We had a brutal winter, snow and serious cold. Meanwhile, worked like demons on the house. The thought of being on board and in the tropics was never far from my mind. Came to realize that the cost of cruising is the same as the cost of living in a house: you live according to what you can afford. People who lose their way and over spend may lose their home. Same with a boat.
The choice isn't governed by how much money one has it is governed by what one wants to get out of life. If you like life in a house with property to garden, or whatever, live in a house with the accouterments you desire. It will cost what it costs. Same with boats and cruising.
Having worried the question of "what does it cost" to death, I now have an answer. The answer every cruising blog gives: it costs what you have.
What kind of boat questions have similar answers.