I see that the $500 a month cruising budget is still an ongoing talking point and well should it be...
Personally, I'm a big fan of the idea of having a budget and, in a world needful of some serious contraction, smaller real world budgets just make sense. But, the act of saying you're on a budget these days is something of a political and social faux pas and, apparently, some people feel threatened by folks living in a sustainable manner and tend to lash out. Something you might want to keep in mind.
Which brings us to a small conundrum...
The ability to get by in comfort on a smallish budget has a lot to do with information and if you can't easily talk about something like civilized grown-ups what do you do?
It used to be that in such publications as the SSCA newsletter people were very upfront about what things cost so you could get a pretty good idea how much a particular cruising area would actually cost when you get there. Now everyone uses non-terms like "affordable" and "reasonable" which don't actually give you any idea what something actually costs... Face it, what's affordable or reasonable to a person with a 1.5 million dollar boat and a trust fund might not be affordable at all to someone on a Westsail living on his/her retirement checks.
Forums are worse than useless as the information tends to be suspect in general. Plus, there's the whole one-upmanship thing to contend with, combined with the House (everybody lies) truism as well.
So, what's a poor boy supposed to do?