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.

December | Month 6 – $4,834.86 ($1834.86 Over Budget)

We wrapped up our River Trip at the beginning of the month, and then re-stepped the mast and started prep for our big electrical project. We also flew home to visit family for the holidays and took a short ski trip with some friends. We knew we’d be going into a bit of a “spending period” over the next couple of months, but most of our expenses this month were lifestyle and not boat-related.

Our largest expense was for meals out. We like to eat! The next largest was the ‘Professional Service’ category which consists of anything we hire someone else to do for us. In this instance it was for the mast storage, re-stepping, and the rigger we hired to help. Unfortunately it also included the first month’s marina fees as they were all wrapped up in a single line item invoice for all services rendered that month. So some of that should actually be attributed to the “Marina” category.

The third largest category of spending was for “Upgrades.” We bought a suite of new safety gear in preparation for our Gulf of Mexico sailing, and a new auxiliary battery.

With this monthly update we’ve over spent our budget in 5 of the 6 months since we started our sailing adventure. 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 aren’t that concerned with the numbers.

Top 5 Expense Categories – Month 6: Re-Stepping Mast & Ski Trip

  1. 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.
  2. Professional Services – Marine – We paid to have the mast stored, re-stepped and the rig tensioned.  This also covered our first full month of the Marina stay at Turner Marine in Mobile, Al.
  3. Upgrades – We purchased a new auxiliary battery and a number of safety items in preparation for our open ocean sailing.  You can see a list of most major upgrades and equipment purchases we’ve made on our upgrades page.
  4. Entertainment – We took a ski trip to Mt Tremblant, in Canada and bought tickets for us and another couple.
  5. Hotel – We booked a hotel for the holiday ski trip for us and another couple.

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. (;