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The costs of being a continuous cruiser
How much does it cost to live aboard as a c/c
Tuesday,30 July, 2013
11:25 am
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Hi this is a difficult one to get answers for I know but here goes. As a potential C/C next year I was wondering what other C/Cs budget for, either a month or the year. I know there will be unexpected costs ie mechanical faults ect but i wonder what costs are incurred in general day to day living, How far do you travel, how long for, how do you find Tesco,s, Sainsburys on the canal is there an app for phones you use. 

The reason I ask is we are intending to take a gap year or two ( bit late in life 52) for a gap year with the intention of afet that time becoming proper!! live-aboarder’s with moorings.

Any advice will be very much appreciated 

 

 

ClintonKiss

Tuesday,30 July, 2013
11:46 am
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Hi Clinton

 

There will be more experienced CC’ers that can answer your question, but I just wanted to respond to your note about “bit late in life – 52”. You are not late in life at that age and my husband and I are doing exactly the same thing (and I am happy to say that I am 56). We are selling up our house and moving onto the water. We have decided to have a marina spot for the first year but we may consider CC’ing next year, just depends on how we find the marina life.  SO , at 52, you are at what I would say is the right age to do what you are doing. ENjoy, be excited, embrace it.  Life is too short to dilly dally around so get stuck in , we are. ;) )

There is nothing in the world as precious as the gift of life itself.

Tuesday,30 July, 2013
1:35 pm
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It’s a “how long is a piece of string” type of question. The costs of living on a narrowboat are comprehensively covered in this package here. All of my own costs are included in the budget application to use as a template for you to play around with. Also included is another template based on the actual costs of a full time continuous cruiser. In addition to the costs guide and the budget application, there’s a compilation of case studies of liveaboard narrowboat owners. Their answers would prove very useful to you.

Click here to get a FREE copy of “Living On A Narrowboat:101 Essential Narrowboat Articles”

Wednesday,31 July, 2013
8:28 am
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Hi Clinton

We’re fairly new to this liveaboard / continuous cruiser lark having just lived aboard full time for ten months, of which the last six have been as continuous cruisers. I’ve not seen Pauls software, but wouldn’t expect it to be anything other than ‘very useful’ to you although it wasn’t unfortunately around when we were in your shoes and trying to get our head around potential costs.

We’ve just updated a page on our blog comparing what we thought our annual costs would be compared to a projection based on the first six months of this year that may help you and you can find it at http://www.narrowboatboysontour.blogspot

There are a number of constants such as licence, insurance, breakdown insurance etc that you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly and some variables that are more dependent on how you live such as heating, gas etc with the biggest variable probably being the fuel for your engine. We only average about 30 hours a month as we tend to just move for a few hours then stop for a couple of days, but then we’re not running to any timeline and we’ve got solar panels so running the engine just to charge up the batteries is minimised/unnecessary. You’ll need to consider what your plans are for your ‘gap year’ as the more of the network you may want to cover will of course be dependent on engine running hours.

Hope everything goes as planned for you and that you enjoy your ‘gap year’ although you’ll probably find that it flies by.

Keith

Enjoying the Dream ( Keith & Nicky http://narrowboatboysontour.bl…..gspot.com/ )

Wednesday,31 July, 2013
10:44 am
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As has been said already, how long is a bit of string? There are so many variables.

What sort of lifestyle to you want?

Joanie M is a gas free boat so we have a generator which uses between 70 and 90 litres of diesel a month. This is for all our cooking, washing, water heating and we also have a dishwasher. You might use launderettes, use gas for cooking and water heating. We have a solid fuel stove, you might have gas or oil central heating or an oil burning stove. You might have a back boiler on your stove.

How old is your boat?

We’ve had Joanie M from new but as boats get older things start to break or wear out. Paintwork first needs touching up and later whole panels need attention.

How mechanically competent are you?

I do all my own engine servicing so saving about £80 a time, that is every 250 engine hours. As an auto electrician in a previous life I have no problem replacing the water pump (once), shower pump (twice), batteries (thrice), etc.

How far will you travel over the year?

Badger Sett travels about 30 hours a month, we travel about 50. You might travel all year around, you might take a marina berth during the colder months.

How will you get about /travel on land?

We have our bus passes but have to rent cars for family stuff and doctors/hospitals.

How healthy are you?

Regular medication often means regular doctors visits.

 

I don’t do budgets. I know how much money we have coming in each year so keep an eye on our outgoings to make sure that the latter never exceeds the former. When people ask me how much it costs, I always reply that it is no cheaper than living in a house.

 

Regards

Pete

 

 

Living retirement in the slow lane.

20 years hiring, 6 years of shared ownership and a Continuous Cruiser since 2007 but still learning!

Wednesday,31 July, 2013
10:55 am
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pearley said
 When people ask me how much it costs, I always reply that it is no cheaper than living in a house.
 

I couldn’t agree more. I would go as far as saying that the costs are comparable to living in a three bed semi.

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Wednesday,31 July, 2013
5:29 pm
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Paul Smith said

pearley said
 When people ask me how much it costs, I always reply that it is no cheaper than living in a house.
 

I couldn’t agree more. I would go as far as saying that the costs are comparable to living in a three bed semi.

Despite this article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..-BOAT.html

 EDIT  Just read Paul’s newsletter (I am catching up after having visitors) and see he wrote about the DM article in that.

I initially budgeted for just over £5k per year (with the aid of Paul’s book, spreadsheet was not available then) based on 8 months CC’ing and 4 months winter mooring.  That includes £500 for “repairs” but nothing extra for blacking or painting.  At some stage I will compare the actual with the budget.

 

Retired; Somerset/Dorset border when not out and about on Lucy Lowther

Days without name and hours without number

http://thelovelylisanarrowboat.blogspot.co.uk
 
Thursday,1 August, 2013
12:27 pm
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Alan said

Paul Smith said

pearley said
 When people ask me how much it costs, I always reply that it is no cheaper than living in a house.
 

I couldn’t agree more. I would go as far as saying that the costs are comparable to living in a three bed semi.

Despite this article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..-BOAT.html

 EDIT  Just read Paul’s newsletter (I am catching up after having visitors) and see he wrote about the DM article in that.

I initially budgeted for just over £5k per year (with the aid of Paul’s book, spreadsheet was not available then) based on 8 months CC’ing and 4 months winter mooring.  That includes £500 for “repairs” but nothing extra for blacking or painting.  At some stage I will compare the actual with the budget.

 

Hi Alan it seems £5 K is rather cheap, does that include food, eating out ect. Do you think you are on/near your budget I have a budget sheet I am working with and am using our daily/weekly living costs as I don’t think these will alter much, I am more interested in finding out heating costs, winter mooring costs (any recommendations would be great)

 

Clinton

 

Thursday,1 August, 2013
12:36 pm
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NB Badger Sett said
Hi Clinton

We’re fairly new to this liveaboard / continuous cruiser lark having just lived aboard full time for ten months, of which the last six have been as continuous cruisers. I’ve not seen Pauls software, but wouldn’t expect it to be anything other than ‘very useful’ to you although it wasn’t unfortunately around when we were in your shoes and trying to get our head around potential costs.

We’ve just updated a page on our blog comparing what we thought our annual costs would be compared to a projection based on the first six months of this year that may help you and you can find it at http://www.narrowboatboysontour.blogspot

There are a number of constants such as licence, insurance, breakdown insurance etc that you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly and some variables that are more dependent on how you live such as heating, gas etc with the biggest variable probably being the fuel for your engine. We only average about 30 hours a month as we tend to just move for a few hours then stop for a couple of days, but then we’re not running to any timeline and we’ve got solar panels so running the engine just to charge up the batteries is minimised/unnecessary. You’ll need to consider what your plans are for your ‘gap year’ as the more of the network you may want to cover will of course be dependent on engine running hours.

Hope everything goes as planned for you and that you enjoy your ‘gap year’ although you’ll probably find that it flies by.

Keith

Thanks very much Keith a  real big help, I would as your blog suggested be very interested in your other costs Food, internet,ect we don’t have dogs but the wife is bringing  the cat along, (gap year could be extended). Don’t know how you can send that information but if you can we would really appreciate it.

 

 

Best Wishes

 

Clinton

Thursday,1 August, 2013
6:38 pm
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Hi Clinton

Let me have your E-mail address and I’ll put something together for you.

Regards,

Keith

Enjoying the Dream ( Keith & Nicky http://narrowboatboysontour.bl…..gspot.com/ )

Thursday,1 August, 2013
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Hi Keith thanks for the offer its Clintonfriend@yahoo.co.uk, thanks in advance. Clinton.

Thursday,1 August, 2013
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clintonroger said

Alan said

I initially budgeted for just over £5k per year (with the aid of Paul’s book, spreadsheet was not available then) based on 8 months CC’ing and 4 months winter mooring.  That includes £500 for “repairs” but nothing extra for blacking or painting.  At some stage I will compare the actual with the budget.

 

Hi Alan it seems £5 K is rather cheap, does that include food, eating out ect. Do you think you are on/near your budget I have a budget sheet I am working with and am using our daily/weekly living costs as I don’t think these will alter much, I am more interested in finding out heating costs, winter mooring costs (any recommendations would be great)

 

Clinton

 

No that is just boat costs and I would think I am pretty close to budget.  Food etc will be pretty much the same as home.  Bit more on eating out and pubs which I have budgeted for.

Let me have your email address and I will send my spreadsheet, which includes a two year cashflow.  Paul will not mind forwarding it, I am sure, if you do not want to post it here, or you can post it on my blog.  You could also try Pauls spreadsheet into which you can insert income outgoings, capital etc and it will tell you whether you can afford a boat.  It is very good value as you also get his e-books (I presume you still do)

Retired; Somerset/Dorset border when not out and about on Lucy Lowther

Days without name and hours without number

http://thelovelylisanarrowboat.blogspot.co.uk
 
Thursday,1 August, 2013
10:02 pm
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Hi Clinton

 

After submitting my post I see you seem to have edited your post and included your email,  I’ll see what I can do in the next couple of days but I am behind on my blog and other things.

 

Alan

Retired; Somerset/Dorset border when not out and about on Lucy Lowther

Days without name and hours without number

http://thelovelylisanarrowboat.blogspot.co.uk
 
Friday,2 August, 2013
4:32 pm
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Paul Smith said

pearley said
 When people ask me how much it costs, I always reply that it is no cheaper than living in a house.
 

I couldn’t agree more. I would go as far as saying that the costs are comparable to living in a three bed semi.

Not sure how you compare with cost of living in a 3-bed semi. Would the comparison assume you own the house outright with no mortgage or still paying and how much. I myself, am still paying off a large mortgage at 59 (usual reasons of two divorces, kids at uni etc, etc). But, I own boat outright so if he house was sold, not only would I have a good deal of money in the bank, I would have mo mortgage to pay either. I suspect, the comparison is owning both outright and its just other running costs. Certainly for me, the mortgage burden has been a lifetime experience! I am interested in others thoughts on this. 

Rob

Friday,2 August, 2013
8:31 pm
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I should have qualified that statement: The costs are similar once you take the mortgage out of the equation and, I suppose, any loans taken out for the purchase of the boat.

Are you considering selling your house or keeping it on? House ownership is an expensive hobby if you’re going to be cruising for much of the time.

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Friday,2 August, 2013
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Life is as cheap or as expensive as you want to make it. A couple of examples – before we moved aboard I posted my budget online, my shopping budget was laughed at (£160 per month) one guy who has lived aboard for years said he would spend that a week including booze! Over the last 12 months we have averaged £152.12

 

A well respected fellow blog writer buys all of his meat at farmers markets and farm shops – we buy what ever is on special offer.  

 

We are continuous cruisers and I can tell you it IS cheaper to live because the chances (if you fall in love with boating) are that your quality of life will improve, your health will improve, what make you happy will change, your life will be simpler, your stress levels will decrease. You won’t need to supplement your life with expensive things like posh meals out, foreign holidays keeping vehicles (cc’ing and keeping a car is hard work)

 

Friday two years ago in would have been in a restaurant or at least spending £30 on a takeaway and a bottle of wine. Tonight I’m on the rear terrace listening to the radio with a bottle of homebrew. (doing then same Paul?)

 

Oh and to answer your question my piece of string is just under 10k a year that’s everything boat related, all food and entertainment, diesel, petrol (for generator), occasional car hire, £400 extra for birthday and Xmas gifts and food for family and even a few bob for personal insurance :-)  

 

Oh and our gap year started 18 months ago when I was 42

 

Get out there and enjoy life, you only get one shot!

James and Debbie

NB Lois Jane
http://nb-lois-jane.blogspot.co.uk/

Saturday,3 August, 2013
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I’m delighted to read that your gap year is still going strong James. I agree with what you say about the simple life. I said goodbye to my car two months ago and, although there are odd moments when it would come in handy, I haven’t missed it at all. That’s a saving of £2,000 a year.

Entertainment for me these days is a long walk followed by a good book (electronic). In my old and very stressful life, I used to look forward to the times when I could go out and have a skin full and forget about the problems I had to deal with. Now, the thought of having more than a glass of wine or a bottle of beer a day fills me with dread. I don’t want it, I don’t need it and because of that I save a fortune.

My ex wife and I used to regularly go on foreign holidays to recover from our stressful lives. The trouble was that the holidays cost a fortune and the organisation needed to take even two weeks away meant that we spent most of the “relaxing” holiday recovering from planning for it. These days the perfect holiday is achieved by just untying two ropes and sailing off into the sunset.

I don’t know how you manage to keep to your food budget though. Sally and I spend more than twice your total and I don’t think our food spending is OTT. Would you mind telling me what you eat on a regular basis which allows you to spend so little? Is it a healthy and balanced diet?

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Saturday,3 August, 2013
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Well, here comes my pennies worth on the topic . . . .

 

When its been mentioned about a boat costing as much as a house I’ve sort of disagreed although prior to moving onto our boat we didn’t really keep a close track of our costs on land so it wouldn’t be easy or maybe realistic to try to prove or disprove it now.

 

When talk is made of the cost of living on a boat then I would suggest this should be sub-categorised into those living aboard in a marina/residential mooring or continuous cruisers. As continuous cruisers ourselves, we don’t have the sizeable cost of mooring our boat somewhere that I think gives us a head start on our annual costs against the other type of liveaboard boaters. We also own our boat outright so there is no consideration in our costs to repaying any loans that may not necessarily be the case for everyone.

 

After that, I think it really comes down to the different lifestyle on a boat and more directly, the compromises you need to make. You have your boat within which you live and that provides for your daily needs so space is a premium and you don’t have an endless supply of hot/cold running water, electricity etc. Because of this, you’ve got to be more considerate of what you buy and what you use.

 

Two simple examples, the first being our weekly shop. We don’t have a car so what we buy is carried in rucksacks with I’d say the average walk back to the boat being about 20 minutes with some being as much as 40 minutes and you certainly do then think about what you’re buying. When you get back to the boat you’ve probably got a smaller kitchen than you did on land so you can’t overbuy for this reason also. Because you probably won’t be able to just nip out to the shop in-between, we put a menu together for the week and if you stick to the resulting shopping list and not wander round the shelves slipping in other bits that you might not necessarily need then this keeps the size of the shop down. The more you buy the more it costs although having said that, we fail miserably compared to you James as we come in about a £100+ a month more than you. Let me know where you are and we’ll come down for some one on one shopping training.

 

The second example is an amalgamation of lifes basic utilities such as I’ve touched on above, hot/cold running water, electricity etc. Again, back on dry land we’d always have hot water, whereas on the boat you need to plan for it i.e. you’ll be cruising today so you’ll have some, if not put the heater on to get some, or simply boil a kettles worth. In terms of water volume, you wouldn’t fill a household bath on a boat, a shower you (well we do) turn the shower on and off whilst your washing whereas on land it would be left running for the duration. And what about the luxury of a flushing toilet, how many times do you flush in a day, how much water is that each time and if there are two of you, then double it. The more you use the more the impact whether this is from a cost viewpoint on land or an availability viewpoint on water or in terms of the toilet it’s not just out of sight out of mind on a boat as it is on land, you need to consider how you’re going to get rid of it so less is best.

 

Electricity, well you certainly need to be mindful of what you use especially if you’re mainly relying on battery power, maybe less of an issue if you run a generator but as we don’t I can’t really comment on that, other than it would be an additional cost that we don’t have now. So because of this you need to think more about what you turn on, how long you need it on for, or can you even manage to have it on. Again, the more you use the more the impact whether it be from a cost or availability viewpoint.

 

You could go into a lot more detail on a lot of other topics both for and against land or water based costs, but what I can say (based on ourselves and with the compromises at a level that we are happy with) that if we were on dry land now, we certainly couldn’t afford to have retired before fifty and if we did go back to living on land then I would be job hunting and you can draw your own conclusions from that.

 

Regards,

 

Keith

NB Badger Sett

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoying the Dream ( Keith & Nicky http://narrowboatboysontour.bl…..gspot.com/ )

Sunday,4 August, 2013
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Some good points well made Keith.

I agree that the cost of a permanent mooring is a high percentage of the total costs, especially in a marina where residential moorers are often charged a premium. There’s also the cost of electricity at a marina. I pay £0.20 a unit. I try not to use the marina electricity as much as possible. My 300w solar panels and the recent plentiful sunshine have provided most of what I need, but there are two appliances Sally is rather fond of which won’t run off the inverter; the vacuum cleaner and the iron. I switch over to the shore supply so she can use these for her daily workout. Sometimes I forget to switch back again.

I agree that carrying shopping all the way back to the boat is a fantastic money saver. When we’ve been out cruising, the weight of the finished shop is always at the forefront of our minds while we are walking around the supermarket. It’s the heavy stuff which is left behind. Usually it’s the beer and the wine.

I’ve developed the site’s budgeting software so that the differences between continuous cruisers and static liveaboards can be accommodated. I have kept a track of the costs of running a house, Sally’s house actually, and the total direct costs of running the house were similar to those of running the boat.

However I agree that, as a continuous cruiser with no car running costs and the subsequent logistical issues of getting provisions to the boat, the limitations of the on board power supply and a number of other issues, the costs of living afloat are lower than they are in a bricks and mortar home. The reason that I constantly make the comparison to the cost of running a small family home is that the majority of liveaboards aren’t continuous cruisers.

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Sunday,4 August, 2013
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Paul Smith said

I agree that carrying shopping all the way back to the boat is a fantastic money saver. When we’ve been out cruising, the weight of the finished shop is always at the forefront of our minds while we are walking around the supermarket. It’s the heavy stuff which is left behind. Usually it’s the beer and the wine.

Unfortunately I have a shopping trolley!!  It has been a well worth buy – if increasing my supermarket spend.

 

Retired; Somerset/Dorset border when not out and about on Lucy Lowther

Days without name and hours without number

http://thelovelylisanarrowboat.blogspot.co.uk
 
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