|MEOW!! I am the cruising kitty!|
This is the term we cruisers use for money.
Money seems to be the #1 thing people want to know about. I have touched on it before - but I'll go into a little more detail in this post.
Before we left, Scott and I worked hard and lived (very) cheaply to save money for this trip. We did not own a house, we rented a tiny one bedroom next to the "el" train ($900 p/mo complete with a "wake you up and scare the bejesus out of you" train going by every 30 minutes) and shared one car (a little VW bug - a hand-me-down from my mom). We dined for an entire month on grilled cheese sandwiches and could have owned stock in Tombstone Veggie-Lite frozen pizzas. Our boat was purchased, by me, from money that I came in to and had in a savings account for a "future" big purchase I might make (aka. down payment on a house or something). We paid $48K for Rasmus and put at least as much back into her. (I am nowhere near as organized as some fellow bloggers who have spreadsheets and data for spending - so you will not be seeing that here). In total, when we left, Scott and I had a combined $10K in savings.
In addition to the above - Scott and I got married. Because we knew we would be living on our boat for at least a few years - our entire registry consisted of only boat stuff (i.e. our self-tailing winches were my bridal shower gifts - everyone chipped in. This was a win/win - not only did I not have to put people through the pain of watching me open 30 gifts, but we got some awesome winches to boot! Our windlass, snorkel gear, nesting cookware, and more were also wedding gifts.). Of course, many of our guests (knowing what we were setting off to do) gave us money in lieu of a physical gift ("What the heck are "jack lines"?!). That added another $18K to our cruising kitty (about half of that went back into the boat, much like a 'normal' couple would put it back into their home).
I would be lying to say my family didn't help us - because they did. My father contributed handsomely to our cause by purchasing our new engine for us (a "wedding gift") as well as new sails and countless other "smaller" items like tools, hoses, and fittings that he would "pick up" on his way to the boat yard. In addition, his advice, expertise and industry know-how continue to be our greatest source of knowledge and support. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, he is the best.
Right now - we are on living on savings and a (growing) income. Scott is a working sea captain with Island Windjammers and I have taken writing jobs and freelance social media work from time to time. We make anywhere from $35-$100 per month from generous readers who click our "Donate" button (is reading this blog valuable to you?). Not to mention, we have saved thousands on products and gear thanks to our sponsors. At this point, we're cruising in the black and that feels good.
We do not have any boat insurance and we do not have health insurance. We have no real "bills" to speak of and our only expenses are diesel fuel (which, thanks to our very efficient engine and the fact that we sail a lot is not much), groceries (which, typically we buy local), eating out (we usually find the "happy hours" and/or split a meal), the occasional marina (I'd say maybe once a month, if that), and boat parts/upkeep (we have a ton of spares, but occasionally need to hit up a marine store and supplement). Because we did such a thorough job refitting our boat before we left, we have spent comparatively very little on maintenance unlike others we have met who did not. We spend (most likely) a mere fraction of what you do on land, so life costs a lot less once you are out here.
I want to reiterate - this is how WE did/do it. There are many people who spend a LOT less on their boat, do not do anywhere NEAR the amount of refitting that we did, do not eat out at all, never set foot in a marina, and refuse to turn on their engines. There are people we have met who have state of the art boats, eat out every single day, and enjoy marinas weekly. Scott and I fall somewhere in between and are definitely not the experts. People often email us and ask us "Can we do this on "X" amount a month?" - to be honest, I have no idea. Do people do this on $500 a month? Yes. Do people do this in $5,000 a month? Yes. We fall somewhere in the middle. I have no idea how simply you can and are willing to live or where you will fall in the spectrum.
It is funny how when you live a life less ordinary people think it's totally okay to talk financials when on land, it is considered "rude" to ask how much someone makes or how much something costs. I guess that is one of the prices we have to pay for living our dream?