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.

September | Month 3 — $5,309.08 ($2,309.08 Over Budget)

Once we returned from our shakedown sail, we had a long list of projects we wanted to complete on the boat. We knew we wouldn’t get to all of them before leaving, but that was fine, we prioritized and slowly checked off those that were absolutely necessary. As the days went by, the list shortened considerably, partly because we had completed a few projects, but mostly because we realized we were still overly ambitious and kept cutting back on what we deemed 100% necessary. This was an expensive month for us. We spent $5,309.08, or almost double what we’d like to spend on a monthly basis over the long-term.

We had a bunch of large purchases: a new computer, anchor, windlass and new power tools took the biggest chunks out of our wallet. But all were worthwhile investments in our long-term safety and self-sufficiency while cruising, so we were happy to make the purchases.

Top 5 Expense Categories – Month 3: Boat Projects

  1. Computer – Our single largest purchase; it dominated the rest of our expenses for the month. Oof!
  2. Equipment – Major upgrades to our ground tackle and safety improvements for the river.
  3. Supplies – A bunch of odds and ends we needed to stock up on: sandpaper, solvents, engine fluids, zip ties, hose clamps, all sorts of little things as we went around the boat completing projects.
  4. Meals – Looks like with the boat a mess due to all the projects, the restaurants were pretty tempting this month. However we still had a bunch of food stored aboard the boat from the shakedown sail, so our overall spending here wasn’t too bad.
  5. Grocery – We eat a fairly healthy diet and spend most of our time shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store. We buy a lot of (organic) produce, so our grocery bills are usually quite high.

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. (;