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How to Move onto a Boat; part 2- Lose the Overhead

The last post we talked about the first step on planning to move onto a boat.  Downsizing and really getting rid of the land anchors that bind you both financially and physically is an important step to finding your new life of freedom that living on a boat can offer.

In this day and age of blazing internet, conference calls, Wi-Fi, unlimited cell phone minutes, instant messaging, and multi-tasking, taking things one step at a time is almost unheard of on land.  Moving onto a boat, the pace of life definitely changes.  It may take the entire day to simply do laundry or make a grocery run.  Instead of a mile long list of “TO-DO’s”, there may be only a few things you can reasonably accomplish on the boat.  This is partly due to the obvious space and access restrictions.  It’s just not as simple as locking the front door and jumping into your car to head to town for groceries.

Depending on where your boat is located, you may not even have access to land much less a car to get to a grocery store.  The trade off, once you’ve gotten used to a slower pace, it’s a less stressful life and presents an opportunity to truly smell the roses and take advantage of the wonderful adventures that will inevitably come your way.

PART 2: LOSE THE OVERHEAD

You take a lot of things for granted when you live on land.  It’s very easy to subconsciously accumulate a ton of small expenses in the form of magazine subscriptions, cable television and internet service, cell phones plans, lawn care services, pest control, salon visits, dry cleaning, and possibly a dozen more expenses that you may not even realize you’ve come accustomed to having while living on land.

It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.

– George Horace Lorimer

Not only will the extra cash make saving for your ‘cruising kitty’ easier, but most of these ‘services’ can be dramatically reduced or simply removed from your lifestyle on the water.  By reducing your overhead and reducing the sheer volume of bills you might be receiving every month you can free yourself from the mind numbing burden of collecting, deciphering, and satisfying your monthly bills each month.

Another good idea would be to centralize your credit cards with existing balances down to one or two cards instead of multiple credit cards with low balances.  Obviously it would be wonderful to payoff your credit cards altogether but by reducing the sheer number of cards with balances will make bill paying every month a lot simpler.

One of the logistical problems with living on a boat is collecting your physical mail.  There are several ways to overcome this hurdle but the easiest and most obvious is to dramatically reduce the number of bills you receive each month!  This can be harder than you think.  How many autodraft’s are coming out of your checking account, your credit cards for things that you’ve forgotten about a long time ago?  You might notice the charge on your credit card statement but say, “It’s only $9.95, I’ll cancel it next week.” and forget about until the next statement.

Review several months worth of bank statements and credit card statements to track recurring payments.  Find out which ones are TRULY important and which ones are just fluff.  At least by identifying the expenses you can be more aware of where you’re money is going each month.

Other options to control physical bills involves using your online banking account to receive and send payments.  Not all vendors will send e-bills, but it is becoming more common every day.

Services like PAYTRUST specialize is collecting your physical mail at their location via a special PO address and scanning the bills to forward them to you electronically.  You can also set up a bill pay system with them for an additional cost.

The tried and true method involves getting a close friend or family member to collect your monthly mail and forward it you wherever you might be at the time.

Another important consideration for ‘weeding’ out non-essential expenses;

The less overhead you have, the less money you need to make, the less time you need to work, the more time you have to live

Inevitably, that’s the whole point isn’t it?  To have time to live fully and pursue interests for the pure joy of learning and enjoy experiences few today can understand.  It goes back to the larger questions;

Do you live to work or work to live?

By slowly and diligently working through these steps you can prepare yourself for the wonderful lifestyle of living on a boat.  Living on a boat is a learned skill that may take some time to acquire, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it you’ll have that skill for life.  Preparing to live on a boat is a process that takes time, it’s not inconceivable to start the ‘downsizing’ process years in advance of actually moving aboard a boat.

Stay tuned; How to Move onto a Boat; part 3- Lose the Attitude

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2 comments to How to Move onto a Boat; part 2- Lose the Overhead

  • I love reading your Blogs. My wife and I plan on moving our family on to a boat in the next three years…. By then she will be a school teacher and I design websites. We already have a easy life but the attractiveness of being able to pull up anchor in the summer and leave for 2 or 3 months is very attractive.

    We have been talking about it for at least a year and now have started to take your advice and get rid of the clutter. Keep up the writing I really enjoy it.

    Tim

  • big cheese

    Thanks.

    Living on a boat is not the easiest lifestyle- but then everyone would be doing it! Congratulations on taking what may be the hardest first step.

    Thanks for reading.

    JC