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In my post about cruising expenditures, initially disguised as a post about water consumption, I stated my belief that the number one factor governing money output for a cruiser is personality. I wrote:

“What it’s going to cost you to cruise will only be determined by you, when you get out there. I’m convinced it’s very much a personality/lifestyle thing.”

Based upon our limited expenditures over the past few months, I am now even more assured that this is true. So, for those on a budget, I’ll share the following tip to help you limit your consumption of cash:

  • —> Get some frugal friends!

We have had the huge pleasure of meeting countless cool people in our travels, many of whom we immensely enjoyed spending time with. An important realization for us though is that we tend to spend a lot more money when we’re around certain people than we do when we hang out with others. As I said, spending is a personality/lifestyle thing, and some people are just more used to laying out cash than others, either by staying in marinas, eating at restaurants, drinking at bars or what have you. Others, either by nature or necessity, find their fun in other ways. A perfect example of this kind of cruiser is our friend George on Earthling. He is a literal “poster boy” for frugal cruisers and we’ve learned a lot of positive things from him in this regard. And in case you haven’t noticed, we have a pretty good time hanging out with both him and his friends, without spending a whole pile of money!

If, when you’re out cruising, you find that cash is flowing out of your wallet at a faster rate than you’re happy with, give some thought as to who you’re spending time with. If your friends are more free with their spending than you’re comfortable with, perhaps you could try to influence them to try less costly forms of entertainment. If that doesn’t work, it’s possible that you may just need to find some new boat buddies.

Tonight the big party takes place in Anse La Raye, Fish Friday. I bet we’ll be able to have quite a bit of fun here without spending a lot of cash.


  1. Really good point Mike. The restaurants, and drinking at them regularly will drain the kitty faster than house payments and utility bills. On a night out dancing, if my dingy was going to be close by, I’d stash some beers in it. So through the night I’d take a walk to the dingy instead of fighting at the bar.

  2. While on the subject of frugality, check out our website

  3. Great post guys! love the quote “i’m convinced its a personality/lifestyle thing”. It’s so true!

  4. Right on. My husband and I use to spend a lot more money. But we found that we weren’t any happier. In fact, if anything, it added to life’s stresses and seemed to create unnecessary complexity.
    Being frugal is fun. It challenges me to fill the space of my life with things that don’t cost money. What I’ve discovered is the stuff that doesn’t cost much/is free = awesome. Soaking in nature or the scenery and culture of a great town. Conversation, being active, learning new stuff through many free means available, focusing on being ALIVE and grateful to have this experience.
    Along with being frugal we’ve embraced minimalism as well. There’s only so much space in our lives….I’ve discovered that having less stuff equals more room for more intense aspects of being alive.

    Right now we’re living on a tiny farm and loving it. Don’t know how long we’ll continue this adventure but we both have a hankering to sell up and sail away some day similar to you. Love visiting your blog. You guys are inspirational.

  5. Oh….and if by chance we get out there while you guys are still on the water I assure you we will qualify as frugal friends. I’m getting it down to an art! 😉

  6. All good points Mike…….I see the same variations with certain boaters I hang with too……

  7. This is a great piece of advice, the more stuff we part with the more simple life seems to get and its very enlightning just how frugal you can be in everyday life if you try! I went from being broke all the time to being able to stock away $2000 – 3000 per month just by changing my habits and eliminating things that we didnt need to live.

    63 more days till we depart for the East coast to purchase and move aboard.

  8. As everyone else is saying, it applies just as much on land as it does on the water.


  9. You will love Fish Friday AND the prices. Bring ear plugs though…

  10. Another thought. When you retire you will discover enforced frugality. Most people have their income drop to a third, or a fifth of what they had before. Not nice I assure you!


  11. Very insightful.

    One of the side benefits of staying in a low cost / work boat marina is that I have no temptation to keep up with the Jones, at least not with anything more expensive than a fishing lure, and only then if it will catch fish. These are guys eat what they catch, and walking down the dock with a big fish is how you fit in, the only way I ever gained admittance to the “club.” In fact, there is a reverse pressure, to keep it simple and real. I’d feel badly if I were too ostentatious in anything. I feel the same way when visiting the Chesapeake backwaters I love.

    No one should ever feel pressure, or even temptation, to spend.

    • I like the “reverse pressure” statement.

      Anyway, how’s that fish catching working out for you? Better than us I hope.

  12. Well said Mike…applies to landlubbers as well IMO. Some partying is nice but we cannot always play to the extent that others can.

    Currently I can only live vicariously through the adventures of Rebecca and you. In the interim I will have to be satisfied with short charters into which I want to cram a whole bunch of living. In that respect if I am on a short lived vacation then I don’t really want to be frugal….I just want to stay within the limits of my enjoyment budget.

    On our first charter (8 days) I tried to save money on food by schlepping a cooler of frozen foods from Toronto to Charlotte to USVI where we stayed overnight and caught the first AM ferry to Tortola. The cooler cost nothing to check however to save maybe $100 on local provisioning in the BVI’s I had to bust my gut moving that thing around. This included carrying it up the 1.8 billion steps from the road to our overnight STT hotel and then back down the next AM to drag it to the ferry dock. Was it worth it? Other than the fact that cooler served us well as our beer cooler throughout the week on the charter….no.

    On our 2 subsequent BVI trips, with a friend from Ottawa on his cat, we were able to benefit from his local knowledge of the best deals. Especially for happy hour! We planned our trips (14 days and 10 days) around the full moon beach parties at Trellis Bay and Leverick Bay. The latter has the best “all you can eat” buffet where we made multiple trips to refill our plates. Trellis, had lots of other stuff happening but we found the buffet to be a rip-off…one plate was “all you can eat”. Leverick had, bar none, the best happy hour glass of rum….best being defined as “the most rum in a glass, leaving room for a couple of ice cubes”.

    Because we were only sailing for a short time we planned for and ended up with a mix of 50/50 eating / drinking on the boat and ashore. When we enjoyed ourselves too much (Soggy Dollar Bar) we adjusted the next night by just chilling on the boat with our rum and dinners and having a gold star day.

    If I am ever as lucky to be on the water for the long haul then like you folks I would be living under a different set of budget rules.

    • Without a doubt the charter people, or other vacationers in general, have an entirely different spending pattern than we do. We consistently remind the local venders that we are NOT on a charter boat. Most will drop their prices immediately when we say that, often substantially!

  13. I recommend, good book for other like minded frugal cruisers “VOYAGING ON A SMALL INCOME” by ANNIE HILL

  14. jennifer R. And Al

    This concept works well on land too.

  15. So true! We often find ourselves having to limit time with certain friends, as they think nothing of dropping a couple hundred dollars in one afternoon out. We just can’t keep up, nor do we want to! It does make things easier (and us more comfortable) when we’re out with friends of the same frugal mentality.

    When we finally get out there, we’re your “frugal friends” … LOL!

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