Before buying our boat, we set a monthly spending goal of less than $3,000 a month / $100 a day. We’re sharing our Monthly Cruising Budget report every month to give some insight into what it costs to live, work and cruise aboard a sailboat.

UPDATE – We’ve made some big changes to the design and layout of the Monthly Cruising Report data sheet.  These changes will make it easier for us to keep this series up-to-date, and also present the financial information in an easier to use format.

January | Month 7 – $8,767.89 ($5,767.89 Over Budget)

This month’s expenses were dominated by some major upgrades we made to Soulianis.  (You can see a detailed list of most of these on our Sailboat Upgrades page.) We returned to the boat from visiting our family and set straight to work — spending money, haha. We completed our major electrical upgrade including the purchase of all new flexible solar panels, and hired a company to build an arch, complete with davits and a bimini.

This was officially our most expensive month on the boat, eclipsing the previous record of  $4,413 over budget the month of October when we left our home slip to start our sailing adventure. Even though we had planned for these long-term upgrades to the boat, it’s still rather painful to see such a large deduction from our savings account!

As of this monthly update, we’ve spent more than our budget during 6 of the 7 months since purchasing the boat. However, we knew that these would be spendy times, and while we had been tracking our income and expenses pretty extensively since 2014, we more or less picked the $3000/month number arbitrarily without a ton of thought put into it. All this to say, at this point we weren’t feeling too concerned about the numbers.

Top 5 Expense Categories – Month 7: Major Boat Upgrades

  1. Upgrades – We purchased 420w of flexible solar panels, a new 330ah battery bank, and a pile of other electrical goodies.
  2. Professional Services – Marine – We hired a company to build us a solar arch with davits and a bimini. It was a disaster, and we’ll leave it at that.
  3. Equipment – For tax purposes we break out new equipment vs. upgrades.  It’s a bit of a fine line in many cases and some of this could really go either way.  But in addition to a ton of new electrical gear, we were outfitting the boat to be able to spend more and more time away from the dock.
  4. Grocery – We found a Whole Foods in Mobile, and were happy campers.
  5. Supplies – Again this is another weird tax related gray area. Supplies are categorized as anything that’s a consumable or is itself not the final product but rather a component of it; for instance the cleaning materials, saw blades & drill bits, paint brushes, plumbing fittings, and other odds & ends.

Included below is a chart that breaks down all expenses into their respective categories.


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Keep in mind…

Every person’s experience will be unique. We’ve decided to make long-term travel a lifestyle instead of a long sabbatical. Therefore, we are continuing to work while we travel, and have certain expenses associated with that work. It forces us to do things we otherwise wouldn’t if we were traveling for pure pleasure, but also gives us flexibility in other ways, too. We’re careful to not spend frivolously, but we’re not trying to travel as cheaply as possible. You won’t catch us trying to prove how frugal we are. (;