A lot of cruisers don't discuss their finances, leaving their blog followers to assume that they're rich. Because we're not rich, we wanted to write a little bit about how we plan on cruising. We hope to inspire others without a large bank account to attain the dream of cruising ... with some planning.
Although we plan on cruising in our late forties, we don't have "financial freedom" and we aren't without money worries. I wish that were the case, but it's not. In fact, I bet we make less than most of you reading this. The good news is that if you're like us ... you don't have to be rich to cruise!
We knew at any early age the importance of saving and living a frugal lifestyle in order not to work our lives away. It seems like common sense to save and be frugal, but most people just don't do it. The decision to live BELOW our means is what will enable us to retire early and go cruising in our mid-40's, even though our income has been in the "poverty" level for quite some time. In fact, cruising seems to be turning more into a necessity than a luxury for us ... we need to cut our bills and living on our sailboat will help tremendously!
During the past twenty years, whenever we had a little extra money we invested it into real estate and turned them into rentals. We didn't need much money to buy a house, since we were often able to get 100% financing. (This was only possible because of our great credit scores ... another important tool). We were lucky to get these loans, because 100% financing for investment property is almost impossible to find these days. We now have a couple of homes that we rent.
We must admit that at first being a landlord seemed like a piece of cake. However, with the declining economy the past few years have been brutal! We don't see much of a monthly profit from our rental income due to the maintenance, mortgage, taxes and insurance on the properties that add up quick. When things go wrong we have to dig in our pockets ... a lot lately! Our hope is to slowly sell our rentals over the next few years (too much stress for cruising) and do something with the small profits to supplement our cruising kitty ... if we only knew the right answer! Real estate and stocks haven't been all that great and the value of the dollar could crash ... any ideas?
After selling our house we have a little savings, but not enough to support us into our "Golden" years. We're setting a cruising budget of about $1800 per month, and we may pick up a couple of odd jobs along the way to stretch our money. Work will never go away completely unless we win the lottery! We'll also try to make a few dollars from this site. Here are a few ways that you can help ...
Did you know that we make a few cents every time that you click on our Google Ads (on the right) ... hint, hint. We also make a few cents when you purchase something from our Amazon link (black box on the right), so please consider doing so. You won't pay anything more than usual and you'll be helping us out a little bit. Every cent counts!
Through PayPal, we also have a "Donate" button on the right. This allows readers to donate whatever they like, whether or not they have a PayPal account ... we accept credit cards! We haven't received many donations, but a couple were from people we actually know and that live nearby. We don't think they would have donated to us in person, but the button made it easy. Keeping up a web site takes a lot of time and dedication, so some readers look at the donation as a subscription and are happy to contribute a little bit.
We also have a store with t-shirts and waterproof backpacks, as well as alink to books, music and stuff. Look for more t-shirts in the near future. We'll break into tank tops and some "Nirvana" items soon.
Bottom line: If you have a dream of cruising (or any other dream of freedom), just make a plan, stay focused, and then just do it! Most dreams require sacrifices (we've had our share), but if you really want it you won't miss that new car, those cups of Starbucks, the latest gadget or clothing item. You may have a lot of obstacles but if we can do it, anybody can ... just read our blog and you'll see the obstacles that we're still dealing with. Get inspired and we'll see you out there!
Remember: Don't give up what you want most, for what you want now!