Life on a Salty Budget

I can’t really tell you the last new piece of clothing I bought. I can’t remember buying it.

Op-shop second-hand bargains have been the go-to for the last 5 or 6 years.

Okay, maybe underwear was the last purchase. ( but fair enough?)

That being said, I really don’t feel like I am going without the latest fashions, boat fashion is more about practical sun coverage and comfort – mostly bikini and sarongs, and wide brim hats.

Regular attire in boat world.

When we decided that we were going to commit to buying a sailboat all our decisions and purchases had to come into alignment with that goal.

No more shopping for stuff, limited fancy breakfasts at cafes (one every now and then 😉), and we cut back on everything unnecessary. We had to, all our savings went towards boat life. It has been 5 years since we bought our Lady C, and have lived on her for the last three years. During this time we have realised now how little we need to be happy, healthy and salty.

Our main purpose for moving on to the boat was to stop consuming. Our planet can’t handle us having such a large footprint, and so by going small we literally can’t buy stuff. We have nowhere to put it! We are doing this for us, but the planet also benefits.

The main expense most of us have is a roof over our heads, it is either rent or a mortgage that takes the majority of our finances. We were renting a lovely 3 bedroom house for a few years before we bought Lady C. Our costs of living dropped substantially when we started living on our boat.

We set up Lady C to be self-sufficient, so when we cruise we have everything we need. Power from solar panels, water we carry on board, food supplies to cook anything we need. When we are away from our pen in the harbor, we are a floating home that needs nothing added!

Of course, you live without a few things, like glorious hot water (oh how I love a hot shower!). What you do have is a sense of absolute satisfaction when you cruise. You work to get to your destination and then you do your absolute best to enjoy it once you are there.

Having a pen to come back to has been a safeguard for us and since we run our boat as a business this an essential part of what we have to do. Our pen fees, our insurance and our abundance of commercial survey tickets (in order to be a charter vessel) are really what we pay for instead of rent.

We have the best neighbors in boat world.

It’s not cheap per se, but it’s not too bad. We pay around $10,000 a year on boat expenses.

This means once we cover that we can use any other money to live off.

When we were cruising we managed about $800 to $1000 per month on expenses – food, natural gas, diesel, laundry etc. So for a year, we are quite happy living off around $12,000.

Living off $22,000 between the two of us allows us to keep ticking along quite nicely.

Being in the harbor and close to all the amenities of Fremantle adds a bit to the expenses. You know, a drink a the pub, a summer concert, easy meals out. But with the intention to keep saving up for a bigger boat, we try to keep it to a minimum, and instead have a 6 pack on the deck and watch the sun go down, go for a snorkel or sail over to Rottnest for the weekend rather than drive some place which will cost us fuel.

To me they aren’t sacrifices, they are really great alternatives to spending money.

Yes, there are moments when I look at my belongings and think…. A new set of pots, new bikinis, and some new music would all be lovely. When we don’t have the funds, I just start saving a little on the side for those items I really really want. By the time I save the money, I realise I don’t actually need them and put the funds towards our next adventure.

Our goal is to live cheap, so that any money we do make, can fund citizen science projects like . Priorities like this make money making and saving a goal with a great reward at the end.

Finishing 280km of kayaking the Ningaloo Reef in the name of Ocean Health!

If we didn’t go all in with this lifestyle, we wouldn’t be able to keep it afloat. We jumped off the shore and really embraced life at sea, and haven’t looked back.





Ps. Eco living and living frugal are a match made in heaven. Making my own eco products helps keep the cost down and really who needs makeup?? Go Au’ Natural!


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