Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cost to Cruise: A year in review - 2013

With the end of 2013 we now have two complete 'cost to cruise'  years to look at.  Actually a bit more as we started reporting our costs back in July of 2011.  But if we 'align' with Jan/Dec, there are two years of data. . . .

Bottom line this year?  In 2013 we spent about $8,000 less than in 2012!  ($37,622 vs. $45,542)  Wahoo!  Looking back for some insight, I noted in 2012 we picked up the costs for the Magnum inverters (unexpected expense), as well as we installed the Solar Panels and hauled the boat.  These three add up to almost all of the $8,000.   Haul out is normal maintenance, however the Solar and Inverters are kind of one-off (I hope) purchases.  Looking at 2013 we can see the medical costs in Feb/March, these are Kristi's Cataract surgeries.  Again, one would hope a one-time expense.

So, if we want to strip things down and back out the perhaps $6K for Kristi's eyes, our ongoing costs are getting very close of $30,000/year!   Of course need to add in a haul-out every other year (Perhaps $1,000?) - but overall I am happy we are settling down and approaching that $25-30K/year goal we had.

Here is the 2013 summary (click for a larger view),

Viking Star, 2013 Whole Year View

You can reference 2012 costs here:

And if you want to look back all the way to July of 2011, click here: )

Over the Christmas holiday I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine, he had us along sailing in the San Juan's a few times before we had Viking Star, and graciously offers his house to us during the holidays.  He has been following our costs for several years, comparing our 'life' to his on land - and he said to me "You know, it seems that in fact is costs MORE to live on a boat then land..".   Well, in thinking about this I think he is right.  If we look at things for a high level, consider:

  • Housing / Boat:  This all depends on if you own your house/boat, as well as if you keep moorage all year or not.  But if you do own a paid-off house, yearly taxes can be rather low..
  • Maintenance: It is no surprise how simple and reliable things are on shore.  Take for example water pumps:  A usable one on Viking Star costs perhaps $1200 (or $300 used), while one on a house costs $0.  Go down the list, Refrigerator, batteries, inverters, generator, etc.  There is just SOO much on a boat that a house does not have - and where there is an overlap - land based stuff is often much lower costs.
  • Groceries:  When in Land Life we had a car, and we would be able to drive to Winco or other lower costs groucery stores.  On the boat we have little choice.  Our Grocery costs are higher - perhaps as much as 50% higher.
  • Car:  Hey!   Here the Boat Life helps, and helps a LOT.   

Perhaps the rest of the items are kind of a wash.  And of course one could find lower costs ways to live on the water, but then same is true for living on shore..   Overall, I would say outside of the purchase price of a house/boat (and that is so individual dependent on if you own it or not..)  there is perhaps some truth in the statement that living on a Boat is not less expensive - given an equivalent lifestyle.

And THAT really is the key - what lifestyle do you wish to obtain.    I hope our tracking of costs helps others gain some insights as they look at this future, or even their today!  And if you to see more cost summaries, here is a link that has a good list of other sources:

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