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.

November | Month 5 – $3,047.21 ($47.21 Over Budget)

This is the first full month on the river, and our first full month away from our home port. After putting last month’s craziness behind us, we were delighted to see that we were much much closer to our long-term monthly cruising budget goal of $3,000 a month. While we were still technically over budget by $47.21, if things continue to trend this way we will be doing just fine.

Similar to life on land, our two biggest expenses were “housing” (marinas) and food. Our only other large expense was tickets to fly back home to visit family over the holidays. Other than that, it was a pretty uneventful month from a financial perspective, which is good. We spent a total of $3,047.21, which is within 1.5% of our long-term budget, and while we know we still have some big expenses coming up (more boat upgrades planned for when we’re in Mobile), we’re hopeful we can continue to rein in our budget and keep it near this level.

Top 5 Expense Categories – Month 5: First Full Month on the River

  1. Marina – We ended up staying at marinas more often than not. It was just so darn cold that staying at anchor was absolutely miserable, and incredibly unproductive, because we hadn’t yet upgraded our battery bank. If we were at anchor, we didn’t want to drain much of our power, and often used just a single cabin light at night, because on the river, we NEEDED to be able to start the engine the next morning. It was usually so cold that as soon as we finished dinner, we’d go to bed, because under the covers was the only place we could stay warm. At a marina, we could plug in our electric heater each night. With all the projects we were still doing on the boat, it gave us easy access to marine and hardware stores, as well as groceries. Pretty much every marina we stayed at had a courtesy car that we could use for free (albeit the gas burned, which was usually $2 or less!). It also gave us the ability to connect to wifi and get work done.
  2. Grocery – We try to eat as much fresh food as possible, we also buy organic when it’s available, so this adds up pretty quickly.
  3. Airfare – We bought tickets to fly back to Michigan for Christmas and the New Year.
  4. Meals – Whenever we get a chance to get off the boat and explore, we like to take the opportunity to try out a local restaurant.
  5. Supplies – Because we are putting so many hours on the engine by motoring all day every day we travel, we wanted to make sure we’re stocked up on spares.  We also completed the first oil change, and tried to keep enough oil onboard for a full oil change and then some. There were also a few small plumbing jobs we were still working on.

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

Patrons get full access to our Monthly Cruising Budget Reports »

Get full access to our all our financial tools, including the Monthly Cruising Budget Reports, with downloadable templates to create your own budget and line-item detail of every dollar spent to keep the boat afloat and travel full-time by becoming a patron here.

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. (;