Not So Big Spender
Institute your own personal cash flow management system
By Timothy D. Brady
But living on the road means that many truckers have duplicate expenses. They buy groceries, pay utility bills and mortgage or rent at home. On the road they have anti-idle technology installed in the truck, may pay for lodging or for parking, or a combination of all of these. Groceries are either food purchased that you prepare in the truck, or eating in the restaurants along the road, again duplicating a home expense. So it’s crucial for a trucker to manage money wisely.
Buy, buy love
Many drivers unwittingly “nickel and dime” their way out of cash.
Let me suggest the carpenter’s method of cash control. No, I don’t mean nailing your wallet shut. What I’m suggesting is something every carpenter is taught: “Measure twice, cut once, to avoid making a mistake and having a board end up either too long or too short.”
Using the same theory for purchasing an item, you should think twice before you spend once. Ask two questions: Do I really need this item? Is this something I want only because I’m standing here and it’s available? Challenge yourself as to whether this is an impulse purchase or something really necessary. In other words, justify your purchase.
Combine this with tracking every single personal purchase in a pocket notebook. Write down the date, item purchased and amount paid on everything you buy, whether you use the cash in your pocket or a debit card. From a pack of gum to cigarettes, sodas, music, movies, meals, snacks. Literally, anything you buy for cash gets written down. At the end of each week go back over the list and place an “N” for Needed or a “W” for Wanted next to each purchase. Add up all the W’s, multiply by 52 and you have a clear look at your potential savings if you make an effort to limit “wants” and only purchase the needs.
Finally, every trucker needs to have their own personal spending guidelines. This is a method of establishing the amount of cash you will have available over a one-month period, and then dividing it up according to anticipated needs.
Within those spending guidelines, you must establish an Emergency Fund. It must have a predetermined amount added to it each week, plus any excess unspent cash from any category. This will be the money set aside for unexpected events — such as a family emergency that requires you to fly home or any multitude of other crisis-mode occurrences that can happen on the road.
By combining the carpenter’s cash control method, tracking personal cash expenditures, and setting and adhering to specific personal spending guidelines, you will control and manage your money.
And as a wise man once said, “A rich man who spends his money carelessly will become a poor man. However, a poor man who manages his money wisely can become wealthy.”
Every trucker should establish Personal Spending Guidelines
Step 1: Establish different categories: Meals and Snacks; Personal Items (soap, shampoo, razors, laundry money), Entertainment, Lodging and Parking, Gifts, and Emergency Fund.
Step 2: Get an accordion-file check organizer and label the tabs with each of the categories.
Step 3: Determine how much money you need for the most important things such as Meals, Lodging, and Personal Items each week. Then, see how much of your spendable cash is left and divide it equally between Entertainment, Gifts and Emergency Fund. Place the decided-upon amounts into each of the categories in the organizer.
Step 4: Remove only one-seventh of the amount available in Meals and Snacks each day to purchase your meals.
Step 5: You cannot spend more money in any one category each week than is in its respective pocket in the organizer. The only exception to this rule is your Emergency Fund, which should be untouched until you have a real emergency and need to take care of it.