A simple budget…

Budgets are just a tool for organizing and taking control of your spending. A very simple budget that works is the 50/30/20 budget. So simplistic that, you might be inclined to go with something more complicated. That said, give it a try and you’ll find it does the job just fine. It works like this. 

  • 50% is for your basic expenses.
  • 30% is for everything else.
  • 20% goes into a project and emergency fund.

If we round off the monthly budget to the nearest round number that gives us a base of $1,500 a month. So 50% = $750, 30% = $450, and 20% = $300. Super simple and almost idiot proof.

The trick of course is just learning to live within your numbers. 

Just about everyone I know has fallen into the trap of throwing money at stuff while preparing to cruise and then continuing the process in their first year of cruising. 

Been there, done that, but couldn’t afford the t-shirt because the money was all gone. Really, I should have been following a budget.

One way to make following a budget easier is that since you’re on a boat you can adapt your cruising plans to areas where prices or services are more affordable. 

For instance, I really do need to haul out and put some new anti-fouling on the boat so I’m researching boatyards and haul out costs along the proposed route out of here. I’ve already got the paint (bought on sale at a very deep discount) and all the needful bits for the rest of the work that I might as well do once the boat is on the hard. That alone will, more than likely save me a month’s budget.

While you’ll have to do some research and chat up the coconut telegraph to sort out which places are affordable or not you might want to consider looking at less popular areas as a first step. The cost of things is directly related to the number of well heeled tourists, bareboat charterers, and upwardly mobile anchored condomarans. Not that some of those places are not great places to visit but you wouldn’t want to provision or buy much while you’re there.

Getting back to the budget thing I’ll just add that cash is a wonderful thing. Sticking $500 in an envelope provides instant feedback every time you take out a couple of twenties. Nothing concentrates the mind on keeping to the budget as dwindling cash in an envelope. The envelope is also a great place to keep your receipts so at the end of the month accounting you’ll have a concrete record of what you’ve spent.

The $1500 budget is just a number and has zip to do with your particular state of prosperity. It’s at best just a way of sorting out what you can or cannot afford. Or, as Charles Dickens pointed out…

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six , result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery”



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  1. Even with land travel you can plan to travel in countries that are way more affordable. The internet is also an excellent tool for stretching your dollar while travelling. For example the museums in Hong Kong are all free entry on Wednesday. So we managed to visit three in one day when we were there.
    Buying your antifoul when it's cheap is just good sense. I found our last 10 litres of antifoul advertised on the marina laundry noticeboard. It was heavily discounted and well worth buying.

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