You’ve quit your jobs to sail around the Bahamas and Caribbean for a year or two? Cool. You must be millionaires!
Not even close.
In this new life of ours, we’re actually quite frugal. The more cash we can save, the longer we get to stay out and play. It’s a pretty good incentive, no?
To give you an idea of how we spend our money, I’ll be sharing a monthly itemized review of our spending and my thoughts on our financial burn in general. Here’s what we spent in March.
Summary of expenses for April 2016, Turks & Caicos, Puerto Rico, USVI and BVI
Grand total: $ 3,937
Big ticket items
:, fuel, eating out, entertainment, marinas/mooring
▪ We made a lot of miles and visited some new countries in April. There was lots to see, do, eat, and explore wherever we went. Which means, lots of ways to part with our money, every place we went. Did we always make the most budget conscious decisions? Nope. If we had wanted to, we could have made more frugal choices this month – for example, our marina stays in Turks & Caicos and Puerto Rico were not completely necessary (although we did repair sails in T&C), and getting a hotel room in Old San Juan was far from a requirement. However – we’ve been out cruising for over 6 months now. Having a few creature comforts, every now and then, is a really awesome treat.
▪ We made passage after passage to windward last month, which means that were pounding directly into the wind for long stretches. In these conditions, you cannot sail, so we ran the engine for days on end. Cumulatively, we spent over a week at sea making passages in the month of April, and we ran the engine about 75% of the time. All of this adds up in gallons of diesel burned.
▪ Being in Puerto Rico meant having access to big box stores for the first time since we left Florida. With dwindling stocks of food, we spent some significant cash at Costco restocking the larder with everything from cheese to Advil to proactively save some money next month in the pricy Virgin Islands.
▪ Turks & Caicos is an expensive place to visit: customs fees, groceries, marina add-ons (even at the cruiser-friendly South Side Marina), fuel… it quickly adds up. We’d done our homework and expected this going in, but many cruisers around us kept complaining that they were blindsided by the prices, so I thought I’d mention it here.
▪ Diesel is waaaaaay more expensive in Turks & Caicos than in Puerto Rico. Like, over twice as much. We topped off our tanks and our jerry cans before making the four day passage from Turks to PR, but as it turned out, we only used half the fuel we were carrying our tanks. Not sure we’d do it differently, given the length of the passage, but for those who are shorter passages to DR or Bahamas bound from Turks, it’s something to keep in mind.
▪ We’d been successfully using our T-mobile hotspot in Bahamas, Turks, and Puerto Rico, but discovered that it doesn’t work much or at all in St. Thomas (the company only has 2G here, though it is rumored that they will be upgrading to 4G this summer). We did some research and learned the AT&T works in the USVI and has the best coverage of the American companies in the BVI (which is still not great). As much as it pained me, we bought an AT&T SIM for my unlocked iPhone.
▪ The mooring balls in the USVI and BVI are real budget-killers. Last year, a mooring in St. John was $13 per night, so that’s what we planned for. We were disappointed to discover that they’ve raised the price to $26 per night in St. John, and anchoring is prohibited. At these prices, we won’t be able to spend as much time as we’d like in St. John – we’ll be hanging out more in the BVI instead, where there is limited anchoring space available.
|misc items @ West Marine PR, oil|
|six pack beer, rum, vodka, 6 bottles of wine|
|toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning solvents, detergent, bleach|
|Turks&Caicos (100), BVI (32)|
|fuel in Turks & Caicos – $4.85/gal and fuel in PR – $2.09/gal|
|Turks&Caicos, Puerto Rico, Cruz Bay USVI, Tortola BVI|
|new fishing gloves|
|groceries T&C, costco and Wal-mart PR, Tortola, BVI|
|Turks&Caicos (4 nights), PR (4 nights)|
|St. Brendan’s Isle mail service, Bed Bath Beyond,|
|rental cars (T&C and PR) hotel room PR|
|St. John, Tortola, BVI|
|cat food, Puerto Rico|
|t-mobile, spotify, ATT SIM card in St. Thomas|
|Turks & Caicos, Puerto Rico|
Looking for more cruising costs? Check out the archives:
January 2016 – Exhumas, Bahamas
February 2016 – Exhumas, Bahamas
March 2016 – Exhumas & Out Islands, Bahamas
April 2016 – Turks&Caicos, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, BVI
May 2016 – US Virgin Islands, BVI, St. Martin