Updated: May 10
As an owner-operator, there are many ways to save money on fuel, truck maintenance, taxes, and business expenses. You can also be sure you never pay more than you have to in taxes, always have an up-to-date profit plan in place for your business, and keep an eye on your business performance each month to find ways to improve! If you are currently working with ATBS, you know that we can help you with all of these things!
But on top of all of this, it’s more important now than ever before that you don’t forget about your personal spending! It’s a downright scary time when it comes to paying bills given the current economic environment, so we wanted to give you a few tips on what you can do today, right now, to try and save money on your personal spending.
With any kind of change, little steps are what lead to big results. We hope some of these ideas will help you shore up your finances during this uncertain time.
Here are some of the quickest ways for truckers to cut personal spending:
#1) Have a Budget or Spending Plan in Place
Building a Budget (or, “Spending Plan”) is the single most important action you can take to weather any financial storm. It’s extremely difficult to take control of your money tomorrow if you don’t know where it’s going today. Consider this plan your roadmap, and it’s going to help you reach your destination of being financially secure during hard times!
During times of financial crisis, narrowing your spending focus to the absolute essentials can help you prioritize. Dave Ramsey talks about focusing on your “Four Walls” when this happens:
Once you nail down those key areas, focus on budgeting for the near-term right now. Our economy will bounce back, but we don’t know when. So, focus on keeping your head above water until this turns around!
#2) Stay Healthy
Serious illness has the potential to be a double-edged sword: If you can’t work then you can’t earn money, and if you couple less money coming in with large medical bills going out, your financial situation can degrade very quickly.
Do everything you can to keep your health your top priority on the road! There’s nothing easy about doing this while driving in your truck, but there are ways to do so, and there are many great resources available to help you manage.
#3) Dust Off Your Negotiation Skills
Debt and obligations takes up a large chunk of the average American family’s monthly income, and right now you should be doing everything you can to find out what, if anything, you can do to save money on those obligations. Dust off those negotiation skills and do the following:
Make a list of all of your debts, including:
Credit Card Debt
Call everyone (and we mean everyone) that you owe money to each month and ask about the options you have regarding your monthly payments (and, if applicable, interest rates).
Are they willing to reduce your payments/interest rates or suspend them entirely? If they are, for how long?
Once you know those two things, be sure you COMPLETELY understand the ramifications of making a change.
Will your monthly payments (or overall obligations) increase? Will your contract be extended? Will interest rates change?
Be sure you know the answers before you pull the trigger and make any changes!
Don’t forget about daycare/childcare
Many families are struggling right now because school, daycare, and childcare facilities are closed, and that means parents are watching their kids at home.
Be sure you contact any daycare or childcare providers you pay for, and double check to make sure you aren’t being charged for services not being rendered.
Every provider/facility is different, and some may have longer-term contracted rates for payment in place, but it’s still worth a call to see what options you have available to reduce the amount you’re paying, even if you aren’t able to reduce that amount to $0.00.
BONUS: Travel Plans
The reality is, most people’s travel plans are going to be affected by COVID-19 in the near-term. If you have travel booked and you know you aren’t to be able to travel, start calling the airlines, car rental agencies, hotels, AirBnB’s, etc., and start figuring out if you can:
If you can’t get a refund, try to obtain travel credits for future use.
If neither of those work, see if you can reschedule your travel!