So we present two budget charts to keep the scale from getting wacky.

Personal living expenses include:

Boat items:  for people living in a house this would be titled Household Goods, here we include all kinds of random stuff from dishes to tools to cleaning agents not related to boat maintenance.

Food - grocery:  all foods and goods purchased at grocery stores, markets, drug stores, convenience stores, etc.

Food - out:  all foods and cocktail hours at a place we're out, restaurants, bars, taco stands, etc.

Other:  this is just a catch-all category for things we can't place somewhere else

Pers / Ent:  Personal entertainment items, biggest expense here will likely be our cell phone bill, but will also include things like our Spotify subscription, new fishing tackle, a round of golf, toe nails getting done up, etc.

Pers / Travel:  this includes flights home, cabs, shuttles, buses

Puppy: this is Tessa's budget

Boat spend has 3 categories:

Boat Maintenance:  this is going to be a continual work in progress with some waaaaay over budget months and hopefully some almost nadda months.  This will include routine maintenance (oil changes, zincs) and unexpected repairs.  Wish us luck on this category.

Fuel:  self explanatory.  Our tanks carry 100 gallons of diesel and our dinghy has a 6.6 gallon tank for running around.  We carry extra for both in jerry jugs.

Slip / rent:  this is whenever we pay a fee for checking in or out of a country or port, or stay in a marina


The chart below represents, as a percentage, what we spent the year before cruising (ie prepping the boat and living in San Diego) versus budgeted.  The top bar (orange) equals our targeted portion of the budget, all the orange bars add up to 100%.  The bottom bar (blue) equals the percentage we actually spent.  So when the bottom bar is longer than the top bar, we overspent.  As was the expected case, in 2016 we overspent in every category.  We keep the boat costs as a separate budget and will be providing a second bar graph for that in the future months.  Going forward we will include these graphs on a monthly basis.  We do hope this will help others with expectations about where your money may be spent while cruising.


Nights in a marina:  31
NIghts anchored:  0
Nights at sea:  0
Engine hours:  13
Genset hours:  2
Water made (net):  43g

Personal Spend - Overall in January we were essentially on budget overall (although I'll admit I played with the numbers a bit - we hosted a going away party, bought a new laptop, and purchased a lot of future giveaway items, all these are not included in the figures for January).  Food - grocery was a little high but should balance out in February as we had a big grocery run on Jan 31.  Boat items was higher because of our West Marine shopping before we left.  We still ate out a bit too much but we were amazed at the quality of restaurants in Ensenada!!

Personal Spend Budget:  $3,000
Personal Spend Actual:   $2,832

Boat Spend - Slip / rent surpassed budget because we stayed in a marina all month (no real anchoring in Ensenada) and this figure includes all of our check in fees including $435 for temporary resident cards to stay in Mexico semi-permanently (this will save us money and travel time in the future)

Boat Spend Budget:  $1,600
Boat Spend Actual:   $1,974


Nights in a marina:  10
NIghts anchored:  15
Nights at sea:  3
Engine hours:  19.3
Genset hours:  4
Water made (net):  137g

Personal Spend - February was our first real month of cruising.  We did a good job of loading up the boat with lots of food from the grocery store but still spent time at restaurants even in the anchorages we went to because some days you just don't want to cook and clean.  And this was last chance for awhile to shop for the puppy on Amazon so her budget was surpassed for the month.

Personal Spend Budget:  $3,000
Personal Spend Actual:   $2,822

Boat Spend - We incurred the expense of the marina in Ensenada during February.  Boat maintenance was kind of what we expect, almost nothing most of the time, and then bang! a month with thousands of $$$s spent, so we'll see.  And we topped of the tanks in Ensenada for just under $4 per gallon

Boat Spend Budget:  $1,600
Boat Spend Actual:   $883

MARCH 2017

Nights in a marina:  21 (San Jose del Cabo 13, Mazatlan 8)
NIghts anchored:  7
Nights at sea:  3
Engine hours:  13.4
Genset hours:  2 (our solar is working out GRRRREAT!!)
Water made (net):  32g

Personal Spend - March was a good test of the budget as we anchored some, sailed some and stayed in major cities in marinas.  Because of the ease of access and friends to hang out with, we ate out a lot more than budgeted but we made up for that by not spending as much on groceries.  Overall we budget $1500 for food and stayed under that despite eating out so much.  That's a big reflection of the cost to eat here (low) and the peso exchange rate (high).  Pers/Travel was high as well because we rented a car for a week so Chris could get some surf time in.

