If your New Year’s Resolution is to save more money, there are a lot of small things you can do that can make a big impact on your bank account.
Cook in your Truck-
It’s much easier than it sounds!
Eating at truck stop restaurants can get very expensive. Even if you don’t have a refrigerator, microwave or inverter in your truck, you can still cook in your truck. Invest in a cooler. There are many options to choose from: standard chest coolers to 12V coolers.
Load your cooler with with lunch meat, home-prepared foods, fruit and veggies. Having food accessible will help you avoid costly snack and meal purchases while on the road.
Stock up on canned goods: meats, beans, and veggies. Buy instant soup and noodle mixes and use hot water and microwaves at truck stops.
Invest in a slow cooker. A Road Pro slow cooker can be plugged into your cigarette lighter. Load up your slow cooker in the morning and let your food cook while you’re driving, loading or unloading. By the end of the day, your food will be ready and you’ll have plenty of leftovers for the next day.
There are a lot of great pages on Facebook dedicated to cooking in your truck. Check out Cooking on the Truck for great recipes and tips from fellow drivers.
Financial Breakdown (*Estimate):
2 meals a day- 6 days a week at a truck stop- $6,240 per year.
Buying groceries and cooking in your truck- $3,750 per year.
Total yearly savings: $2,490!
Make a budget and track your money-
Sit down and write out a weekly or monthly budget. Plan how much you will spend on groceries, eating out, clothing, bills, etc., but also include an “unplanned” expenses budget. Often times, those unplanned expenses add up fast or eat into your other expenses. By making allowances for unplanned expenses, you won’t be caught off guard.
Keeping a track of every penny you spend by keeping a daily expense log. This will also help you with the end of the year tax deductions.
There are several apps that help you track your money. Mint is my favorite money-tracking app. The app is free and ties into your bank accounts.
Dave Ramsey suggests using cash via the envelope method. The envelope method works like this:
-Plan out your weekly or bi-weekly budget.
-Withdraw cash for all your purchases and put your budgeted amounts into individual labeled envelopes: one for groceries; one for eating out; one for entertainment; one for clothing and shoes; one for misc expenses; etc.
-Use specific envelopes for specific expenses.
-Don’t tap into envelopes for unrelated expenses. Once the designated envelope’s money is gone, it’s gone.
Dave Ramsey says that cash is typically harder to part with, and in my experience, he’s right.
Skip the coffee shops and truck stop sodas-
Sure a gourmet coffee every once in a while is a treat, but daily trips to coffee shops can add up fast! Make your coffee in your truck or buy a truck stop coffee and add your favorite coffee creamer. Cutting out a daily gourmet coffee can save you as much as $2,190 per year!
Instead, stock up on instant coffee, invest in a coffee pot and some flavored coffee additives. There are many coffee additives on the market that can really spruce up your coffee.
Stock up before hitting the road-
Before hitting the road, stock up on all the things you’ll need while you’re gone: groceries, toiletries, etc.. This will help you avoid making purchases at truck stops where prices are often inflated. Buy a membership to a big box store such as Sam’s or Costco or sign up for Amazon’s subscription service.
I’m a huge fan of Amazon’s subscription service. Here’s how it works:
-Sign up for Amazon Subscribe and Save.
-Select the items you’d like to subscribe to and select how often you’d like to receive them.
-Amazon mails you the items for free!
The more items you subscribe to, the more you save! Save up to 15% or more on items you regularly purchase! I use Amazon Subscribe and Save and have saved $2 or more on items.
Make your own laundry detergent-
This is so much easier than it sounds, and it can save you a lot of money over time. Laundry detergent can be very costly, but making your own laundry detergent is a breeze!
I typically spend $15 on 50 ounces of my favorite brand’s laundry detergent, but making your own laundry detergent only costs $11 for 5 gallons!
Follow these links for easy homemade laundry detergent recipes.
There are 128 ounces in a gallon. My favorite brand would cost $38.40 per gallon x 5 gallons= $192.00.
Invest in yourself-
While it’s often hard to put away money, there are many way you can start small to build-up your savings account. Having a savings account can provide you with a financial cushion and sense of security. Even if it’s only a few dollars a day or month, start putting a little bit of money away for yourself.
Try the 52-Week Money Challenge. It starts small but builds over time. By the end of the year, you could have an extra $1,378 socked away.
Here’s a great money-saving chart:
What money-saving tips do you have?