What did it cost Viatori to cruise this year?
Before we left to cruise, we poured over cruising blogs to determine what the lifestyle would cost, to see if we could afford to do it. Of course the budgets varied according to means, from $500 a month to $5000 a month but a good family average was in the $2000 range. My lofty ideal before we left was to track every purchase we made and record it but we didn’t do that. However once we were back in the states, I downloaded all the transactions on our chequing account and was able to determine how much we spent while cruising on a monthly basis. Thinking back, Leah and I were able to record large expenditures because they stuck out in our minds.
There are still a lot of gaps so I estimated costs like food, eating out and boat stuff to reconcile estimates to the actual spending from the chequing account. Just under half of all the spend had to be estimated but using geographic location, this blog and common sense, I judge that the estimates totalled are equal to our spend and any one estimate is plus or minus 20% of actual spend.
Initially we were surprised by how much we had spent so we wanted to better understand where the money went. As such the spend was grouped into three categories:
- Necessity: These are things that are needed to keep us or the boat going. Food, fuel and boat repairs.
- Discretionary: This is more items that either enhance cruising lifestyle like a marina which allows running the AC in the summer or eating out at restaurants
- Extras: Most of these aren’t necessarily related to cruising – things like hotels, renting cars and flying home.
Looking at the categories we find that about half of our spend was in the extras category, meaning that we could have sailed on half of our budget without any major hardship. Don’t get me wrong, extras were great and we really enjoyed the things we spent them on but one could easily do without them and have a great time cruising. By category, this is what we spent to the end of October:
- Necessity: $10,062
- Discretionary: $13,607
- Extras: $21,853
One major expense that we never counted on was the cost of visiting Cuba. In Cuba, you must keep your boat in a marina but none of the marinas are really that close to any of the major sites which forces you either to commute daily from the boat to the sights or get a hotel or casas in towns you are visiting. We chose the latter option. We also rented a car in Cuba which was a double edged sword as navigation was problematic but allowed us to see many different cities and parts of the country that we would have missed without it. By category, I estimate our Cuba spend to be:
- Marina: $1000
- Hotel: $3300
- Boat: $0
- Food: $200
- Alcohol: $250
- Fuel: $400
- Eat Out: $900
- Car: $1000
Another expense we didn’t count on was marinas; we had intended to spend most of our time on the hook, but in southern Florida that was not fun at all due to the heat so we went to marinas. This gave us access to facilities like pools, cheap laundry and showers which was great. It also let us run the air conditioning, which was great. Marinas account for $5926.
So where did the money go… it went to pay for a great trip to the Bahamas, Cuba and an enjoyable summer in Florida.
For us visiting places without being able to afford to try the food, buy groceries that we want (peanut butter) even at elevated prices and pay for activities ashore would have been a bit of a disappointment. We travelled to meet people, experience culture and see the places we were visiting – all these things can cost money. We met couples and families who cruised on a lot more bare bones budget than us and might have even been below $10,000 a year but we are blessed to have the resources to cruise a little more richly. That being said the beach sand feels the same and the sunset looks the same regardless of what boat you travelled on and my hats off to them! They were great people and they were doing it which is all that really matters.
Here are the spend numbers raw: