Discretionary and One-Off Expenses

Most cruisers make some basic lifestyle decisions that entail additional expenditures beyond the living and boat expenses previously discussed. It is often said that these expenditures are typically for people living aboard indefinitely with some sort of income, as opposed to a three or four-year sabbatical like I plan. Some of these expenses are truly discretionary such as souvenirs or gifts. Other expenditures, such as health insurance or travel home, would be considered essential by some and discretionary by others. Other expenses cannot be avoided but also cannot be predicted, such as health-care costs for a sudden illness. Finally, some costs fall into this category simply because they need be paid only once a year such as a storage unit back at home.

  • Health Insurance and Medical Costs - This is a big discussion point for most people, especially people above 50 or those with kids. I am a young, healthy individual with a lot of knowldege on how to keep my body and health in top shape. I do, however, have to plan on some inevitable injuries or sickness. I will be surfing a lot afterall, and that is a sport with injuries involved. I could break a limb, gash open a wound on a reef, or get nibbled on by a shark. It might be wise for me to carry some sort of insurance, but I in my research quality health care is available and affordable on a cash basis in foreign lands.  For international health care plans, you can go with comprehensive, limited, or catastrphic coverage. I will be looking at catastrophic and limited coverage and can expect to pay somewhere between $500-1,500 a year.
  • Other Discretionary Expenses - These include gifts, souveniers and other little trinkets along the way. I'll budget some money in here because I like to buy little things, but my space and budget will be limited so it can't be much. I'll plan on $500-$1,000 a year.
  • Travel home - I plan on having a reserve fund set aside to get a plane ticket home at any given moment. This will be about $500
  • Student Loans - The only expense I plan on having from the shore life would be my student loans. The minimum payment on these is only $120/month, so I will budget exactly $1,440 a year to cover this.  Unless I am able to pay it off before I go, of course.

Now that we have discussed all of the annual expenses, it is time to start figuring out how much it will cost in total, and how much boat I can afford.