If your bringing in a lot of revenue, yet at the end of each month there is little money left in the bank, you’re simply spending too much. Every expense should be subjected to this simple test: is this purchase something that’s truly necessary and do I need it? Or is it something I want? Think back to a few years ago when your income was probably a lot less than it is now. If you got by then, you can certainly do it again. The first step is creating a budget and it is important to include your personal expenses.
 
If you think budgeting is a waste of time, then a budget is probably the perfect tool for you to use right now. At ATBS, we think of a budget as a profit plan, the best tool to keep expenses from exceeding your income. A profit plan should show a full picture of your spending history. Really diving into your personal spending habits could show that little things like eating out everyday is cutting into your total net cash, or big items like vacations, holiday shopping, or a new car is the issue.
 
Personal expenses must be included in your profit plan. When all of your truck expenses are paid you should spend no more than 60% of your net income on these things. For example:
 
Joe Trucker’s Profit Plan

Expense        % of Net Income
Rent/Mortgage   20
Personal Care 2
Food       15
Insurance      4
Health/Gym 2
Transportation  6
Utilities 4
Clothing  3
Personal Debt  2
Misc.  2
TOTAL 60%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


If your monthly income is $4,200 after you’ve paid your truck expenses, then the most you should spend on personal expenses is $2,520. 40% or $1,680 should be divided into a retirement fund, a savings account for taxes, and finally some should be used for fun! ATBS recommends dividing the leftover amount into four amounts ($420). Every month, put $420 into retirement, half ($840) into taxes, and spend $420 at your leisure.
 
If there’s a big gap between your net income and your lifestyle, consider changing some things in your lifestyle:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Try to diminish credit card debt. Credit cards should be used as cash management tools, not borrowing tools. The average American household owes about $15,000 in credit card debt. The national credit card interest rate is 14.95%. That’s about $2,240 wasted every year in interest. To lower your debt, you can temporarily use some of that retirement fund or leisure money. Every dollar you don’t pay in interest is like a guaranteed risk-free and tax-free return on your money.
  • Quit smoking. The American Lung Association says that the average cost of a pack of cigarettes in America is $5.51. That’s about $2,200 wasted on something that is bad for your health and will likely cost you much more in medical bills down the road.
  • Sell unused vehicles. If your family can get by with one personal vehicle when you are back home from on the road, sell your extra vehicle that sits in the driveway most of the year. Eliminating a $500 a month car payment can save you $6,000 a year, not to mention the insurance costs!
  • Cut housing expenses. Many people are switching from an expensive cable or satellite package to watching Netflix or Hulu. Spending $10/month for one of these online services is a lot cheaper than a $100/month Comcast bill.
  • Find the cheapest insurance. Get competitive bids on home and auto insurance at least once a year. Insurance rates tend to creep higher without being noticed. 

There is a wide range in how much people at the same income level can save. It simply comes down to your spending choices. It’s never too late to get started with a profit plan. If you are looking for help managing your expenses, consider choosing a business service provider who specializes in creating profit plans for professional drivers. ATBS, for example, will work with you to build a budget and determine your break-even miles. We also ensure you receive every tax deduction legally available and will help you increase your profitability. Call ATBS at (866) 920-2827 for more information.

Remember, it’s not how much you make, it’s how much you can save that counts!
 

Comments (5)

Heather Dunn

Heather started with ATBS in April of 2012 as the Digital Marketing Manager. Heather is a graduate of Michigan State University earning her Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a specialization in Public Relations. When Heather is not working she enjoys being outdoors. She loves the beach, the mountains, and riding her cruiser bike.

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February 26, 2015

 
 

Ya got to have a plan! No plan = failure!

December 21, 2015 16:45:19 PM

That's a good tip Linda for how to keep track of your personal and business expenses while on the road. Craig - I like the idea of making it your New Years Resolution! Thanks for all the feedback!

December 11, 2013 9:32:23 AM

Since the day Bob and I married I have kept a budget. Money was very tight and an unplanned for expenses could really add a lot of financial hardship. I have a notebook where I keep a monthly budget one side of the page is for the truck and the other side of the page is household. The nice part of the notebook is that when recurring non monthly expenses happen I can go to the month they are due and write them down. I know a year ahead approximately how much and when a bill is due. Works out perfect since we are away from home long enough that if I did not remember a bill we might get home to know insurance or no tags on a vehicle. I am a firm believe in budgets!

December 11, 2013 5:45:33 AM

Personal expenses should occasionally be reviewed. I tend to develop some bad habits. So-every couple of months I start writing things down. It helps. At home we definitely live on a budget.

December 11, 2013 4:02:48 AM

Excellent article and very wise advise Heather! Thank you. If more start-ups would get the up front advice and services ATBS provides, I bet the failure rate in the first year would decrease. For those that make New Years Resolutions (and those that don't), this article is perfectly timed for you to make changes that will benefit you in 2014! Be Business Smart.

December 10, 2013 13:18:08 PM