That first year…

One problem most all cruisers at any budget level find is that their first year of cruising costs a lot more than they expect to spend. Sadly, I speak from experience and in our first year of full time cruising; we spent money like the proverbial drunken sailors on steroids.

It doesn’t make it any better that everyone goes through it.

So where did all the money go?

For starters, marinas took a serious toll. Now, as someone who really dislikes marinas, why was I staying in them? I blame my inability to trust my initial thought process when the decision to anchor or go into a marina conflicted with the cruising guides. Cruising guides are geared for folks who mostly do marinas and anchor when there’s no other option.

Leaving a marina in the morning after paying our bill when a dozen anchored sailboats fifty yards from the marina would put me in a seriously bad mood.

Where spending money was concerned that it seemed every new place had something to buy. I’ll admit that confronted with a good deal in a chandlery, I throw the budget to the wind.

Plus, not having done proper due diligence, we were clueless on what things would or should cost in the places I was visiting. Most of the currency seemed like Monopoly money. Translating Pesetas to Francs to dollars skewed the reality of what stuff really cost. We spent too much on some things while we missed great bargains.

Another source of bleeding money is eating out, drinking, and hanging out with other cruisers. None of which is a bad thing in moderation, but keeping up with the Joneses can be a big problem when you’re on a very different budget.

The main thing to keep in mind is that cruising long term is not a vacation. You can’t spend away, knowing with the option that you can pay off the incurred debt when you get back to the real world. It’s a long haul equation.

Still, I expect, you’ll overspend your first year out as it seems to be an ingrained right of passage but don’t say you have not been warned.

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