The average salary for truckers this past year was $62,518, which is up $11,000 from what it was a year ago. That’s a great feeling if you are a trucker, however, we all know that trucker’s salaries can vanish without notice. Food, gas, maintenance and other necessities seem to steal trucker’s money every day and what they are left with after all those expenses is disappointing.
What if we told you we could help you save money every day so that you can keep as many dollars in your pocket as you can? In researching industry pay we found some of the best money-saving tips that every driver can utilize on a daily basis.
One of the easiest ways to save more money is by cutting back on food expenses. Being on the road all the time limits trucker’s food options. With the ELD Mandate now installed, getting food quickly is even more of a necessity. This leads truckers to result to fast food and truck stop food, which adds up very quickly. In fact, the average American spends $1,200 annually on fast food, which is approximately $12.50 a day. An average trucker spends $600 a year on coffee alone. In 2014, gas stations received $214.9 billion in sales within the store of the gas station. And if we were estimating, truckers probably make a huge portion of that total.
In order to avoid settling for truck stop food and ultimately saving money, you will have to be a little more organized and prepared. Some options include grocery shopping at supermarkets to make meals from scratch and limiting how many times you eat out each day. Investing in a small in-cab fridge can allow you to store food items without spoiling. Keeping a crockpot or electric grill in the truck are other great ideas to save money on food expenses.
If you need some inspiration, go check out @thacookintrucker on Instagram! As his bio on his profile states, all of his meals are prepared inside of his 18 wheeler with fresh ingredients!
Stop wasting fuel
Owner-operators have to spend money on food so they have fuel in their body to drive, but they also have to spend money on diesel so their truck can run as well. Although fuel prices fluctuate and truckers have little to no control over how much money they will be spending on diesel, there are some tips that you can use today that will limit your waste of diesel.
Allowing your truck to sit idle in the parking lot or rest stop can be a huge waste of fuel. On average, if a driver idles their engine for 5-8 hours per day for over 300 days per year, they will incur up to 1,200 gallons of wasted fuel and be throwing away around $4,000. With 1.7 million truckers on the road, this adds up to 2 billion gallons of wasted fuel just from idling engines. Cutting back on idle time will instantly result in more money saved by the year’s end.
Another way to save fuel is by avoiding traffic. Constantly having to shift gears and speeds will use more fuel than if you’re cruising down the highway. Find ways to avoid traffic and use your cruise control whenever possible. Also, making sure tires have adequate pressure is instrumental in being as efficient as possible.
Alternative options to letting your truck sit idle are utilizing auxiliary power units or automatic idle shutdown systems. Taking advantage of these will allow you to waste less fuel and save more money.
Set a budget
- Evaluate and estimate how much money you are spending annually
- Calculate how much money you want to save this next year
- Determine how much money you can spend on a daily/weekly basis to reach that goal
(If you need a budget calculator to stay organized, click on the picture above)
Although none of these steps are profound, writing out or seeing these numbers on paper will allow you to visualize your goals instead of making a judgment call off the top of your head. After creating your budget, follow your plan religiously and keep all your receipts with each purchase you make. By the end of the week, calculate how much you spent and make necessary actions to either maintain your progress or cut back even more.
We hope that some of these tips will allow you to make better financial decisions. Let us know in the comments below if you have a great tip that we didn’t find that someone else may be able to utilize! We know there are many great ways to save money, so we haven’t included all of those in this article! Subscribe for more helpful trucking information, and if you enjoyed this article we encourage you to share it with your community as well! Now go save some money!