Sunday, June 24, 2018

How our family has cruised for 3 years on a budget

Over the past few years we have posted our costs associated with sailing here. The secret to maintaining a low budget is no secret at all really, it boils down to mindset. Some families, after years of preparation and anticipation of setting sail, reach their first destination and go into vacation mode, justifying expensive dinners, drinks and costly attractions (we're guilty). It's important to quickly find the OFF button to the vacation mode if you intend to sail on a tight budget. 

Learn the art of saying, "no". Kids ask for everything. It became clear to our family after the first few months of sailing that this was a lifestyle we thoroughly enjoyed and wanted to maintain for as long as financially possible. Explaining to our girls the correlation between our finances and our ability to cruise helped them to better identify wants versus needs. 

Cruising on a budget means there's been times we've had to exclude ourselves from going out to dinner with friends or take a rain check when others were going on costly excursions. I assure you, however, if you look through this blog you'll see proof that by making small sacrifices we've still enjoyed ourselves. 

We were extremely fortunate in purchasing Terrapin. Yes, our Cost to Cruise posts include all maintenance costs, a question we repeatedly get asked. We invested well in DIY books and tools before setting sail to help with any repairs along the way which turned out to be one of our best investments. The rule of thumb is to expect to pay 10% of your boats purchase price each year in repair costs. We maybe have spent 10% over the past 4 years, but we did invest 30K before setting there's that.

Creating our own homeschool curriculum saved us a ton of money. We easily found full textbooks in a PDF format online which we then put onto a hard drive. I spent months finding textbooks (the same books they would have had access to if they were in public school) to cover us from grades 4th-10th for each subject. We would transfer school books from our hard drive to their Kindle Fires as needed for school....freeing up lots of storage space for books, workbooks, papers, etc. I spent less than $500 for years worth of homeschool supplies including a few online classes they took on Acellus. 

For years we discussed ways in which we could ditch suburbia. You name it, we thought of it. We decided to buy a boat and set sail not because we knew how to sail (we really didn't) but because wind is free. You can see from our older cost to cruise posts how much we spent on diesel (disgusting amounts). This was in part because we were shitty, impatient sailors and because the Pacific side of Mexico isn't known for great wind. 

The greatest ally in attempting to cruise while on a budget is hanging with other like minded cruisers. It's tough to hang with cruisers who treat every meal out like a mothers day brunch. If you have visitors coming, explain your budget restrains before they arrive. It's near impossible to keep up financially with people on vacation! 

We averaged $2425 per month over 27 months. This average includes extras not necessarily related to cruising like our plane trip to Guatemala or living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico while Terrapin was hauled out for the summer, etc. 

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