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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 May.

Summary of expenses for May 2016, USVU, BVI, St. Martin
Grand total: $ 2,441

Big ticket items

Eating out, mooring balls, miscellaneous items
▪ Charter boat tourism rules the Virgin Islands, and most islands are custom-designed to take dollars directly from the pockets of vacationing charterers. From the mooring balls that cost $26/night in the USVI and $30/night in the BVI (with limited anchoring options), to the pervasive happy hour culture and pricy restaurants, it’s a struggle for fun, frugal cruisers to avoid temptation. We spent more than we usually do eating/drinking out this month, but it should be noted that most of these dollars went to happy hour specials. If we had not been so disciplined about heading back to the boat for dinner, this would have been waaaay worse (for example, $100 of this was a night we showed poor judgement at the popular Willy T).

▪ The good news about being a cruiser in a sea of chartered vacation boats is that there is reduced competition for the obscure anchoring spots. It took time and energy to suss out safe spots for anchoring on the fringe of mooring fields, but we had nothing but time, so we spent surprisingly few nights on moorings last month.

▪ The budget took a big ding at the outstanding dive shop in St. John where we updated our gear with a rust resistant dive knife, dive booties, a new mask, lobster snare, and rash guard. We also bought a used Go Pro camera off of Bo and Allison this month, which we’re really enjoying.

Investments for the future

Wi-fi extender
▪ Wi-fi (or lack thereof) has become an annoying problem, especially as I start to get some freelance work. We decided to purchase a Bad Boy (wi-fi antenna) for the boat that will hopefully give us better access in the future and cut down on our need to purchase expensive SIM cards in every country we visit.

Lessons learned:
Everything is expensive in the Virgin Islands. Even with the provisioning we did in Puerto Rico, our grocery bills were high this month, because we couldn’t resist buying the fresh produce that was available everywhere we went (our salad consumption went up by about 2000%). If we hadn’t provisioned in PR, we would have spent so much more on groceries. Something to keep in mind if you are heading to the Virgin Islands from Puerto Rico.

Cost group amount notes
boat parts/maintenance

400

spare dinghy prop, spark plugs, replacement fan, anchor shackle, new portable VHF radio, sewing notions
booze
cleaning supplies
clothing
customs fees

19

clear out BVI ($5), Clear back into BVI ($10), Clear out of BVI ($1), Clear into St. Martin (French side @ Island Water World – $3)
diesel
eating out

404

Saba Rock, Cane Garden Bay, Diamond Cay, Cruz Bay Red Hook, smoothies, Cruz Bay, Willy T, Loose Mongoose, St Martin
fishing supplies
groceries

400

Red Hook, bakery in BVI, Charlotte Amile, Soper’s Hole, St. Martin
gasoline
laundry

25

Red Hook
insurance
marinas
miscellaneous

398

mask, dive knife, dive socks, kmart run, weight belt, snare, bumper stickers, propane refill
entertainment
mooring balls

120

pet supplies
phone/data

540

Delorme, iPhone apps, spotify, wi-fi extender
toiletries
toys/games

125

GoPro Camera (used)
trash

10

Saba Rock
water
grand total

2441

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
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une 2016 – St. Martin, St. Barts, Nevis, Guadeloupe, Les Saintes, Martinique