There comes a time in all of our lives when we need a little more money to get through the month.  You may have had a larger than expected hospital bill, or your car broke down and needed repairs, or perhaps you are an owner/operator and you have been receiving some lower-paying loads.  No matter what the situation, you may find yourself in hard times.  Now is not the time to lecture about not having an emergency fund, because in your current situation that doesn’t do you any good.  Instead, take a few minutes to determine what you can do to get you through financially hard times.

Slash Expenses Ruthlessly

We all have our vices, some of them worse than others.  But when it comes time to decide whether to put food on the table, or enjoy your favorite cable television show, it shouldn’t be a hard decision.  The best part is, when your income picks back up, and you have a little bit of extra cash, you likely won’t want those added expenses anymore.  Here are a few ways that you can save hundreds of dollars every month:

  • Cut out cable TV
  • Skip eating out/junk food
  • Stop smoking
  • Don’t drink alcohol
  • Turn down the heat or A/C
  • Eat simple meals in your truck
  • Drive (your personal vehicle) less when you’re home
  • Skip unnecessary purchases
  • Negotiate car insurance rates
  • Negotiate credit card interest rates

These few simple expenses that can be cut out could potentially save you $1,000 over the next few weeks.  How would your financial situation look with another grand in your pocket?

Avoiding Stress When Money is Tight

Bring in Money on the Side

When it comes time to take a day or two off of work, nobody wants to spend their free time doing more work.  But sometimes that is necessary to help us get through the lean times.  But how does that look if you are a truck driver and you’re on the road most of the time?  Surprisingly, there are still a number of ways to earn money on the side.

Teach – Every day hundreds of new truck drivers are trying to hone their skills.  If you are a veteran, you can pass along your knowledge.

Public Speaking – Similar to teaching, you likely have insights and wisdoms that most don’t.  A couple hours of public speaking about your experience can pay handsomely.

Earn Money Online – The Internet has opened up an entire new world of career and freelancing possibilities.  If you can write, take pictures, code, design websites, do graphic design, or anything of the sort, you can make money online.  Just do your research first; starting a blog likely won’t make you money for the first couple of years.

Odd Jobs – When you’re not on the road, there are jobs that need to be done.  Hire yourself out to rake leaves, clean gutters, mow lawns, shovel snow, or whatever it takes to boost your income enough to get you through the tough times.

Cut up the Credit Card

If you tend to use a credit card for purchases, take a break from it; especially if you carry a balance each month.  You don’t actually have to cut your card into pieces, but simply stop using it.  By going to cash only you are less likely to make those frivolous smaller purchases (the ones that add up to hundreds of dollars every month).

Use Your Budget

You should have a budget.  It can be super detailed or surprisingly vague, but the point is that you need to know where your money is going.  If you do have a budget, look to see if you are sticking to it.  If not, then get yourself back on track.  After your income has gone back up, or the large expenses are paid off, add into your budget “Fund Emergency Savings” to help prevent another difficult time down the road.

Getting Through the Hard Financial Times

As a truck driver you know that life can be stressful.  And sometimes life throws you a curveball that causes even more stress.  Keep these pointers in mind to minimize that stress this time around, and then start putting aside $25 or $50 from every settlement check so the next time you have an unexpected expense or can’t work for a while, you don’t have to worry as much.

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Isabel Prins

Isabel holds a Bachelor's of Arts in Art History and Advertising from the University of Alabama. Prior to working at ATBS, Isabel was a manager at a bank for four years. Today she lives with her husband and Yorkie in Denver. Isabel is passionate about Alabama football, reading, cowboy boots and any type of food -- especially chicken wings!

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