Another way you can build your cruising kitty is increase your income. The less money you have going out and the more money you have coming in is always better. Keep working your job, because if you’re planning on changing your life and going cruising, you’ll need every penny you can make. You will want to work right up until you cast off the dock lines. If you have time for a second job, get one now. If the family, or your spouse is as excited about this as you are, then they should get a second jobs too. Cruising is all about teamwork. If they are not on board with the idea of going cruising, then you should rethink your dream. Seriously. Many would be cruisers have found that you often have to choose between your loved ones and cruising. More on that later in Preparing Yourself to Go Cruising.
Some creative ways that we personally use to increase our income are by working a second job, working longer hours at the same job (this only holds true if you’re paid by the hour), selling our cars, and selling our stuff (garage sales and ebay are awesome). This is your first taste of working to live, not living to work, and it will be the way you view your moneymaking ventures from now on if you choose to live the cruising dream for years to come.
The Cruising Kitty
A kitty as defined by Webster’s dictionary: money pooled for some purpose. The keys to a healthy cruising kitty and your financial tools for cruising responsibly include a checking account with a debit card, a money market fund, and any other investments you have that provide cash flow, such as stocks or real estate. If you don’t own any stocks or real estate, that’s okay. All you need to go cruising is a checking account with a debit card and a money market fund to serve as your savings account.
A regular savings account is fine for a place for money to sit, but a money market fund will pay a better interest rate and is still liquid. Please note, a money market account with your bank is not a money market fund, it is a glorified savings account. A money market fund would be through an investment brokerage firm like Vanguard or T. Rowe Price, and they pay much better interest rates. You can keep the bulk of your savings in a money market fund and transfer the proper amount to your checking account to cover your monthly expenses while you’re gone as needed. That way your money is making money for you as it sits in your savings. You can arrange these transfers to your checking account to occur quarterly.
You should know before you go cruising exactly what bills are due each month, then be able to set up an automatic bill payment plan through your checking account. As long as you make the transfers from your savings to cover these bills plus living expenses, you won’t have to worry about not being able to pay your bills. Debit cards with a VISA or Mastercard logo are accepted all over the world and most cruisers agree they are the most convenient choice for cash withdrawals and financial transactions to cover daily living expenses.
Check Back For Part 2 Reducing Debt
Sometimes it is neccessary for us to, (horror of horrors), skip a cruising season! We usually work seasonal jobs June through November and then cruise the islands December through May. However, if we do not make the neccessary amount of money for the cruising kitty, we cannot go for the whole time or at all in some cases. This year, we lost our diesel engine. It finally died for good. The replacement will set us back about $10,000.00. It looks like we will need to keep working in order to pay that off and save enough to go cruising next year. We choose to cruise debt free. We have been debt free for as long as we’ve been cruising and do not want the burdens or risks of debt holding us back or pulling us under. It is easier and more carefree cruising for us that way. There is also the possibilty that we could make enough money between now and the usual departure date. I could sell the book I’ve been working on, or maybe 1,000 copies of my ebook, “Preparing Your Finances to Go Cruising” (for sale on my website www.yachtpuff.com), OR maybe we’ll have one of our business ideas take off in the next couple of months for a remote income from a website based business. . . If you want to keep cruising you have to have all sorts of money sources, we are working on more than a few. But, for now, it’s mainly good old fashioned rat race style working that is feeding our hungery cruising kitty. I work in a realty office and my husband, Brian, does remodels for existing homes. I still harbor the hope that we will make enought to pay for a new engine and go cruising in December – anything is possible, right? If it doesn’t happen, we will be madly planning a fabulous cruising season for December ’09!
How much does it cost to go cruising? We all know the answer to that… exactly as much as you have. But that is not very helpful, now is it? I’m going to simplify this question and tell you how much it costs myself and my husband to go cruising. We have been cruising for seven years, far and wide, so I feel I can give you an accurate report. Then, you can take my information and plug in your own numbers, because it is different for everyone. For example, the boat might cost $30,000 or $300,000. Cost of Cruising aboard Puff…Boat: $50,000Equipment and Gear (self-steering, new sails, fishing and diving gear, inflatable dingy, etc.): $30,000 (spread out over several years as we acquired new stuff)Yearly Maintenance (including annual haul out and bottom painting): Average $4000 (how I got this average: some years this is around $2000 if we have no major repairs and some years it can be higher, like $12000, if you have major replacements or repairs like the engine.)Dockage, slip fees, marinas: $1500/year (Explanation: We live out at anchor while we are cruising or island hopping through paradise, but 5-6 months out of the year we live in a marina in the USA while we work, we have paid anywhere from $200 – $750/month for marina rent)Mail Forwarding Service: $10 – $14/monthCharts and Guidebooks: $30 – $50 for a guidebook or cruising guide; $100 – $300 for paper and/or digital charts of each area. (We attended a Seven Seas Cruising Association Marine Flea Market and bought paper charts for the world from a guy who had just completed a circumnavigation for just under $3000)Provisioning: $1500+ for a 6 month cruise (This is all dry goods, rice, flour, canned food, nuts, seeds dried fruit, spices, etc. We do it cheap, of course. You can buy gourmet or organic everything or lots of sodas, liquor and beer and spend 5x as much.) Grocery and Eating Out Allowance: Ours is quite small, $30/week. We don’t eat out except maybe once a month, very cheap burgers or something, and we work hard to catch our own food almost every day, fish or lobster. We buy fresh local produce every week from local farms.Water: $30 – $60/month (Usually, when you are cruising, you pay for freshwater to fill you boats tanks, .10/gal to .50/gal.) Diesel/Gasoline: $200/month (And that is being generous. We sail all we can and try to use the engine sparingly. We do use gas for our dingy a lot to go fishing and diving, and of course it is our only vehicle while cruising.)Medical Supplies: $300/year (We stock up on basics like antibiotics, suture kits, emergency medical supplies about once a year so we are prepared while cruising. We had our doctor show us proper procedure for everything.)Licensing and Documentation: $150 one time fee usually (Make sure you get proper documentation for your boat in your country of origin or you could be facing fines and legal penalties)Customs and Entry Fees: $0 – $300/per country (This depends on what country, your best source for current entry fees is Jimmy Cornell’s site, www.noonsite.com) I’ve probably forgotten some things, so I may have to do a part two of this article, but all the basics are here.