Maddie and I are budgeting $1,000 per month. This may seem very low, as that would only be $12,000 per year, which is far below the poverty line, but the truth is, this will be more than we need.
We set this budget based on several factors, and they have been thought through with consideration.
The first factor is the more you spend, the more you need to have. By setting a goal of $12,000 per year, we only need to save up $12,000 to cast off for a year! As we sail, we can also add to our funds by working along the way. Since our budget is so low, a small sum of money feels like more to us.
The second factor is it keeps the math simple. Looking at $1,000 as a month, means that any fraction of money can be viewed as a fraction of a month. Would you buy a $500 dress if you looked at it as half of a months budget? It also makes money seem like freedom instead of a tie to society. Viewing money saved as time away from the next job makes us feel better about holding onto money instead of buying a souvenir that we don't need.
The last factor is this is actually a rather high budget in our opinion. We have a friend who cruised for 7 years on a budget of $7,500 per year. Maddie and I are only 2 people, but they were a family of 4!
Their $7,500 budget included $1,500 for the kids home schooling books. This means that their real budget was only $500 per month for four people. Their secret was being mindful of money and not wasting it. They would eat in instead of spending on a fancy dinner. They would go on excursions and have adventures instead of buying keepsakes.
Knowing that four people could live on $500 per month, we know that the two of us can live on $1,000 a month with ease. As we go saving the money and not spending it, we also get to stretch out our savings into more time away from the next job.
Budgets are easy to set, but hard to stick to on land where you are constantly surrounded by places to spend money. It is much easier to not spend money when anchored out in a creek, surrounded by tress, birds, and fish. Sitting out on the deck watching the sunset as you light up the grill to make some dinner out of inexpensive foods like potatoes or chicken. Living on the hook while we cruise will keep us happy, well fed, and below budget.