Monday, 1 August 2016

How much is this Narrowboat life likely to cost!

Michael and I both took a year off work to travel the world in 2013 to 2014, and it was a pretty life changing trip for both of us. Not only did we meet each other half way round, but we both decided that we didn't want to return to the type of lifestyle that we had left before our trips.

We have been intensely saving for the last two years to facilitate a change in lifestyle, although at when we moved to New Zealand and started saving, we didn't have an exact plan of what that change of lifestyle would look like. We hoped to be able to work for ourselves and we thought it would involve traveling and living very cheaply, probably in India or Vietnam.  Over the last few months we have been moving towards the idea of moving to England and buying a Narrowboat, but how much is that lifestyle going to cost us and how long will our savings last before we need to start earning enough to cover the cost of life on the cut.

Truthfully we have probably already saved enough at this stage to take the plunge into the unknown but we are still hesitant to do so just yet. We have both quit our jobs to travel before and we know how easy it should be, however, there is a number of reasons that we are not quite ready to leave regular paid employment again. Michael has committed to a project at work and does not want to bail out and leave his company in the lurch. He has told them of his plan to leave and is hoping to handover all his work so he can make an exit in December. The other reason is that we are both naturally cautious and we don't have the cavalier attitude that would enable us to just up sticks and leave. If we stay for five more months we will be able to save a fair few thousand more dollars and that may just make all the difference in buying the boat we need to sustain our lives for the next few years. Sometimes we are just too sensible for our own good.

So what will life on a narrowboat actually cost. I have done lots of research so we have a fair idea of what we well be spending and how fast we will burn through our savings before we need to start earning money again.

Annual Cruising License from the CRT, depending on the size of the boat - £700 to £1000

Annual Insurance - £250 to £500

Boat Safety Certificate once ever four years - £100

Mooring (we plan to continuously cruise the network meaning that we will not require a mooring but I think that it is sensible to include a contingency in our estimate in case we decide to find a mooring for part of the winter or need to moor for a period of time for another reason) - £1000

Diesel - £350 to £500

Coal - £200

Gas - £150

Blacking and Anodes, once every 3 to 4 years - £700

Oil Change every 200 engine hours - £75

Toilet Emptying, assuming we have a pump out - £100

Misc Boat Maintenance Contingency - £1000

Mifi - £20/per month

Total annual cost estimate with no contingency - £2864

Total annual cost estimate with Mooring and Maintenance contingency - £4865

These figures are based on many different sources and I have tended to use the highest figures I found rather than the average so it will be interesting to see how our actual costs match up once we are on our way.

Other factors that we need to budget for

There is the initial boat purchase and any changes we may need to make to our boat right away. We have seen boats for sale for between £15,000 to £150,000 and we are hoping to get one that we can live on comfortably for around £30,000 to £40,000. On top of this purchase price we will also need to pay between £400 to £600 for a pre purchase survey.

We will of course have other living expenses such as food, phones, and transport and any other social activities we want to do as well as the not so insignificant cost of Michaels immigration application.

Most people who downsize onto a narrowboat have to get rid of a lot of things as there is obviously much less room on a narrowboat than in a house. We are the opposite, we don't actually own many things other than enough clothes to last a week or to. Most of our possessions will get left in America when we leave  This means that we will need to re-purchase everything we need for day to day living such as towels, sheets, crockery, pots and pans etc once we find a boat. Not a task we relish after we have already done this when we moved to New Zealand and Los Angeles.

Any feedback on these figures welcomed.