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Stretching the budget to buy a boat? Ten ways to get there

Always dreaming of the next boat? Perusing Boat Sales Tasmania's website daily but can’t find one you can afford? If you really want to make your dreams happen, try these tips to squeeze more from your budget:

  1. Consider going a size smaller. You won’t lose much space, but purchase and running costs will be exponentially lower. Alternatively, when comparing boats of the same price, the smaller one will probably be in better condition and require less work to get into top shape
  2. Be clear about your needs, versus what would be nice to have, and what is actually unnecessary for your plans. Buying a world voyager could be wasted money if you’re only planning a trip to the Barrier Reef.
  3. Similarly, by choosing to explore Australia’s 34,000+km of coastline, you could save the thousand dollars you would need for Australian registration if you are heading overseas
  4. Is upgrading your present boat an option? It can be cheaper than starting anew with an unknown vessel
  5. Be wary of mates’ syndrome. Your mates have chosen the boat and gear that suits them. They will defend every choice by insisting you need all the same stuff, but their ideas and budget are unlikely to match yours.
  6. If you’re buying to go cruising, perhaps you could see the boat as a temporary expense. Buy the boat you need and sell it after your trip. You won’t get all your money back, but selling will reduce ongoing costs. If you are returning to local boating, a smaller boat may be a better option than the one you bought for your dream cruise
  7. Start economising now. You could save a thousand a year just cutting out the daily cappuccino, let alone swapping restaurant dinners for eating at home. Buy food in bulk rather than popping round to the shops every few days. You can separate bulk items like meat into smaller parcels for your freezer, rather than paying extra for someone else to package it in those wasteful polystyrene trays. 
  8. What about all that excess stuff you have in the shed? Dust it off, take a photo and sell it. Multiple small sales can add significant dollars to your kitty. This is doubly important if you are paying for storage, especially if you’re storing low value goods. Turn it all into cash.
  9. Buying second hand can save heaps over outfitting a new boat, but don’t pay extra for outdated electronics, duplicated gear or tired sails and rigging. 
  10. Get a boat that is comfortable to live aboard and self-sufficient at anchor so you won’t be tempted into marinas. A decent galley, hot shower and adequate refrigeration and storage space will go a long way towards contentment on board. Adequate storage also minimises the urgency of grocery shopping, so you can miss those ports where a marina is the only choice for visiting boats.

Lastly, if all this seems like too much trouble, perhaps in your heart you prefer the dreaming to actually implementing your dreams. There’s nothing wrong with that. Dreaming is a fine way to distract yourself from current reality – and very affordable. But if you are serious – do it now.

By: Petrea McCarthy

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