition still.)

We are thinking about a couple of ISUPs (inflatable stand up paddle boards) for additional entertainment and also for the core workout that you can get while using them.

Throw in the spearfishing that I love to do, and our entertainment department is pretty much taken care of.  I am sure we will spend some money on inland excursions, but it should be minimal (until we get to the Med, if we decide to go).  

We have budgeted $1375 annually, or $115 per month for ENTERTAINMENT.


While this is certainly a category that needs to be considered and planned for when thinking about a cruising budget, we are choosing to not carry any additional health insurance.  

I will have coverage thru the military retirement, but the costs are increasing and benefits are being cut almost daily.  As I understand it, the usefulness of our military coverage outside the country will be very limited and the goal is to force all military into the Obummercare Program.    

We will carry the DAN (Diver's Alert Network?) emergency evacuation insurance that will pay for travel back to the states in an emergency situation.  The annual costs is very low and is included in our OTHER sub-category of LIVING EXPENSES.


$4000 annually, or $333/per month for DISCRETIONARY EXPENSES.

 Three of these and…….



LIVING EXPENSES…………$13,000/year



TOTAL:    $29,500/year (budgeted)

Starting in 2015 we will update with our actual expenses to let you know the real costs and see how close we are with our budget.  

Thanks for reading….comments welcome.  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014



One of these per month for BOAT EXPENSES?

Wow…... sorry it has been so long between blog posts, but I have been both busy and lazy.  We have been flying a bit more than usual here in SW Asia, but when I have had the time to blog, I found myself reading other cruising blogs instead of writing a post for this one.  

Continuing the series, "How Much Does It Cost to Cruise", if you haven't read the first three parts you can find them here:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

For this post we are going to take a look at the BOAT EXPENSES.  Again, these categories and sub-categories are arbitrary, and certainly debatable, but the important thing is to include everything in some category.


This sub-category includes both diesel for the boat and gas for the dinghy motor.  Obviously, the more you motor, instead of sailing, the more fuel you will burn.  We motored more while cruising the last time than we plan to this time.  Before, we had limited amount of time and we wanted to see as much of the Exumas as we possibly could.  This time there will be no set schedule, so there should be much less motoring, therefore, lower fuel costs.  

We also included our dinghy gas and the diesel needed to run the generator in this category.  I don't see our dinghy fuel usage changing much, relative to what we used before, but our generator consumption will be less since we have solar panels and probably will have a wind generator.  We should have to run the genset rarely, mostly just when we need to make water.  

The budgeted amount for fuel is $1500 per year, or $125/month.  This is based on 330 gallons of total fuel for the year at $6.00 per gallon.  The current average price in the Bahamas at the time of this post is about $5.35/gallon.


This category will depend greatly on the age and the condition of the boat when cutting the dock lines to begin cruising.  If the boat is in tip-top condition, you will be spending less on maintenance… the same token, if the boat is in less than stellar condition, you will have much higher maintenance expenses and should plan on a higher maintenance budget.

Most of the equipment on our boat is either brand new, or, in the case of the engine, oven and stove, anchor windlass, and air conditioning has very low hours.  New sails, new electronics, new solar panels, new wind generator, almost new water-maker, anchor, anchor chain, and genset SHOULD insure that we don't have a lot of high dollar maintenance issues for a while.    

While there are always surprises, and things in the marine environment always require maintenance, the only significant maintenance PLANNED after we cast off the dock lines will be to replace the standing rigging.  We will probably do this within the next year or two.  We will also plan on hauling out an average of once every 18 months, and doing a bottom job every 2 to 3 years.  Based on research we are estimating an annual budget (over the first 5 years) of $7250 per year, or $605 monthly.


I almost put this item in the DISCRETIONARY SPENDING category, but decide to include it here.  Most marinas require liability insurance and some countries also require that you show proof of insurance when checking in.  The liability insurance is not that expensive, but full coverage is another story.  

If you are comparing a boat to a house the cost is about 4 to 5 times greater for the boat than for a house of equal value.  Yikes!  I can see the logic though, there are a lot more bad things that can happen to your boat than would happen to your house……the house certainly won't sink to the bottom of the ocean.  We don't have to carry full coverage insurance, but probably will.  The financial hit we would take if something catastrophic occurred and we lost the boat would be significant enough that we will protect ourselves by 'biting the bullet' and getting full coverage insurance.  The budgeted for this is $3600 per year, or $300 a month.


 One of these (a Grover Cleveland) plus……..

….one of these (U.S. Grant) per month.

$12,500 per year, or $1050 a month (rounded up slightly)

The next, and last, category is DISCRETIONARY EXPENSES.  Hopefully, I can get that post out in a more timely manner.

Thanks for reading and be careful out there!