Boating by the Numbers (she said)12 Oct 2011
I cheerfully admit that I obsessively track our spending habits. For those who are curious about daily living expenses on our canal boat, read on! Just for the record, I’ve used an average price of the Euro at $1.35 for these calculations. Obviously fluctuations in the currency market make a big difference!
A relative lack of expense initially attracted us to canal boating. Après Ski’s cost and initial outfitting compare to a nice, new, mid-sized sedan. Since Kent has driven his faithful 4-Runner for the past 11 years and 140,000 miles, we have saved the entire cost of the boat thanks to our faithful truck!
Daily Operating Expenses
The operating expenses of the boat are also relatively low. We don’t spend every night at a marina, and when we do prices typically fall in the 5 to 10 euro range. The boat burns 2.5 l of diesel fuel per hour, and we average 2 to 3 hours of engine use per day. The VNF (Vois Navigables de France) permit costs around $350 for our 8.8m boat and covers the use of all the locks on France’s inland waterways. We pay outrageously for laundry, spending nearly $25 a week just to keep our clothes clean.
Average cost of boat operations: about $200 per week
Eating in France definitely costs more than in the US. Several factors conspire against our pocketbook, some due to our choices and some due to differences in the cost of living. First, food is simply more expensive in France. In my unscientific opinion, food costs about one-third more in French supermarkets than in US supermarkets. We normally choose to pay an additional premium for artisan cheeses, locally-raised meats and produce found at village markets and in small green grocers or butcher shops rather than in large supermarkets. Finally, our dorm-room sized fridge holds only a couple days worth of food, meaning we can’t stock up on sale goods. We are often forced to purchase non-premium supermarket-quality yogurt, milk or juice at small convenience stores at inflated prices.
Average cost of groceries, drinks and household (boathold?) goods for two: about $250 per week
We try limit our dining out to about once or twice per week. Great restaurants abound in France, and we could quickly go broke enjoying them all. We stretch the dining dollar by eating lunch out rather than dinner. Many restaurants offer three-course fixed-price lunches of the same delicious fare that will be served in the evening at about half the price. Since most of France grinds to a halt at lunch, we will treat ourselves to a long, leisurely lunch, usually sitting outside and enjoying the fine weather.
Average cost of dining out for two: $100 per week
Of course we simply can’t do without the internet! You can read more here about how we get mobile internet. We’re pretty heavy users, using about 750MB of data per week.
Average cost of internet access: $25 per week
Grand total: $575 a week or roughly $40 per person per day