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6 Ways for Truckers to Reduce Personal Spending

Updated: Jan 30

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!

Credit card used for personal expenses

But on top of all of this, it’s important that you don’t forget about your personal spending! We wanted to give you a few tips on what you can do today, right now, to try and save money.

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.

Here are some of the quickest ways for truckers to cut personal spending:

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:

  • Food

  • Utilities

  • Shelter

  • Transportation

Once you nail down those key areas, focus on budgeting for the near-term right now. The economy goes through cycles of being up and down. So when times are bad, focus on keeping your head above water until it turns around!

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.

Dust Off Your Negotiation Skills

Debt and obligations take up a large chunk of the average American family’s monthly income. You should be doing everything you can to find out what you can do to save money on those obligations. Make a list of all your debts including mortgage, car loans, student loans, personal loans, medical bills, credit card debt, etc, Then, dust off those negotiation skills and call everyone you owe money to each month and ask about the options you have regarding your monthly payments.

Review Your Personal Car Insurance

Do you have any cars or vehicles that you aren’t using back home? Talk to an insurance agent about your coverage options! It doesn’t make sense to pay insurance on a car you aren’t driving. If you aren’t going to use a vehicle at all, consider dropping or suspending coverage entirely.

For vehicles you still need to use:

  • Drive whichever vehicles have the best fuel mileage

  • Consider moving to liability-only coverage for vehicles that are completely paid off

  • Consider increasing your deductible on other vehicles that require full/comprehensive coverage

This is obviously specific to your financial situation, so be sure to speak with an insurance agent prior to making any changes so you are still properly insured as needed!

Review Your Other Recurring Service Subscriptions

Let’s review some common services folks pay for each month that you should review to see if you can find more affordable options:

Cell Phone/Internet

Did you know most major carriers offer discounted services that use the same towers as the major provider? Look into a few of these:

  • Verizon: Visible, Total Wireless, Xfinity Mobile

  • AT&T: Cricket Wireless, h2o Wireless, Consumer Cellular

  • T-Mobile: Metro by T-Mobile, Mint Mobile, Republic Wireless

  • Sprint: Boost Mobile, Tello Mobile, Twigby

Cable/Live TV

First, decide if you really need Live TV! If you do, there are a ton of affordable options out there that could potentially save you some money each month - here are just a few:

  • Sling TV

  • YouTube TV

  • Hulu + Live TV

  • AT&T TV Now

  • Philo

All of these options range from $20 - $65/month (as of the original article published date), which is considerably cheaper than most, if not all, major cable subscriptions today.

Streaming Subscriptions

Want to replace Live TV with a subscription service? Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Disney+ (the list goes on & on) are all different companies offering streaming services these days. Take an honest and critical look at these services to figure out which ones you really want - if any - and cut the rest!

Keep in mind that Netflix alone has (by some estimates) over 34,000 hours worth of content available to stream. Consider that before purchasing multiple services to get access to “more content!” Those monthly fees for each service can add up quickly, even if they’re each a small dollar amount.

Music Subscriptions

Do you really need to pay money to buy each song or album you want to listen to in the future? How about paying money each month to listen to your music without ads? If not, Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and many others offer you all the music/podcasts you need to get through the day at $0.00 to you! You just need to sit through a few advertisements every now & then, and everything you could ever want to listen to is at your fingertips!

Home Energy Bills

Energy bills don’t typically come to mind as something we can cut expenses on, since they’re not really “discretionary” because we have no choice but to pay them. However, there are plenty of ways to make sure you are running a tight ship at home to make sure you aren’t paying more than you have to!

  • Update your light bulbs to CFL or LED to save on energy consumption. They may cost more up front, but they last longer & use far less electricity, so they pay for themselves in the long run!

  • Keep an eye on the thermostat! Chilly? Put on a sweater! Too hot? Open the windows! Do what you can to regulate your body temperature without breaking the bank to do it.

  • Consider lowering the temperature on your hot water heater. The Department of Energy recommends keeping your temperature at 120 degrees, but most default settings are 140+ degrees. Take a look and make sure you aren’t wasting money on keeping that water hotter than it needs to be!

  • Unplug unused electronics. “Phantom” or “Vampire” charges are small electrical currents that stay connected to the item when it’s plugged in but not in use, which is a totally unnecessary waste of money, and is easily saved by unplugging devices that aren’t being used!

  • Turn the lights off & any electronics when you leave a room/space that you aren’t using - simple, but a big one to remember!

  • Seal off air leaks. Check the doors and windows to see if you can find any areas you can seal off to keep that thermostat steady!

Reduce expenses on the rest of your personal spending

Cut out the Vices (Smoking, Drinking, etc.)

There are plenty of ways to manage stress, have fun, and keep a positive outlook on life without spending money on those items - just do it!


Make a list before you go! Studies say up to 70% of impulse purchases happen when shopping for groceries takes place when you don’t have a defined list to work off of. Also, use coupon/rebate apps to cut down on costs and/or earn cashback! Ibotta, Checkout 51, Paribus, etc. are all free and all are easy to use!

Online Purchases

If you DON’T NEED it, DON’T BUY it! However, if you really want to purchase an item, wait 24-48 hours after you put that item in your online shopping cart. Many times online retailers will email you rebates/discounts as items sit in your cart. Not only will this potentially save you money, but you may decide you don’t really NEED that item in the first place after the initial excitement of purchasing it wears off!

Preventative Maintenance (for your personal life!)

You’re already a pro at preventative maintenance on your truck, why not take the same disciplined approach for the rest of the belongings in your life? Take care of your home, your vehicles, and your appliances! Build time into your schedule to take care of your things, so that you don’t have to spend money to fix them or you don’t have to take additional time off to fix them.

Finally, consider decluttering your home by selling or donating

There are many online marketplaces where you can sell your items. And, there are many people/families who are in need of a lot of items. If you’d like to give back, folks would be extremely grateful for your kindness!

This list is full of ideas, but it doesn’t include all the ideas out there! Do your research, ask around for advice, and we’re sure there are plenty of other ways to reel in your finances!

We hope this list will help you make some purposeful decisions regarding your expenses. Our goal at ATBS is to always provide you with as much help and guidance as we can, and hopefully, this will help you prioritize your spending.

Thank you to all truckers for keeping the world moving forward!

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