It’s easy for OTR drivers to feel like they have no choice but to spend money on the road. Most of the time they’re buying the essentials such as food and beverages, showers, toiletries and other necessities. Many of these items are overpriced at convenience stores or truck stops on the road. The extra money spent on these items adds up over time. We’ve put together some money-saving tips for OTR drivers to help budget while on the go.
Make a Budget
Sticking to your budget starts with having one. Luckily for drivers, technology is making this easier than ever. There are plenty of smartphone apps and online spreadsheets that let you plug in your financial information and create a realistic budget.
For those not as tech-savvy, all you need is a pen and paper to start breaking down your spending habits and seeing where you can cut back.
Pack Your Own Food
Food is by far the biggest expense for the average company driver. It’s tempting to eat at fast food joints and truck stop restaurants, but that can get to be very expensive day after day. Just one $8 fast food combo meal a day can add up to over $50 a week and nearly $3,000 a year.
There are plenty of ways to avoid getting trapped in the daily fast food money pit. It just takes a little planning. If your truck has a refrigerator, like those in our Peterbilt 389s, you have a major advantage here. Keep it stocked with basic meal supplies, including:
- Fruits and veggies
- Microwavable meal kits
If you have cooking supplies, like a microwave or slow cooker, there are even more meal options available to you. By making your own meals, you can easily save hundreds of dollars a week.
Get Your Rewards
Most truck stops offer reward cards or loyalty programs. These are usually free to sign up for and can save you tons of money on common things you likely purchase every week. Most truck driver reward cards can be redeemed for free coffee, showers or fuel discounts. Given how often drivers stop at truck stops, the savings can easily add up to a couple of thousand dollars a year.
Cut Down on Laundry
Laundry isn’t cheap on the road. Doing it more than once a week can really take a toll on your wallet. However, we’re not recommending you wear the same outfit every day. Instead, try packing a few more outfits in the truck and avoid doing laundry until you can wash the majority of your clothes at once.
Use Free Wi-Fi
Free Wi-Fi is becoming commonplace at truck stops, restaurants and gas stations across the country. Take advantage of the free internet when you stop, and eliminate using data from your plan on your phone or tablet.
Speaking of data, you may be overpaying for it. A limited data plan can be a major monthly expense if you’re constantly going over your allotted gigabytes. Check with your wireless provider about switching to an unlimited plan to avoid the cost of buying data per GB.
Use these budgeting tips for OTR Drivers to save money on the road. You should start to see more money in your pocket, which means more money toward your savings.