When it comes to saving money while on the road it can be extremely difficult and challenging being so far away from home. Today we have compiled some of our favorite and most useful tips from professional truck drivers on the best ways to save money while being a professional truck driver. Let’s begin.
Bringing What You Need From Home
As simple as it sounds it can be super useful to remember to bring as many things as you actually need in order to get your job done on the road from home to prevent buying as you go or buying as you need on the road. This can range from anything such as clothes, food, essential hygiene, or other household goods. It is better to have the items you need on the road then to need to buy them a second time. We highly recommend bringing a bookbag or duffle bag of clothes, hygiene essentials, a shower kit for truck stops if you intend on being on the road for a longer period of time as well as some snacks.
One of the most expensive things you will run into on the road is snacks, drinks, and meals as they are not very accessible for parking on long trips resulting in truck stop meal purchases which can add up quickly. It’s very easy to pay 1.5 – 4x the price of most goods inside of truck stops because of the convenience factor they offer truck drivers. The next time you hit the road remember to bring as much as you can to help prevent expenses from adding up. Most meal prep meals can average between 1-5 dollars per meal in groceries and seasonings. However, most places that you can eat out at range between 10-18 dollars per meal without any additional tips for service.
Joining Reward Programs and Driver Discounts
When it comes to saving money while on the road very few ways will save as much money as joining a loyalty or driver rewards program when getting fuel, purchasing food, as well the discounts from being a professional truck driver that might surprise you. Most major truck stops such as Pilot, Flying J, and Loves will offer free showers to drivers if they fuel up their rigs past a certain amount of gallons. This saves the drivers money as these are completely complimentary as part of the truck stops reward programs for trucking fleets and drivers alike. When showers range from 10-16 dollars each at truck stops getting showers free can definitely help you save money on the road very quickly.
You can find trucking discounts and rewards programs on most food, snacks, showers, fuel, refills on drinks, fuel additives, as well as even getting some free merchandise as part of being a professional truck driver if you keep your eyes peeled such as drivers appreciation week. During this one week special time of the year, you can typically find a lot of freebies or driver discounts to have your reward points go much further on larger items such as Radios, Truck Parts, T-Shirts, and other merchandise you can find around truck stops. This makes using the reward points you have earned throughout the year goes much further with saving as much money as possible while on the road.
Documenting Expenses and Reciepts
One of the best ways to know how much your daily, weekly, and monthly expenses is by keeping a good record of documentation to find out where your money is really going to. You can easily spend excess money without finding the areas you could be reducing your budget if you are not being careful and keeping records or statements you can review at the end of the month. Things like eating out, buying food for retail vs wholesale, and spending money on places to rest every night could quickly add up. Another perk of keeping receipts and good documentation is the tax writeoffs for owner-operators on fuel reimbursement.
Staying Ahead on Maintainence
When you are on the road for long periods of time through the year the best way to avoid costly damage to your rig is by staying ahead of the curve on routine maintenance. You can help play your part of reducing costly damage or repairs by changing fluids often, making sure the fluids are at their proper fluid level, tires are in good shape and not damaged or dry rotted, and by making sure your cargo securement equipment is up to date with proper safety guidelines and routine inspections. If you find any damage on your rig you will want to get it fixed or replaced as soon as possible to make sure your rig remains safe.
If you notice that your tie-down straps have defects you will need to replace them as they are at risk of failing. Did you know that Ratchet Straps can often be repaired saving you money? You can see our full inventory of replacement straps saving one part of the ratchet strap that SAVES YOU MONEY here
A good checklist of Pre Trip Inspections should include:
• Checking Brake Lines & Air Hoses
• Checking Brake Pads and Rotors
• Checking for uneven wearing on Tires and potential dry rotting
• Inspecting Tie Down Straps for Defects
• Towing Applications should review chains, winches, or tow straps
• Headlights and Turn Signal Bulbs are functional
• Fluid Levels are topped off and clean motor oil
• GPS is working properly and charging
Using Phone Apps
In 2020 we have the ability to know gas prices all the way across the country at our fingertips using apps like GasBuddy that have real users who are using the app report fuel prices in their areas. This gives you the knowledge if now is a good time to fill up or somewhere down the road is much cheaper to fill up. If you are working for a trucking fleet this tip might not be overly helpful, but owner-operators can greatly benefit from cheaper fuel stops over time when you are pumping several hundred gallons of Diesel fuel.
You can also use apps such as Waze that can warn of accidents ahead, police, debris in the road, or other challenges on the roadways to help you keep your rig rolling. As any professional truck driver would say time is money with most drivers being paid by the mile it is incredibly important to have the big rig on the road as much as legally possible.
Lastly, but one of the more important financial benefits is preparing your meals in advance using microwavable meal prep containers that can be found in supermarkets or in online stores. These containers allow for meals to be made in advance completely to your liking for dinners, lunch, or even breakfast! Fast food in different areas of the country can vary in prices greatly as well as the health benefits from eating healthier meals as you know exactly which ingredients are in your meal as you are making them! You can find these meal containers fairly cheap online and can expect savings between 150-200 dollars per month on average per driver.