Everyone spends money differently so I don’t think our expenditures are a good indicator of what it costs to go cruising, but since so many people seem to be interested here are our numbers. I think more important is how we got to a point of where we can afford this. If you haven’t yet read it, check out the magic behind the madness on our Finances page.
Now that we are back in the US we are no longer updating this page since it’s really all about cruising costs. We now live-aboard and cruise part of the year and work and travel the rest.
NOTE For those of you who think living in Mexico is cheaper here is some proof. In 2012, we lived in Mexico the entire year and spent $7,500 on food (groceries and restaurants). In 2014, which we spent entirely on the west coast of the US, we spent a total of $20,000 on food!! UPDATE: 2015: $9,000 and 2016: $16,000
TOTAL COSTS for 16 months of CRUISING
$35,547 ($2,222 per month)
June 2013, Mexico, Cruising – Total $3,144
The big expense this month was the boat haul-out. Ouch! We also had buy a lot of fuel for the Baja Bash. And since we were in Cabo we just had to eat out. There was also a $100 expense (included in the total but not in the graphic) for staying in the marina in Cabo for two nights while hiding from hurricane Cosme.
May 2013, Mexico, Cruising – Total $1,497 (includes return of battery)
We actually did some real cruising this month instead of just taking care of stuff. It’s amazing how much there is always to do when we don’t even work. Right now we are on the hard getting the bottom painted but that expense will show in June. This month we had the added expense of updating our immigration papers for the next three years (after that we can become permanent residents and no longer have to pay). We actually have a positive number in the Boat Gear category this month! Kind of… Mike’s cousin returned our bad battery to West Marine and we got our money back. Of course we bought a new battery in April so it evens out. Also had to buy our annual fishing licenses ($100) and had a diver clean the bottom ($40). If it wasn’t for some thousand dollar expense every month we’d be well within our budget!
April 2013, Mexico, Cruising – Total $4,372
We left Puerto Vallarta at the end of March and headed for Mazatlan for a quick stopover before crossing the Sea of Cortez to La Paz. We ended up staying in Mazatlan three weeks because our 1,000 hour engine service took much longer than anticipated. See our post on what happened. We also had to buy a new house battery (large 4D gel) for the boat as our one year old battery seems have been a bad apple (luckily still under warranty so we should get our money back). Groceries were a bit high because Mike was able to do some shopping in the states on his impromptu trip to LA.
March 2013, Mexico, Cruising – Total $5,470
We had planned on spending hurricane season (August through November) in a slip in Paradise Village Marina but we ended up having to stay until the end of March due to some personal issues. We finally escaped Paradise the end of March and are roaming the seas once again! Before leaving we stocked up on groceries and fuel, got a bit obsessive with the airconditioning at Starbucks, and paid our international health insurance for the next four months. Boat Gear money was spent on our SPOT tracker annual fee, a new WiFi antenna (the bearExtender for our Mac), and some miscellaneous stuff from Home Depot.
February 2013, Mexico, Cruising – Total $1,320
Not shown below (but in the total) is $600 in parts Mike’s parents brought with them from the US.
January 2013, Mexico, Cruising – Total $1,535
We had quite a few things break this month (GPS antenna, frige thermostat, interior light switch, deck plate, door stopper, lost some sunglasses, etc) but luckily Mike’s parents were flying out in early February and were able to bring most of the parts. Also ordered some some more spare parts like a macerator and a carb rebuilt kit for the outboard. And a Kindle! We cruised down Mexico’s Gold Coast and spent most of the month away from the dock.
December 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $1,353
This would have been a good month had it not been for the Boat/Gear Outfitting category – we had some canvas work done. We filled up Camille’s tanks in anticipation of getting out of here soon. Oh, and the entertainment category: We went to the movies! We saw The Hobbit in 3D on Christmas day – in english. Drinks, popcorn, stadium seating and digital sound. At 45 pesos each (US$3.50) going to the movies is still affordable in Mexico.
November 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $1,857
Back on the boat for all of November after a crazy October. Good to be home and it certainly is a lot cheaper to live in Mexico on our own boat than to tour California in a rented mini-van. We did, however, have to pay for our annual boat insurance this month. We had some boat expenditures like a new galley faucet, bottom cleaning and a new rug. We bought ourselves some new shorts and bathing suits (it’s amazing how fast they get ruined when you go swimming every day). And it looks like we were really good this month and avoided the coffee shops!
October 2012, California, Camping – Total $5,563
Ever wonder what it might cost to spend a month in California to go shopping for the boat, upgrade a couple of captain’s licenses, and do some sight-seeing? During record breaking gas prices!? We spent most nights in our rented “land-yacht” (a mini-van with the seats folded down to make a bed) and cooked a lot of meals on our jet-boil camp stove. We bought a hammock, new flip-flops and some Keens – aka the cruising-boat-shoe EVER – at REI (Sporting Goods category) and Mike rented a SUP surfboard for a week (Entertainment category). Needless to say we are happy to be back in Mexico where groceries are about half of what they cost in the US!
September 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $1,057
We flew to California at the end of September to buy things for the boat and to renew our captain’s licenses. We pre-ordered some gear (sunglasses, etc) from REI (Sporting Goods category) and bought our plane tickets with airline miles. (We will be in California for much of October and the budget is already not looking good!)
August 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $1199
We took a little road trip this month so we had some hotel and rental car expenses. Also succumbed to the pleasures of coffee shops and restaurants quite a few times. At least some of the cash from this month will over into September. Oh well, at least we had fun! And our total average is going down!
July 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $770
The first half of July was spent hightailing it south. We had a few early hurricanes and with that added push we motored a lot on our way from the Loreto area to Puerto Vallarta. We are now safely ensconced in Paradise Village Marina. Of course with being in a big city come the added expenses of restaurants and entertainment (such as a scuba trip for Mike listed under “Everything Else”) but so far we have only succumbed to Starbucks twice!
June 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $610
June was an amazing month. Both from a financial standpoint and the fun-factor was high. We had one marina stay before we left La Paz to do last minute provisioning. The Cash we took out hasn’t even been spent yet (we wanted to take advantage of a good exchange rate). The PO Box Rental is an annual expense.
But don’t be fooled by the low numbers – if you look back at the previous months you will see the real cost. The only groceries we bought this month were perishables which we supplemented with the non-perishables we had on board. We’re on our way back to Puerto Vallarta for hurricane season so I doubt July will look this good.
May 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $2,315
May was spent around La Paz since we had to take care of our Mexican immigration status so we don’t have to worry about a tourist visa every six month – this took up most of our cash this month. We also stocked up on non-perishables and hope to have to buy only fresh fruits, vegetables and meat for the next few months. Mike’s parents came to visit, so we rented a car to go to and from the airport in Cabo San Jose.
APRIL 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $1,405
April was my birthday so we spent a few nights dining out. We also prepared for Mike’s parents visit by making Amazon and West Marine orders which they could bring in their luggage. We spent most of our time on the hook except for a few days at Marina de La Paz to wash the boat and re-provision.
March 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $2,080
March was spent entirely in Mexico – no more trips to West Marine! The van was sold at the end of February which was a nice addition to the cruising kitty. We finally got out of Ensenada and sailed to Turtle Bay and Cabo San Lucas where we anchored. The last two weeks of March were spent in a marina in La Cruz to spend time with my parents. We still had some cash from last month which was spent on eating out and smaller random purchases. We paid for one year of international health insurance this month as well as the annual fee for our Spot locator beacon and a rig inspection, rig tuning and two new rigging wires (Boat Gear).