Thursday, June 19, 2014

Costs updated

Kintala's cost of cruising figures have been updated. After reviewing them, here are some things I've learned.
  • We are still spending too much on mooring and docking, something that can't really be avoided at the moment since we're trying to help various family members through difficult times. That is just part of the cost of helping.
  • We spent way too much on bank charges from using our credit card in the Bahamas. We need to take more cash so we avoid those charges.
  • I learned that I have no desire to track cash expenditures to the penny the way that some cruisers do. You will see in our monthly expenditures a category entitled "Cash". These are ATM withdrawals and the money is typically spent on food, gas, water, propane, and the dining out expenses required to pay for WiFi in the islands and the percentages of that cash are about the same as the percentage of the items that were categorized. If you're one of those people who can spend hours writing down every single cash receipt while looking out at the expanse of turquoise waters, I admire you and wish you well. I would normally have at least totaled up receipts, but the fact is that in the Bahamas most businesses don't give you receipts and if they do they are not itemized so you have no clue what they were for in the first place.
  • Our monthly average since January has been $2589.01 which is substantially higher than we want and/or need it to be so we'll be working to reduce that. Our year to date expenses are as follows so you can see the percentage:

  • Our health insurance is the only bill that doesn't show in these reports. We're currently paying $310 for it monthly but that is going to change dramatically the end of this year and I'll be doing a post about it the nightmare that is our reality when we get a little closer to that time.
When we were getting ready to cruise, the sites that offered these figures were extremely helpful in our preparations so I hope that these will help someone else.


Robert Sapp said...

Thanks Deb, this information is golden. So I have some questions. The card fees you mentioned - are they being charged by the merchant or by your bank? If it's your bank, then I suggest you check into credit cards with no international fees. Just Google it and you'll find several. I know our AMEX just announced they've stopped charging internatinoal fees, but I don't think AMEX is very widely accepted outside the US, so we'll probably pick up a no-fee Visa or MC. Next, what's up with the phone bill? It looks like that's about your third highest expense, but it's not the one you mention needing to reduce. Straighttalk Wireless is $45 a month for unlimited talk/text/data, $60 for an international plan. Is there something you could do there?



Rharriscpa said...

Nice to see not much in Boat Maintenance

Deb said...

There is usually a method behind my madness, and there is with the credit card as well. We have a UPromise credit card which happily deposits large amounts of money into a college fund for my grandchildren. The foreign transaction fees were being charged by the Bahamian merchants with the exception of ATM charges which were charged by both US and Bahamian banks. The reality is that the Bahamas is still very much a cash economy and you are penalized at every turn for using a credit card. Things like fuel are 5% higher in price if you use a card and no, they don't take Amex anywhere. On the phone, Tim is still grandfathered in on unlimited data which we greedily take advantage of so we're not switching at the moment. We may in the future but my phone is still under contract with Verizon so we have a while to go yet. Before you choose a plan like the Straighttalk, read the fine print. One of the things we keep hearing from people is that those "unlimited" plans start at 4G and then when you hit 2 gigs or so the speed drops to 3G and then when you hit 4 gigs or so the speed drops to 1 or 2G so it's virtually useless. We found almost no wifi anywhere that was free so and extender wouldn't have done us any good either. Communications and internet are one of the biggest challenges to cruisers that I'm aware of.

S/V Island Bound said...

Thanks so much for sharing this information Deb. We are leaving in August for extended cruising and one of our biggest questions is health insurance and what state to buy Obamacare, and also what plan to get. Can we swap some emails about how you achieved such a low health care cost?

Deb said...

Absolutely. Send me an email at svkintala att gmail dott com.