The truck driver life can come with a solid salary, but it can also come with heavy expenses. Staying in hotels and eating out both make large contributions to total costs. Owner operators have the most expenses because they also have to pay for fuel, maintenance, and equipment.
But, with some preparation and foresight, costs can be cut dramatically. Here are some tips on how to do it.
Make A Budget
Thrift begins with a budget, whether it’s for life at home or life on the road. There a many ways to do this, whether it’s using technology or going old school with pen, paper, and receipts. The general steps include: set a goal for money spent in a certain time period; at the end of the designated time period, subtract the actual money spent from the goal for money spent, and; finally, assess. If you spent less than your goal then you are doing well. If you spent more than your goal, then it’s time to reevaluate; this list is a great place to start.
Eat Better And Cheaper
Eating in instead of eating out, is a great way to cut a chunk out of your spending and put more money back into your pocket. If fast food cost $7 per meal then eating out twice every day costs $420 a month. Instead, invest in a mini-fridge and electric grill, cut fast food out of the budget, and stock up on healthier options from the grocery store and you will be well on your way to becoming a thrifty trucker.
Smartphones and map apps aren’t just for kids and people who don’t know the roads as well as an experienced trucker — they’re for everyone, especially truckers looking to save some money. Driving without an app or GPS can lead to wasted fuel and money spent on standing in unexpected traffic or not taking the fastest route. Instead utilize technology to find the fastest route, avoid tolls, and beat traffic.
Cash In On Free WiFi and Loyalty Cards
Some places out on the road still charge for WiFi. Instead of paying, plan and make a list of of places with free WiFi on your regular routes. Or just let this app do it for you.
Driver Loyalty Cards can help truckers save on the little things like showers and maintenance. Check out this list of cards.
Keep Up On Your Vehicle
For owner operators, the vehicle itself is likely the most expensive part of the job. Of course, not taking good care of the vehicle will have serious repercussions, but a few basic precautions can have equally power benefits. Check tire pressure: maintaining proper pressure in the tires can improve fuel economy tremendously. Use cruise control: cruise control is another great way to optimize fuel efficiency. Try to aim for 60 mph or whatever is the sweet spot for your vehicle.
Lastly, get a Cheater Wrench: the Cheater Wrench enables the thrifty trucker to change his own tires and save time doing so. It uses a torque multiplying system to make handling lug nuts as easy as pie. See how it works.