Cruising and Money

Assuming your job covers expenses with not a lot left over, how do you get 
enough together to buy a boat and go cruising? We have our ideas on the
subject, and we’re sure you have yours!

I suppose the answer is a question: How bad do you really want to go cruising? Everyone I have met who really wanted to go has figured out a way to make it work.

First off, if your job doesn’t leave you much left over after expenses, you have only two choices. The first is, get a better paying, or second job to increase your income. The other, and probably easier option is to reduce your expenses. Some ideas that I have used or seen others use: Sell the house and live on board your boat. Buy a less expensive boat and fix it up yourself. Ask for your inheritance in advance. Sell the car and ride a bicycle or scooter or don’t spend more than $1000 on a car if you really need one. Look at every item on your budget as a % of a year’s cruising kitty and say, “What would I rather have, this item or x amount of time cruising in beautiful tropical islands?” If you still can’t afford a boat, work as unpaid crew for other cruisers and hitchhike around the world. Cruisers usually learn to be resourceful. I have seldom heard of anyone who stopped cruising for lack of money.

2-Once you are out there cruising, how do you maintain the cash flow to keep
going? We all work now and then, have investments, etc. If you’d rather not
answer this one directly, how about examples of how others are doing it?

I personally maintain cash flow primarily from investments. Additionally I earn a bit of extra money from writing articles, teaching sailing and an occasional charter. Mind you, if you worked any one of these hard enough, it would be enough to afford to cruise modestly. That said, I have also reduced my cost of living by 50% from when I was an “earthling.” The biggest areas of savings for me have been housing, travel, auto, clothes and all that other stuff that won’t fit on a boat.

A number of my cruising friends earn their cruising kitty by either working while they cruise or during the “off season.” Some will stop and reload the cruising kitty in Australia or New Zealand or other places where there is a market for their particular skills.

Those who work while they cruise do all sorts of things ranging from managing a business remotely via email/sat phone to writing computer programs. Some earn good money by selling magazine articles, cruising guides, books or photography. I’ve met some who supplement their income by making and selling courtesy flags or other small things that they have made or invented along the way. Others have mechanical, refrigeration, sail making, boat building, varnishing or rigging skills that allow them to work for other cruisers or on mega yachts.

Some of my friends do yacht deliveries, or work on commercial fishing boats or charter boats in the off-season.

I even know a few cruisers who have enough positive cash flow from rental of their homes to afford a modest cruising lifestyle.

If you re-evaluate your lifestyle and think outside the box, you can make it happen!

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