Health Series Part 3: Making Your Money Go Further
In a continuation of our Driver Health series, we are back with our 3rd instalment. Part one looked at driver posture, and part 2 offered advice and ideas to avoid driver loneliness, which can creep into play on long journeys.
Obviously, we are confident to say that if you use Freightlink for your freight ferry crossings you will already be saving money anyway. But regardless of your situation, being on the road and using service stations can be expensive. Hopefully this handy little article gives you some pointers that could ultimately leave you quids in.
If you’re looking to save money the first thing you should do is create a budget. People can get into debt by spending money willy-nilly. Ideally you would like to know where every penny of your salary is going. The best way to keep track of that is through a monthly budget.
The first step in producing a monthly budget is calculating your average monthly income. As a truck driver, your take home salary may change from month to month, but you can still calculate a stable average number with some basic calculations.
Take the last six salaries you have received from your employer, add all of these totals together and divide by 6. This will give you an appropriate salary for those last 6 months.
After working that out, make a list of your mandatory expenses - items such as food, rent and insurance. It’s important to remember that some outgoings will overlap across two areas. So for example, your food outgoings will be for you on the road and for your family back home. Setting up direct debits and online billing is the best way to keep track of your finances, online banking too.
We also recommend setting reminders on your smart phone or computer to remind you that you will have some bills to be paid. That way you can avoid any surprises when you see your bank account has suddenly had £200 taken out of it.
Avoid Fast Food Outlets
You know from being on the road over time that eating at service stations and in particular, fast food outlets can be expensive. If you stop twice a day a meal could be between £6-£7. So, let’s say £15 a day. Multiply £15 by 6 days on the road, that is £90 a week and over a month that equates to £360.
But how do you counteract spending so much on grub? Well, you could start purchasing your food from supermarkets or at a local newsagent. Buying food from a supermarket will not only save you loads of money, but you will be able to eat more healthily than you would at a KFC or service station.
It might also be an idea to invest in a mini fridge to keep in your cab. In the short term this may sound a little pricy up front, but in the long run you will see the benefits as you will be able to store food over a longer period of time.
Use Free Wifi when Possible
In our last article we talked about using WiFi to keep in touch with loved ones. But this is also one of those great money saving tips that does not require a lot of effort.
In 2016, there is free WiFi available in most places. Make sure you take advantage whenever you are in close proximity of a connection. Internet use can build up quickly when you are relying on solely a 3g or 4g connection from your phone. Using WiFi whenever its available is a great way to conserve data on your phone and avoid any extra charges.
Take Advantage of Deals
You don’t have to go all crazy with extreme couponing, but taking advantage of deals is another easy way to save a lot of money on the road.
You can get loyalty cards from the companies you visit the most. Loyalty cards are beneficial for drivers, they reward you for fuel and food purchases and you can get points for fuel purchased that you can redeem in the shop for WiFi, food, and merchandise.
Also, many ferry companies include special deals on board on items such as food. Be sure to take advantage of them to save money.
Be Smart with your Driving
Whether you are working for yourself or working for a company, you know as well as the next driver that its important to drive smart and sensibly. There are many little things you can do in order to ensure that you don’t end up paying more than you should.
For example, if you have the incorrect tyre pressure then your vehicle will use more fuel and your tyres will wear down quicker meaning you will have to replace them sooner and more often, which is a cost in itself. Ensure that your vehicle is road ready.
Do you have to stop at a motorway service station? Or can you wait until you come off the motorway? Service stations on motorways are around 20-30% more expensive than standard supermarkets and petrol stations. Sites like justoffjunction can provide you with great alternatives to motorway service stations with a wider range of food choices, cheaper fuel and more scenic places to make your motorway break more enjoyable and more cost effective.
We hope all of the above is of use. Remember, at Freightlink we are all about saving you money and getting more bang for your buck. Hopefully you can save some money just in time for Christmas.