Managing your money and time are two of the key aspects of being a successful truck driver. Living on the road introduces unique budgeting challenges for truckers, especially when it comes to meal planning. With a bit of effort, however, it is possible to create and follow a budget to save your hard-earned money.
Follow these trucker budgeting tips to save money on the road:
Keep Track of Income and Expenses
The first step in creating a budget is keeping a record of how much money you are taking in each month relative to how much you are spending. Budgeting one month at a time is beneficial because it allows you to be more exact with your estimates. For each trip, track all of your income and expenses in a spreadsheet. After a few months, take a look at the data to see where you may be overspending, then adjust your habits to improve the balance.
Pay Close Attention To Food Costs
Food is a big expense on any budget, especially for over-the-road truckers who spend a lot of time away from home. If you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at a truck stop or restaurant five days a week, the money you spend on fast food can quickly rack up. Instead, invest in truck-specific kitchen gear like a microwave, crockpot, or refrigerator, and meal prep before you leave on a trip. Even if you cover one meal a day in your truck, the savings will accumulate over time.
Take Advantage of Amenities
Gas stations and rest stops have a variety of free resources available to truck drivers. Take advantage of everything gas stations have to offer, from free water for showers and filling up your water bottle, to lounges with WiFi. The same goes for rest stops. Do your laundry and work out if they have a laundromat or fitness center available. There are also many novelty rest stops across the United States that offer unique amenities and entertainment for truckers.
Join Loyalty Programs
Becoming a rewards member for companies you frequent is another easy way to rack up savings while on the road. Establishments like restaurants, gas stations, truck stops, and hotels have loyalty programs that can save you money when you make purchases you were already going to make. These points can turn into a free cup of coffee, a meal, a shower, or even a night’s stay in a hotel. Certain companies offer commercial driver’s license (CDL) discounts to truckers as well, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Avoid Tickets by Driving Safely
Speeding tickets and traffic violation fines can add an unexpected expense to your trip. Speeding may seem tempting because you can get more miles in and therefore make more money. However, it is in the best interest of your budget, driving record, and (most importantly) safety to avoid violations at all costs. Receiving several tickets in a certain period of time can result in the suspension of your CDL, which you need to continue working as a trucker. This means you will actually save money in the long run by following traffic laws.
Get Rewarded For Your Hard Work
One of the biggest items that affect your budget is your income. When you earn your CDL at Phoenix Truck Driving School, you are setting yourself up for success in the trucking industry. Our programs can help you get on the road and earning in as little as four weeks.