How We Will Save A Lot of Money While Living Aboard Our Boat

Most people wouldn’t believe that you could save a bunch of money while simultaneously living on a boat in the Caribbean.  Living aboard your boat can save you a lot of money in the long run.  The liveaboard community has existed for decades in the U.S. and the world.  It has grown since the stock market crash in 2008 for many reasons.  Google thinks “Liveaboard” refers mainly to the type of people who live at one marina aboard their boats.  This is a popular option in Miami, Seattle, San Francisco and other large cities in the U.S.  For our purpose, liveaboard will mean traveling, cruising, staying at anchor and sometimes docking at a marina. Boat Sunset We have a unique situation, in that we could live in Austin or anywhere.  Currently we keep our boat at the lake in a slip that has a monthly cost of about $500.  People around here like to have a boat for occasional use on the weekend during the summer and boat ownership is seen as more of a status upgrade.  People who have large boats rarely sleep overnight and almost never anchor out on the lake.  We were lucky enough to purchase our boat from a man who bought it new and kept it in a covered slip.  He rarely slept on the boat over the years and kept up with all of its maintenance.  Strangely, he upgraded it with GPS, a V-drive and enhanced it in many ways that will ultimately benefit us.  We have had to realize the high cost of keeping our boat inland for a year and it is time to go.  I have a list of boat projects to make it more comfortable, but that is another story..  Below is a list of some of the monthly expense savings we will realize each month:

  • Rent, utilities (gas, electric, water, sewer, trash), cleaning service, extermination, cable/internet
  • Childcare, babysitting
  • Storage unit rent, dock rent
  • Car insurance, gas and maintenance
  • House insurance
  • Gym membership, Starbucks
  • Travel expenses, babysitter, pet boarding

There are many more small savings that add up to a large monthly bill but I didn’t list them.  Common sense would tell you that we will save a bunch of money just by having a smaller place to live.  Imagine all of the extra groceries that exist in our cupboards and in the extra freezer in the garage.  Think about all of the extra things we purchase at the grocery store just because we have a house to put them in.  I am not going to even talk about the extra Homedepot purchases of crap that I have bought over the years.  I have tools that I don’t use, stored in a garage where I can’t even park a car.  I have boxes of I don’t know what, in an attic I don’t even explore until a holiday rolls around.  The list goes on. Aubrey and I are selling the things that we don’t want to keep forever or can use in a normal size house that we are likely to purchase in the future.  I don’t think we have even scratched the surface yet.  It is sad for me to think about all of the money that I wasted to accumulate stuff that didn’t really add that much to my life. Living aboard a boat has some new expenses that we have to account for on our travels.  Here is a list of some of the costs we will incur:

  • Gas (Miss Lone Star gets an impressive 1.4 gallons per mile traveling at her happy speed of 30 mph)
  • Dock fees, mooring charges
  • Insurance (open cruising outside of inland lakes increases out insurance $285 per year)
  • Repair and maintenance

Of course there are many additional expenses that we will incur because of our lifestyle choice.  Many of the added expenses are part of our daily lives in Austin.  Groceries, laundry, eating out and insurance costs, to name a few.  We will have to account for the higher cost of gas on the water and groceries.  It costs more to get repairs in marinas and I am sure we will have our share over time. I am excited to be able to catch all of the fish and lobster that we can eat.  I estimate that I could save thousands per year just on the lobster that my honey currently consumes!  We won’t be eating much red meat on the boat after all.  The kids have been getting used to eating “three square” meals per day and skipping a bunch of snacks.  We think it is a good lifestyle choice for them and we aren’t going to have a lot of storage space for all of the snack boxes that fill the shelves in our home.  Alas, I will have to give up my nightly ice cream habit.  We are fortunate in that we don’t drink.  I’ve read long forum posts on people strategizing on where to buy the “cheap” $4 per can been on some of the out-islands in the Bahamas.  It seems funny to think that I used to love rum so much as I lived in a place where it was expensive (Austin).  Rum is apparently more plentiful than bottled water in many of the places that we are headed in the Caribbean.  Aubrey loves a glass of wine now and then and I am sure that her “wine snob” ways will have to go overboard once we get farther out. I tend to believe that living on the boat will do more than save us money.  I think it will add years to our lives.  We long for the day that we are together as a family, working together and taking in all of the new sights and sounds.  I’m sure the kids will occasionally watch movie but their days will be filled with fun activities outside.  I plan to spend a lot of time diving and in the water.  I know Aubrey will catch more than her quota of animals and the kids will scamper, explore, climb and build anything they wish.  All in all, I don’t think we could’ve made a better decision to move off of dry land and liveaboard out boat.

Captain of the Miss Lone Star

Captain of the Miss Lone Star

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