Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Costs of Cruising 1.0

Lifestyles of the rich and famous? Homeless derelict drifters? How much does it really cost to go cruising? These are questions we asked ourselves long before setting off. Would we be in financial ruin when we got back? How long could we cruise for if we wanted to continue? We did some research and made some estimates but weren’t ever really sure what we were getting into cost-wise.

To answer these questions we’ve kept very detailed track of our expenditures starting from day one (leaving the dock 1 Sept. 2013 – 1 July 2014). These costs do not include costs before leaving (ex. the cost of the sail yacht, cost of first dinghy, etc.). Any equipment costs are all for things we picked up en route. Now that we’re 80% through our trip and have collected a lot of data I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the results.

Overall it has cost $33K for ten months, over 5000 nautical miles from Montreal to Spanish Virgin Islands and back.

High Level Expense Categories

We were way under budget in some categories and over budget in others. We were over budget the most in the Social Activities category (+56%) mostly due to Eating Out. We were also slightly over budget in the Provisions category (+22%) mainly due to Groceries. So eating has cost a lot more than we expected.

While the Boat category came in under budget overall there were some interesting sub-category variations; Diesel was overbudget by +31% and Spares & Equipment was over by a whopping +600%. Spares & Equipment was mostly impacted by a new dinghy ($1000), new batteries ($400) and safety equipment ($1000)(Inflatable PFD’s, tethers, EPIRB, VHF Handheld with DSC, etc.). Beyond these though I am surprised at just how much other Spares & Equipment we bought, as evidenced by our now bursting storage space. It all really adds up!

We also had some “exceptional” costs that other cruisers may or may not have (ex. loss of aforementioned dinghy $1000, visit to Disney Land $860, two trips back to Canada for weddings $1300)

If you’re comfortable with spreadsheets and want to see the raw data or use it as a template you can find our budget and full list of expenditures on my google drive here.
Some notes on the file:
-      - Cells highlighted yellow in monthly / yearly budget tab indicates numbers are entered there, non-highlighted cells are calculated from entries elsewhere.
-       - All amounts are in either CAD or USD currencies (when we left, the currencies were at par but during the trip they averaged about 5% difference, not enough to merit calculating the exchange for every entry)

If we had had to budget again we would make distinct entries for fishing equipment (now included in Spares & Equipment)

In conclusion, even though we had significant budget exceedances in some categories we are pleasantly surprised that overall two people (and a dog) could live this adventure for about $35K per year. I’m not sure but I think this is likely equivalent or possibly less than living on land. I would love to hear any thoughts, comments or questions you might have (click below).

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