I have good news and band news.
The bad news: In the first month of travel I already went way over my monthly budget. I don’t know how I’ll manage to continue to travel like this for as long as I wanted to, let alone get to distant shores. Here is the breakdown:
Boat Repair/Maintenance: 30.81
(not included are my boat loan payment, student loan, cell phone, and boat insurance)
Lets take a closer look. Where could I save money? I’ll start with books. I read a lot. Some days I have a lot of time to read. As I meet people during my travels, I’ll trade books whenever I can. But only $79 in one month…thats not a lot on books! Lets assume each book costs about $15, which means I purchased five books. In reality, I purchased three. One was quite expensive, but will hopefully help me find ways to make money along my journey.
I’m a little funny about purchasing books too. I’ll read used books, traded books, library books (which I can’t get because I don’t have residency in any of the towns I go to), magazines, borrowed books, etc. But part of the reason I enjoy books so much is because I enjoy the entire process, from start to finish. I’ll spend hours in a bookstore (thanks to Daddy) looking, reading, collecting a stack of books, and finally narrowing it down to only one or two which I will purchase, but not before I note about ten others that I’ll want to get on my next visit (which I never do). I like hardcover books, and first edition paperback books. I do not like the little fat paperback books that are printed in small type with thin yellow paper long after the book was first published. The reason being that when I return to my boat, I’ll spend a few days looking at, touching, thumbing through the pages, and reading the cover of each book before I finally choose one to start reading. When I’m finished reading a book, they most often still look brand new. Thats how I like it. If its a used book, or if I accidentally get it wet (which happens since I live on a boat), then I still enjoy the book just as much. I read books so quickly because I like to finish them, note them in my book list, choose who I will give the book to, and start the process again. So, sure I could insist that I buy only used books, but then I would miss out on the entire process that I love so much and would probably read less.
How about entertainment. I rented a movie, got a pumpkin, went out to dinner with friends. Next month…no going out to dinner.
Postage: I sent my Daddy a book that he wanted to read. I can’t remember what the rest of the postage costs come from.
The area where I could save the most is in grocery. I could certainty cut that total in half if I stuck to eating instant oats for breakfast and Chef Boyardee every night for dinner. Dinner would cost only 87 cents, less if I bought it in bulk, and breakfast would be even cheaper. But food is one thing I do not pinch pennys on. I don’t buy everything in the store that looks tasty, but I’ll load my cart with as much fresh fruits and veggies as I can keep in my icebox, and friuts and veggies aren’t cheap.
Fuel: There is no two ways about it. Coastal cruising uses more fuel than long distance ocean cruising. Which reminds me that I started this post by saying I had good news and bad news. Now for the good news…I want to cross the ocean! Don’t worry, Mom, it will still be a while until I undertake this adventure (note the “bad news”). I’ll give you a fair warning. But despite the bad news, that I cant afford to take on a trip like that, the good news is refreshing. After a rough start to single-handed sailing, I’m now beginning to think I could really do it. I just need to take care of the finances first, but more on that later.
December 20, 2009: I put together a budget for November as well, but decided not to post it. What is interesting about Nov. budget is that the food expenditure is about 1/2 of October’s budget. I think I did a lot of provisioning of dry goods in October and thats how I spent so much. I spend zero dollars on books, and the other categories were about the same. Unfortunately, there were a few unexpected expenses in November and December that increased the budget, or added a whole new category (like travel home for the holidays)! Ah well. Over time, I’ll begin to see better where my spending is and how I can save more. -Teresa