Saving money can feel like a daunting task, which is why so many of us don’t do it. Life is more hectic than ever these days, and even more so for truckers. Many drivers feel like the job is stressful enough, without adding more things to worry about. In reality, the same planning and scheduling skills that make a successful OTR driver are all that’s required.
Create Saving Goals
The first step toward succeeding at any task is setting a goal. A goal gives you something to strive for. The more specific the better – it’s very difficult to stick to an abstract goal like “save for the future.” You need to identify your specific purpose. What are you saving for? Do you want to buy some new toys or prepare for retirement? A specific goal will help you stay focused once the initial motivation has worn off (because we know that it will). After you have identified what you are saving for, set up reminders to keep you on track. If you want to buy a house, put a picture of one somewhere on your dash. This will ensure your goal is always at the front of your mind.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Once you identify why you are saving, a budget will not only give you a structure to follow but will also help you hold yourself accountable. Figure out how much you want to save, then create a list of categories and allocate the remained of your check accordingly. Figure out what is essential and what you can do without. A big key to a successful budget is to make it realistic and include some amount for fun and discretionary spending. If the budget is too strict, you are much less likely to stick with it.
This one may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning – you can’t budget effectively if you don’t know what you are spending. How many subscriptions do you have? How many do you actually use? Tracking your spending is not only a great habit, but it’s easier than ever to do. There are so many apps available, and most credit cards provide a breakdown by category right in your dashboard. If you’re an owner operator, chances are you’re already very good at this.
Cut Back on Dining Out
This is a big one for all of us, but especially for OTR drivers. $10 here, $15 there. Dining out adds up quick! The average American spends about $232 a month eating out – that’s $2,784 a year! And let’s be honest, most truckers spend much more than that. It makes sense. We are all becoming increasingly busier and eating out is a quick and easy solution that we have come to rely on. It’s especially tempting for truckers who must adhere to strict schedules and have significantly fewer and less convenient options for purchasing groceries.
However, just like racking up miles and making on time deliveries, the key comes down to planning. If you are already planning out your route, your fuel stops, and checking the weather, why not add a grocery store to the mix. Plan and prep your meals in advanced, so you already know what you’ll be having and when. We’re not suggesting that you stop eating out altogether – still hit your favorite diner when you’re in town but make it more of a treat and less of habit.
Create a savings account and pay yourself first! This is an easy and mindless way to save money. Have a certain dollar amount or percentage from your paycheck deposited into a separate account automatically and forget about it! Pretend like it doesn’t exist. If your goal is to save for retirement and your company offers a 401K, be sure to participate! Employers will often match some portion of your contribution.
Saving can be difficult, but if you equip yourself with the right tools and mindset, it becomes a much more attainable goal. ShipEX offers a lot of unique benefits that really help with saving money. For example, getting paid on your home time. It’s also much easier to plan your budget when you know you have the same reliable check coming every week. The ShipEX salary also makes it easier to secure loans and mortgages. So, if your goal is to buy a new car or home, you should definitely consider ShipEX.