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.

NOTE: We’ve updated the naming convention for these Monthly Cruising Budget post titles because they were getting a little too long, but we wanted to retain the data within them.  So now we’re moving to a ‘YxMx’ which in this case of  Y2M1 stands for Year 2 Month 1.  I know we should be cryptographers… it’s supposed to be easy to understand 🙂

July | Y2M1 – $3,004.49 ($4.49 Over Budget)

July was a fun month. After the rush of getting up to Wisconsin to help move Lauren’s parents into a new house, we got a little time to relax and enjoy the best time of year in the Midwest. We spent some time looking for new rental property, and met up with our “boat parents” in the North Channel on Lake Huron, arguably some of the best cruising grounds anywhere, certainly anywhere with fresh water!

We took a tour through the Bruce Peninsula in Canada, and completed our land circumnavigation of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron with a weekend at a friend’s cottage in Point Peele on Lake Erie. Vanlife turned out to be pretty sweet and we were really getting the hang of the “cruising on land” thing in the van. My favorite month of the year did not disappoint and we had tons of opportunity to hang out around the lakes.

Most of our spending occurred in the “meals” category, and the majority of that was spent at coffee shops. We hadn’t spent any time building out the van, so without anywhere to really “hang out” we ended up spending quite a bit more time bouncing from one little coffee shop to another to gather WiFi and get work done.

As you can see we ended up going one coffee over budget… Technically putting us at 9 of 13 months over budget, since we started tracking our expenses since purchasing the boat. But again it’s so close, I’d say we hit our budget on the nose there. 🙂

Top 5 Expense Categories – July | Year 2 Month 1 – Hanging Out in the Great Lakes

  1. Grocery – Our grocery bill was pretty high this month, but part of it is that we kicked in for the provisioning for a group of 6 for a week in the North Channel, and bought some supplies for the weekend party with friends on Lake Erie.
  2. Meals –  As you can see we have a lot of new categories in the top five this month, but our food spending didn’t really change a whole lot. Looking into the locations a bit more, we had a lot more small transactions at coffee shops, and cafes but the dollar amount was not drastically higher.
  3. Gas – This is a new one! We purchase so little fuel for the boat that it’s an odd category to see, but this was all due to the miles we were putting on the van. It’s not particularly fuel efficient, but considering the size it does pretty well.  We had been consistently averaging about 18-18.5 mpg.
  4. Marina – Yes, even in the off-season when we’re not on the boat we still have “marina” fees to pay. While technically they are boatyard fees, we’re including them in the same category as it’s fundamentally the same expense. Money paid for a place to keep the boat.
  5. Car – We had some license and registration expenses to pay for the van.

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. (;