If you’ve been a truck driver for any amount of time, you likely know how challenging it can be to be budget-conscious. Like other professionals, truck drivers need to be smart with their money to save for the future and provide for their families. However, this can be difficult while on the road for days or weeks at a time.
Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to keep your expenses down such as taking advantage of CDL discounts and planning ahead. Read on to learn a few money saving tips for truckers.
Create a Budget and Stick to It
Budgeting is one of the most important personal finance strategies anyone can use. The practice of creating a budget and then reconciling your actual expenses against it can be illuminating. Additionally, having a plan for how much money you are going to spend and where you are going to spend is just smart planning. After all, you wouldn’t start a route on the job without knowing where you are going.
Impulse and last-minute spending are common issues for truck drivers. Having a budget will help you to better control your spending. Even if you are already careful with how you spend your money, budgeting can empower you to save and spend more efficiently.
Ask For CDL Discounts
Did you know a lot of businesses offer special discounts to truck drivers? This is an especially common practice among foodservice and hospitality businesses that commonly serve CDL drivers. Politely asking a representative if the company offers CDL discounts is often enough to save a little on a purchase.
If you stop at a restaurant, convenience store, hotel or anywhere else that often serves drivers, there is a reasonable chance they offer a discount. Go ahead and ask. The worst possible outcome is being told no. These CDL discounts can quickly add up if you remember to ask wherever you go.
Make and Pack Your Food
Of all the money saving tips for truckers, making your own food more often is perhaps the most immediately impactful. Eating out is a huge expense for a lot of truck drivers. Think about it, if you eat out three meals a day on every day of your route, that will quickly add up. Consider investing in a truck cab fridge. You can find small and inexpensive ones online, and this small upfront cost can save you big down the road.
Packing your food is easiest if you are working a regional or dedicated trucking job. However, even if you are driving the longest over-the-road routes, replacing a few meals with some homemade ones can add up to major savings. Even if you are only spending $8 a meal, that is $168 a week and $8,736 a year. Making half your meals yourself could be thousands in savings. As a bonus, cooking your meals is much healthier than eating fast food.
Get a Power Inverter
Another cab enhancement to consider is a power inverter. This lets you run electric appliances on your cab’s 12v power source more easily. This opens up a world of savings for truckers.
For example, you could purchase an electric griddle that can run using a power inverter. That means you can cook meals in your truck. Similarly, you could get a coffee maker to avoid shelling out money every time you want a cup of coffee.
Be Cost Conscientious
In most cases, saving money is about consistently being conscientious about how you spend. Little savings can add up quickly. For example, if you spend a lot on gas station snacks, you may consider buying some food in bulk to keep in your cab. While you may only save a few dollars over the gas station store, small savings like that on a consistent basis can lead to a lot more money left over at the end of the year.
Increase Your Income With a New Job
If you want to take your financial planning even further, try looking for a new truck driving job with better pay. Combining cost-saving efforts with increased income will help you save more money for your future. Trucking jobs boards, such as CDLjobs.com, are the perfect place to find your next truck driving job.