In just about any working-class job these days, it's getting more difficult to make the family budget work, and trucking is no different. However, the good news for pro haulers is that there are plenty of opportunities to save money — a few dollars here, a few there. They may add up to large amounts of money over the course of a week, a month or a year.
How can you streamline your budget without feeling like you're skimping and saving every single day? We have a few suggestions:
1) Budget in advance
Today, it's always a good idea to have a clear picture of how much you tend to spend versus what you take in, and adjust your habits, according to Summar. Look at six months' or a year's worth of spending and see where spending goes. That kind of look helps you find a better way to use every dollar.
2) Make necessary purchases before you leave
One thing any trucker will tell you is that most items you buy in truck stops and other roadside shops will tend to cost more than they do at a store in your hometown, Summar warned. For that reason, try to take a full accounting of what you might need to stay happy, healthy and on the road for this next trip, then stock up before you head out.
3) Ask for discounts
Something many newer truckers in particular may not know about is the number of stores and restaurants that actually offer discounts to truckers, according to CDL Jobs. A little research into which of your favorites do this will help you find savings you didn't even know were available. All you have to do is ask.
4) Check the price before you go to checkout
When you're in a hurry and trying to make all the purchases you need, you might be understandably remiss in failing to check what it's going to cost you, CDL Jobs added. You may get that feeling of sticker shock when you take your items up to the checkout counter as a result. Instead, give yourself an extra minute or two to make sure you really want or need to make that purchase; your monthly budget will thank you.
5) Make food at home
Let's face it: Restaurants and truck-stop snacks are expensive, and while indulging can be nice every once in a while, it's better to make or buy your food before you hit the road, according to Schneider. That way, you're set up for at least two meals in your truck per day and have more financial flexibility.
6) Plan your whole trip
As you gain more experience, you get to fully understand the ins and outs of every trip you'll take, Schneider said. That, in turn, allows you to predict where you'll stop, what you'll need once you get there and so on.
7) Look for ways to save
You may not think of couponing as something you need to do to save — since it's only 35 cents here and $1 there — but it really can add up over the course of a year, Schneider further advised. By being more conscientious here, you can potentially save hundreds.
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