Personal Spend Budget:  $3,000
Personal Spend Actual:   $2,365

Boat Spend - No boat project expenses (although that will change in April as we blew up our mainsail furler).  We did stay in marinas for 21 days and Cabo was not cheap, $57/day with no electric plug in.  Isla Mazatlan Grand Resort was a relative bargain at $23/day.

Boat Spend Budget:  $1,600
Boat Spend Actual:   $914

APRIL 2017

Nights in a marina:  20 (Mazatlan 3, La Cruz 17 )
Nights anchored:  9
Nights at sea:  1
Engine hours:  15.7
Genset hours:  0.6
Water made (net):  90g

Personal Spend - April we found ourselves settling into our new homemarina for the summer, but we did have 10 days at sea which was our trip from Mazatlan to Isabel Island to San Blas to Chacala to La Cruz.  The Other category was high because we had to pay the tax man to file our taxes.

Personal Spend Budget:  $3,000
Personal Spend Actual:   $3,013

Boat Spend - Marina costs will be above budget for most of the rest of the year as we hunker down in La Cruz for the summer.  We had one major boat breakdown when the mainsail halyard swivel blow up.

Boat Spend Budget:  $1,600
Boat Spend Actual:   $1,420

MAY 2017

Nights in a marina:  23 (La Cruz)
Nights anchored:  8
Nights at sea:  0
Engine hours:  11.4
Genset hours:  1.0
Water made (net):  248g

Personal Spend - May was always going to be a difficult month for the budget, of the 31 days we were fortunate enough to have friends in town for 23 of them.  Friends stayed on the boat and even joined us for a 10 day surf trip on SeaGlub.  With friends in town we spent a lot more time eating out and being tourists so both those categories surpassed budget, but pretty dang worth it!!

Personal Spend Budget:  $3,000
Personal Spend Actual:   $4,357

Boat Spend - Filled up the fuels tanks for the first time since February in Ensenada

Boat Spend Budget:  $1,600
Boat Spend Actual:   $1,166

JUNE 2017

Nights in a marina:  30 (La Cruz)
Nights anchored:  0
Nights at sea:  0
Engine hours:  11.4
Genset hours:  2.5 (we're running the genset 0.5hrs every Monday just to keep it healthy)
Water made (net):  76g

Personal Spend - In June we still had friends visiting in the beginning of the month, I broke down and had an expensive day on a nice golf course and Monica stayed at a nice local hotel to get some girl and pool time.  We're hoping to get back on track budget-wise in July (even with Monica going home to CA for three weeks)

Personal Spend Budget:  $3,000
Personal Spend Actual:   $3,992

Boat Spend - Not much to report, the majority of Boat Maintenance is the inclusion of our monthly payment for boat insurance

Boat Spend Budget:  $1,600
Boat Spend Actual:   $910


  1. Hi Monica and Chris. We are on M/V Pegasus, we were opposite you in Richmond and left in December 2012. Good to read your blog. I just happened upon it. We never got round to making one. Sounds as if life is good for you and Tessa.
    James and I are starting our 5th year cruising, pretty amazing really! We love it. We are in Grenada at present. We travelled through the Sea of Cortez, and then slowly down to the Panama Canal, then up to Providencia, Honduras, Belize and Mexico with side trips inland and to Cuba and the Galapagos. We then went up the east coast to Cape Cod, then down to the Bahamas, the DR, Turks And Caicos with a side trip to Haiti. We have spent hurricane season in grenada, and are about to fly to Chile and hen go to Antarctica on an icebreaker. We will come back here and then slowly go up the Caribbean to Puerto Rico. No wish to stop going to new places so Bermuda and Canada are next on our list.
    This is a great life. You learn something everyday! Things are always needing maintained and breakages and repairs are part and parcel of daily life. Get lots of spares, especially of difficult to find things. You will need a lot of shade and awnings. It gets so hot!
    Best Wishes, safe sailing and have fun. Charlotte and James

    1. Love you guys, we're enjoying the life so far, thanks for your positive motivations and we hope to cross paths again soon