Imagine this truck with a freight box and a lift gate 

How long can you go before becoming homeless? 

That question has always lingered in my mind because it is not as long as one might think that we can go without any income.  My skills at saving money are being put to the test at this time, but I am still not stressing after being basically off for a month and yet no end in sight.  The problem is the Freightliner Cascadia as it was complete as expected, the problem in not the ARI Legacy Sleeper as it was completed on time, it is the Wabash dry box that is nothing special that cannot seem to get built.

How did we get to the point that we can be off this long without stressing?

First, I work off of a budget, and it is a tight budget, any money left over at the end of the month has a name that is based on what savings account it will go to.  While that sounds rough, it is not micromanaging as I had to many years ago to get to where we are today.  Now we have money that does not have a name that is for frivolous things such as going to the movie, going out to eat, or taking the time to see something along our route.  This is not enough money to use for a vacation, but we are still able to experience a lot of awesome things without stretching the checkbook.  We can go months without seeing a movie or an attraction or eating out anyplace special and that money saved will go into savings to be used in the future when we have a lot of opportunities to do unique things.

Our business has a savings account that is used for emergencies, extensive repairs, estimated payments to the government, and for times such as this when we are down longer than expected.  Our personal income will continue as if we are still on the road and no bills will be paid late.  We could not do this indefinitely, but we could survive for several months.

Tips for getting to this less stressed place:

•    Get rid of the TV and spend time improving your future by learning

•    Treat savings like a bill and pay that bill every month

•    Live simply – the less you have the less there is to maintain

•    Think before you buy an awesome doodad in the store – do you really need that?

•    Think about what you spend money on?  Does the expense make sense?

•    Do you have a car payment, toy payment, or credit card debt?  Get rid of all of these payments.  Either sell the vehicles or pay them off.  We are not home often enough to need this debt.

•    Buy older cars and pay cash for them

•    If you can’t pay cash for something, then do you really need it?

If you have debt, make the debt a priority to pay off.  There are many free amortization tables that can be used to see how much a little extra payment made can pay off a loan quicker.  When we are ready to purchase our next Freightliner Cascadia, I find out the interest rate and then run it through an amortization schedule for three years, and that is the lowest payment I will make.  The loan is financed at the most extended term possible for the same interest rate.  If something goes terribly wrong or freight gets that slow, I can always back my payment down to this lower amount.  The goal is to pay the truck off in the least amount of time.

Staying focused on getting out of debt and saving for the future has taken away the stress of this unplanned hiccup in getting our new truck.

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About Linda Caffee

Bob and Linda have been team drivers since 2005 as expediters. They are leased to Landstar Express America. Bob was a diesel mechanic for twenty years before doing over the road and Linda worked in the courthouse.

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